Baltimore Orioles: Dealing with bad bounces
As I sit here in sun splashed Florida, yes it’s very easy to think of the Baltimore Orioles. Baseball being a summer game, I’m used to getting up in the morning and looking towards covering that day/night’s game! And yes folks, from my vantage point right now, it’s eternal summertime!
That aside, I saw an interesting feature on the NFL Network the other day which really is applicable in every sport. The discussion was how do you deal with being on the wrong side of bad (or controversial) calls. For the record, I was in a restaurant and I couldn’t hear what the commentators were saying. But I saw that was the topic du jour, and I thought it was interesting.
Ask yourselves how often we see the likes of Buck Showalter red-faced in the dugout barking at the umpires for one thing or another. Remember a few years back when he got tossed out of a game against St. Louis for coming out and wanting to talk to the league office in NY after a review didn’t go his way? How often do Orioles fans seem to grouse from the stands at what they assume are bad calls?
The answer to those questions is probably no more or less than any other manager or fan base. And incidentally, I’m not talking about an inconsistent strike zone, or even a run-of-the-mill controversial call on the base paths. I’m talking about big time calls whereby the ball bounces in the other direction. Think of the Jeffrey Maier-aided home run in Yankee Stadium.
And there’s a situation where the Orioles didn’t handle it well. Mind you, that wasn’t an elimination game, and the O’s had every opportunity to come back and still win the series. But for all intents and purposes, it decided the game. Granted you can’t totally blame them because it was so blatantly a horrible decision by the umpiring crew, but the fact is that the O’s allowed that one moment to decide the game.
And that’s really the crux of what you don’t want to do. That one moment snowballed in the Orioles’ faces. On the flip side, New York did exactly what you do want to do – they moved on. Granted it was much easier for them given the fact that they were gifted something they shouldn’t have had. But had the Orioles allowed that not to phase them as New York did, the series might have ended differently.
And incidentally, it’s a mental state of mind in a sense. This is not to say that you don’t argue the call or try to make your point with the umpire – because in effect you have an obligation to do so. If you just sit there and let a bad call unfold around you, due diligence isn’t being done. However once it’s over, you have to accept that it’s over.
And Buck Showalter is generally pretty good at that. You don’t see him commenting too much after games about things like this, no matter how egregious the call. He might make some round-about comments, however nothing that’s going to stick in the media and have people talking for days on end. And that helps the team move on as well.
Bad calls are going to happen. The mistake the Orioles made in the playoffs so many years ago was they allowed the bad call to define both them and the series. You can’t do that. Just ask that Orioles team, which was potentially good enough to win the World Series.