It was Friday night, August 20th, during the ninth inning of the Orioles game vs. the Texas Rangers. I saw a slightly taller and rounder, semi-clone of the Earl of Baltimore. There was a fiery passion displayed on the field, the likes of which Camden Yards has not seen. There he was, Buck Showalter, silver haired, red-faced, veins popping out from the side of his neck, arguing vehemently with the home plate umpire over the one-sided calls and over extended strike zone. If Showalter would have turned his cap around and kicked dirt, I would have thought I was dreaming of 1970. An Orioles “manager” – a. defending his players. b. defending the game of baseball. c. allowing passion to be shown publically. Whether it is his demeanor, mannerisms, or some physical resemblence, the City of Baltimore has a new spark plug in the same mold as a legend gone by.
Forget the record, (12-9) since his takeover. The (8-2) start, only to be followed by a (4-7 ) record - of which we have become way to accustomed. Buck Showalter has made a difference on that ball club and in this town. The Orioles have a “skipper”, not a man in a uniform “managing” to get through an evening. Isn’t it refreshing to watch a manager – “manage”/coach/inspire/actually seem to care?” I actually like watching the after game interviews, of which I am not a fan of, at all. It has been, 3-4 questions, bing, bang, boom, this is the way it was, this is the way it is, any more questions……. good night. A far cry from the drawn out, bogus media questions, make up an answer to prove I’m bleeding orange and black, waste of time of recent years.
The “coming out” party finally happened last Friday night. “The Fix” was on, behind the plate. At the time of the Markakis tossing, 7 out of 11 strikeouts against the Orioles were “called” third strikes. Markakis, with one of the best eyes and recognition of the strike zone in baseball, gets called out 3 times in one game? I was driving home from vacation and turned to my daughter and said, “There’s money flying on this game.” And what solidified the deal was, the calls were not going both ways. Hence, the ejection of Showalter in the ninth. We had just made it home for that one. O what a show. And O, what a blatant show of incompetency or vendetta, Jeff (I made some cash tonight) Nelson, displayed on the field that night.
The Orioles lost the game Friday night. But they have won the month of August. The team won with the hiring of a “leader”. The organization won with the hiring of a “skipper”. The City of Baltimore and true Oriole fans have won with the hiring of “hope”. The best part of Friday night wasn’t the tossing of Markakis and his display of passion, nor Showalters boiling point and brief display of an era gone by. It was the reaction of the fans. It was LOUD and it was relentless. Every ball thrown by Wilson after the ejections, you would hear “STRIKE”, yelled out by the crowd. Nice. Even nicer was the reception Jeff (cheater) Nelson received the following day during umpire introductions. BOOOOOOOOO – you hear from the stands- carryover from the night before. That…..I told my daughter, is Oriole baseball. Those…….are Oriole fans. That ……is the way it used to be.
Is Showalter the O’s “Magic Man” – (Heart)? Only time will tell and if “For Petes Sake – Free the Birds” Angelos will open up his wallet. Just simply – Seize the Moment – O’s fans. It has been the best August in 13 years! O and how about Wiggintons reaction on that play the night before blocking third base? Markakis to Roberts to Wiggington to “You’re out – Go sit on the bench”. Nice display of baseball passion. All 3 of those guys I just mentioned have it and now we have a “skipper” who has it. A “skipper”, who at times, has the look and attitude of a Baltimore Legend.