Andy Haines(Greensboro Grasshoppers) for South Atlantic League Manager of the Year

Posted by Andy Durham on September 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm under Professional | 2 Comments to Read

If only my vote counted, I would vote Andy Haines for SAL 2011 Manager of the Year.

BY ANTONIO GRAHAM
Special to Greensborosports.com

If I had sports writer’s rights towards voting for the 2011 South Atlantic League
manager of the year, despite the two obvious choices this season between Bill
Richardson (Hickory Crawdads) or Ryan Ellis (Savannah Sand Gnats), my vote goes to
the underrated manager, in my opinion, the past two seasons, in Greensboro
Grasshoppers skipper Andy Haines, for numerous reasons.

First of all, in his second season as ‘Hoppers skipper, even before the first game
was played for Opening Day 2011, he had an new addition to his family (Katie Jane
Haines, born on April 6), which made his delay to the team for the first series of
the teams’ season (Apr. 7-10 at Delmarva). Unfortunately, that doesn’t get my vote,
but, once he returned and got the team squared away, at the end of the first half,
the ‘Hoppers were in contention until the last series of the first half, at
Kannapolis (That has my vote). Although their 1-0 loss to the Intimidators on June
18 eliminated them, it wasn’t over for them, it was just the beginning. The
‘Hoppers did finish tied for second with Hagerstown at 40-30. Not bad. Since then,
it has led them to where they are now. Also, Haines’ wins totals from last season
has also climbed (66-74 last season; 78-60 this season and a overall record of
144-134 in two seasons). I’m also voting for promotion for Haines as
well.

The team went on two consecutive 9-game win streaks (April 17-26 and recently,
August 24-Sep. 3), and during the first win streak, the ‘Hoppers posted a 8-game
home win streak (April 17-May 5), and although they are a sub-par road team, they
also went on to win two 4-game game road streaks away from NewBridge Bank Park (June
6-17 and also recently July 1-7).

The ‘Hoppers have also managed to win a series against teams that they wouldn’t
have expected to beat. Take the Lakewood Blue Claws for example. The 2-time
defending SAL champions (coming into the season). In this season’s series versus the
‘Claws, the ‘Hoppers beat them this year in 13 of the 23 games played (One game was
cancelled in Lakewood due to inclement weather). The past two seasons, they didn’t
stand a chance with them. The only two teams in the 14-team league that they
couldn’t get past this time were the Asheville Tourists (Tourists won the series
6-1), and the envious Kannapolis Intimidators (Intimidators 8-6, as of today). But,
against the playoff-bound division winners, Haines guided them to a 12-6 advantage
(Hoppers beat Hickory 7 out of 10, and won 5 out of 8 against Savannah).

These are my reasons to persuade all those sports writers who happen to read this
article, and also get the chance to make a vote for manager of the year. Maybe I can
convince you to vote for Haines. And I’m just going against the norm in choosing
Haines. If you don’t pick him, dont worry, my vote won’t sway. Haines all the way
(and for the promotion to either lower-class A or even Double A Jacksonville; or
maybe even the Inaugaural skipper of the Miami Marlins next season. I’m just
saying).


  • Andy Durham said,

    He’s got my vote. Good job Andy, Willie, Kevin and all the Hoppers…..First playoff trip since 1998 if the memory bank is open today….I remember 1998 playoffs with Jeff Daniels on radio and the 1997 Championship Finals with Delmarva at the old War Memorial StadIum with Evan Malter on the radio mic and Ryan Minor and Calvin Pickering(Delmarva) taking down the Bats with Christian Guzman(SS), Nick Johnson(1b), Donnie Leon(3b) and Rod Smith(2b)…..

    Good to see the team back in the playoffs and Andy Haines deserves the honor of SAL Manager of the Year…He has done a real good job with these kids…

  • Fish said,

    Another vote for Andy Haines and a great job by all the boys on the 2011 Hoppers team.