2009 Ian Rintel Award
Front Office Executive of the Year

The Ian Rintel Award for Front Office Executive of the Year recognizes the league's most improved team from one season to the next. The award is named after former owner Ian Rintel, whose Waikiki Keys bounced back from a 33-129 record in 1993 to a 76-86 record in 1994. The 43-win jump stood for 14 years as the best turn-around in DMBL history; it was finally eclipsed last year by Eric Wickstrom, who improved his Las Vegas Rat Pack by 54 wins.

And the award goes to....

David Landsman, Matthew's Mighty Men of Marietta

Landsman won his second Rintel Award by following the same blueprints as last year's winner -- ripping a playoff team apart brick-by-brick and starting over from scratch! The vicious tear-down and rebuild sent the team on a stomach-turning rollercoaster ride -- from 93 wins in '07 to 61 in '08 to 96 in '09. How thorough was Landsman's demolition? Just seven players on the '09 team were on the '07 squad, and that includes three (Milton Bradley, Brian Giles, and Mike Mussina) who left but were brought back, one (Josh Hamilton) who was an ineligible rookie '07, and another (Francisco Liriano) who missed all of last year with an injury. That leaves just Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as the only continuous players from the team that went to Game 6 of the 2007 World Series.

But the clean slate strategy paid off as the Mighty Men roared back into the post-season with 96 wins in '09, a 35-win turn-around. It's also a jump of 10-1/2 places in the standings, from a 12th place tie last year to second-best this year. The 35-win jump is good for fifth-best in league history, tied with the Arkansas Golden Falcons in 2002. This is Landsman's second Rintel Award, the first coming after a similar tear-down and rebuild strategy that culminated in a 24-win improvement from 2002 to 2003.

Marietta's quick turn-around just beat out Chris Pucci and the Carolina Mudcats, who settle for second-best after a 32-win jump, improving from 62 wins and the 11th-best record last year to 94 and the 3rd-best this year. But Pucci gets the last laugh as his 94 wins were good enough for a Morris Division title and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, while Landsman had to settle for the top wildcard spot... The next biggest jump, believe it or not, was just 6 wins, a tie between Brent Campbell's Hillsborough Hired Hitmen and Mike "Stump" Matiash's Arkansas Golden Falcons. The 6-win gain was good enough to get the 93-win, 4th-place Hitmen into the big dance for the second straight year, but did nothing for the Golden Falcons, who finished in 8th place, same as they did last year... Next best is another tie, between Mark Hrywna's Hoboken Cutters and Tom Zagenczyk's Blue Ridge Bombers. Each team improved by 2 wins from last year, but it wasn't good enough to get them to the playoffs; the Cutters finished 10th, the Bombers 12th.

It was a decline for everyone else. The biggest loser was Commish Yaro Zajac and the Vancouver Iron Fist. The Fisters, a 104-win team last year, could only manage 85 this year -- but the 19-game drop was still good enough for 6th place and the final playoff berth... The news wasn't as good for Anthony "Bocce" Pucci's Philadelphia Endzone Animals, who dropped 14 games from last year's 96-win performance. Their 82 wins left them in the worst position in the standings -- 7th place... Tied with Philly with a 14-game decline was last year's Rintel Award winner, Eric Wickstrom and the Las Vegas Rat Pack. Coming off a 106-win season last year, even the 14-game decline was good enough for a 92-win 5th place finish... Jamie Landsman's D.C. O-Bombers had 88 wins last year and a 5th place finish, but dropped 12 wins to 76 and 9th this year... Nick Pucci took over the Tampa Bay Plunkers, who won 79 games last year and finished 7th; as the Amityville Ant Slayers, they took 11th place with 71 wins... Coming off a season in which they won 69 games and finished 10th, Greg and Chris Calvosa had high hopes for the Sardine City Straphangers as they entered the 2009 season with two first round picks and a young squad full of talent, but it was another step backward as they fell to 13th place with just 62 wins... Tied with Sardine City with a 7-win decline were Butch Garretson's Newark Sugar Bears. It's the second straight year of decline for the Sugar Bears -- from 119 in '07 to 114 to '08 to 107 in '09 -- but it was still enough for another Commissioner's Cup... Speaking of trends, Mike Hornick's New Jersey Team Buddah keeps finding ways to get even worse -- 68 wins in '07, 60 in '08, and now just 58 in '09. It's the second straight year they've finished dead last. 

TEAM 2008 W 2009 W CHANGE
Marietta 61 (12-T)
96 (2nd)
+35
Carolina 62 (11th)
94 (3rd)
+32
Hillsborough
87 (6th)
93 (4th)
+6
Arkansas
75 (8th)
81 (8th)
+6
Hoboken 72 (9th)
74 (10th)
+2
Blue Ridge
61 (12-T)
63 (12th)
+2
New Jersey
60 (14th)
58 (14th)
-2
Newark 114 (1st)
107 (1st)
-7
Sardine City
69 (10th)
62 (13th)
-7
Amityville (Tampa Bay)
79 (7th)
71 (11th)
-8
D.C. 88 (5th)
76 (9th)
-12
Las Vegas
106 (2nd)
92 (5th)
-14
Philadelphia 96 (4th)
82 (7th)
-14
Vancouver
104 (3rd)
85 (6th)
-19

Let's take a look at the previous award winners:

PREVIOUS IAN RINTEL AWARD WINNERS
YEAR TEAM OWNER YEAR 1 W YEAR 2 W CHANGE
2008-2009 Marietta Mighty Men
David Landsman
61 96 +35
2007-2008 Las Vegas Rat Pack
Eric Wickstrom
52 106 +54
2006-2007 Honolulu Sharks
Adam Kozubal
58 86 +28
2005-2006 Hillsborough Hired Hitmen Brent Campbell 63 84 +21
2004-2005 Vancouver Iron Fist
Philly Endzone Animals
Yaro Z. Zajac
Anthony Pucci
77
76
93
92
+16
2003-2004 Tijuana Banditos Paul Barbosa 66 80 +14
2002-2003 Stanhope Mighty Men David Landsman 70 94 +24
2001-2002 Arkansas Golden Falcons Stump Matiash 85 120 +35
2000-2001 Hillsborough-Vatican City Jeremy Berger 51 89 +38
1999-2000 Hawaii Volcanoes Mike Day 49 80 +31
1998-1999 Carolina Mudcats Chris Pucci 80 94 +14
1997-1998 Phoenix Dragons Mike Chan 44 64 +20
1996-1997 Toledo Mutthens Jon Knowsley 58 81 +23
1994-1996 Louisiana Lightning Brent Campbell 66 89 +23
1993-1994 Waikiki Keys Ian Rintel 33 76 +43
1992-1993 Scranton Sparrows Brent Campbell 59 90 +31
1991-1992 Maine-San Antonio Ryan DeRonde 54 91 +37


Top 10 biggest improvements in DMBL history:
1 2007-2008 Las Vegas Rat Pack
Eric Wickstrom 52 106 +54
2 1993-1994 Waikiki Keys Ian Rintel 33 76 +43
3 2000-2001 Hillsborough-Vatican City Jeremy Berger 51 89 +38
4 1991-1992 Maine-San Antonio Ryan DeRonde 54 91 +37
5T 2001-2002 Arkansas Golden Falcons Stump Matiash 85 120 +35
5T 2008-2009 Marietta Mighty Men
David Landsman 61 96 +35
7T 1992-1993 Scranton Sparrows Brent Campbell 59 90 +31
7T 1999-2000 Hawaii Volcanoes Mike Day 49 80 +31
9 2006-2007 Honolulu Sharks
Adam Kozubal 58 86 +28
10 2007-2008 Vancouver Iron Fist
Yaro Zajac
79 104 +25