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September 8, 2010

Still talking about the Showalter effect

Buck Showalter was going to be a prime topic of conversation either way with the Orioles in New York facing a Yankees team that Showalter used to manage. However after his new club took the first two from the reigning world champs, there is even more talk about how well the Orioles are playing since Showalter took over. They are 21-13 under him and 6-4-1 in series. They had won just four total series before Showalter took over.

Here are a couple of comments about the new Orioles under Showalter:

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter: "They’re playing well. I don’t know because I never switched managers in the middle of a season, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of guys over there trying to make an impression."

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold: "It’s a different atmosphere, for sure, because winning cures a lot, pretty much everything. Guys are having a lot of fun. Going out there and winning and playing good ball is fun."

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones: "I think it’s the same group of guys, but we are holding ourselves personally accountable for whatever goes on. I just think our focus is a little bit tighter and we are playing a lot better team baseball. You saw it out there [Tuesday]. It was a mistake by me, and I was picked up by our pitchers. Earlier on in the year, that might have opened the floodgates or something else. But they were able to limit my mistake and get us through the inning."

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 2:29 AM | | Comments (15)


Wow, baseball is fun again for Orioles fans. Must be more fun for reporters too?

With Buck Showalter at the helm the O's are playing at a .618 clip. The ONLY team that has played this well all season is the yankees at a .619 clip, and we can fix that this afternoon.

Provided the O's can keep this up I believe top tier free agents will give them a solid look this off-season.

Attitude means so much in this game but so does talent. Right now guys are playing for their jobs but realistically this is is still a club that needs to add talent and payroll in the offseason. How are the keepers?? Buck is sorting them out now.

I don't like the fact that Jones is "stepping it up" now that he's going to be held accountable by a stricter manager. I honestly don't want someone like that on our team going forward. He's your typical "sit back and relax" kind of guy once he gets his first fat contract in the majors.

I hope those who always argue that the manager doesn't throw the pitches or swing the bats have learned their lesson. Winning starts at the top, and works its way down through the entire ball club. The Orioles should be ready to contend next year as their young players mature and gain experience under Showalter's alert and gutsy style.

I really respect jones and love his ability and feel way better is yet to come.. The same can be said for wieters, his offense may take longer because he is working so hard to improve as a catcher for his pitching staff.. BUT I hope BUCK says something about their concentration and fielding at times especially jones playing too shallow..

I think Trembley's mind set focused on development. He took care not to bruise ego's among the young pitchers and such. But, that focus on individuals promoted a selfish style of play, a lack of attention to game situations and a tendency to fall apart when another player dropped the ball (sorry pun unintended).
Buck coming in talking team concept and "winning" obvoiusly woke some people up to realize that they aren't the center of the universe.

Seems to me that the biggest change from Buck has been his expectation to win; not necessarily actually winning all games, but having that expectation as a goal.

In previous regimes, the goal was "player development"; i.e., improving from game to game. That's fine for AAA or AA, but not the AL East. Unfortunately --- you can draw your own conclusion about what level in the organization that goal was developed/fostered --- every manager passed on that vision to the players. Hence, all a player had as a goal was to "do better", which is a terribly weak goal for a professional baseball player.

Everyone needs a goal that stretches them and "improving" or "playing better" stretches no one. And none of the Oriole managers had experience in winning at this level.

Buck has challenged all players that playing better is fine, but winning is the goal. They are responding.

The previous posters have it right if you ask me. I am a little more forgiving about it though. There was a clear moment when this team either lacked the true talent or consisted of young players who were still learning, so having Trembley then might have been the right way to go at that time. It was a "learning phase" in the rebuilding process. Now that talent has been restored the focus, as MacPhail mentioned before this season started, is shifting towards winning. So Showalter's value is necessary now; before, Showalter just wouldn't have had the necessary players to execute his philosophy.

What I think separates Showalter from his predecessors is his dedication to winning, and the fact that this team is better prepared for each game. Many have commented that Weiters is maturing as a catcher; do you think that's an accident since Showalter arrived? I'm sure Buck goes over each hitter with him, and I'm sure he's doing the same thing with the pitchers. These guys didn't get better overnight on their own. I look at the approach the team is taking at bat - no more 3 pitches and back to the dugout, these guys are going up there with a plan. You saw it last night with guys hitting the first pitch. Do you really think that was just an accident? The idea of playing to win and being prepared to win is what has made this club so much better. Thanks Buck!

Certainly the players are more focused and seem to be taking a better approach. But is it possible though that the Coaching Staff is working harder too? After all Buck can pick his own staff after the season. I tend to believe the notion of working for next years job and Buck's work ethic trickling down is also having an impact on the staff as a whole and on wins and losses.

It has been a VERY, VERY long time since I could bear to watch O's baseball in August and September; usually by All-Star break, I was searching for a re-run movie on cable.

From day one Buck spoke of competing in the AL East and winning. He was not just happy to manage in the the major leagues. He wants to win! He could have waited for a better opportunity but he chose to take on the challenge of the O's. He never spoke of a two year plan or a five year plan - he wants to win now. These O's are competing every day. In the past, teams knew they could fatten their records and stats against us, and we would not put up much resistance. Now teams realize they have to do more than just show up - they must show up with their A game or these O's will beat them. This is truly a step in the right direction.

I also believe that AM will be a better GM because now he has a smart baseball man with whom he can share ideas. This winter is going to be a very interesting time for the O's. I believe we will see a much improved team next spring. I predict that we will be a couple of game above .500 next season.

Thanks Buck for make the O's relevant again.

I'm sorry but this whole idea that Buck arrives and holds these "professionals" accountable, and that being the difference is infuriating to me! There is no doubt to me that Buck's accountability factor IS making a difference but should that be necessary for an AL east team? This isn't single or double AA. Fans were payiing the same money to see these guys when DT managed. Where is the self-motivation and pride amongst the players? If my assumption is correct, there is no excuse for that in the majors. I hate it when the fans care more than the players.
I agree with the A Jones comment above, I'm starting to question his commitment (albeit from afar). We'll see if he is worthy of the Oriole uniform as time goes on.

buck has managed & won. he knows where the Starbucks are in the airports. that's different from coming in new & learning the little things on the job. on a personal note, buck's son is enrolled at tcu, where arrieta (and I )went. let's go, frogs!

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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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