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National briefs: Gibson, Maddon managers of the year

November 17, 2011

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Kirk Gibson took a tough-guy approach. So much so, he brought three Navy SEALs to spring training.

The SEALs wrote D, W and I on a board. The letters stood for a sense of purpose, not a traffic offense: “Deal With It.”

“They bought into it,” said Gibson, voted the NL Manager of the Year on Wednesday after the guiding the Arizona Diamondbacks to a worst-to-first finish.

Joe Maddon took a different tack. After Tampa Bay lost its first six games, he proclaimed with a great flourish that this team was the best 0-6 club in baseball history.

“I think a lot of people are into the Rays’ style,” he said after being chosen the AL Manager of the Year.

Gibson was a clear choice for guiding the Diamondbacks to a runaway NL West title. A former MVP as a rough-and-tumble outfielder, he was honored in his first full season as a big league manager.

“I certainly had a vision,” Gibson said during a conference call while on vacation in northern Michigan, adding, “It’s certainly not all because of me.”

Maddon won the AL award for the second time. He was an easy pick after helping the Rays overcame a nine-game deficit to beat out Boston for the wild-card spot on the last day. It was the biggest rally any team had made in September to claim a playoff berth.

“I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays’ way of doing things,” Maddon said during a conference call while visiting family and friends in Hazleton, Pa.

The awards were announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The NL Cy Young winner will be revealed today, with Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers the leading candidate.

Baseball

Source: Astros forced to AL?

Houston — Major League Baseball told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League, the Associated Press has learned.

Crane was forced to agree to move the sale along, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made by MLB or the Astros. Approval of the sale could be announced as early as today at a meeting of baseball executives in Milwaukee.

Crane reportedly agreed to the move in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million. The person who spoke to the AP could not confirm the sales price.

The MLB Players Association believes two 15-team leagues would create a more proportionate schedule and has urged baseball to make the switch. With schedules for next season already completed, the earliest such a move could take place is 2013.

NFL

Cassel has hand surgery

Kansas City, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has had surgery on his injured throwing hand, and coach Todd Haley still hopes that Cassel will be back this season.

Cassel hurt his right hand in Sunday’s 17-10 loss to Denver. The former Pro Bowl quarterback had surgery Monday evening to repair what Haley called a “significant” injury.

Haley said Wednesday he doesn’t know when Cassel will be able to return. The team has not placed him on injured reserve, which means he could return this season. Haley said much of that will depend on how Cassel recovers this week.

The Chiefs play Monday night at New England, giving backup Tyler Palko a little more time to prepare. Rookie Ricky Stanzi will be the backup.

College football

New Mexico hires Davie

Albuquerque, N.M. — New Mexico has hired former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie to head up its troubled football program.

Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs announced the appointment Wednesday. UNM has scheduled a news conference this afternoon to introduce Davie, who will become the university’s 31st head coach.

Davie hasn’t coached since being fired in 2001 by Notre Dame. During his five years as head coach of the Irish, he compiled a 35-25 record, which at the time was the third-worst winning percentage for the Irish. He also led the team to three bowl games, all losses.

Realignment

Big East targeting BYU

New York — The Big East is working hard to add BYU to its west wing.

A person with knowledge of the conference’s expansion plans tells the Associated Press that Big East officials have been in discussion with the school to become part of a newly configured 12-team football conference.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because negotiations are supposed to remain confidential.

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