A “tough love” message about Orioles baseball

March 28, 2011 |

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When is the last time a leader, with credentials to support his title, stood up for this CITY, its TEAM, and YOU ???

That’s exactly what Buck Showalter has done by figuratively refusing to bow at the feet of his competition – even if that same competition and their fans have walked into our house and done as they’ve pleased over the last several seasons.

Yet, rather than stand behind him, many of us question his intellect and purpose. Be honest with yourselves, doubters …. you don’t possess a sliver of Showalter’s experience, knowledge or strategical gamesmanship.

Why not be a good soldier and trust him and the motives, if not subtle teachings, behind his words? After all, you’re asking Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz to do it. Or, would you rather they treat him like another Dave Trembley?

Buck Showalter is smarter than us …. and at the same time, he’s trying to help us. He’s a winner and he has a track record for turning losers into winners. Heck, he led a team to 100 wins – just a year into its existence. Pay him the respect he’s earned.

So, he did a lil’ trash talking, over a beer, in January. Was he defending Baltimore in his words? You’re damned right …..

Baltimore loves home-cooked trash talking, and its sports-faithful have proven a support for those who’ve done it in the past. Less than a decade ago, Brian Billick faced a sports nation’s wrath for these comments:

“Folks, when you go into the lion’s den, you don’t tippy-toe in. You carry a spear. You go in screaming like a banshee and you kick whatever door in and say, ‘where is the son of a bitch.’ If you go in any other way, you’re going to lose”

Why did we so staunchly support Billick’s comments, while the same words were denounced as smug and arrogant by everyone outside Baltimore? Was it his credibility? At the time, he owned just 20 regular season wins and a couple playoff victories.

Yet, we’re questioning the “smarts” of a man, in Showalter, who has devoted a career to winning at the highest level of the game. I don’t understand the lack of heart when it comes to not showing him the same support cast for Billick, on a local level.

My message of TOUGH LOVE is primarily directed at those who cannot separate the future from the last 13 years of losing. If you cannot make the distinction, you’re always going to be a loser, at heart.

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of a coach who is winning, when he makes inflammatory comments about the competition. But, it shows much more character to back your skipper, when he makes such comments BEFORE the actual winning occurs.

In this case, it’s the ultimate way of showing Buck Showalter that you believe in him and his ways of doing things. If your unconditional support will only arise after the Orioles achieve success, than I’ll question your unabashed loyalty.

If you truly love being a Baltimore sports fan and an Orioles fan, this is the ideal moment to prove it. This is your moment of clarity and challenge. Waiting for the wins to surface is weak, and it’s exactly what losers do when trying to conform their colors.

For better or worse, it’s time to lineup behind the man carrying the torch and protect his back – even if he says something controversial in a magazine article. Leave the cynicism to non-believers and the criticism of mere “spoken words” to those in New York, Boston and beyond.

This is Baltimore …. LOVE it or leave it.
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Today’s blog is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Howard Block, a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. Howie, absolutely lived life to the fullest and part of his passion regarded the Orioles and Ravens. For me, he embodied the true reality bound to loving the hometown teams.

Howie lost his battle with cancer, last month. He will never witness another Ravens victory, nor will he be here for the renewal of the Orioles success. But, he lives on in the hearts of all his family and friends. Among many of his characteristics, I truly admired his loyalty to Baltimore and his disdain for anyone or anything that infringed upon it.

The upcoming Orioles and Ravens seasons will not be the same without him …..
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