Results tagged ‘ Buck Showalter ’

Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter addresses the fans

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Last hurrah for Buck Showalter

Now former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter was back in Baltimore yesterday afternoon. Actually he’s been back for some time, but I digress. Buck and his wife Angela were in town for their annual Trick-or-Trot as Camden Yards on behalf of KidsPeace.

Showalter’s been around the past few days tying up loose ends and in effect moving out of his residence that he’s kept in town since he’s been here. He’ll now revert to living in the Dallas area full time moving forward.

It says a lot about Showalter’s character that he still attended yesterday’s event. Nobody would have blamed him for not being there after the Orioles opted to go in a different direction. However since he arrived in Baltimore he and his wife have adopted KidsPeace, and the charity means a lot to him. Again, that should tell Orioles fans all they need to know about their leader the past eight years.

Buck always said that he “got” Baltimore. However I think Baltimore also “got” him. For his sake, it’s my hope that he returns here at some point and is inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame.

Baltimore Orioles play an indirect role in the MLB playoffs

I’ve said previously that with all of the former 2018 Baltimore Orioles in the MLB playoffs, the Buck Showalter era is indirectly living on in absentia. I suppose that might come off as a bit of a stretch. But if you think about it, there’s some truth behind that statement.

New York fell to Boston last night, 4-3. That was an elimination game, so Boston now advances to play Houston in the ALCS. New York won 100 games in 2018, which in most seasons and in most divisions would have been enough to win the division. Not this year in the AL East.

New York of course had to play an elimination game at home last week against Oakland, and then jump head first into a best-of-five ALDS against their rivals (Boston). And as the Orioles and Oriole fans will tell you, those Wild Card Games will take a lot of out you. Obviously you’d rather play in the Wild Card Game as opposed to staying home. However they aren’t exactly pleasant experiences – win or lose.

The O’s won seven games and dropped 12 to New York this year. The only team in the American League against whom they won more games was Tampa (8). Granted going 7-12 against a division foe isn’t winning you any titles. However at the very least the Birds were slightly more competitive aainst New York than they were against most other teams.

You see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. New York finished eight games behind Boston in the standings. The O’s went 3-16 against Boston – had they ended up with a similar record against New York, the division is much tighter. And who knows how things play out at the end of the day?

New York still would have had some work to do given that circumstance in order to stay out of the Wild Card Game. But the fact is that you just don’t know how things end up playing out. So one way or the other, the influence of the Orioles was felt – directly or otherwise.

Baltimore Orioles: Does Buck Showalter have a place in baseball moving forward?

I maintain that the Baltimore Orioles made a mistake in not retaining now former manager Buck Showalter. But what’s done is done. Having said that, maybe I shouldn’t include that former title just yet. Showalter’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of the month. So technically he’s still the manager of the Orioles. But I digress.

When Buck first got here he non-ceremoniously announced that this would be his final managing job. It wasn’t a comment that received a lot of fanfare, but I remember him saying something to that effect. One has to wonder if he feels differently now.

Let’s say that he does feel differently. Let’s say that at 62, he wants to manage – next year. Where could he possibly go? I’ll start with the most obvious: the Anaheim Angels. That’s a team that could in theory be a contender now with the right leadership. Furthermore it’s a team that’s used to a veteran manager and a steady hand. Overall, Showalter would very nicely fill a vacuum there.

Minnesota is also looking for a new skipper, and while that’s a team that might need just a bit more building, it’s also a possible fit. The same is true but moreso (in the building part) in Texas. Showalter lives in Dallas, and is a former Texas manager. So that would be a homecoming of sorts.

Ultimately I think it matters what Buck himself wants to do. His credentials as a manager are well-known. If he wanted to manage now I think there would be no shortage of suitors. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he took a year off. Maybe re-evaluate things after next season. But I don’t see Buck going the way of other former Oriole managers and either becoming a scout or a perpetual assistant. If he wants to be a manager moving onward, he will be.

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.

Baltimore Orioles: A new breeze blows

Yesterday was a ground-shaking day for the Baltimore Orioles. Buck Showalter is out, as is Dan Duquette. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the hiring of Andy MacPhail smack in the middle of the 2007 season. That set in motion the process by which Showalter and company came to Baltimore. Yesterday bookended that era.

For what it’s worth, Director of Player Development Brian Graham will handle the duties generally given to a GM in the immediate interim. However the Orioles also announced last night that they would be looking to fill these positions from outside the organization. That means that nobody who currently works in the front office or on whatever remains of Showalter’s coaching staff would be under consideration.

So in that sense I hope that Orioles fans will be patient. I would remind you that the first move should be to hire a GM. That GM will then look to hire a manager. MLB isn’t a fan of teams making moves like this during the post-season. So with that said if the Orioles don’t make an outward or public move during October, don’t fret. Furthermore, it’s possible that many of the potential managerial candidates may be coaches on the current staffs involved in the post-season.

However simply because a new breeze now blows in the Warehouse, doesn’t mean that fans should forget what Showalter and Duquette’s tenure meant for this team and this city. They’ll be remembered as winners, regardless of what their record states. Both men released statements yesterday very graciously thanking the Orioles and the fans for the opportunities that they were given.

And on that note let me throw one more thing out there – and I’m speaking specifically about the field manager now. Orioles fans should support whomever the new guy ends up being. It’s not his fault that in essence he isn’t Buck Showalter. You never want to be the guy to follow a legend, and whomever the new guy is will have that on his plate. Buck himself would expect no less than 100% support for the new regime.

There will be times moving forward where fans will look back longingly at the Showalter era in Baltimore. I’m no different than anyone else in that regard. I can’t think of a more professional manager, or one who cared more about his players or the fans and the city. He was at home in Baltimore from day one, and that was evident to everyone. To use a Buckism that I’ve heard more than once, “we’re just lucky that he passed our way.”

Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter will not be returning (updated, Duquette out as well)

The rumors about now former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter can now be put to rest. Multiple team media sources have confirmed that Showalter will not be returning to the organization. His contract expires at the end of this month.

Showalter apparently met multiple times with John and Lou Angelos, as recently as this morning. There was also apparently talk of him accepting another position within the organization. But it wasn’t to be, which is presumably his choice. It’s unclear whether or not Showalter intends to manage again, return to a media role, or what he intends to do. All that’s clear now is that he’s out and the O’s will have a new man in the dugout next season.

There is one point I want to make, however. Regardless of anything, Buck Showalter isn’t being fired. There are multiple outlets (including ESPN) reporting that he’s being fired. Perhaps we’re talking semantics, but he isn’t being fired. His contract is up, and both parties have completed their obligations to one another. The endgame is the same in that he’s no longer going to be the manager. But to say he’s being fired is 100% inaccurate. More as it comes.

Update, 6PM: According to THE ATHLETIC’s Ken Rosenthal, Dan Duquette is expected to not be retained after his contract is up, along with Showalter. Interesting turn of events for someone who was previously thought to be safe. More as it comes!

Baltimore Orioles 2018: It all came crashing down

Opening Day dawned a bright one for Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Orioles. It was a beautiful day, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards was expected to be full. Come the end of the day, the team had done it’s part – with Adam Jones smacking a walk off homer in extra innings to start the season off right with an Opening Day win against Minnesota.

Fast-forward to the middle of July, and the Orioles were quickly looking to sell off the likes of Manny Machado and any other pieces for which they could get a positive return. That Opening Day win ended up being the highlight of the season. A season in which the Orioles hoped they would contend. But one in which everything came crashing to a halt at once.

They say that you can’t win a pennant in April, but you sure can lose one. I’m not sure when it became evident that the 2018 Orioles weren’t going to make it over the finish line. Admittedly I personally believed that the skill on the team would progress back to the players’ mean numbers. In the case of Adam Jones, they somewhat did. But then you have Chris Davis, who at .168, finished with the worst average in major league history.

With the exception of an early season series win in the Bronx, anything that could go wrong for the 2018 Orioles did go wrong. Again, I personally believed that it was nary impossible for the mental errors and overall bad luck of this team to continue. But I was wrong. The Orioles’ two big spring signings, pitchers Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb, started slow. Part of that was due to little to no time in spring training. Part of it was also due to the fact that when they (and numerous other starters) finally did have good outings, the bats were quiet.

If the Orioles weren’t swept in a series they would perhaps salvage a win in the final game. That seemed to be the pattern up until the end, and including the final series against Houston. So the O’s made the tough decision to be sellers at the trade deadline, trading the likes of Manny Machado and others. The O’s got 15 prospects back, and very much dedicated themselves to a full re-build.

And that’s perhaps the silver lining of this season, as the franchise was newly dedicated to the future. However the path to get to that point was difficult. And once they had re-tooled the roster a bit, it certainly didn’t get any easier. There was seemingly no mercy wherever the Orioles turned over the course of the season.

However the hope coming out of 2018 was the fact that if the organization plays its cards right, there could be sunnier days on the horizon. The Orioles appear firmly planted in attempting to build the team from the ground up, in the manner that Houston and the Chicago Cubs did. Can that be done successfully in the AL East? Beats the heck out of me.

Again, the highlight of the year was Adam Jones’ walk off homer on Opening Day. But it was Jones who also gave us an additional moment to remember on the season’s penultimate day. Many fans had looked forward to that day since perhaps April or May – as the misery would end. However the entire final weekend turned into a love fest between Adam Jones and the city of Baltimore (with Jones’ contract expiring and him appearing set on becoming a free agent). And perhaps…

…the fans themselves were reminded of why they loved this team so much. Win or lose, the Orioles are special. And that’s partly because the fans are special. While there was a lot of grousing (and justifiably so) from the fan base over the course of the summer, the scene this past Sunday at Camden Yards involving Adam Jones left Orioles fans wanting more. Begging for summer to extend even just one more day. That’s obviously not possible. However it shouldn’t go unsaid that when this team heads to Sarasota in February, hope will spring eternal.

Baltimore Orioles: Disjointed final weekend

The final weekend of Baltimore Orioles’ baseball for 2018 would have in theory kicked off last night, however the game was postphoned due to rain. And rain that wasn’t looking to let up at that. Even though this weekend’s opponent, the Houston Astros, have already clinched their division title, seedings for home field advantage are still on the line across baseball.

So last night’s game does in fact need to be played, and it will be – as part of a traditional doubleheader tomorrow. Game one begins at 4 PM, with game two starting approximately 20-30 minutes after the completion of the first game. It’s a single-admission event, so if you already had tickets for Saturday’s game you’ll get two for the price of one. If you had tickets for Thursday you could certainly exchange them for Saturday.

I can only imagine the Orioles’ view of having to play that game, and in the form of a doubleheader at that. But that’s how it works sometimes. You have no choice but to deal with it. Regardless of anyone’s record, it’s also somewhat fitting in a year that’s seen so many cancellations and postphonements due to weather across the league.

One thing of interest that did come from yesterday was Buck Showalter‘s comments about his contract situation. He outwardly isn’t worried about his situation, even with his contract ending at the end of next month (quote courtesy of Brit Ghiroli, mlb.com):

It won’t be difficult. In the whole scheme of life, it shouldn’t be. Shame on me if it is. Do you know how good they’ve been to me? I’m not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens.

Interesting perspective to say the least. His underlying point is that there’s more to life than just this job – or any job. And before Orioles’ fans call out ownership or management on anything, I would recommend they heed what Showalter said about how well he’s been treated. He has no incentive to say that aside from the fact that it’s probably how he truly feels.

So the series with Houston will open tonight at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Gerritt Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Who’s the next manager if Buck Showalter is out?

One thing we know for sure: the Baltimore Orioles will have a manager next year. Reports say that it won’t be Buck Showalter, although nobody knows for certain as of yet. I’m on record as saying that I think Buck should be at least offered a contract to manage next year – if he wants the opportunity. And even if the next guy far surpasses Showalter’s accomplishments in Baltimore, that’s a stance I’ll take to my grave.

But let’s assume for just a moment that Showalter in fact isn’t the manager next year. Who is? Speaking for myself, the three candidates that make the most sense are former St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and former Boston manager John Farrell. At least two of those names are going to make Orioles’ fans uneasy. (And Girardi’s turned down an opportunity to manage the Orioles in the past.) But the fact is that all three are accomplished managers and are available.

Notice however that I said the candidates that make the most sense. I didn’t say that those were the best candidates. In general, I like coaches and managers who have done the job before at a high level. I get it that at some point someone has to take a risk on a guy in terms of elevating him to the top spot. I’ve just never wanted to be the person to roll the dice. I’d rather know what I’m getting in someone who’s proven he can do the job at this level.

But I really think that would be the wrong approach for this team – and I don’t say that lightly. A full rebuild is no joke, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The Orioles might really want to consider finding a young manager in the form of someone’s bench coach or a base coach so as to help bring these young Birds along. And here’s the other thing; whomever the manager is (presuming it’s not Showalter) might not be here long. By that, I almost mean he could be a placeholder.

Most guys would jump at a shot to manage a big league team. So if a Sandy Alomar Jr. (currently Cleveland’s first base coach) or if a Kevin Long (currently Washington’s bench coach) were offered a two or three-year deal to manage the Orioles, they might consider taking it. (And incidentally the Alomar family already has some ties to Baltimore.) It would come across as perhaps a provisional type of move. However it would give Dan Duquette and the Angelos brothers a chance to see what they have both in players and in a manager

Obviously if the organization is going in the right direction on the field towards the end of that contract, they would consider extending the manager. Again, in general I like experienced managers – such as Buck Showalter, who again I maintain should be the manager next year in my view. But the Farrell’s and Girardi’s of the world are going to want a big contract both financially and tenure-wise. If after two or three years the rebuild isn’t going as smoothly as the Orioles would have liked, they would either have to eat the remainder of the contract or continue plugging along at that pace.

With last night’s rain out, the O’s will play a split doubleheader today at Boston’s Fenway Park. Ryan Meisinger gets the start for the Orioles in the first game, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s David Price. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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