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July 30, 2010

Showalter talks about coaching staff; Samuel and MacPhail to meet

Newly named Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke to The Sun today and confirmed that he will be keeping the current Orioles’ coaching staff through the end of the season.

“We are going to leave it as is. If someone chooses to leave on their own, that’s up to them,” said Showalter, who will arrive in Baltimore on Sunday and be formally announced as the club’s 17th full-time manager at a noon news conference Monday.

“We’ll see where we are at the end of the season,” Showalter said. “I think the players have had enough in dealing with this sort of change. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year. We all will have a better grip on the situation by then.”

Showalter said he would like to retain Juan Samuel as his third base coach and he told Samuel that during a telephone conversation Friday afternoon. Samuel has been the club’s interim manager since June 4 and has hinted it might be uncomfortable for him and Showalter if he returned to the coaching box. It seems as if he is leaning toward stepping down.

“I would not be uncomfortable with him,” Showalter said. “I don’t know Juan, but his reputation is very good. He is well-respected in baseball. … I would make it as comfortable as I can for him. I try to surround myself with the best baseball people I can.”

Samuel is expected to mull his decision through the weekend, and likely will meet with Andy MacPhail, the club’s president of baseball operations, at some point after the team returns home from its road trip Sunday night.

Showalter would also like to meet with Samuel face-to-face before he makes his decision. If Samuel chooses to step down, then the Orioles could retain Gary Allenson, who is targeted to return to Triple-A Norfolk to manage the Tides, as third base coach.

Showalter said he has not thought about his 2011 coaching staff yet, even though there is speculation he could tab some of his former coaches to fill any vacant roles. He also said he would be open to bringing in former Orioles linked to the club’s glory days.

“I have a lot of respect for history and tradition -- that’s one of the attractive things about this job – and everywhere but in Arizona (a new franchise) I tried to embrace that,” Showalter said. “I like the idea of trying to embrace that as much as possible, especially if they are willing to work and impart their knowledge.”

Showalter isn’t offering names, but former Orioles Brady Anderson and B.J. Surhoff have been more visible at Camden Yards recently and Mike Bordick is currently a member of the minor-league staff and has helped out with the big leaguers. Former Oriole and Ranger Billy Ripken has also been floated as a potential coaching fit.

Overall, Showalter said he is excited to manage for the first time since he was with Texas in 2006. And he may be the least pumped member of the Showalter clan about the opportunity. He said his wife, 22-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son are especially psyched. His son, Nathan, has already purchased two Orioles’ hats from a Dallas store – one with the bird and the other with the ‘O.’

“These two kids have grown up in baseball and with this past situation (as an ESPN analyst) it’s been great being around them a lot more,” he said. “But I realized how much they had missed not having [Major League Baseball] in their lives and how genuinely excited they are about it. And I am too, obviously.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 5:26 PM | | Comments (8)


Juan Samuel is a good baseball man and was a true professional in his interim coaching role. Just show him the respect he deserves.

Headlines the Sun didn't get to use -- and one they can:

Valentine Massacred!

Orioles Give Selves a Wedgie!

The Dempster Takes Over O's Dumpster!


Good luck, Buck!

Wasn't it was the secular saint Bill James who said that a great manager was worth about 3-5 wins over an average manager? Even if that's so, it is so refreshing to hear Showalter's comments. His kid is buying O's hats in Texas? Awesome! He wants to be here? Great. He values tradition and that is one of the aspects of the job that intrigued him? Terrific. So, Buck, (or "Nat," as his family calls him, apparently) without overdoing the tradition thing, see if you can talk Mike Mussina into being the pitching coach for 2011, or, at the least, a roving minor league pitching instructor. Most O's fans would love to have Moose reconnect with the team, and he is the last great pitcher we had. I've just finished "A Season on the Black" about Mussina and Glavine. Mike's insights into the art of pitching are tremendous, he is patient, he is intelligent, he is articulate, and he'd have a chance (maybe) to win a WS ring with the team that originally signed him. I'm very happy that Showalter is on board, and I really hope he can get some of those old O's back into the franchise.

I hope Showalter does not hire any former Orioles. It's time for the organization to make a complete break from the past and bring in new qualified blood. The last time I checked Brady "Steriods" Anderson and Surhoff have never won a championship. Neither has Billy Ripken, but we keep these retreads in the system. I am glad Rick Dempsey did not get the job because all we would have heard from him was the way that Earl Weaver did it. Weaver had several hall of famers, a stocked farm system and a league with limited free agency.

If nothing else, I would like for Mussina to teach the staff the knuckle curve.

It's a pitch no one else has and it is a great 2 strike pitch. That of course means our staff getting ahead in the count

Amazing photojournalism by The Sun! A rare photo of Buck during his tenure as manager of the Indians. How on earth did you find that?

I expect Mark Connor to become the Orioles' new pitching coach next year. He served in the same capacity with Showalter at New York, Arizona and Texas.

Jeff Z's reply: I think that's a good call. I've also heard Nardi Contreras' name mentioned. And I would be very surprised if Brian Butterfield, Toronto's well-respected third base and infield coach, is not on the Orioles' staff next year, especially with Cito Gaston retiring. Butterfield is very close to Showalter. Bobby Dickerson, who is currently managing Triple-A Norfolk, also coached with Showalter in Arizona, and he'll be discussed, too.

Butterfield will have lots of opportunities next year.....He can take over as Manager of the Blue he should....he can get back together with Buck.....or, one of the teams who tried to hire him this off season could come back again this year and offer again. Whoever gets him will be rewarded!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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