Can Buck revive the “Oriole Way”?


Buck Showalter was introduced today as the new manager of the Baltimore Orioles. The move gives the Orioles a chance to regain some respectability within the baseball industry. It may also give them a chance to return to a philosophy that valued player development, strong fundamentals and pitching, the much ballyhooed “Oriole Way”.

The term “Oriole Way” is thrown a round quite a bit in Birdland, you’re welcome MASN, but it means different things to different people. I think some fans refer to the “Oriole Way” as just winning baseball. It doesn’t matter what it looks like just win and we’ll call it a return of the “Oriole Way”.

In reality the “Oriole Way” was an organizational philosophy of the right way to play the game that was instilled from the lowest levels of the minors to the major league team. The focus was on developing smart players with strong fundamentals and developing pitching in-house (Grow the arms). If you listen closely to Jim Palmer’s comments during games you’ll pick up on some aspects of the “Oriole Way”; things like “work fast, throw strikes, don’t get beat on anything other than your best pitch”. The “Oriole Way” may be more commonly be referred to these days as the “Ripken Way”. Certainly if you listen to Cal or Billy, or read any of Cal’s books, you’ll find yourself saying, “Amen! Why can’t the Orioles play like that?”

Showalter is known for his attention to detail and to be a bit of a task master. He’ll instill his own philosophy, but I’d expect at least a few names from the O’s glory years to be a part of his staff. The names Billy Ripken, Mike Bordick and BJ Surhoff have been bandied about over the past few days. Any, or all, of them would be great additions for their intensity, credibility, and knowledge. There have also been rumors floating around about Cal Ripken returning to the organization in some capacity. Cal would seem like the perfect Director of Player Development. Cal Sr. was the father of the original “Oriole Way”, it would be very fitting for his son to bring it back.

Buck Showalter can’t right this ship overnight, or by himself, but with the help of people like the Ripkens, Mike Bordick and BJ Surhoff this organization and a return of the “Oriole Way” may stand a puncher’s chance. At this point it’s only hope.