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August 2, 2011

One year later: What do you think of Showalter now?


Today marks the one year of anniversary of Buck Showalter’s introductory news conference as the Orioles’ 19th manager.

The club has played 162 games under him – the equivalent of a full season.

The Orioles’ record during that time?

76-86.

That .470 winning percentage places him 12th of 19 managers in Orioles’ history, just behind Lee Mazzilli’s .480.

If it were one full season, though, it would be the club’s best record since 2004 and second best in 11 seasons.

So, yeah, the bar is not very high (the Orioles’ bar or this one, for that matter, since this one is fake).

After an incredible 34-23 run at the end of last season, the Orioles are 42-63 in 2011, the worst record in the American League.

The honeymoon with Showalter seems to be over now, with some fans routinely criticizing Showalter’s lineup and bullpen decisions.

My take is that he is the best in-game manager I have covered, and probably the best one since Davey Johnson. He’s also the most prepared and observant person I have been around in this game. The things he notices continually amaze me.

I do believe, however, that at times he has stayed with veterans longer than he should have this year (Vladimir Guerrero should have been out of the cleanup spot by late May). But, to be fair, it’s not like he’s had a whole lot of tempting options to choose from. And that goes for the lineup, rotation and bullpen.

Like previous managers, he has been handcuffed by the lack of talent on the 25-man roster and the lack of depth in the farm system.

He’s had to count on guys who probably shouldn’t be in the majors. And the results back that up. But that’s just my take.

I want your evaluation of the Orioles manager.

Daily Think Special: One year later: What do you think of Showalter now?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (88)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar
        

Comments

The only thing I dislike about the jobhe has done is getting rod of Kranitz. The young pitchers were responding well to him and never felt our looked comfortable this year.

I think overall Showalter is a good manager however; when you look at the trash he has at his disposal you certainly can't expect any better record than he has. Get some major league players and I'm sure Showalter can be as good as the best managers today. Give Showalter the Boston or NY players and he'd be a winner. When you have a roster that is half AA ball players what more can you expect?

It isn't Buck, it's the common denominator for all the losing seasons - the money-grabbing, doesn't-give-a-damn-about-baseball owner Peter Angelos.

Buck is a terrific manager. He can do so much with the players he has on the roster. There are too many holes on the team to be competitive in this division. MacPhail has not done a very good job in his 4 years to put quality players on the field. Given some time and descent talent, Buck will win.

What tends to get lost is that the 2011 Orioles have their best offense in probably a decade. There's the rub that they can't score runs against Sabbathia, but then again he's only gong to pitch one game a series anyway. This is a team that can put runs up on the board day in and day out. Showalter's also been pretty good at managing a bullpen that only has two quality arms (now down to one).

That aside you can't mistake that all our starters--save Arrieta and Guthrie--regressed under Showalter's watch. His hand picked coaching staff also is a problem, a third base coach that can't stand (and a waste of Wille Randolph as a result). And Mark Connor... He made one of the most abrupt and class-less exits in organizational history, one which further poisoned the well and seemed to presage the June swoon.

On the whole I'd give him a C-, though I can't help but wonder what the O's would look like with even a mediocre starting rotation.

My biggest complaint with the past year is this team is actually worse fundamentally. I expected the lack of talent & depth. I also figured the young arms would have growing pains. But to watch this team day in & day out unable to make routine plays & be probably the worst situational hitting team I've ever seen is disappointing to say the least. My hope when Buck was hired was they would at least play the game the right way. One year later, it couldn't be more wrong

The last few paragraphs say it all...even Earl who I did have the privilege of watching his entire managerial career couldn't win with this bunch and front office/owner disfunction.

I want to see how he does next year with a (hopefully) competent GM....


That's right: I've finally soured on MacPhail.

Buck is definitely no Earl Weaver! I think he is a decent manager but he is way too passive, much more so this year than last year. I hardly ever see him come out of the dugout to argue a call or otherwise support the team. I know the team is not very good but he could have gotten more out of them than he has, he did last year!

Dan:

God couldn't finish any better than last in the division with that roster. They have the worst ERA in all of baseball, and have a negative 130 in runs scored versus Boston with a +143 and NYY with a +150. That means it is 2 - 0 before the start of each game. They have a pitching coach that never made it to the show. Finally, I would take away all of Mark Reynolds' gloves and burn them. He invokes memories of the Pirates Dick Stuart, but at the other corner. Recall Stuart either hit a homerun or struckout and his nickname was "Dr. Strangeglove"!

Smoke and mirrors, bluster and b...aloney. The guy has finally been exposed, the emperor has no clothes and we have been duped again.

Good man, Good manager......prolly didn't realize what he was getting himself into w/ AM and PA. I really think it will end w/ him walking out on it. Wouldn't blame him. Can't evaluate his their talent, or train it.

I'm not sure. His insistance on playing Pie over Reimold is mind boggling.

Not only that, but batting their best hitter (Reynolds) 7th all year while having two of their worst hitters (Lee and Vlad) 3rd and 4th does not reflect well on him either.

Good man, Good manager......prolly didn't realize what he was getting himself into w/ AM and PA. I really think it will end w/ him walking out on it. Wouldn't blame him. Can't evaluate his their talent, or train it.

I think, it's not his fault. We went out and got 1 free agent starter, that guy never threw a pitch. We need 2 or 3, i agree though that the sloppy play is on him.

Buck's doing an okay job with what little talent he has to work with I guess. I still don't understand his fascination with Pie and I'm really tired of Vlad batting cleanup, but considering how many problems this team has those are pretty trivial.
I am surprised that the man who could turn this team around so quickly last season seems unable to get them fired up this year. The team has long since slipped into "going through the motions" mode.
In the end it's the players not the manager that are lacking, and the GM is mostly responsible for the players.

He's my guy

Well...Well..Well.. here we are judging the manager again. I have no issues with Buck. I had no issues with Dave Trembley or Juan Samual.

The real issues with the ball club are:

We have a GM who complete excellent trades.

We have a GM who refuses to spend money by his own admission in Latin America on top prospects.

Young pitchers are hurled into the starting rotation without earning the job.
The transition from minors to majors are great and they should start in the bull pen first then work their way onto the rotation.

The minor league season ends earlier than the majors. Young hurlers are not prepared for the long season.

Latin America young pitchers are prepared for the endurance of a long season. This is why exploring and investing in young Latin American pitchers is a part of the solution and not the problem.

The old Oriole Way subscribed to this theory of working your way into the rotation unless you are the great Jim Palmer. I have not seen a Jim Palmer sighting in years.

In my opinion, Showalter is not the problem. He is doing as well as he can with the cards that he was given to play. If ownership would get serious about putting a legitimate team on the field that could compete, then this conversation is worth having. Until pete angelos decides to spend that MASN money we heard so much about a few years ago, then looking to blame anyone other than the owner is futile.

I like him .The problem is and always be Angelos.Look not attacking the man attacking his perspective .Umpires think we're a joke and are NEVER worried about retaliation, most owners stick up for thier teams with these TERRIBLE calls.When did we last get a close strike,how can you develop young arms ? Dave Johnson had to fax his resignation over because Pete was to busy .To Pete its business to Baltimoreans it's our heritage. Why do players and coaches get better when they leave if they don't get hurt? They get the calls.Even National sports shows said we got jobbed by Torre in the Boston Fiasco.What did Pete Say?

Buck Showalter is the right man for this very difficult job. He is not going to be able to turn around the effects of 13 straight losing seasons in one year.
The O's lack talent which is mainly the result of a poor scouting organization and the unwillingness of the owner to spend money. We have also been setback by injuries to Brian Roberts and Luke Scott...and our young pitching prospects have not performed as well as what was expected. Let's be patient with Buck. If Angelos and McPhail cooperate and give Buck almost complete decision making authority, he will get the O's back to winning again.

Showalter's not the problem. Sayings about not being able to make chicken salad come to mind.

Dan, can you give some examples (either in the comments or, preferably, as a separate blog entry) of how Buck is the "most prepared and observant person [you] have been around in this game"?
Personally, I think having Buck at the helm is a blessing. We often hear about how prepared he is but there's never much explanation or detail provided.

--

Chris: The preparation part is pretty phenomenal. He knows every stat of every potential matchup before a game starts. And when I say know, I don't mean on a cheat sheet, I mean in his head. He is the last to leave, the first to arrive and he likes to go to minor-league affiliate games on Orioles' off days because he wants to make his own observations of certain players in the system to go with scouting reports. As for the observation part, I'd have to make a note of remembering them, since they are thrown around so often they barely register. But here's one: After we interviewed Chris Davis for the first time. he asked us what the color of his eyes are. Showalter knew. He wanted to see if we made note. The guy is always pointing out differences in stadium grass and dugout configuration, etc. I'll try to make a point of specific examples another day.

Showalter's fine. I don't fault him for very many personnel decisions. I would keep Guerrero in the clean-up spot: there's no one else particularly good and you might as well keep your veterans happy. And batting order doesn't matter that much, really.

The most important role for the manager on a club that is "developing" (let's just be optimistic here) is to be sure to foster young players to make them reach their potential. In that context, I would say he has done a mediocre job. Sure it can't be all - or even mostly - his fault that our prospects have mostly fizzled. But the biggest disaster of the season, the collapse of Matusz, seems to have some origins in coaching techniques, and that is worrying.

In the end, the manager needs talent to do anything. That Showalter has some air of authority and some guarantee that he'll stay for a while is his biggest asset (one that Trembley and others could never feel they had), but that is going to wear out in a year or 2.

Seriously, name me one manager who would do any different with this roster? Torre? LaRussa? Casey Stengel? No way. We have no lead-off hitter, no middle-of-lineup banger, no #1 starter--or #2 or #3. Guthrie is a good #4. Little in the minors to look forward to. The problem isn't Showalter, who has proven he can win. The problem is with Angelos, but that isn't going to change anytime soon. But what can change is the lack of adequate scouting and the lack of player development. The O's need to clean house in the scouting department and in minor league coaching. If these guys could do the job, they'd be doing it already. Get some fresh blood in here, and develop some real prospects that don't crap out as soon as they hit the majors.

More so than Buck it is the front office and the scouting department. Why do most of these highly touted young arms either have arm troubles (Matusz) or looked simply overwhelmed at the big league level.

The young core of Wieters and Jones is very good, but that is nearly enough. Markasis power has vanished is now a singles hitter. Hardy is good but watch out he has an injury history.

The free agent signings have been most awful. McPhail only needed to look at Vlad's 2nd half numbers with the Rangers and see he looked to be done. His season here confirmed that and Lee was bad last season so little surprise he was unimpactful here.

Tommy Hunter could prove to be decent but the new kid Davis may K 200 times if played regularly, you want that in the lineup along side Reynolds? Sadly this franchise is a mess from top to bottom.

What looked to be a promising core and stable of young arms a year ago looks to be over valued and/or broken down.

Thankfully the Ravens season will start on time.

Dan, I think Buck is a fine manager --- who has very few legitimate major league players -- no manager could win with this pitching staff-- that said ... his coaching changes were a bust (Connors in particular) .. but by far the worse is the mediocrity of the work of MacPhail and the player development people ... just terrible

The blame for the Orioles belongs to the front office. Not even the "Earl" of Baltimore could have won with the talent that has been provided to the last few managers. They need to stop browsing yard sales at Ollies and start shopping at Macy's buying at Macy s or Brooks Bros.

I still really like Buck as our manager. The O's haven't had a personality like his in a long time. And it seems like after years of losing guys get really complacent. Old managers like Perlozzo, Hargrove, Trembley, etc. could never motivate the guys to go out there and give it their all. I believe Showalter does that. With that being said, with the amount of cast offs and youngsters who occupy the pitching staff giving it their all is not all that great. In a year being dominated by pitching once again, the O's are dead last in all important pitching stats.

I really hope guys like Britton, Matusz and Arrieta can display some of the brillance they've shown more consistently. I'm not sure if Tillman or Bergesen will ever live up to expectations though.

You can only do so much with the talent you are given. Who would have thought that the starting rotation would have imploded this year. Let's not jump to conclusions, he still is a great manager.

Dan, I'd like you to comment on this...last year when Buck came in, it was all about accountability. No one's job was safe and as a result, everyone felt the pressure and urgency and stepped up. Everyone did their part.

This year, that accountability seems totally gone. I realize we had some more long-time vets this season but Buck has refused to even move the likes of Lee, Vlad and Markakis down in the order until they could get their production going.

As for pitching...in Derek Holland's most recent shutout, he said that after he allowed runners to second and third with no outs in the early innings, Washington went to the mound and "tore him a new one". After that, he was brilliant. I have yet to see Buck come close to that this season.

There just appears to be no accountability like there was at the end of last season. Buck seems to be handling everyone with kid gloves, and that is what got the likes of Mazzilli and Perlozzo in trouble. He needs to re-ignite that fire and sense of urgency under these guys.

You can only coach up a baseball team so much. This isn't football or even basketball. The best coaches may only make a difference of 5 - 10 wins a year. What was Buck suppose to do at cleanup? The blame must go to the front office and our lack of development at the minor league level. To miss out on so many prospects, it makes you wonder what they are teaching these kids down on the farm.

Lee Mazzilli's winning percentage will not change, while Showalter's is on a rapid decline. Look for Showalter to fall further in the ranks, regardless of how well you think he manages inside the game.

I am not impressed at all by his team's fundamentals and this is a reflection on him as well as the front office.

I would say could be worse, could be better.

The Good: Next to last in SAC Bunts and Caught Stealing so he isn't wasting too many outs.

The Bad: Way too many Intentional Base on Balls

The Ugly: the line-ups have been a struggle for him and letting Gregg close out games has been flirting with disaster.

End of the day: Roster is the least talented in the American League so he doesn't have much to work with.

Dan, I'd like you to comment on this...last year when Buck came in, it was all about accountability. No one's job was safe and as a result, everyone felt the pressure and urgency and stepped up. Everyone did their part.

This year, that accountability seems totally gone. I realize we had some more long-time vets this season but Buck has refused to even move the likes of Lee, Vlad and Markakis down in the order until they could get their production going.

As for pitching...in Derek Holland's most recent shutout, he said that after he allowed runners to second and third with no outs in the early innings, Washington went to the mound and "tore him a new one". After that, he was brilliant. I have yet to see Buck come close to that this season.

There just appears to be no accountability like there was at the end of last season. Buck seems to be handling everyone with kid gloves, and that is what got the likes of Mazzilli and Perlozzo in trouble. He needs to re-ignite that fire and sense of urgency under these guys.

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I think he still demands accountability. But he has primarily done it behind closed doors. I have heard about several private meetings between Showalter and players to discuss things he didn't like.

I can't be a fan of Mr. Showalter until he gets rid of players such as Felix Pie and Vladimar Guerrero. A coach that is suppose to be so prepared why is Vlad still in the cleanup spot. He makes the same mistakes day in and day out. What happen to accountability in our organization Buck. I would rather lose with some young kids then an aging Vlad hitting cleanup. About time Nolan is giving a shot to play but Felix is still coming in way too much. Another ex-cub failure. Nice going with our young pitchers all I hear is excuses from you and them. Matusz saying he wasn't mentally ready. Give us back your signing bonus then you wuss. Get rid of the crybaby. Maybe Buck you need to act like a coach and not baby players such as Weiters and tell him to step in up instead talk about great he is doing. Frustrating being a Orioles fan. Its always the same stuff year in and year out. Its like we are so use to losing that we don't know any better. Anyway, see you guys this weekend. Please just win one game for the us fans over the weekend.

The collapse of the young pitchers has been stunning. I expected some inconsistency but this is more than disastrous ... The failure of the young pitchers can't be placed on Showalter's shoulders but, well, it can't be merely bad luck that just about every young pitcher on the team has imploded. A new, more effective pitching coach is crucial. The only player choices I would question are Pie -- I can't believe any team would claim him if he were DFA'd (he needs playing time in Norfolk) -- Andino and Izturis (why is he even on the team?). The big problem is poor player development, including poor drafting, and a failure to tap the Latin American market... neither of which are Showalter's fault.

The Orioles are bums in, bums out, and unless somebody changes that formula,
Casey Stengle, John McGraw, Earl Weaver, Tommy Lasorda and Jesus combined won't be able to win.

Showalter is great.Get rid of the owners of the orioles.They show no interest in baseball or their own players.I would like you to report on their lack of interest in their ballplayers and investing real money to get the orioles back where they were years ago.Hoff berger showed a personal interest in all areas of his players lives and the record shows they showed appreciation to him and us fans.
John Palm 55 year fan

I agree with you, Buck is a good manager and the best since DJ. I also like his experience in AZ where he had a lot of input into player selections and evaluating players. He could be our next Paul Richards if Andy moves on. I do NOT like his blind faith in Pie and Guerrero. I think Scott should have DH'ed and Reimold play full time in LF. The pitching coach situation is worse this yr as several posters have pointed out..Mazzone PT 2 if you ask me.

Buck is the best manager we have had since Earl. And that is no slight to Johnny Oates or Frank Robinson either.

But the ownership/front office is a hindrance. In 17 years since Angelos took over as owner, we have had THREE seasons over .500. 1995, 1996, and 1997. That is all.

So even if we get John Hart as a new GM, nothing will change. We could have the 1927 Yankees lineup managed by John McGraw and we would still lose. The black cloud is in the warehouse, and until the ownership changes, nothing will ever go right for this franshise.

So I have no problem with Buck. He is doing the best he can with the peanuts he is given.

what do I think of Showater?

1) He got rid of last years staff that helped him get a .600 record.
2) This years staff is not as familiar/not as good with the players.
3) Showater hurt the Orioles by changing the staff.
4) Conclusion, although Showater has done a good job with some organizations in the past; time may have passed him by. Ask me again this time next year.

I think Buck has done a good job given the fact that the team has lots of holes.
My biggest complaint with Buck is that he brought in his buddy Connor to be the pitching coach. The young kids never responded to Connor and despite what we were told about his resignation, Mark Connor played a huge part in the demise of the pitching staff. He even screwed up Kevin Gregg in Spring Training and it took Kevin a while to go back to his usual mechanics. The young pitchers were responding well to Kranitz and Buck should have kept him.
Didn't the Yankees fire Mark Connor?

Until the cap'n Angelos steps off the bridge of this titanic mess, he's just another deck chair.

Dan,

Why doesn't someone from the Sun get an interview with Angelos and ask him the questions the fans have been raising for years? Why not ask him how he likes being referred to as the worst owner in professional sports? Why not ask him why he is content to lose all the time, why he has ruined a great franchise. Ask him why he won't sell the team to someone that wants to win!

The Sun owes it to us to ask Angelos these questions and Angelos owes the loyal fans the answers.

--
Angelos has not granted a sit-down interview in years. He was viewed as too involved so he stepped out of the spotlight. If you can get him back in, let me know.

Biggest mistake Buck has made as manager was bringing in his old buddy Conner and pushing Kranitz comepletely out of the organization.

Conner seemed to take the approach of tearing these young pitchers down and then building them back up again. But then he bailed, that would be like a Marine Corps drill sargent quiting half way through basic training...

The development of the young pitching has been set back at least a year. Maybe more...

Buck's wholesale change in staff hasn't worked out real smoothly overall. The situation with bench coach and 3rd base coach has got to be sorted out.

Truthfully I'd like to see Willie managing the team and Buck move into a role where his eye for everything baseball could be used throughout the organization.

I would seem to agree with the consensus here that Buck simply doesn't have the horses, but I'll add that despite the team's record that there have been some significant positives. Buck has reached the team's core of young players as we've seen huge strides from Wieters defensively and Adam Jones has finally reached his star potential. Also, Buck has utilized JJ Hardy in a fashion that has yielded high numbers from the sometimes leadoff guy and the organization demonstrated appreciation by paying him and giving him a few years of security-all players and agents will see that as a good thing. How about seeing his best hitter through a tough spell where Markakis eventually raised his average from the 220's to the 290's? Buck is not solely responsible, but these have happened on his watch, all while barely treading water and getting regular spankings from the powers of baseball's most powerful division. To me, that short list represents a few things that previous regimes have really wanted to do but didn't or couldn't. That being said, I think that for a myriad of reasons Buck is not long for this organization. Not too much positive has happened for the pitching staff, save for some early season Britton and there is simply no way the union of MacPhail and Angelos will bring elite level talent to Camden Yards. Even the world's biggest optimist has to see that a crucial year of Brian Matusz's development curve has been wasted and his comeback is totally up in the air. Buck is a stellar in- game decision maker and knows the psyche of a player well, but that can't spell success on its own. When the manager wants talent and the business plan is to make money and not spend it something will eventually have to give. When Buck's back on the desk on the set of Baseball Tonight, pay close attention to what he says about his time working for Mr. Angelos and his son. it's too bad because the guy could win with a smidgen of talented vets and arms mixed in with the young, developing core. MacPhail's not off the hook, as it's his job to take talent from other organizations in signings and deadline deals, something he just has not done in any way. Convince me wynn pelzer's a big league baseball player and I'll recite war an peace backwards in swahili

I don't know if you can fault Showalter much (except maybe Kranitz). The death of pitching wasn't expected, people thought the D would be decent not league worst.

Maybe Reimold has issues nobody knows about. Maybe some guys who have folded in pressure situations are left low in the order because Showalter doesn't want them to crack more. Maybe guys like Scott got real playing time to give younger guys some time to play without being lightning rods for criticism.

Sure , he can manage in game decisions, but who can't ?

His massive ego got in the way of the teams development this year. Changing the staff, (especially Kranitz, also Crowley) was a big part of this particular disastrous season.

Holding guys accountable behind closed doors ? Should be done with playing time.

Batting order decisions very questionable. Mark Reynolds actually leads the team in xbh, rbi, runs scored, and ALMOST oba, has batted mostly 7, 8, or 9 , it seems

The players are a disgrace, they should be paying the fans to come and watch them instead of the way it is.

Let's see...

The same pitchers who were lights out for 2 months last year can't get out of the 5th inning. Our offense consists of waiting for something to happen instead of making it happen. We are playing people because of their contracts rather than their abilities.

He certainly doesn't appear to be doing anything to help. You are right about the lack of talent, unfortunately it isn't confined to the field.

Buck is still part of the answer. This franchise is bankrupt of young talent that has the ability to develop into good major league players. Maybe the crop of young arms we are so depending on will finally turn out to what other franchises are able to produce. Face it - we have not developed very good talent for a decade. Look at what the Pirates have squandered in the last decade - we would kill for talent like that.

Patience is not thin - it's becoming non-existent. It will be hard to turn this ship around over night. McPhail has had a net positive effect in developing, drafting, and having a plan. Buck is having a positive effect. The problem is, the longer you're here the more of the problem you become.

DISGRACEFUL....

That Baltimore media and fans continue to allow PA and AM to run this team into the ground.

PA is making money... PERIOD. That's his one and only goal.

PA brought AM in so he could continue making money.

The man is a lawyer. He has ZERO sports background. His BOYS have ZERO sports backgrounds. None of them care about W's. It's not even on their radar.

That's why they hired AM. They hired the exec who had, at that time, lost more games than any other over the previous 16 years. Now, he has run that to over 20 years.

They are the PERFECT match.

And MOST of you feed right into their mentality... the LOSERS mentality. You respond to how well AM did at the trade deadline and how well Buck is doing now.... WHY? It is completely irrelevant.

Why is it irrelevant? Because the team is ONCE AGAIN the worst team in the AL... And most of you don't mind.

Dan...... PLEASE do some cutting journalism. PLEASE do what the NY media would do by asking the tough questions and holding people accountable for the disastrous baseball team we have in Baltimore.

The real fans deserve such.

Thank you

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You are so right Wayne, I've got to start doing my job, Thanks for the advice.

Why is almost everybody here critisizing Showalter for getting rid of last years coaching staff? Last year, Oriole fans were crying out for Buck to overhaul the entire staff. I guess its true how fickle fans can be. Let it be acknowledged that him and Conner had a winning history together. Anyway, until Buck is given more then a 4A pitching staff to work with, my grade to him so far is Incomplete, like his ML roster.

I think Buck's done a great job. It's not his fault that DLee and Vald haven't performed, BRob has been hurt, or the pitching stinks. The O's need to spend dollars and get a free agent or two to hit behind Nick.

i thought buck was a no nonsense type of manager. if a player wasn't playing the way the should,buck would get after him and straighten him out. instead they play like a mentally whipped team because their spark plug "brian roberts" went down and thus the whole team went into the tank. i thought buck would have put a halt to that type of stuff. yes i think he should have kept kranntz.

I think it took alot of guts for Buck to take on this job.

He has done well with what he has, and with professionalism and class to boot.

His influence will rub off, but it takes times.

Thanks for doing your job, Dan.

Now, only if Wayne would do his.

The O's lose almost every night but over there in the shadows Buck is lurking, and in his mind he's just weeding them out one at a time. Buck is the MAN!!! I love him!!! Just weeeeeeeeeeeedin' 'em out......

Buck doesn't deserve all the blame for this years dismal showing, nor does he deserve all the credit for last year's late-season brief showing of life.

It's a lousy team, doomed to finish last in the AL East indefinitely, and increasingly difficult to care about as a fan. I feel somewhat cursed to have spent my LIFE rooting for these guys! Nobody could have convinced me, in 1983, that thirty years would go by before we had another really good O's team! Now I'm wondering about the next decade. I've tried jumping ship but after this long, it's hard to do -- maybe impossible.

For starters, lets go back to a more balanced all-AL playing schedule. The Yankees and Red Sox are just killing us, game after game.

Why does everyone think this guy can manage? He failed in New York (highest payroll in baseball), Arizona and Baltimore. He's a phony. His obsession in spring training over the Red Sox payroll gave his players a built-in excuse. Joe Madden infused confidence and swagger into Tampa Bay when he got there - and it still holds. His players relish the chance to compete with New York and Boston. And they got that attitude from Madden.

Showalter's players just wait for the bad things to happen and have ready-made excuses. No passion, no winning attitudes in that clubhouse. Nothing has changed. It's the same mindset it's been for the past 15 years. Showalter has not changed the culture in any way, shape or form (unlike what Madden did in Tampa).

It's not enough to "know baseball" and be "prepared" and "observant." Pretty much ALL major league managers have those skills, to one degree or another. He needed to change the culture in Baltimore and he hasn't done it. In fact, he made it worse with his obsession over the Red Sox payroll. He came off like a cry-baby, whining about how much more money those teams spend. What about the money those teams GIVE to teams like the Orioles, via the luxury tax.

Give me a break. Showalter tries to come off as an old-school, no-nonsense veteran manager. In reality, he's just a phony, who hasn't won anything, anywhere!

Comparing Showalter to Mazzilli is kind of funny. Mazzilli had a better team to work with that seemed to be in a less of a state of transition.

And therein lies the real problem.

It is absolutely inexcusable for a team to now be more in a state of flux than it was several years ago. Let's compare 2004-05 with 2010-11, shall we?

C - Javy Lopez v. Matt Wieters -- (BA) .316/.278 v. .249/.255 -- (HR) 23/25 v. 11/10. Wieters is much younger, better defensively, and with untapped upside but Showalter is forced to used the rushed-to-the-majors player now.

1B - Rafael Palmeiro v. Ty Wigginton & Derrek Lee -- .258/.266 v. .248/.246 -- 23/18 v. 22/12. The more recent Orioles were seven and five years younger but bringing back Palmeiro now might be better than what we have had. Hopefully, Chris Davis won't be the bookend whiff-meister of the future.

2B - Brian Roberts v. Roberts/Robert Andino -- .273/.314 v. .278/.265 -- (SB) 29/27 v. 12/5. Andino is the same age now as Roberts was in 2005. Here's another bat the team needs to buy. Hopefully, it will come with a glove, too.

SS - Miguel Tejada v. Cesar Izturis/JJ Hardy -- .311/.304 v. .230/.265 -- (RBI) 150/98 v. 28/45. No complaints with the Hardy signing but Tejada was a difference-maker. The current team has no one at any position.

3B - Melvin Mora v. Tejada/Mark Reynolds -- .340/.283 v. .269/.219 -- (HR) 27/27 v. 7/23. Mora averaged 92 RBIs over two years whilst Reynolds is on pace for 85.

OF - Bigbie, Matos, Gibbons/Sosa v. Pie/Scott, Jones, Markakis -- (BA total) .254/.250 v. .288/.275. Collectively, the BA is much better from the current cast. From a collective grand total perspective, the current group his one HR per every 34.8 AB's versus every 39.4 AB's. It is better but it is still amazingly weak. Even more damning is with the better BA and HR ratio per AB, both groups get one RBI per 8.8 AB's. Showalter has an edge over Mazzilli here, but both groups are below average.

DH - David Newhan/Gibbons v. Scott/Vladimir Guerrero -- (BA) .311/.277 v. .284/.284 -- (HR) 8/26 v. 27/9. Pretty much a wash here except the more recent Birds were/are two and eight years older.

P - (ERA) 4.70/4.56 v. 4.59/4.89. Mazzilli not only has the advantage here, his pitching staff was getting better. And while Showalter has to deal with a core of pitchers who were rushed to the majors too soon, Mazzilli actually had the younger pitching staff.

So how do I like Showalter a year into his tenure? I like him just fine. Still. Even with some micro-complaints coming from different quarters.

Showalter has proven he has gotten much more mileage with what he was given as compared to the two managers immediately previous to him. I have made my case when taking it back even further.

Now, ask me how I feel about Andy MacPhail and how well he's done in his four years of assembling this team. I think I might have answered that question, too.

And as for Peter Angelos, don't just compare his record to previous Oriole owners; compare his winning season record in Baltimore with Robert Irsay. He can't even win that.

Showalter is a very good manager. We are blessed to have him, but we have several players who should be AAA Norlfolk:
Robert Andino, Blake Davis, Chris Davis, Felix Pie, Craig Tatum, Nolan Reimold, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, Jackubauskus(sp), and a few more.
No human could win for a team with this many minor level players

Poor Buck,

This a poor defensive team and a very slow team. The team has no identity as to what kind of team it is, or is trying to be. The team is unbalanced from a position player standpoint. The infield as a whole lacks range. Adam Jones is good defensively but not great. Felix Pie would not be on any other major league roster than ours. We now have a potential for 400 strikeouts at the corner infield positions next year. Marvelous.

The young pitchers were obviously overrated by our expert talent evaluators. Nothing new there, It's what they do. Baltimore is a graveyard for young pitchers. Whatever talent they do possess when we sign them, our crack player development team quickly erases. Velocity goes down, pitch counts go up, and they bounce back and fourth from the minors to the majors until they are finally released. You know the names in the last ten years. Add some more

No, this is not Buck's fault, and next year will not be Buck's fault, nor will 2013 if he is still here Since Andy arrived on the scene our minimum needs have been the same going into every season...an impact bat in his prime for the middle of the lineup and two top of the line established starting pitchers.. He needed to start scouting the Caribbean and clean out Joe Jordan and the Stockstills.

How many of these things have happened? None. How many will happen between now and next season? None. Why? Because we have an absentee owner who looks at the balance sheet and never the standings. He would rather blow ten million dollars getting a building named after his parents than invest in the infrastructure of his baseball team. Winning is his priority in the courtroom and in his financial empire. To Angelos, winning with the sports franchise means turning a profit. An ROA. A bottom line.

Buck signed on to a losing organization and there is nothing he can do to change the paradigm.

Dan,

You say he is the best in game manager you have ever seen. The sad thing is if he was the worst in history the Orioles would still be the worst team in the AL.

I will think much more highly of him when he moves Vlad down in the order and even more highly when he benches Pie.

Isn't it the media's job to force people like Angelos to the interview room? The City is investing tens of millions of dollars to lure 100,000 race fans for one weekend and the Orioles continue to cost downtown 1.5 million visitors a year by losing. Considering the economic impact of the past several years and the continued impact for the next countless seasons while we wait for a winner I would think the Editors of the Sun and the leaders of the City would be all over Peter to explain his failure to bring a winner to Camden Yards and much needed tax revenue to the City and business to the downtown merchants. Can the City Council force him to appear at a hearing of some sort? Can the Sun run front page stories on the money the mismanagement of the Orioles is costing the area and shame Angelos into either some action or at least get him to give an explanation for the losing? I am surprised Sun has not addressed this issue.

I like Buck as the manager, but a few things he's done has really boggled my mind:
1.) why does Reimold hardly get any playing time while Scott and Pie get plenty of playing time and neither are very good? Yet, Reimold hits and seems to be clutch when he does play?
2.) why does Guerrero get to occupy the #4 slot when all he does is hit into double plays or get out in some other manner? He's been a rally killer. If he must play, put him near the end of the lineup which should motivate him to hit better and then move him back up to the #4 hole.
3.) Reynolds' glove is killing us so why isn't he a DH more often and you put Andino at 3rd and let Turner or Davis play 2nd more often in Roberts' absence?
4.) why isn't he holding these guys more accountable? I think the team was basically playing for their jobs last year and we saw the difference that made. He should institute that atmosphere more often.
5.) did he know Matusz came into camp without being 100% focused this year? if so, then why didn't he set Matusz straight as opposed to the disaster of a year the kid has had to suffer through? Or, is what we've witnessed this year the lesson to Matusz?

I also would like to know why Showalter stayed out of evaluating the talent pool for the draft this year. He knows what it takes to be a major league player, so I would imagine that his input would be invaluable during the draft. So what if Jordan's pride/ego takes a hit- he's had 7 years and his drafts haven't been all that great. Did Showalter have any input in the Koji trade since he still has ties to Texas? I'm not too stoked about the players we got in return, but would feel better about the trade if it was made with Buck's input.

This bar is fake!!! I've been coming here for too many years and getting my fill for far too long for you to spring something like this on everyone all of a sudden Dan!

changing managers is like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. each manager has failed recently because the organization is unprofessional.

Buck is an old-school manager. He would probably do a lot better with a more talented, veteran squad. I don't know how much Buck had to do with the change in pitching coaches. The pitching definitely went into a tailspin after that change was made.

No knock on Showalter, but I'd like to see the O's get a more 'hands-on' manager. Ozzie Guillen, Bobby Valentine, Dave Johnson and Manny Acta are examples of managers who are more directly involved in the game. Many times Buck sits in the dugout on disputed calls instead of confronting the ump. The players, and fans, need to know that Buck is there for us.

BUCK IS A GOOD MANAGER ! He's doing the best with what he has !

Showalter is and has always been a good Manager. WE will never get the right Manager, because this team doesn't have the right parts at all levels! We have a very weak Farm System Throughout, don't have proper coaches, trainers, pitching coaches & most of all the weakest scouting & player development system in the Major leagues!!! Until we fix our Teams infrastructure, we will never get better.
You could give us New York or Boton or Philadelphia's rosters now & the O's still couldn't win the division because of a catastrophic shake up is needed throughout our Farm System & Majors powers that be!

Love Buck Showalter. I hope he sticks with us. I'm very disappointed in the players and I just don't think he can do anything about it. When we've had pitching, the batters have not taken advantage of scoring situations. I feel like whenever possible, we've hit into double plays to end innings.....painful. Buck can only do so much.

Some good and some awful developments occured during the past year. On the plus side, the O's have better play from Wieters and Jones while Hardy is a significant upgrade at SS. The pitching is terrible and some of the blame must be placed on Showalter who replaced Kranitz with an old colleague. The defense is often shoddy, much of it due to Reynolds who shouldn't be in the field at any position. Too many batters swing for the fences all the time. The team does not work together for victories.

Many of these problems are the responsibility of management to solve. But who is running things. Guerrero bats DH clean-up everyday while the better power-hitting Reimold is sitting on the bench. The lineup is supposed to be the field manager's decision. Since even a casual fan knows that Reimold should be the DH when he's not in LF, I have to suppose that a smart baseball man like Showalter must be constrained by contracts and other unknown factors imposed by upper management. Thus it's impossible to assign blame without knowing more about how the team is actually run instead of how it should be run in theory.

If you could build a human being from Earl Weaver, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Casey Stengle's genes, and that hybrid was given the soul of John McGraw, and was raised by Bobby Cox, while being taught by Tommy Lasorda, that monster couldn't get the Orioles to .500. Buck is a good manager but he is not a god.

Buck isn't doing that bad of a job. Its just that the Orioles are a terrible baseball team. Vlad is hitting in the cleanup spot because we have no one else to put in that spot. Not Weiters, Scott, Reynolds, Jones or Hardy. Also Vlad is one of the better Orioles when it comes to running the bases and his is not the leader when it comes to hitting into double plays it Markakis. The Orioles are a bad baseball team and will be for a few more years.

I'll put this as simply as I can. Since Buck has shown up, this team has very clearly played better and been more resilient; however, one thing is clear...this team, as constructed, is one of the worst overall teams in the majors. There is only one solution at this point. Buy some players. I am convinced that this scouting department has no idea what they are doing. Couple that with the entire lack of ability to develop anyone in the minors and you have yourself something I like to call the a pile of garbage. Today, I am more embarassed to be an Oriole fan than any of the previous losing seasons. And we don't even have the Pirates to point at and say "at least it isn't that bad."

What do I think of Buck?

Overrated.

What did Buck think of Adrian Gonzalez when both were with the Rangers?

The cornerstone of the Os rebuilding program was the young pitchers, and their talent and promise clearly helped to entice Buck, Connor, Adair here. If as a group these pitchers had put in so-so records this year, it would be one thing--but to a man, save for JJ, the future stars have blown up or fizzled. Something is very wrong with Buck & co's handling of them!! Their loss of confidence, as well as mechanical problems, is painfully obvious. So on Buck's watch, the rebuilding program has collapsed; the much respected pitching coach is gone. The team never gelled, now is going backwards. Maybe it's time for Buck to return to the booth.

I'm not about to pin this one on Buck. This problem existed long before he ever joined the organization and will likely continue to exist until there's a change at the top. Btw, does PA have any clue how much he is hated by O's fans? If not, how could he be so clueless? If so, why would he want to stick around? He seems like the kind of person that would still want to marry a woman even though she could't stand him.

34-23 to end last year happened because our young pitching performed well down the stretch.....against playoff contenders no less.

Adding Vlad, (which, at the time I thought was good,but, one had to think why Texas did not re-sign him....hmmm?).

Getting Reynolds was good. He's 27??? He'll hit 30-40 hr's, might hit .250 one day and is doing fairly decent in his first AL season.....give him time.

Getting Lee was 50/50, much better than Atkins that one year. It was worth a shot, one that AM had to take.

So, we made a decent trade with Texas, got a decent prospect for Lee, Reynolds has done alright and Vlad will go through waivers and hopefully our scouts are doing their work on prospect hopefuls.

Paying $120 mill for Prince will not be the answer but it could be a start if PA spends some of that Exxon windfall $$$.

He was better on Seinfeld

Guess I didn't answer the question Dan....Buck has done well with what he has to work with.

I'm certain he did not think the pitching would take two steps back, like it has this year, after going 34-23 down the stretch last year.....guess we all got excited.

We need a #1 and #2 starter if we want to get over the .500 mark......who are pending FA's on the SP market for next year?

Smart man, I assume, but I just don't see how he can continue to make the same lineup decisions when it is obvious that the season is lost and the team needs to look to '12 and beyond.

A lot of things went wrong this season that Buck had no control of. Injuries definitely derailed us this year. Plus nobody thought Vlad would not hit. The one thing you can blame Buck on is his handling of pitching coaches. Kranitz should have stayed. Conner was a mistake. I think Buck wished he would have stayed with Kranitz.

I am disappointed that the young pitching has not clicked this season. Matusz' problems were a real let down.

But, I am glad that the Orioles have Buck as their manager. I believe in Buck and--like Earl Weaver said--he needs to be here for the long haul and for the return of the Orioles to their proud, winning ways.

Dan; Showalter is the worst manager i`ve ever seen in 55+ years of watching big league ball. No team is as bad as the O`s have looked. This team has some talent,but the little runt refuses to exploit it. After they went into a swoon he refused to change his lineup. He kept Geurrero hitting cleanup even though he and DLee had hit into a zillion doubleplays.His coaches were a poor choice--no committment from the pitching coach,and poor performance from Russell at third. He shuffled pitchers back to the minors like they were on fire.After i`ve watched Tillman and Bergeson its apparent to me that sending them down is a waste of time.They overmatch AAA hitters-they learn nothing. How about COACHING them? He`s wasted Hardy`s power by having him lead off. How many solo HR`s has he hit?

Dan; got cut off beforeand needto make some more points.The O`s are not aggressive enough on the bases-strictly station to station. Andino has come a long way,and handled the bat pretty well. He should be hitting 2nd behind Markakis -who is the perfect leadoff hitter.Players are shuffled backAAA without even a look.(Angle and Adams come to mind) When Showalter finally took the reins off Andino he stole three bases in one game!! He still continues to bat Geurrero fourth--what is trying to prove at this stage? This pitiful excuse for a manager will be lucky to win sixty games--how about letting the young kids play? He`s playing Weiters way too much-the kid catches every day.He looks gassed.Poor ownership,poor front office and a poor excuse for a manager--that`s our Oreos!!!

I love the Rupert Murdoch wannabes who bray about the "responsibility" of the Sun to "hold accountable" the owner of the Orioles. Here's my own tip on the general subject: Two indisputable facts: 1) the Orioles suck. 2) Peter G. Angelos is the owner of the Orioles, and has been throughout the entire 14 year losing streak. You tie these two facts together, and it could be big, I'm telling you. Pulitzer Prize stuff right there. You can thank me later.

As for the actual topic of the day (week, whatever), I guess Buck is mortal after all. Kind of funny how when his starting pitching is going great he's a genius. When they are pitching like the worst staff in the league he's not so brilliant. Some things are not his fault, like Roberts whacking himself on the head last year and missing most of this year as a result. Some things he has to wear, like his selection of coaching staff. I would have liked to see Kranitz come back, but deferred to Buck's choice of Connor, but that did not pan out. I think he tends to stick with his veterans - the guys with a track record - a bit too much, but then again, he really had no good options to replace them for the most part.

Some side comments, at no extra charge. For the ones complaining about Andino - do you realize he is leading the team in OBP? He has no power to speak of (but then again, neither does Markakis any more), but he's a solid utility infielder and has been adequate as a starter and gotten better overall with all his recent playing time. As for Reimold, I am one of his biggest fans, but he is hitting under .215 for the year and under .180 since the first of June. He is playing his way out of the organization at this point.

Bottom line - I still like Buck, and think that another year with him at the helm should yield notable improvement (assuming at least a modest influx of talent over the offseason).

Buck Showalter made a mistake by coming to Baltimore to manage the Orioles. As good a manager that he has been in his major league career,didn't anyone tell him about owner Peter Angelos the cheapest owner in baseball. All he has supplied with is nothing but a few major league hasbeens and farm players. Angelos could care less about the playoff or the World Series. He is a prominent attorney who is only interested in selling tickets and making money off of his investment. Buck should leave the team the end of this season because there are a lot of decent teams that could use his managerial ability and be given quality players to work with.

Scotty of Baltimore

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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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