Wondering how many of the Orioles' gang will join Showalter in New York - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Wondering how many of the Orioles’ gang will join Showalter in New York

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Spring training was the best time of the year for Buck Showalter. He’d be all over the Orioles’ complex, hitting ground balls and instructing during infield drills, hopping in his golf cart to make sure he watched bullpen sessions.

Once games began, he’d be sure to arrive at road games as late as he possibly could so he could stay behind to watch more bullpen sessions. But he’d get there in time to meet with the writers and drop some news or observations.

Showalter, who signed a three-year deal to manage the New York Mets on Saturday, will quickly learn his way around the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie, suggesting changes that no one else has thought about.

That’s the key to his success, seeing something no one else does.

Once in spring training, Showalter was watching pitchers field ground balls, walked up to me and, unprompted, pointed out why Wei-Yin Chen was fielding them improperly and Zack Britton was fielding them properly.

Everyone has a story like that with Buck.

Showalter was always involved with the game. He’d insist on managing both halves of a split-squad game and, in the ninth inning of a late-spring night game in Port Charlotte against the Rays, he was signaling first baseman Christian Walker, who wasn’t going to make the team, about where he should be playing each batter.

That came after managing 18 innings in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte on an empty stomach.

Showalter would never eat before a game. When he was a boy, his father told him never to eat before a game, and he never did.

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After another split-squad day, he came into the press room, tired and hungry. The Orioles’ dining room had saved some yellowfin tuna for him. All of us would probably have loved some yellowfin tuna at that point, but Showalter probably wanted a couple of hot dogs instead.

Everyone knows the Showalter record and the criticisms, and if they watched his postgame press conferences or excerpts from his pregame conferences on television, they may have gained some insight.

He was demanding on his players, and the people who covered him, asking us questions, sometimes wanting our opinions on potential moves. He wasn’t going to consider what we said because he already had taken every possible angle into consideration, but it was fun to be asked.

As Mets’ manager, Showalter will have a much larger analytics department than he had with the Orioles, and he’ll read what they send him and listen to what they tell him, but still go his own way. In his mind, the analytics should reinforce what he’s thinking.

If they can show him a piece of information that he hasn’t considered, he’ll use it, and he’ll relish the opportunity to teach them what he’s looking for so they can give him relevant information.

It will be fascinating to see who Showalter brings to coach and assist him in the front office.

Former Orioles coaches John Russell (catching and bench), Wayne Kirby (outfield and first base) and Alan Mills (bullpen) seem to be possibilities. So does Brian Butterfield, who coached for Showalter with the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.

We’ll see if any of his heady players from the Orioles years — J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters join him.

Showalter had close relationships with all of those, but if you were a less talented but smart player, he found a way to use you. Ryan Flaherty, now a coach with San Diego, was a Showalter favorite, and two others, outfielder Craig Gentry and infielder Paul Janish, had their careers extended because Showalter thought they had a special skill.

Janish, who’s now the associate head coach at Rice University, could be an asset to any big league staff. He extended his major league career by three partial seasons because Showalter liked the way he fielded and his intelligence.

Could there be places with the Mets for Brady Anderson or Brian Graham? Anderson, who worked in the Orioles’ front office during Showalter’s time with the Orioles, has been out of baseball since the end of the 2019 season. Graham, a close associate of Showalter, was let go as Orioles’ farm director after Mike Elias took over.

Showalter admired clubhouse manger Chris Guth and strength and conditioning coach Ryo Naito, both of whom left the Orioles after the 2021  season. Perhaps they’ll join him, too.

Showalter will have a much larger press corps to deal with than he did in Baltimore. If the pandemic persists, a Zoom-era Showalter wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining and informative as the up close and personal one.

Watching him on MLB Network was always fun because there would be familiar stories, and the people covering the Mets will get familiar with them, too.

Thirty years after he became the youngest manager in baseball for one New York team, he’s now the fourth oldest for another New York team. (I know that because each year he’d ask me to give him a list of big league managers and their ages.)

The hope here is that he gets to fulfill his dream and finally makes it to the World Series, winning it, and a few years later, gets to take a trip a little farther north, to Cooperstown, to take his rightful place among the game’s greats.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. millboy

    December 20, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Loved Buck, wish him the best in New York

  2. BRobbyFan5

    December 20, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Mr. Dubroff, I agree. I liked Buck since before he came here and was excited when he signed as I finally expected the team would win again after years of being under .500…and he did not disappoint. I used to enjoy watching his post game press conferences as he always came across as someone you could enjoy a few cold ones with while talking baseball. I saw some comments over the weekend from people thinking this was a bad hire for the Mets…calling him a retread, overrated, etc…but I’d take Buck back in a heartbeat. Like you, I’d love to see him win a World Series as well as a place in Cooperstown.

  3. Orioles20

    December 20, 2021 at 7:49 am

    Buck ain’t taking any of those guys with him. Those guys are the reason we are in this mess. Brian Graham was terrible at drafting and developing. Outside of a few guys. And Brady Anderson is too. Because he got involved on behalf of Angelos when he shouldn’t of causing there to be no trust. Brady is the one who negotiated cashner and Cobb deals sticking us with all those deferrals. I always liked buck and I gotta say outside of Earl probably the best manager we’ve ever had. I’ll take showalter over Hyde any day of the week.

    • giles nowaks mustache

      December 24, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      I like Hyde ok, i guess. Hard to measure what he can do with what he’s been given so far.

      i much admire Buck. Great man, great baseball seer. Most of the time an excellent manager.

      I had difficulties with his occasional pitching choices, and i’m not talking about the playoff game with the Jays. Some key decisions he made in the first game of the ALC Series with Kansas City had me shouting at the tv screen at him.

      But no one is flawless.

      Buck stands high. I am hopeful he will get a WS championship ring. And the rest will follow.

  4. PC in OC

    December 20, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Congratulations to Buck. I’m one of his biggest fans and would have loved him, to still be with the Orioles. I predict, he and the Met’s, will be in the World Series, within 3 yrs. Go Buck!

  5. MDNative58

    December 20, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Would love to see Buck vs Dusty in the World Series two years in a row with each winning one.

    • giles nowaks mustache

      December 24, 2021 at 9:13 pm

      YES!!

      That was an early thought that also came to me! What a series that could be

  6. Bmore

    December 20, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Wish they would’ve never broke that squad up entirely sure do miss those days

  7. Olney Ogre

    December 20, 2021 at 9:46 am

    New York better be ready to Buckle Up!

  8. Buzz1979

    December 20, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Gentry, a former Buck lawn boy. Did Kirby ever have that baby?

  9. Baltimore Castaway

    December 20, 2021 at 10:35 am

    I admire the Mets for making this hire.

    His life in Queens will be a different kind of experience compared to his time in Baltimore. He will have a new Owner who has his own view on things and isn’t afraid to let his followers on Social Media know. Sandy Anderson and Billy Eppler will be supportive of changes he will want to make.

    He will be challenged by the twisted environment w some of the players on that Roster. Some head cases and prima donnas will present some challenges to him. He will figure things out and it will be interesting for us all to watch…

    Good Luck Buck..

  10. NormOs

    December 20, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Good Luck Buck! Too bad management here couldn’t give you a workable team. I’m afraid that “going cheap” is their best thing! Lots of luck in New York.

  11. jimcarter

    December 20, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    The fact so many former Orioles are available should indicate something. The Mets are dysfunctional enough as it is.

  12. OrioleMaze

    December 20, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    I have now become a Mets fan.

  13. dlgruber1

    December 20, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Some musings about the Mets signing Buck:
    Give Buck a team with Jacob de Grom and Max Scherzer going 1-2 and I like his chances of having a winner. Add to that Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor ( my preseason NL MVP pick), Starling Marte, James McCann and I think a rejuvenated Robbie Cano and I really like his chances of winning it all. Buck has always been able to turn franchises around but has fallen short of winning a WS. You never know how a season is gonna turn out, who stays healthy, who doesn’t. But everything being equal, there’s probably nobody in all MLB right now who wants to see a new CBA reached ASAP than Buck. I’ll never forget my very first heartbreak in 1969 but if the Mets win it all this year I’ll be smiling.

    • JerseyO

      December 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      ‘69 was my first heartbreak as well. ‘79 really hurt. Thank God for ‘83!!

    • dlgruber1

      December 20, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      ‘79 was crushing to me as well as I was at game 1, a 5-4 win and game 6, where a win would’ve clinched it, a 4-0 loss. Tough pill to swallow.

      • JerseyO

        December 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm

        Up 3-1. I remember O’s players saying after losing game 5: It’s ok, we’ll take the series home and win it in Baltimore.

    • Icterus fan

      December 20, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      I was at game 6 also. Still recall it vividly.
      I can’t listen to “We are family” without thinking about that series and game 6 in particular.

    • dlgruber1

      December 20, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      I HATE that damn song!

      • JerseyO

        December 20, 2021 at 7:35 pm

        And the damn whistles from the other team’s wives. Awful memories.

  14. BenSch

    December 20, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    Pretty much missing Buck these days…

  15. Buzz1979

    December 20, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Britton, maybe

  16. AZ ORIOLES Fan

    December 20, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I hope Buck gets that World Series ring; he wanted to stay on but the powers to be wanted him gone.
    Got a feeling had he stayed that maybe we would be competitive again

  17. CalsPals

    December 20, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Wish Buck the best, at least his owner there will spend legit money, hope his old school approach (absolutely love it) will still work with today’s marshmallow athletes…go O’s…

    • dlgruber1

      December 20, 2021 at 9:30 pm

      LOL!! Marshmallow athletes! That is the PERFECT description for them. I’d love to know what the players of the 70’s, 60’s and beyond REALLY think about these overpaid, underperforming prime donnas. It’s not just baseball either. When I think back to the days I had season tickets to Colts games my alltime favorite moment was not the Super Bowl win, not Johnny U throwing his final TD to Eddie Hinton and walking off the field while the ball was still in the air. No, it was my all time favorite player, Mike Curtis decking the fan who ran onto the field. That single play intimidated the entire Dolphins team. They thought if he’s doing that to one of their fans what’s he gonna do to us. Curtis was playing with a cast on his right arm because of a broken wrist. He missed one game. If he did that today he’d probably be thrown out of the league.

      • JerseyO

        December 21, 2021 at 2:43 pm

        Ah! The good old days!

    • CalsPals

      December 21, 2021 at 6:49 am

      Agree DL, unfortunately it’s every sport today…can’t give constructive criticism, heaven forbid raise your voice, discipline, lmao…go O’s…

  18. G-man

    December 20, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I really want to wish Buck good luck. I’m really glad he got the Met job. I’ve been critical of him at times, especially after the wild card game in Toronto, but I think he’s a class act. So, good luck to you Buck. And to sign off with Buckism, ‘Sometimes you don’t only got to know who you are, but who you’re not.

  19. PC in OC

    December 21, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Ditto, I’m also, now, a Met’s Fan. Never thought, I would admit to that. Go Buck

  20. giles nowaks mustache

    December 21, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    it’s my hope also for Buck: A WS ring, and a deserved trip to the HOF in Cooperstown

    I’ll never forget how thrilled i was after seeing /hearing Buck Showalter for the first time, at his introductory presser as Orioles Manager.

  21. johninbethany

    December 21, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    wishing him the best of luck. he is always a favorite of mine for bringing a winning team back to Baltimore.

  22. Raymo

    December 21, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    To those who have changed their allegiance and have become Mets fans, I say good riddance. You couldn’t possibly have been true Orioles fans if you’re willing to forgive the heartache of 1969. After all, that was only 52 years ago. Not enough time has passed yet for me to forgive and forget.

    That said, I wish you well Mr. Showalter.

    • giles nowaks mustache

      December 24, 2021 at 9:22 pm

      i haven’t heard anyone say that they have CHANGED their allegiance away from the O’s

      A lot of good, loyal O’s fans still love Buck, and we appreciate the incredible things he did for our team.

      The heartbreak pain of ’69 will never be forgotten. I think some folks are just expressing their hope that Buck does extremely well. With the team he’s been given. That’s all.

  23. CanOfCorn

    December 21, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Even Captain Obvious knows this was a great hire for Mets! Congrats Buck!

  24. Rmays

    December 24, 2021 at 8:48 am

    One of my favorites. Wish he was still here Not sure why he is not. I would suppose that either he did not want to be, or just not the right fit for the new regime or the rebuild.
    The rebuild was imminent, Dan & Buck were axed, then the new regime came in. Do you suppose Buck would have stayed if he was left standing after the front office purge?

    • Baltimore Castaway

      December 24, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      Of course he would have stayed.

      He very much wanted to remain as the Manager. He personally met with the Brothers and they let him know that they were making a full Organizational Reset.

      Elias needed to be free to bring in his own Manager and Front Office Team. The Elias broom pretty much swept the entire Baseball Operations Department clean.

      Buck was a big part of the organizational dysfunction that befell the previous Orioles regime. It was time to make these changes.

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