Results tagged ‘ Buck Showalter ’

Baltimore Orioles: Bucking the trend in Philly?

Former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter interviewed with the Philadelphia Phillies for their managerial opening on Monday. Philadelphia also reportedly interviewed Dusty Baker. The meetings took place in New York.

Both men are qualified. And the Philadelphia Phillies would be lucky to have either one manning their dugout. However in reviewing my twitter feed over the past few days, I’ve noticed something – about Orioles’ fans. A lot of them seem to be taking a jilted at the altar view towards the idea of Buck returning to the dugout. Mainly because at one point while in Baltimore he said that the Orioles would be his final managing job.

First off, people change. When he said that he may well have meant it. To his credit, Buck’s never been the type of guy to give lip service. He wouldn’t have said that just to endear himself to fans. But that isn’t to suggest that his view on the matter couldn’t have changed between then and now. I suspect that if he had his way he would still be managing the Orioles, perhaps also acting as the GM. But that’s not something that’s on the table for him.

So he has two choices: either stay out of baseball, or try to get back in. It appears that he’s taking the latter route. Whether it’s in Philadelphia or elsewhere, I personally believe that Buck Showalter will be managing in 2020. And to be honest, Philadelphia should have a certain appeal to him…

…their GM is Andy MacPhail He of course was the GM who hired Buck in Baltimore. Numerous other former members of the Orioles’ front office and scouting department have also migrated north to Philadelphia. So Showalter would find a group with which he was familiar if he were offered the job, and if he took it.

He would also find a city with many quirks – much like Baltimore. Buck always said I get Baltimore during his time here. Philadelphia is similar in that the city has it’s ebbs and flows, and the people are passionate about their city and their region.

One challenge would be that Showalter famously does things his own way. At almost every turn of the way, teams eventually soured on that way of doing things. So…were the Orioles any different? I would say yes. Showalter wasn’t fired; his contract expired. And if a franchise is ever in a spot to go in a different direction, it would have been the Orioles at that point of time. So I’m not sure that the Orioles actually soured on Buck as much as they opted to go in another direction. Either way he ceased to be here.

However again, Orioles fans shouldn’t feel jilted if he goes to another team. My hope would be that they’d be happy for him. Anyone who observed the dynamic Showalter had with the city, the fans, and the players while he was in Baltimore is going to know that Baltimore will always be special to Buck. And needless to say, he’ll always be special to the fans of Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles: Sympathy for St. Louis fans

The Baltimore Orioles felt that they had a legit shot at a World Series title in 2014. After Delmon Young‘s bases-clearing double to in effect win game two of the ALDS and an anti-climactic win in game three to close out Detroit, they had momentum. Then they ran into a buzz saw in Kansas City.

In the Kansas City Royals, they found not only an opponent who equaled their belief in themselves, but one who wanted to do everything in it’s power to squash their opponent. As Buck Showalter would often say, some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.

In watching this year’s NLCS, I see some similarities. St. Louis won a big game five in Atlanta to get to that stage. A game in which they put up ten runs in the first inning to win. They felt they had momentum, and they believed. Now they’ve run into the Washington Nationals.

Now this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison by any means. First off, the 2014 Orioles were a power-hitting team, and Kansas City won games on broken bat and bloop singles. In this case it’s Washington who’s more of the power-hitting team. However they’re also the team who’s seemingly got more pep than a high school cheerleading squad. That’s part of what carried Kansas City in 2014 and 2015.

So I suppose what I’m saying is that Orioles fans know what St. Louis fans are doing through right about now. I remember getting read to cover Game Four of that ALCS with Kansas City up three games to zero. My attitude was almost is there really a point to playing this game? Obviously that’s probably a bad attitude to have, but you get the point.

There is one other area in which these situations differ. Kansas City made sure that the Orioles knew they were going down, and they made sure that the Orioles saw their celebrations. Down the stretch there were numerous gestures made towards the Orioles from the Kansas City dugout in those games. I’ve seen nothing that indicates Washington’s team has guys capable of that sort of disrespect.

However the point is that Orioles fans probably get St. Louis fans in this instance. Of course you want to believe it’s possible that you can come back and so forth. However in the back of your mind you know it’s all but a done deal. And ultimately if St. Louis is able to pull off what the 2014 Orioles couldn’t (and win a game in the series), it’ll feel almost like a one-day stay of execution.

Baltimore Orioles: Should Buck Showalter return to baseball?

It’s been just over a year since we came to find out that Buck Showalter would not be returning to the Baltimore Orioles. Just a point of semantics, Showalter wasn’t fired. His contract was up, and the Orioles decided to move on. There is a difference.

Respected Orioles’ beat writer Rich Dubroff of wrote this piece this morning surrounding Showalter and the various job openings around the league. First off, I agree with Dubroff’s main theme in that baseball is a better game with Buck Showalter in it. And by in it, I mean in the dugout managing. As you may remember Showalter did some in-studio work for the YES Network on New York Yankees games in the second half of the season. But I’m talking in the dugout – baseball’s a better game with Buck in the dugout.

There are a wide array of jobs open as Dubroff lays out in his article. He seems to believe that Philadelphia’s job may be in play, which is of course possible. It would be interesting to see how Buck would fit into that environment. With a rabid fan base and a tough media; how would his “Buckisms” faire?

Obviously the Chicago Cubs would be a job he might consider, if only for the fact that it might offer him the best chance at winning a World Series. What would really be interesting is if he ended up signing with a team who comes through Oriole Park at Camden Yards next year – which Chicago does. I suspect that Orioles fans would love the opportunity to have Buck come back into Camden Yards as a visitor.

I think it boils down to what Buck wants to do. He became a grandfather for the first time in 2017, and my personal opinion is that something along those lines is probably a game changer. Once you’re into “the grind” of grandparenting, maybe some of the other things in your life aren’t quite as important. However if Buck wants to manager again, I suspect that there would be no shortage of teams who would be interested.

Baltimore Orioles: Final game of this decade

Today the Baltimore Orioles close not only the 2019 season, but also a decade that will forever be special in Birdland. The next time the Birds take the field it will be 2020, and thus a new decade. (The Roaring 20’s?!) So today ends the 2010’s.

And what a memorable decade this was. First off, the Orioles and the rest of the league all play at 3 PM EST this afternoon. The league took note of the closing act of 2011, in which the Orioles savagely beat Boston in walk off fashion, and five minutes later Tampa did the same to NY – the combination of the two acts sending Tampa to the post season and sending Boston home. So at some point the league decided to have the last day feature games at the same time so as to potentially have something along those lines occur again.

Obviously the success of this past decade can be traced back and attributed to Buck Showalter. His leadership propelled the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy and others to greatness. Some of you reading this will point out that the O’s never won a World Series in this timeframe, and that’a undebatable. However after 14 consecutive losing seasons and multiple embarrassments in that span, are you really going to let the lack of a World Series define that era?

The 2012 Orioles shocked the world. And it was literally a season-long process – shocking the world, that is. They took the momentum garnered after bouncing Boston from the playoffs in 2011 and paid it forward. There were people who didn’t truly believe in the Orioles having a shot at the post season until they had actually clinched. But they made it, and won the inaugural AL Wild Card Game in Texas.

We all know the rest. Two years later the O’s were AL East Champions, and two years after that they returned to the post season as a wild card team. However all good things must come to an end. And the 2010’s-era Orioles has their fall from grace as well. They were competitive in 2017 until the final month, when they just fell off. Then 2018 obviously was a disaster, causing wholesale changes across the board.

But when fans think back on this decade of Orioles baseball, my hope is that they remember the good times. Because the fact is that they far outweigh the bad. By a long shot. Think back to moments such as this oneDelmon Young‘s bases clearing double in the 2014 ALDS against Detroit.

Incidentally, as a writer I try my best to call things down the middle. Sure I cover the Orioles and thus write from the Orioles’ perspective, but I try not to cheerlead. But watching that clip still sends shivers down my spine (in a manner that only baseball can induce). You can hear the crowd, and hear the announcer straining just to have his voice heard over the fans. And that’s very consistent with my own memories of that moment.

That was not only the loudest I had ever heard Camden Yards, but the loudest I had ever heard any stadium. It was one of those moments that you just won’t ever forget. Nary one person in the park that day didn’t feel that Baltimore was collecting penance in that moment for all of the losing and embarrassments over the years.

It was unforgettable. And personally I think it’s the moment which personifies and symbolizes this decade of Orioles baseball. Again, it’s easy to look at that and say wow look how far they’ve fallen. But the fact is that this was one of the most successful decades in some time for the Orioles. Never forget that.

And yes folks, it closes today. But I think most fans believe that the organization is headed in the right direction. Those days could be returning in the future. Oh and there’s one other thing people should keep in mind when thinking of the 2010’s and Orioles baseball. The price of admission? ONE BUCK.

Baltimore Orioles: Can success make you soft?

The 2014 Baltimore Orioles were the most successful version of the team in a generation. This much we know. However if you ask some people, part of the reason that Buck Showalter‘s team ran away with the division that year was because the AL East was weak.

In essence, they won by default. I don’t buy that, as that team was as solid as anyone else. They won the division at home in dramatic but semi-anticlimactic fashion two weeks before the end of the season. They then swept the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, a series that included a blowout in game one, and a dramatic bases-clearing double by Delmon Young in game two.

But after that, they were swept in the ALCS by Kansas City. And they looked fairly inept in doing so. Now there are technical reasons why that series swung the way that it did. But…did the success already sustained distract the Birds to an extent?

Sports is a business in which you can’t really celebrate success for too long. Especially in baseball where you play everyday. It’s the ultimate what have you done for me lately sport. If you go 0-for-4 one night, it isn’t acceptable to respond by saying yeah but I hit two grand slams last night. Nobody cares. You have to keep your foot on the gas.

Only the players involved know if they became “overly-satisfied” in that moment. I don’t think they did, because as I said there were technical reasons as to why they lost that series. But the key to sustained success in effect is sustained hunger. If you cease to be hungry, it becomes easier to defeat you.

Again, I’m not saying that happened to the 2014 Orioles. But that is a fact. You have to keep the pressure up in sports, otherwise someone else who’s hungrier will come along.

Baltimore Orioles need to honor Buck Showalter in 2019

The fact that 2019 will be a strange year for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans should go without saying. And it’s not just limited to the players on the field. Fans will have to get used to peering into the Orioles’ first base side dugout at Camden Yards and not seeing Buck Showalter manning things.

That’s not a dig at new manager Brandon Hyde. It’s merely stating a fact. As I said when Hyde was hired, fans shouldn’t dislike him simply because he’s not Buck Showalter. Because I can guarantee you that Showalter probably wouldn’t take that attitude.

That aside, the manager will simply be one difference this coming year. However I would submit that the Orioles do need to make Buck a small part of this season. I would hope that it goes without saying that he’ll be in the Orioles’ hall of fame at some point. But that’s not what I’m talking about…

…the Orioles owe it to Buck to have a “Buck Showalter day/night” at Camden Yards in 2019. I’m not sure how exactly that would work, but in essence everyone in attendance gets some sort of Buck Showalter souvenir, and have a ceremony on the field before the game honoring Buck and presenting him with some sort of award.

Let’s not forget that Buck took the organization and brought it further than it had ever gone in years. However perhaps more importantly, he restored pride to the Orioles’ organization. The same pride that Brandon Hyde is now taxed with restoring.

Too often we remember figures for how they left us – and Buck is no exception. However the Orioles and the city owe it to him to show their appreciation this year. Some of these theme nights can come across as corny for sure. But it’s an honor that Buck deserves – sooner rather than later.

Baltimore Orioles: My fickle friend

I admittedly thought it was ridiculous that a few Baltimore Orioles fans wanted to replace manager (at the time) Buck Showalter after the 2016 AL Wild Card game. Utimately those people got their wish after last year. However given Showalter’s record with the Orioles and his skills as a manager, I thought it was a bit ridiculous.

This morning I awaken to my twitter timeline full of tweets and re-tweets of Alabama Crimson Tide fans saying that the University should terminate head football coach Nick Saban. Let’s be frank; that’s an overly-emotional reaction to a situation that’s still very raw for those people – having lost the national title game last night. But…do you really want to suggest firing someone who’s considered not just Alabama royalty, but College Football royalty?

What this shows is the newly fickle nature of fans. Yes, I wrote that. We hear so much about how younger fans don’t consume sports the same ways that previous generations did. And we’re told that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And in fact it’s not. But the flip side of that is a lot of younger fans are simply going to tune out of the team isn’t meeting their goals or needs.

The Alabama case (and even the situation with Showalter) is really an extreme one. You made it to the title game, and since you lost fans want you booted? Again, that’s an emotional reaction to what’s still a very raw situation. However I’ll be honest; that type of fickleness bothers me. How can sports as an industry survive in that climate? Because let’s be honest; Alabama lost one game this year. It was obviously THE GAME, but in reality they lost one. Are we in essence saying that anything less than perfection is unacceptable?

Because if we are, sports as an industry are doomed. Heck, a lot of businesses are doomed. That’s not a standard that’s attainable. My hope is that this is simply young people shooting their mouths off. No way Nick Saban deserves to be fired for losing that game last night, especially coming off of multiple other titles – including last season. Just like there’s no way that Buck Showalter deserved to be fired after the 2016 AL Wild Card Game, especially coming off of returning the Orioles to glory, winning the AL East title in 2014, and multiple post-season appearances.

Baltimore Orioles: Why is Baltimore’s question always WHY?

The next professional game involving a Baltimore team will be the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day. Unless you count Spring Training. But I digress. The Baltimore Ravens’ season ended yesterday when they lost to the Los Angeles Chargers.

However I harkened back to the 2016 AL Wild Card game in watching yesterday’s game. We all remember that, right? Buck Showalter holding Zach Britton in the bullpen while the Orioles gave up a walk off homer. Yesterday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh kept his starter (Lamar Jackson) in the game down big, as opposed to going to Joe Flacco. Many fans, myself included, thought it was worth a shot bringing Flacco in.

I’m not going to debate the savior fair of making or not making any of those moves. In fact, the game situations themselves were vastly different, never minding that they’re different sports. All of that said, why is it that it’s Baltimore fans consistently put in the position of having to ask questions like these? The question of…WHY?!

Obviously the difference with the Ravens and the Orioles is that the Ravens have a young quarterback with a good upside. The Orioles of 2012-2016 were always an injury, a bad call, or a bad decision away from ending up like the 2018 Orioles.

As soon as that wild card game was over, fans were calling for Buck Showalter’s head. Just as now they’re saying the same about John Harbaugh. And in reality that shows how fickle fans can be these days. You’re really only as good as your last win. In Showalter’s case, people had to know at that moment that he was in no danger of being replaced – at that moment. In Harbaugh’s case, time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Common sense turned on it’s head in 2018

I did a season recap for the 2018 Baltimore Orioles back in October. I’m not about to re-hash that now. It the fact is that 2018 was unkind to the Orioles and their fans. And the logic behind all of it made no sense.

Somehow Buck Showalter became an incompetent manager in the eyes of some fans. Things got so bad that he wasn’t offered a new contract. That aside, Showalter expected (and rightfully so in a sense) that guys would somehow progress back to their career means. The likes of Davis, Mancini, and others – somehow their numbers at some point had to improve to where their career averages said they should be, right?

They never got there. This much we now know. However that’s why I say that logic was turned on it’s head this year. In contrast, it seemed that Oriole opponents did more and more things outside the box, or against logic. And somehow it worked. Essentially in perpetuity.

I never felt that effort was the issue for the Orioles. Somehow it was just the perfect storm of things working against them. And all they can do is hope on this New Year’s Eve that with the regime change, perhaps 2019 will be different.

And of course let us not forget the send off made by Orioles fans to Adam Jones on the last day of the season. That was a single moment where everything made sense, in a year where common sense turned sidewards. To a lesser degree that farewell was for Buck as well, however the sentiment for him was felt much more in print and on message boards than at the ballpark that day.

Buck and Adam were the faces of a rebirth of the Orioles. And while they’ll be sorely missed, their legacies will live on. The hope of course is that someone on the current roster will step up and take that mantle moving forward.

Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter era is the ghost of Christmas’ Past

As we sit here on Christmas Eve, my thoughts circled back to former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter. First and foremost, I hope that he and his family are well and enjoying the Christmas season. But the reason he crossed my mind is in essence because the era in Orioles baseball that he represents is over. This much we know.

But Christmas is a very reflective time for a lot of people – myself included. But I find myself looking back years as opposed to just into this year. Buck Showalter and the era he oversaw didn’t just bring winning back to Baltimore. It brought pride.

Anyone my age or older had known the Orioles as a winning team in the past. Obviously the franchise fell on hard times – for 14 years. However there were a whole other generation of people who had never known the Orioles as a winner or contender. Buck Showalter changed that.

I would argue that it started in earnest when the Orioles knocked Boston out of the playoffs on the last day in 2011. However they also had two immediate winning months under Showalter when he arrived in August of 2010. 2012 officially returned them to contention and to the postseason for the first time since 1997.

While that’s all in the past now my hope is that the memories last Orioles fans for some time. Those years should never be remembered for the cold and abrupt end they saw in 2018. They should be viewed through the lens of the magical era that they collectively were. My hope is that’s how Orioles fans look at it. And with that said…TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

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