Manager of the year in baseball, like many leagues, is often given to a manager able to lead his team to the playoffs. However, what if in 2011 the AL Manager of the Year was given to a manager who’s team has a 62-95 record entering Sept. 29.
Bring in Buck Showalter. Although Showalter has little chance of winning the AL Manager of the Year Award for the third time, the question I ask, that the 1989 Orioles coined, “Why Not?”
Weeks before the Orioles hired Showalter, it had been long speculated that Buck was the next in line to lead the Orioles out of the cellar in the AL East and back to playoffs for the first time since ’97.
Before Showalter had even managed a game for the Orioles there was hope for the first time in charm city in recent years.
Showalter had been credited with building the Yankee dynasty in the early 90’s and built both the Diamondback’s and Rangers. Showalter won AL Manager of the Year in 1994 with the Yankees. Ten years later Showalter won his second AL Manager of the Year trophy with the Texas Rangers.
In between, Showalter led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 100-62 record in 1999. Showalter spent three years with the Diamondbacks from 1998-2000.
Although some might argue that records are not that important, winning is something Baltimore has not been accustomed to over the past decade. The Baltimore Orioles have not had a winning record in 13 years, and with a fading fan-base a proven winner was needed in the club house.
Showalter brought a 882-833 record along with him to Baltimore.
Showalter’s initial presence was felt immediately throughout the club house and even into the city itself. Baltimore reeled off four straight victories under Buck, and won nine of their first 11 games.
Showalter’s no non-sense style of ball has been a blessing for the Orioles. For the first time there has been accountability and leadership inside the Orioles locker room.
Showalter led the Orioles through August with a 17-11 winning record for the first time since 1997.
Baltimore compiled a 4-3-1 series record in August, and swept the the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim twice.
September so far has been equally as successful for the Orioles. Baltimore holds a 13-12 record with two games left in September.
All of Baltimore’s games in September have come against opponents with winning records and only one opponent wasn’t from the AL East (Detroit).
The Orioles went on to win four of their first five series, which included wins over Tampa, New York, Detroit, and a sweep of Toronto.
Baltimore enters tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 62-95 record, and yesterday watched Tampa celebrate after clinching a spot into the playoffs. Baltimore managed to postpone the celebration after taking the first game in the series but could not overcome an eight inning, eight strikeout performance from David Price.
A win tonight against Tampa would lock up Baltimore’s sixth series win of the month, which in recent years is more games then they usually won in August and September.
Whether or not the Orioles can carry over the late success into 2011 is still uncertain. Baltimore is desperately in need of a middle of the order threat from both sides of the plate, and could still use one if not two top of the rotation starters to anchor a very young pitching staff.
Since his first game with the O’s, Showalter has compiled a 30-22 record, overall his record stands at 912-855.
Although Baltimore might not be going to the postseason any time soon, and it’s unknown when Baltimore will have a winning team; Buck Showalter has revamped a once hopeless club.
Showalter has done as good of a job if not better than anyone could have hoped for given the situation.
With all that said, why not give it to the guy who might not have the flashiest team but has a team that under him are willing to buckle down and finally win some games for once.