Buck Showalter‘s officially been the former manager of the Baltimore Orioles for ten days now. His contract expired at the end of October. One thing you can say about Buck was that he immediately and for the entirety of his tenure endeared himself to the Orioles’ fans. And he now continues to do so in absentia.
By way of baltimorebaseball.com‘s Rich Dubroff, Showalter penned a letter to Orioles fans that was published yesterday (click here to read the letter). If you click on the link and read the letter, I think you’ll be impressed. You can almost hear Showalter in his folksy manner saying the words.
As I said, Showalter immediately endeared himself to the city of Baltimore and the Orioles fans. We’re reminded of that in his letter, as he mentions how passionate the people are about the city. And you really only have to spend five minutes in Baltimore to know that. Almost immediately you’ll see someone wearing Maryland flag gear, an O’s or Ravens cap, a crab shirt, or some other provincial article of clothing. Such is life in the Old Line State and in Charm City.
Buck Showalter latched onto these things as soon as he arrived in town. And in fact, probably before – he references coming into town and seeing the passion of the fans when he managed the New York Yankees years ago. Every city or region is proud of itself. However I’d like to think that Baltimore takes it to another level. And that’s a good thing.
But Buck Showalter didn’t just admire these things about the city. He became a part of it. He moved to the area, and truly became a part of the community. He talks about the neighbors in his community, and getting snow cones after Sunday day games. And I think that’s something that fans have forgotten over time. Sports figures rarely work in their hometowns – withstanding the Ripkens. In Buck’s case he lived in the Dallas area, and my understanding is that he’s going back to that as being his full-time home. But rarely do they engross themselves in the community where they work in the manner that the Showalters did.
That was important to Buck, and that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Some people will argue they don’t care where the guy lives and so forth. But the fact that he lived and breathed the same daily grind that the fans did vouches for something. Buck always said that he “got Baltimore, and Baltimore got him.” And that was because he lived here and was a part of it.
Many times during the 2018 season I wrote and tweeted that fans will miss him when he’s gone. Buck understands the business, and seems to harbor no ill feelings towards the manner in which his time in Baltimore ended. But I stand by that statement; he’ll be missed now that he’s gone. Does that mean that the next guy can’t be just as good? Of course not. But I think Buck and Baltimore will always go hand-in-hand.
And there’s a silver lining to this: he’s still connected to the organization. His son Nathan is still a scout for the Orioles. Nathan Showalter and his wife live in the area, so it stands to reason that Buck might pop up in town from time to time. For the sake of everyone involved, I hope he isn’t a stranger.