Yesterday was both amazing and tough for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans alike. Especially the likes of Adam Jones and Buck Showalter. Neither is expected to return, although we should always throw in the term but you never know. And if the love fest we saw yesterday is any indication, I think most fans would be fine with that.
Specifically regarding Showalter, rumor has it that a formal decision and/or announcement is expected sooner rather than later. So in theory that could come as early as today. If in fact Buck’s out, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a new manager to be hired immediately. Most teams wait until the conclusion of the World Series to make those hires, first off because odds are some of the coaches involved could be candidates. But it allows the post-season to take center stage as opposed to a team not involved.
Showalter’s contract runs through the end of October, so he’s not going anywhere in the immediacy of today. And he’ll still be on hand and have the title of manager on October 27th when he and his wife Angela host the annual Kids Peace Trick-or-Trot. While yesterday’s festivities focused more on Adam Jones, that might be a great opportunity for fans to say goodbye to Buck if in fact he’s out.
This season was trying on everyone involved, yes including writers. There were times back in June where I looked to this day. However the Orioles always have a way of pulling you back in, and we certainly saw that yesterday. And regardless of whether a season was good or bad, there’s always a sad finality when the tarp goes on the field for the final time.
But that’s especially true this year with the circumstances surrounding the end of the season. I said this a lot yesterday, but nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. And that’s quite frankly due to the fact that Baltimore is special. The people are special, and the teams are special. When the litany of trades went down this past summer I reminded fans that Baltimore really loves to embrace it’s athletes. And the next generation of athletes waiting to be embraced may well have been acquired in those trades.
The nickname “Smalltimore” doesn’t exist for nothing. Players come here, and in many cases become a part of the community. Adam Jones certainly did. They start families here, their kids go to school with your kids, you attend community meetings with them, etc. That’s what makes days like yesterday so hard. But it should also serve as a reminder that this isn’t just any team or any city. It’s the Baltimore Orioles. And they’re a special part of a special community.
There is a silver lining to 2018 for those who love regular season baseball. It doesn’t involve the Orioles, but the regular season isn’t quite done yet. Milwaukee will travel to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs at 1 PM this afternoon, and Colorado will travel to Chavez Ravine to play the LA Dodgers at 4 PM. Those games will decide the NL Central and West champions respectively. The losers will square off in the NL Wild Card game – tomorrow.
These games are playoff games for all intents and purposes. They’re certainly being treated as such, and justifiably so. But on paper, they actually go down as “regular season game 163.” Former 2018 Orioles Jonathan Schoop (Milwaukee) and Manny Machado (LAD) will be playing today. And the 2018 post-season is littered with former Orioles.
As for me, the season never really ends. Anyone who’s read me for some time knows that I’ll give you a full season recap at some point this week. It may not be pretty, but I’ll do it. I always take a few days after the season ends before doing that however, if for no other reason than to “digest” the entire thing. But you’ll get it – later this week, as I said.
In closing for today, I do want to thank you the fans. Certainly this season wasn’t what we thought it would be, but I appreciate any and all who read this column even once. And stick with me, as in typical Baltimore fashion, I don’t take days off!