Did Davey Johnson “punk” the Orioles?


Let me preface all of this by saying that I always have been and always will be a Davey Johnson fan. My Dad always like him as the Orioles’ second baseman, and I liked him as a manager even prior to his return to Baltimore in 1996. Then of course he took to the O’s to the playoffs in 1996-97 before resigning…we all know the story. Johnson of course was rightfully voted as the National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday by the BBWAA after his amazing season as the skipper of the Washington Nationals. Having said that, did he take a parting shot at the Orioles as he accepted the award?

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post penned this article regarding Johnson’s award earlier this week. One of the quotes from Johnson was as follows:

“There’s two ways I could have got fired. One, if I don’t win the pennant. Two, if I win manager of the year. I can relax until spring. I haven’t got any immediate calls from the ownership that they don’t want me back.”

(For the record, Kilgore’s article was in my opinion very fair and very well-written, however I don’t think it was the original source of that quote.) I ronically, Johnson resigned as Orioles manager on the very day he was named Manager of the Year in 1997. As I said above, I won’t get into details regarding that situation which in effect was a disagreement between Johnson and Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos. I think that most Orioles fans had Johnson’s back at the time, and I suspect that they probably still do…with regard to that situation. However was it really necessary on his part to take a shot like that at a team and an owner that bears no relevance to his own at this point in time? The Orioles should be just that…the Baltimore Orioles.

Here’s the other thing; I suspect that most Orioles fans are happy for their former skipper in that he’s having success someplace. Some people might argue that Johnson took more of a poke at Peter Angelos as opposed to at the Orioles or the Orioles fans, and I would submit that’s a good point. However while many Orioles fans might disapprove of some of Angelos’ tactics over the years, I think there’s also the impression that “he’s part of Baltimore, and in truth only Baltimoreans have the right to criticize him.” So for a guy representing another team to take a pot shot at Peter Angelos during his moment of glory comes across as somewhat bush league and overly personal.

I don’t believe that Johnson has anything against the Orioles’ organization, the players, Buck Showalter, or most importantly the fans. In fact, he stated this season that he had mended fences with Angelos himself at a certain point as well. That’s why I was surprised to hear of a comment of that nature from Johnson. Had Buck Showalter won the American League Manager of the Year award I highly doubt that he would have said something to the effect of “a huge part of this was our team taking four-out-of-six games in the Beltway series against the Nationals.” I’ve always believed that there was a right way and a wrong way to go about everything, including winning. For the most part in his career in baseball, Davey Johnson’s a guy that’s gone about it the right way. That was one instance where he spoke out of turn in my opinion.