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So much for last year: “The honeymoon with Buck Showalter seems to be over now”

Aug 2, 2011, 1:20 PM EDT

buck-showalter-orioles-spring AP

Buck Showalter took over a dreadful 32-73 team and managed them to a 34-23 record down the stretch last season, creating some optimism among Orioles fans for the first time in a long time.

So much for that.

This season the Orioles have the AL’s worst record at 42-63, which is a .400 winning percentage that ranks as the team’s second-worst during the past 10 years, and as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes “the honeymoon with Showalter seems to be over now, with some fans routinely criticizing Showalter’s lineup and bullpen decisions.”

That’s what happens when raised expectations are met with the league’s worst record, but Showalter has now managed exactly one full season in Baltimore and his 76-86 record would be the team’s best since 2004. He’s not a miracle-worker, but for the Orioles a .469 winning percentage is pretty close and Connolly is full of praise while noting that Showalter has “had to count on guys who probably shouldn’t be in the majors” and “has been handcuffed by the lack of talent on the 25-man roster.”

Reading between the lines, that sure seems to suggest that Orioles fans should be reconsidering the length of their honeymoon with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

  1. derpdederpdederp - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    “I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll,” Showalter told the magazine. “You got Carl Crawford cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?'”

    it was funny then and its hilarious now

    • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

      4-17 against Boston and New York.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      O’s are 4-17 against the Yanks (1-9) and Red Sox (3-8) this year. How’s that crow tasting Buck?

      • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        You’re getting thumbs-down’d because you took 5 minutes longer, but you know what? I should have added a line about crow.

    • kingbuccaneer - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      You can’t say that Buck’s comments aren’t true. Theo would resign faster than it takes Buck to swallow a hot dog whole, which is about 5 seconds…

      • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        What? I don’t follow.

      • deathmonkey41 - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        Don’t argue with him- he holds the title of king. Just walk away and act like nothing happened…

  2. atworkident - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    In Buck we Trust.

    In Andy we Trust.

    Joe Jordan… we hate.

  3. dodger88 - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    It doesn’t help Buck that teams like the Pirates & Indians are having good years even though the circumstances (i.e. division) are far from similar. He should get another year to see what he can do with what is still largely a young team.

  4. icanspeel - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Between the talent (Or lack of?) on the team and being in the AL East I think reality just finally set in and they realized Buck isn’t God and can’t work miracles.

  5. paperlions - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Ha! Just to challenge himself LaRussa chooses to have guys that shouldn’t be in the majors on his roster (Patterson, Theriot, Trever Miller, PJ Walters, Stavinoha, Mather, Miles, Feliz, Barden, Thurston, Barton, Duncan, Kozma….and that is just the last couple of years…the list goes on and on). Tony has to create his own challenges just to keep things fair.

  6. zsachse - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    I’m pretty sure that Andy is going to be gone after this year. We haven’t developed a real top tier talent in years despite high draft picks. Honestly until the O’s make a real effort to improve their drafting and development no manager is going to save them. I want to see any leave and take Jordan with him (Hobgood).

  7. bigharold - Aug 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Several things to consider;

    1. The O’s have been mismanaged for years. It’s not realistic to expect him to get them to turn it around in one season in the AL East no less. Anybody that expected that is delusional or they just don’t understand baseball.

    2. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken feathers. The O’s need better talent first.

    3. MacPhail is a good GM but he’s just started to work with Showalter. There hasn’t been nearly enough time to see if they can work together.

    Honeymoon or not, the O’s need someone like Showalter. No point in getting impatient and making things worse by starting over. Sit back and relax and enjoy the sometimes bumpy ride. If the O’s are a .500 team next year than you can be allowed to think that they are on the right path. If they are worse, .. Buck still should get another year. Even great managers can only do so much and even then only so quickly.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      GMs and managers don’t work together. Managers work for GMs. The manager is there to keep the clubhouse together. But it’s the GM that actually builds the team.

      (Unless you’re the Cardinals.)

      • paperlions - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        Agreed.

        Of course, the manager is also there to make 5 pitching changes/game, make unnecessary double switches, and to call for sacrifice bunts and intentional walks.

      • adowding3 - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Over on Grantland (gasp) there is a great piece that details the relationship between Theo and Tito. Regardless of how little the one’s day-to-day job depends on the other, a good working relationship is imperative. There has to be a mutual understand and respect. If the manager doesn’t hold down the clubhouse, the GM will also be criticized for putting together a dysfunctional team. If the GM falters in his dealings, the product on the field will suffer, leading inevitably to managerial criticism.

        Their’s is the bridge that connects the clubhouse and boardroom, and though often invisible, is fundamental to the success of the club.

  8. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Buck Showalter is a ridiculous over rated manager.

  9. trevorb06 - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I still love that picture. It just makes me imagine Buck going all kung-fu on the players with his bat and walking away from the battlefield.

  10. royalsfaninfargo - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Does anybody in Baltimore blame Peter Angelos for anything? This isnt a rip on Baltimore, but seems to me the trouble with the O’s starts at the top.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      From the years I spent in Baltimore during college, everyone in Baltimore blames Peter Angelos for everything. So at least there’s that.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        Even the dockworker’s problems in the Wire were Angelos’ fault.

      • Alex K - Aug 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Were the schools in season 4 his fault, as well?

    • Charles Gates - Aug 2, 2011 at 8:45 PM

      Angelos has been more hands off as of late. McPhail has been largely at the helm.

  11. spudchukar - Aug 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Gotta defend Buck here a little. Britton and Matusz, the supposed phenoms have been busts. Their other starters have been equally awful. Hard to pull many strings when you are always down 5 by the third.

    • spindervish - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      Britton has hardly been a bust. Dude started out like gangbusters and has since fallen on some hard times, but the guy’s like 22. Give him a break. His stuff is pretty great and his future looks bright.

      Matusz on the other hand…who knows wtf is going on there…

      • randomdigits - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        Connor is what happened there.

    • paperlions - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      I agree with you spud. The problem is that if Britton and Matusz had flourished this y ear, Buck would have been given credit for it, even if he had nothing to do with it. Manager’s get credit for a lot of things that are not their doing, and the blame for a lot of things that are not their fault.

      In general, if you have good players you win, and if you have crappy players you lose….but there seem to be a lot more ways for a manager to hurt his team than to help it.

  12. APBA Guy - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    The trouble with the O’s not only starts at the top, it is the nearly exclusive reason for the O’s woes over the past, seemingly infinite number of years. The worst part is, the O’s are profitable, and the Angelos Way has spread to other teams (like the A’s). Poor Buck never had a chance. What? He’s not gone yet? Don’t worry, the clock is ticking.

  13. muhlenberg32 - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    The bigger question is…will there be a team in Baltimore in 2021? Lease from Camden Yards is up. The Orioles will be in the middle of their 23rd consecutive losing season. Attendance is already dropped from 3.6 million in 97 to 1.6 million now. I’m not sure the Orioles can even last that long in Baltimore.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      Great park, great city, still decent attendance even when the team sucks. No way do they leave Baltimore.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      What’s more, Baltimore will almost definitely have a winning season before then. Contend in the AL East, probably not. But they’ll manage an 85-win season one of these days.

      • muhlenberg32 - Aug 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        Honestly, Ari, how in the hell will they win 85 wins in that division? Toronto & Tampa are smarter. Boston and New York are richer. And 1.6 million is not decent attendance.

  14. foreverchipper10 - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Andy McFail.

  15. bobwsc - Aug 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    could it be that the Orioles were thinking that every team he coaches reaches the world series shortly after he’s canned, and this is all part of the master plan?

  16. fquaye149 - Aug 2, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Here is what bothers me about the media’s treatment of Showalter. When things are going well, it’s “look what a great job Buck is doing”. When things are going poorly it’s “he was put in an unwinnable situation.”

    The spin is always positive. He has been fired from three teams in the last 15 years, two of which made the World Series the year after heleft. But the spin is always that Buck developed those players for that team. If you look at the dude’s record objectively he’s a pretty mediocre manager. But he keeps getting hired, keeps getting fired, and the media keeps gladhanding him.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Aug 2, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      Blame ESPN. Every time he gets fired he goes there and they never bad mouth one of their own. They still treat Steve Phillips like he is a genius GM.

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