Who would have thought…

July 22, 2012 | Josh Levine

Less than a week away from training camp, the Orioles would be six games over .500 and in the playoff hunt? If someone told you in February this would happen, would you have believed them? Considering our biggest free agent acquisition won’t play this year and our trade of Jeremy Gutherie only landed us Jason Hammel? Who would have thought it?

The Olympics start Friday night and Baltimore is excited for the opportunity to cheer on it’s favorite son as he looks to add to his storied Olympic career. Ravens training camp opens this week and the Orange and Black have won four consecutive games and sit with a record of 50-44. It was August 24, 2011 when the O’s won their 50th game last season.

I am saying this right now, but Buck Showalter should win American League Manager of the Year. Yes, I know it is only July 22 and Baltimore seems to be expecting the Oriole collapse to come at any moment, but every time that moment seems like it is here, Buck leads the team back into the win column.

Not since Davey Johnson, has a manager with this much ability and talent run the Orioles dugout and Buck certainly has a lot less to work with then Davey Johnson did in 1996 and 1997. Buck clearly has helped change the culture of the Orioles locker room and it finally appears that players believe they can win and those coming just for a pay day are no longer welcome.

For years during the Thrift | Beattie | Flanagan | McPhail regimes, the Birds were very good at bringing veterans passed their prime who did nothing but collect a fat paycheck and deliver nothing in return. The names are endless: Segui, Cordova, Sosa, Vlad etc. All of these “name” players five years past their prime.

Maybe that is why Dan Duquette did not sign a big bat this off season? Maybe his thinking was change the culture and than attract real talent? Doubtful, because Uncle Pete would rather keep money he is making then spend money to make more money. None the less, back to Buck and the AL Manager of the year.

Name me the last manager who has led a team to 50 wins by July 21st when four of his five opening day rotation have either been sent to the minors or visited the DL?

How about a team who lost its starting left fielder, is on a third string second baseman and has more DH’s batting under .250 than the rest of the division all in one lineup and still wins? This team plays bad defense, has massive hitting slumps and inconsistent pitching and they are still competing.

Buck Showalter is the X factor the Orioles have not had since Davey Johnson left. Imagine what an off season might be like if star players believe Baltimore is a contender and we can add real pieces via free agency? Imagine if in 2012 both the Orioles and Ravens have winning seasons and playoff berths?

Thanks for what you have done through July 21st Buck. Keep it up!!!