Better than the Monday paper: I love hearing Buck talk, but wins must follow

January 31, 2011 | Drew Forrester

on his promise to “take care of our business”, I hope he understands the only way we – the diehards – will consider that promise fulfilled is if his team wins games and, eventually, competes for a post-season spot.

If you’re not going to play meaningful games in September, you might as well fold up shop and we’ll use the stadium space for a new horse racing facility or some other beneficial endeavor that helps fill our community’s coffers.

Winning baseball.

Putting people in the seats at Camden Yards.

Those are the only two things that matter.

It’s what the Ravens have mastered over the last decade or so:  Winning. Selling out the stadium.

It’s not easy.  If it were, everyone would be doing it.

But the time has come for the Orioles to get their franchise back on track.

They brought Buck Showalter here to do that.

With 57 games under his belt, Showalter’s honeymoon period is over.  If he can’t win within a few years, he’ll have to go, just like Perlozzo and Trembley.

Harsh?  Maybe.

But it’s the reality.

And it’s certainly not Buck’s fault that the folks before him – both in the front office and in the dugout – were indolent and less-than-qualified for the task at hand.  He didn’t sign Omar Daal or Sammy Sosa or Javy Lopez or Garrett Atkins or any of the other stiffs-of-winter who were brought here and given the keys to a team-rented condo at the Ritz Carlton.  And Buck didn’t promise the fans real improvement every December for the last five years or so only to over-sell and under-deliver. As far as I remember, it was someone else who vowed to “grow the arms and buy the bats”, only to spend more money on NEW arms than NEW bats over the last four off-seasons.

So far, Showalter’s integrity level with the us – the diehards, anyway – is rock solid. He might be the only one in the organization with a clean slate, so I hope he does well with it. Hopefully Buck realizes, as the gangster said to Ethan Hawke in the bathtub during one of the final scenes of “Training Day”, “you know this is just business, right?” In other words, we fans are an impatient bunch at this time, 13 years into laughingstock-land. He took the job last August on his own accord and, with that, he signed a contract-in-kind with the fans of Baltimore that obligated him to steer the Orioles into the Sea of Success.  What’s the old saying?  “That’s why you get the big bucks.” No pun intended.

We need winning baseball in Baltimore.

If that means Andy MacPhail has to hit the road in order for that to happen, then so be it.  At this point, 44 months into his tenure, MacPhail’s rope is much shorter than the one Buck is dragging around.  We’re not MacPhail’d-out-city yet, but we’re coming across the bridge that borders the neighborhood.  We’re much more tolerant of Buck because he actually won a bunch of games when he showed up last summer.

If Showalter can help restore Baltimore’s baseball dignity, he can stay as long as he wants.

I’ve heard enough talk.

We’ve heard enough talk.

It’s time to win.

And Buck needs to do whatever he can to make sure it happens.