Buck Showalter: The American League Manager of the Year?
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
On this date four years ago, the Baltimore Orioles lost their 87th game of the year and had the worst record in the American League (53-87). New manager, Buck Showalter was still settling in to his new team. When Showalter was hired by the Orioles, he had the resume of helping struggling ball clubs learn who to win again.
Fans were optimistic, yet doubtful that Showalter could give this seemingly “hopeless” team some hope.
Fast forward four years later and would you believe the Baltimore Orioles would have the largest division lead in all of baseball with ten games and also have the second best record in all of baseball? Of course not. Believe it or not though it is true. The 2012 Orioles had “Orioles Magic” on their side in winning one-run and extra-inning ball games. The 2013 Orioles struggled in winning those close games. The 2014 Orioles are just flat-out GOOD! This is due in large part to the job Buck Showalter has done in managing this team.
The 2014 Birds do not have a big name ace, like Clayton Kershaw. They are a one-dimensional team who hit a lot of home runs with pitchers who won’t have outstanding performances.
In Showalter’s system, though, it works. Showalter focuses on defense. And that defensive mindset has put the Orioles atop the Amercan League East and atop Major League Baseball. Just like the teams of the 60s and 70s, give the Orioles pitchers a four-run cushion and it is game over.
Now with an American League East Title basically a sure thing, it is time to start thinking about Buck Showalter being considered for the American League Manager of the Year. Showalter “resurrected” baseball in Baltimore and it is time Major League Baseball recognizes this.
Thank you Buck for making people care about baseball again in Baltimore!