Baltimore Orioles: Is Buck Showalter part of a disturbing trend in MLB?
The Baltimore Orioles won’t begin the search for Buck Showalter‘s replacement until they have a new General Manager in place. That guy will then apparently have full autonomy in hiring a manager. However Showalter wasn’t retained after a season in which anything that could go wrong, did. Maybe that’s a reason to look elsewhere, but it’s also a trend in MLB.
A trend that I would argue has newly changed and for the worse. It’s only because of this season that Showalter has an overall losing record with the Orioles. But I think you have to look at the overall body of work. And the overall body of work says that Buck’s a winner.
Having said that, Minnesota let go of Paul Molitor, who was the 2017 Manager of the Year this past week. Took the team to the post season, was voted Manager of the Year, and the next year was let go. Molitor was THEIR GUY. He played for Minnesota way back when (and I was a big fan of his, for the record). Heck, even Joe Maddon in Chicago was talked about as potentially being let go after the Chicago Cubs exited after the wild card game. Tough crowd.
The worst thing that could have happened for managers across the league is that the likes of Aaron Boone had immediate success in New York. It’s one thing when you see someone like Cora in Boston having success, because Cora had paid his dues as an assistant coach in baseball. He finished his playing career, and worked his way up the coaching ranks.
Boone had literally NEVER coached a game in his life. Meaning at any level…ever. He finished his playing career and started in a media role. He was then hired as the manager of the New York Yankees. Now mind you, I’d put his baseball savoir faire as fairly high given his career and given his family name. But what does it say about the coaching industry when someone who’s never done it and didn’t really earn his way there by experience wins on day one?
What it says is that teams are going to be getting much more fickle when it comes to their coaches. Buck Showalter was hired at the tail end of 2010. The team performed brilliantly after that, finishing on two winning months. 2011 was another tough season, although they had a winning September. At the time, it appeared that the team was on the right track however – mainly because the name Buck Showalter had clout.
But given those same circumstances now, do we think there wouldn’t be Orioles fans asking if Buck was the right guy? Of course there would be. Because a guy who had never done it before was winning up the road in New York, and because in the absence of admitting that you’re in full rebuild mode (which the O’s are now), you aren’t given a license to lose.
That doesn’t mean you should have a license to lose per se. But sometimes you know it’s inevitable – such as the next couple of years for the O’s. Look to the NFL, where the same thing is prevalent. The great Jon Gruden went back to take the helm of the Oakland Raiders, and started 0-3. There were people wondering if that was the right choice.
Having high expectations isn’t a bad thing. But you have to be fair to people. When I look at Paul Molitor, I don’t think he was treated fairly. Two years removed from winning the franchise’s first world series in 108 years, would it have been fair to fire Joe Maddon? I’d say not.
Was Buck treated fairly? Tough to say; his contract was up and both parties’ obligations to one another had been fulfilled. However my point is that I feel it’s a disturbing trend in baseball to suggest that it’s okay to cut someone loose after a short time if they aren’t winning right away. Ultimately, you have to give people a chance. As Showalter himself would say, …these aren’t robots. We’re dealing with human beings here.