Tag Archive | "andy macphail"

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Twelve Orioles thoughts on end of Duquette-Showalter era

Posted on 04 October 2018 by Luke Jones

With Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter officially being dismissed on Wednesday, I’ve offered a dozen Orioles thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Their relationship wasn’t always harmonious, but Duquette and Showalter — with a hat tip to Andy MacPhail — guided the Orioles to their most successful five-season run in the last 35 years. They made mistakes and paid the price for a 115-loss season, but that shouldn’t wipe away good feelings.

2. Not using Zach Britton in the 2016 AL wild card game was the beginning of the end, but that shouldn’t define Showalter’s legacy. His 2010 arrival eventually brought legitimacy and a higher standard not seen here in a long time. As he likes to say, I have a long memory.

3. Acknowledging a working environment in which others had influence on decisions, it’s difficult to accurately assess Duquette’s tenure. To say he only reaped the benefits of MacPhail’s work is unfair, but he had his share of bad trades and signings. The Chris Davis contract wasn’t his doing.

4. Wednesday’s press release deliberately stating the plan to hire a head of baseball operations outside the organization who “will have the final determination on all baseball matters” sounds great, but is that a sincere vow rooted in self-awareness or merely lip service? Time will tell.

5. The casual mention of Brady Anderson remaining under contract is the elephant in the room needing to be addressed with any legitimate candidate considering the job. Will Anderson remain? If so, will he answer to the new hire? A clear and authentic chain of command is an absolute must.

6. Who will be involved in the hiring process and ultimately make the final decision? What will be the prioritized hiring criteria? Will any experienced outsiders serve as consultants to help make informed decisions? A press conference would go a long way in providing these answers to a deserving fan base.

7. I’d prefer an up-and-coming lieutenant embracing analytics and innovation to an established “name” who leans solely on more traditional practices. You hope what Duquette preached at the trade deadline about improving scouting, analytics, and the presence in the international market still holds true.

8. Former Boston general manager Ben Cherington has the desire “to build an organization from ground up,” a descriptor certainly fitting of the Orioles. That doesn’t mean he’ll be interested here, but I believe a clean slate is appealing to talented baseball minds — if truly given autonomy.

9. I’m not all that intrigued by how the managerial job will be filled beyond that hire needing to be made by the new head of baseball operations. Give me a younger manager in step with front office philosophies who will relate well to young players. It definitely won’t be easy.

10. I’m lukewarm to the idea of anyone with strong Orioles ties being hired for either position. Speaking as someone who grew up on this team, “The Oriole Way” hasn’t been much more than a marketing slogan for over three decades. There are other ways to involve former Orioles.

11. Talent is paramount, but I’d love to see the organization experiment in the midst of what will be much losing. Baltimore was among the early clubs to embrace infield shifting and prioritize the bullpen, two major factors today. Try new ideas instead of simply losing with “safe” practices. Openers, anyone?

12. John and Lou Angelos will begin to carve out their legacy from this point on. They need to get this right to prove they’ve learned from the organization’s past mistakes and to restore — and preserve — the well-being of the franchise in Baltimore. The pressure is on.

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Dear Buck Showalter: One bad night in Toronto cemented your Orioles legacy

Posted on 03 October 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Buck:

We would’ve had fun together – you and me, if we knew each other. I like smart guys and folks that other “wise” people refer to as a genius. I like storytellers. And I love baseball. Even our mutually departed pal Johnny Oates, the first Baltimore Orioles manager I stalked and questioned and infuriated and learned from back in the early 1990s, managed to love me in the end.

So I’m sure you would’ve found my candor and baseball intellect to be simply delightful in those post-game pressers and pre-game dugout scrums but alas I only attended two of your press conferences.

I was there the day you were hired and talked about “piledivers” – the day when I waved my arm like Arnold Horshack and was never afforded a question by your Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

And I was in the back of the room in Kansas City at Kaufman Stadium when Major League Baseball credentialed me as a legitimate media member during the 2014 American League Championship Series. A beaten man, you conceded the season after a four-game sweep to the Royals and I didn’t have the heart to ask you a tough question at that point. I took mercy on you. That week was tough enough without a guy like me hijacking you with some real questions. And there really wasn’t much to say because the silence of the bats did all of the talking for the Orioles.

Buck, you’ve been a standup guy on most public fronts during your eight years here. Even when those post-game interviews with Gary Thorne on the Mister Angelos And Sons Network bring back the rare sincerity of the Mean Gene-Hulkamania days or the Vince McMahon-Bruno Sammartino teasers of professional wrestling lore of my youth. You even got Rick Dempsey on your side after finishing “second” in the managerial pursuit about five times! On the tough nights on the network of the PGA, it was co-workers in love chatting about another road loss. On the good nights – and there were plenty of those, too – it was a yuck-a-thon of pies, piledivers and aww-shucks comments about “the best players in the world out there.”

And then there was the night Mike Flanagan killed himself – but we’re not allowed to talk about that around here. It’s like it never happened. Especially if you’re at WBAL.

But now that this biblical shit show is over – and you somehow ended this legendary mess as a sub-.500 manager in your totality here (15 games under at 669-684) – it’s time to take stock of your accomplishments and failures within a franchise that never knew success before you and certainly doesn’t look like there’s much coming over the steep hill as you see this dumpster fire blazing a bright orange hue in your rear view mirror.

We all know that you’ve been better than that here – even if your record is what it says it is.

First, I want to apologize for telling your wife that winning would be impossible here the day you were hired at the press conference. I’ve witnessed the Peter G. Angelos era here over 25 mostly dreadful years and I believed that no one could penetrate such an awful place with a Warehouse full of incompetence and incompetents and win against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.

I also know that most of the other MLB owners would’ve never hired you – and you needed a gig and wanted one last try at winning a World Series. At the time, most of your friends and baseball insiders were telling you not to take the job as the manager of the

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Dear Manny Machado: Don’t let the door hit you between 1 and 3 en route to City X via City Y

Posted on 19 July 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Mr. Miami:

I’ve written a lot of #DearOrioles notes this summer ­– with many more coming to everyone in management and some of your poor teammates who shall remain on the S.S. Angelos for at least three more hours of the tour – and I needed to move yours a little earlier in the batting order than I wanted.

Let’s face it, you might not be here by the time I hit “publish” on this old-fashioned love letter.

So, if I stray off into the future tense or refer to your Orioles sweater in the past tense, well, that’s just me keeping it real.

You indicated earlier this week that your bags are packed but your head has been in the future here for a long time, Manny.

I’m not really sure how much time you ever spent thinking about remaining with the Baltimore Orioles after 2018 – my guess is you didn’t lose a lot of sleep over it because it never was a reality in the moment or a “decision to make” because my other guess is that the Angelos family never really approached you with anything you’d take seriously.

That’s the Oriole Way. As you can tell from my #DearOrioles letters, I’ve been at this a long time.

I honestly had to look up your birthday to put it in perspective.

I didn’t realize the week you were born was the worst week of my life.

I was sitting in the Oriole Park at Camden Yards press box on July 1, 1992 when I took an urgent call that my father had a stroke in Dundalk. You were born on July 6. My Pop died on July 11, 1992. I was sitting in a hospital watching my father leave the planet as you were in one in Hialeah, Florida entering this crazy sphere.

It’s really weird that you were born AFTER Camden Yards opened. You’re a baby, bro!

There’s no way you can understand what my eyes have seen professionally here in Baltimore as a sports journalist.

I’ve seen, talked about, written about and heard about everything except the story where the future Hall of Fame franchise every day player – the modern day Cal Ripken or Brooks Robinson – walks off at 26 to a rival franchise leaving behind whatever remnants that a desperate July fire sale will bring a MLB team with a lame duck leadership group.

I thought I had seen the worst of Orioles tragic in those 14 years of losing that made up your life from age 5 until you walked on the field in Texas that night in 2012 as a 20-year old. And when you lost in Game 5 in New York in the ALDS, you probably thought the playoffs would be a pretty regular occurrence around here just like Ripken did in 1983.

But here we are six summers later, your timer is about to go off and the franchise is 40 games under .500 in the summer of 2018 and holding an open auction for eight weeks of your services.

And we all sorta know that by Opening Day 2019, you’ll probably wind up with the New York Yankees, which as you witnessed with Mark Teixeira will make you a “special” kind of visitor here in Camden Yards in the future.

But as you’ve learned, there’s no one “special” in the Baltimore Orioles organization except the owner himself. (Well, and maybe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, but I’ll save their #DearOrioles love letters for long after you’re gone. They ain’t going anywhere.)

Manny, you’re unique – but you’re not “special.”

If I had my press credential and really knew you, we could talk all about the history of free agency and the decisions of Peter Angelos. I’ve only met you once – in the clubhouse at CitiField in New York before the 2013 All Star Game. You seemed like a decent, unassuming fellow then when I introduced myself. Like I said, a baby – you turned 21 that week!

Ten minutes later, Adam Jones asked me on the field why Peter Angelos hated me so much. It took me a book to explain it. It’s called The Peter Principles. You should check it out.

There’s certainly a lot of history in there that pertains to you as to why you’ve done what you’ve done and never been offered a couple of hundred million of Angelos money to stick around and be a part of something “special.”

I’m sure someone around there not named Brady Anderson has told you all about when Mike Mussina was invited by Peter G. Angelos very publicly to leave for the Yankees – and then Moose did! Mussina even refused a July trade, which is what Jonesey is gonna is going to be considering during his All Star break while you’re in Washington, D.C. figuring out the itinerary for the rest of your summer and fall plans for a rent-a-ring.

And, honestly, if these Orioles folks weren’t so crazy petty and vain and paranoid, you’d be wearing a Dodgers or Yankees or Brewers or Diamondbacks hat when you come out to tip it in D.C. next week. I’m betting the “over” on July 18th being your trade date.

The Orioles are gonna milk you for one more sideshow on the way out the door.

I don’t get it.

You are one rolled ankle or hamstring pull away from being a

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Not such a MacFail

Posted on 29 August 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles officially have surpassed their win total from 2011, winning their 70th game on Monday night versus the White Sox. The organization has finally started to turn things around, as they are in a well-publicized playoff hunt and on pace for their first winning season since Davey Johnson was manager north of the BWI.  A year full of “Orioles Magic” has been a long time coming in Baltimore, but has been a long work in progress as well.

Andy MacPhailThough his tenure here was not only brief, but extremely disappointing, Andy MacPhail actually laid the ground work for the team that is winning games at what seems to be a rapid rate this season.  Though the Orioles have witnessed momentous failures (Brian Matusz, Mark Reynolds and Felix Pie), the core of this group can be credited to MacPhail’s tenure in Baltimore.  Now this does not mean that current GM, Dan Duquette, does not deserve his own fair share of the credit.  The moves he made throughout the season have been unspectacular, yet crucial in their own right.  Nobody thought the Wei-Yin Chen experiment would amount to anything, but he has exceeded probably his own expectations as the Orioles best and most reliable pitcher.

The Jason Hammel deal sent fan favorite, Jeremy Guthrie, out of town but in turn brought back two quality starters.  Obviously Hammel has spent a good portion of the season on the DL, but pitched well enough to be considered a building block for the rotation.  The Orioles also received Matt Lindstrom in return for Guthrie, who now has been moved for Joe Saunders.  Doing the math, any major league roster would take two quality starters for one.  Add in moves to bring in Nate McLouth, Omar Quintanilla and Luis Ayala, while bringing up top positional prospect, Manny Machado; Duquette’s 2012 can be nothing more than remarkable.

But that does not take it account what he has inherited here in Baltimore; which is a lot more than anyone would have given him credit for in the offseason.  MacPhail made the moves to acquire Adam Jones, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy; who are the best hitters in this lineup not named Markakis.  He drafted Gold Glove (and fan favorite) catcher Matt Wieters, rising star Manny Machado and the top prospect in the minors, Dylan Bundy; none of which with the first pick in the draft.

So five of six most productive starters in the lineup came from the daunted MacPhail era, along with the future Ace of the rotation.  But most importantly, he is the one get Buck Showalter off MLB tonight and back into the dugout.  MacPhail is the one to recognize Buck as the fit to lead this roster past a decade and a half ineptitude.  So even though he never was able to make the small moves, which sets rosters apart from winners to losers, he made the big picture for the Orioles much better for present day and the future.

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Locking up Adam Jones is monumental for Orioles organization

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Peter Dilutis

These first two months of 2012 have been really, really fun here in Baltimore. As I’ve said numerous times before, I was seven years old the last time the Orioles had a winning season in 1997. Since then, we’ve all been teased by hot starts and promising prospects, only for the losses to mount during the summer and the players to depart over the winter.

For a few weeks now, I’ve wanted to believe that this organization has finally turned the corner. I’ve wanted to believe that Buck Showalter was finally the right manager to lead this team back to contention, and that Dan Duquette was finally the right general manager to make the aggressive, smart moves needed to contend in the toughest division in all of sports. The notion that this young, talented core assembled by Andy MacPhail and supplemented by Dan Duquette was finally good enough to take on the beasts in the American League has certainly crossed my mind. Some days, I believe it to be true. Other days, I remain skeptical.

After all, even if all of this does come together and 2012 turns out to be a magical year here in Birdland, will it continue?

Will the increased revenue generated from the added attendance that the coming months will undoubtedly bring barring a complete meltdown be put back into the team? Will it allow Dan Duquette to go out and not only add pieces, but keep his own? Would this version of the organization that is finally getting a taste of what it feels like to win in Baltimore have the drive to keep building, rather than constantly crossing their collective fingers hoping that 90 percent of the puzzle falls into the correct places in order to contend?

The Orioles are winning, and quite honestly, they aren’t showing many signs of slowing down. But how would this organization, led by an owner who has shown absolutely no commitment to winning consistently in this market and a general manager who was both highly successful and out of baseball for nearly a decade, handle success? How would they handle, well, not sucking?

I wasn’t sure. I was, and still am, more skeptical about the long-term relevance of the Baltimore Orioles than 2012. Once a team starts to win and gets that taste in their collective mouths, it’s often very tough to slow them down. Whether or not this team contends for a World Championship in 2012 is certainly up in the air, but I have a hard time envisioning this team not being at least in the top half of the baseball world come October. Even that would have to be considered a successful season given the bleak outlook of both the present and future just two months ago.

However, with an Adam Jones extension seemingly inevitable at this point, I have to say I am extremely surprised, impressed, and excited about where this organization is headed.

Peter Angelos is still the owner, and all that comes from that is not going to change. But the fact that the decision makers in the organization recognized the necessity of doing SOMETHING with Adam Jones prior to the trade deadline is a very good sign.

The fact that the decision was to extend Jones rather than trade him is an even better sign.

This organization has claimed to be rebuilding ever since Syd Thrift traded the likes of B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Charles Johnson, and the rest of the mediocre crew back in 2000. They’ve claimed that they have been building for the future each and every year of this decade and a half losing streak. We’ve heard the same tune from Jim Beattie, Mike Flanagan, Jim Duquette, and Andy MacPhail. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, the “building” never got past the ground level and they were using some pretty inferior hammers in the process.

When Buck Showalter was hired, he referenced the movie Braveheart and talked about how there would come a point in time when the organization would decide to release the spears and “go for it.” At this time, it would be determined that the core in place at the time was ready to contend, and at that point, it would be time to open the checkbook and make the moves necessary to contend for a championship, not just for one year but each and every year.

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Fans don’t want to hear it, but Dan Duquette is right about lots of things

Posted on 17 November 2011 by Peter Dilutis

Let’s rewind to June 2007. Andy MacPhail had just taken over the Orioles, and all signs pointed to a major rebuild. He was going to focus on scouting and development, build up through the system, and when the time was right, he was going to dip into the free agent market if that player or players would set the O’s over the top.

In August 2010, Buck Showalter took over the Orioles. He referenced Mel Gibson and the movie Braveheart when he talked about how the O’s would have to hold, hold, hold onto their resources (aka money) and then when they were on the verge of competing, that “hold” would turn into “now.”

All of these philosophies were true when Andy and Buck took over the O’s at their respective times. At neither point were the Orioles anywhere close to contending. It would have been foolish for Andy MacPhail to heavily dip into the free agent market when he got to Baltimore in 2007, just as it would have been for Buck to get greedy and demand instant free agent players prior to 2011.

Just as those philosophies were true at those respective times, they are still true today as Dan Duquette has taken the keys to the dented ’99 Ford Taurus in Birdland.

Of course, fans don’t want to hear that. Most people are like, “Are you kidding me? We’ve lost for 14 straight seasons, I can’t take anymore building. We’ve been building for a decade.”

No, no they haven’t.

The Orioles haven’t REALLY undertaken a major rebuild yet during their streak of losing seasons. Andy MacPhail had a nice start prior to 2008 when he made some key trades, but then he took a break for a while and watched teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto execute a greater rebuild even though they were already closer to competing than the O’s were at the time.

Still to this day, the O’s are in desperate need of a total organizational rebuild.

Their drafting system and strategy needs to be completely overhauled. The O’s need to re-invest heavily overseas in the Dominican, Venezuela, etc. Koji Uehara was nice in 2009, but the Orioles’ presence in the Japanese market needs to be a bit better than that. And finally, the Orioles need to develop their minor leagues the same way they did back in their glory years. Implement a system that is executed throughout each level of the minors. Establish an “Orioles Way” that is actually a model rather than a punchline.

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According to Orioles, it was MacPhail’s decision to part ways

Posted on 08 October 2011 by Peter Dilutis

It has been speculated that the hold-up surrounding Andy MacPhail’s departure was due to Orioles owner Peter Angelos wanting to keep him on board.

We all figured Angelos was giving a last minute pitch to Andy in an effort to convince him to stay.

According to the Baltimore Orioles, MacPhail could not be convinced to continue on as general manager of the team he grew up rooting for.

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I just received the O’s press release titled “Andy MacPhail elects not to return as Orioles President of Baseball Operations.”

It seems as though Peter Angelos is still fond of Andy even after leading the team to four last place finishes in MacPhail’s four full seasons in Baltimore.

“On behalf of the Orioles organization, I thank Andy for his service to the club over the last four and a half seasons,” Angelos said. “Andy’s knowledge and experience has helped lay the groundwork for our future success. I hold Andy in the highest regard and thank him for his commitment and dedication to the Orioles.”

“And on a personal level, Andy is a dear friend. He will be greatly missed, and I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Under Andy MacPhail, the Orioles really cut back on their spending, going from $95 million in 2007 (the last offseason prior to MacPhail’s arrival) to $67 million in 2008, $67 million in 2009, $73 million in 2010, and $86 million in 2011.

That can be looked as both a positive and negative. On the positive front, MacPhail stripped the Orioles of poor, long-term contracts to mediocre, aging players.

If you want to look at it with the glass half empty, the O’s didn’t go out and spend money on any really good players either.

If we are going to look back on MacPhail’s tenure in Baltimore five years from now and agree with Angelos that Andy did in fact lay the groundwork for future success, it will be because A) the young pitching that he grew actually reached its collective potential, and B) the money that the O’s pocketed over the past four seasons is reinvested into the team through a variety of avenues.

Here’s my biggest question at this point: Why would a man who grew up rooting for the Orioles and wanted so badly to return this team to glory decide to walk away after four years even though his owner wanted him back?

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With MacPhail out, what’s next for Showalter, O’s?

Posted on 07 October 2011 by Peter Dilutis

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Andy MacPhail is out as Orioles president of baseball operations and will not return to the organization in any capacity in 2012.

Buck Showalter, once expected by many to assume the role of general manager upon MacPhail’s departure, remains as manager for the time being.

My first impression is simple: What took so long? This is a move that has been expected for at least a few months, and while the obvious ultimately occurred, the Orioles stayed true to form in making the entire situation much more complicated and painful than it needed to be.

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Andy MacPhail called the shots in Baltimore for four full seasons, each resulting in a last place finish. While I think he is a solid baseball man who made some good decisions with the O’s, it became apparent over time that he was not the right man to turn this team into a contender in the American League East.

It was time for him to move on.

While Buck Showalter as general manager intrigues me, I believe he is a good baseball man and manager, and the Orioles will benefit from him staying in the dugout.

Buck is a known quantity. He is, at worst, an above average manager. It can be logically argued that moving Buck from manager to general manager, assuming the Orioles wouldn’t go out and hire a slam dunk manager, would then create two unknowns as Showalter has no experience as the main decision maker in an organization.

What this situation does create is a potentially delicate situation for whoever does replace MacPhail as the general manager, president of baseball operations, or whatever fancy title Peter Angelos decides to give the new head man.

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Season’s been over for a week, and still not a peep from the Warehouse

Posted on 06 October 2011 by Peter Dilutis

So here we are on October 6th.

The Diamondbacks and Brewers are battling it out in the ALDS as I type.

Teams like the Marlins and Red Sox who are not in the postseason are already making moves directed towards making their teams better in 2012.

And the Orioles? Well, their season has been finished now for over a week, and we have yet to hear a peep from anyone in the organization.

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Last Wednesday I sat at Camden Yards and wrote about how Buck Showalter as the Orioles’ new general manager would excite me. Showalter also made it very clear last week that he expected a resolution with regards to an organizational shakeup very quickly. In fact, he indicated last Thursday, September 29th, as the day that we would likely get word.

So let’s get this straight. Everyone in the state of Maryland knew that Andy MacPhail had no desire to remain in the Orioles organization. Buck Showalter indicated an announcement would come on September 29th.

Yet it’s October 6th, and where’s Andy? Where’s Buck? Where’s an official release?

The Orioles have known since their collapse began in late June that they would be sitting at home come September 29th. They’ve had all summer to decide what they were going to do when the offseason came.

Compare that to the Red Sox who were pencilled into the postseason up until the final minutes of the regular season, and it took them all of 48 hours to make a decision regarding Terry Francona.

It is little things like this that cause people to sour on the Orioles and to see them for what they are. No other team would go through a period like this, much less a team that has had the better part of three months to ponder their offseason decisions.

So what is the hold-up? What’s the explanation?

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Peter Angelos is trying to convince MacPhail to stay. If there was any realistic chance of MacPhail sticking around a week ago, Buck wouldn’t have been so frank about the changes that he saw forthcoming.

Now, a week later, and no changes. No announcements. No nothing.

Other teams are either playing in the postseason or making strides towards next season. At the same time, the Orioles do not know who their general manager or manager will be.

It feels like I’m saying the same thing over and over but it’s becoming so absurd I don’t know what else to even say about the situation.

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Just when I was completely down on the O’s, thoughts of Buck as GM are bringing me back

Posted on 27 September 2011 by Peter Dilutis

So we’ve all heard the rumors swirling around about Buck Showalter possibly becoming the new general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, perhaps by the end of the week.

Andy MacPhail is clearly not coming back to Birdland, and it has become increasingly obvious that the relationship between Showalter and Peter Angelos has developed in recent months. The consensus is that Buck has Peter’s ear, even if Big Pete is a little hard of hearing these days.

Most of the reaction that I’ve read and heard over the past few weeks regarding Buck as general manager (not that there has been much talk with the Ravens’ season underway) has been lukewarm at best.

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Browsing Orioles Hangout tonight, many prominent posters think Buck as GM would be a disaster. After all, he has no experience as the head man in the front office, even if he did play an instrumental part in building the Diamondbacks from expansion team to World Series champions in just four years.

But as an Orioles fan, I’d be excited about Buck Showalter hobbling on his injured ankle up the Camden Yards staircase into the front office. Here’s why…

I’ve had the chance to be around Buck Showalter for over a year now. While I do not cover the team on a regular basis as I did upon his arrival, I have certainly attended my fair share of pre and post game Showalter press conferences. And in addition, I’ve been around Buck in relaxed environments; off the record when he’s just shooting the breeze with the media, not worried about cameras or recorders picking up on his…well, honesty.

And if I’ve learned nothing else about Buck Showalter (and I’ve learned a lot about him and from him), I am sure of one thing.

Buck is a VERY smart and realistic man, and he desperately wants to win and compete for championships.

And here’s something that I didn’t have to learn about Buck Showalter: Buck doesn’t need the Orioles. His reputation is intact as a very good baseball man who has had success everywhere he’s gone. If he ends up not turning the Orioles around, the intelligent baseball people will point to the Orioles, not Buck.

So why would a man that desperately wants to win and who has made plenty of money in his career as a manager stick around a laughing stock of an organization if he felt things were going to remain status quo?

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