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Friday, May 02, 2014

Sports on Earth: Buck Showalter has everything under control

An excellent, lengthy profile of one of baseball’s most interesting managers. Tons of interesting anecdotes and insights.  RTFA.

Another thing Showalter harps on is that it’s the players’ job to respect their fans. Again, some get it, and some don’t. To the players who don’t get it, the fans’ purpose is simply to worship them and pay their salaries. But Showalter is devoted to the fans, always recalling his years in the minor leagues as a player, coach and manager. Those parks are small, the fans close to the action. They can talk to the players in the on-deck circle, the manager standing in the dugout, the coach at third base. Those fans feel that they’re part of the team, close to the players in a way that major league fans, at a distant remove, never are. When Showalter finally got to the majors, he brought with him his respect for the fans. When the Orioles were playing a meaningless game in Seattle one night, Showalter hounded his players to play hard, because “it’s 12:30 at night back in Baltimore,” he said. “Somebody’s sitting in front of the TV, dying with everything you’re doing. And you better take that seriously.”

Depressoteric Posted: May 02, 2014 at 01:19 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arizona diamondbacks, baltimore orioles, new york yankees, texas rangers

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   1. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 02, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4698994)
It's worth noting this is a Pat Jordan piece. Thanks Eso.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4699044)
When the Orioles were playing a meaningless game in Seattle one night, Showalter hounded his players to play hard, because “it’s 12:30 at night back in Baltimore,” he said. “Somebody’s sitting in front of the TV, dying with everything you’re doing. And you better take that seriously.”


That sounds like an updated version of one of Joe Dimaggio's maxims.
   3. sotapop Posted: May 02, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4699083)
Every year we catch a few O's practices and spring training games,and after one of them Buck was signing autographs for fans, because all the players were hustled off to an event for season-ticket holders. He had just gotten down the line to my little boys when an O's staffer grabbed him for a meeting. He looked at my guys and said to wait, he'd be back to sign. And sure enough, 15 minutes later he swung back and signed a baseball and cap for them -- then went to the team event. He's a class act.
   4. DA Baracus Posted: May 02, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4699089)
On the other hand, when it was rumored at one point that Showalter would become the Royals manager, the team's star player stormed into the GM's office and told him, "If Buck's hired, I want out of here, and I know five other guys who will, too."


This isn't much of a threat when you're on a perennial 60 win team.
   5. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 02, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4699111)
#4 -- if a good GM had been in charge, he would have tried to clean house at that point (with or without Showalter).
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 02, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4699180)
I get the sense Showalter has benefitted from some age and experience. His success at previous stops seemed to be tempered with some infighting caused by his intensity. He seems to be better at channeling that now and one of the things that strikes me about the Orioles is how they like playing for him.
   7. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: May 02, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4699195)
Looks like it's time for Showalter to get Chris Davis another HGH injection, because the one from last year has definitely worn off.
   8. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: May 02, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4699196)
It's worth noting this is a Pat Jordan piece.


It is, because I wouldn't have bothered to click on it otherwise. Nothing against Showalter, but Jordan's a much bigger draw for me.
   9. Depressoteric Posted: May 02, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4699242)
I'm going to sound very stupid when I ask this question, but here goes: who is Pat Jordan and why does this matter? If I'd known I'd have forefronted that.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4699245)
When the Orioles were playing a meaningless game in Seattle one night, Showalter hounded his players to play hard, because “it’s 12:30 at night back in Baltimore,” he said. “Somebody’s sitting in front of the TV, dying with everything you’re doing. And you better take that seriously.”

While in Houston ...

"C'mon guys, it's 8:30, PRIME TIME. You don't want to disappoint the 15 people who are watching on TV."
   11. Perry Posted: May 02, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4699250)
I'm going to sound very stupid when I ask this question, but here goes: who is Pat Jordan and why does this matter? If I'd known I'd have forefronted that.


One of the best sportswriters around. Big bonus-baby prospect with the Braves in the early 60s, flopped in the minors, wrote a great book about it, "A False Spring." Became a full-time writer after he washed out of baseball, mostly long-form magazine stuff but also several books. Anything he writes is worth reading.

   12. donlock Posted: May 03, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4699528)
Always wonder why celebrities agree to such interviews. The writer has to look for angles and good quotes. Why would you go out to dinner with your wife and kids and a writer? He seemed to go after each one with an unflattering portrayal. Buck's fair game but his kids and wife?

You tell him your stories and then he qualifies them or later asks someone else if they are true. This is not a rip piece but I doubt if the Oriole management, Buck and family loved it. Reminded me of the story Jordan did on Tom Seaver. Hard to stop reading but left me feeling the writer's view was armchair psychoanalytic and harsh.

For this story I would have liked to hear from current or recent players/team officials. How has Buck mellowed, if he has? The team has a ping pong table in the locker room and have tournaments. That doesn't sound like the Buck of old. Have to think Buck has changed some of his policies. What does he think of the use of sabermetrics over the years. The Orioles are one of the leaders in defensive shifts. Is/was he behind this? How did he get the Os to stop making all those errors and setting ML records for defense. He has had a high turnover of coaches in Baltimore. Is he hard to work for? Loyal or demanding or both?
   13. Depressoteric Posted: May 03, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4699549)
Always wonder why celebrities agree to such interviews. The writer has to look for angles and good quotes. Why would you go out to dinner with your wife and kids and a writer? He seemed to go after each one with an unflattering portrayal. Buck's fair game but his kids and wife?
I honestly have to wonder whether we're reading different articles here. I don't think any of Buck's family members came off poorly at all. Buck comes across as a complex guy, obviously a bit intellectually arrogant, but with real reasons (fully explained in the article) to back up where he comes from. His wife comes across like a strong woman, the kids like smart and motivated people. I just don't see it.
   14. Perry Posted: May 03, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4699674)
If you think this was a tough one, don't read the piece he did on Steve and Cyndi Garvey in Inside Sports ca. 1981. That one got him sued (settled out of court).

But if you do want to, it's
here
   15. Good cripple hitter Posted: May 03, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4699689)
If you think this was a tough one, don't read the piece he did on Steve and Cyndi Garvey in Inside Sports ca. 1981. That one got him sued (settled out of court).

But if you do want to, it's
here


FTA:

Mr. T has a shaved head, a goatee, and a ring through his nose, and he looks like someone who should be hanging by one hand from the Empire State Building


And I thought Roddy Piper had the worst quote about Mr. T.

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