Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter’s team not hungry enough?
There are several marks of the Baltimore Orioles under Buck Showalter that we all know and love. You know them as well as I do: play unitl the final out, never give up, etc. Those types of monikers helped the “Fighting Showalters” to earn a spot in the playoffs in 2012 for the first time since 1997, and of course win the AL East in 2014. But why has it not been enough this year?
Courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
You’re never going to hear me say that there’s a lack of effort on the part of the players (or coaches for that matter). I would submit that it’s incredibly unfair of any journalist or even fan to suggest such a thing. Fans can and do say things like that in fits of anger at the team, and that’s okay. However I’m not a professional athlete – I’m just not. I can shoot a mean jump shot if I put my mind to it, but as a competitor in a game I’m pretty poor.
My point isn’t to point out my shortcomings as an athlete. Believe me, I’m aware of them! However what I’m saying is that I feel it’s unfair of me to sit here behind a computer and suggest to a professional in his field that he isn’t trying hard enough or isn’t giving the effort necessary. That’s not to say that we’ve never seen efforts out of some team that weren’t borderline unprofessional, however not out of this group.
So then what is the issue this season? We all know the qualifiers of they let Cruz, Markakis, and Miller walk. That’s a different discussion for another day. But is it not possible that there are other teams out there who are just a bit hungrier than these Baltimore Orioles? I don’t mean that in the sense that the Birds aren’t hungry – because I think they were pretty disgusted with last year’s ALCS. But are there people out there who might just have a bit more edge?
Toronto obviously comes to mind, as do the New York Yankees. Keep in mind that New York is an organization that is used to winning over a long period of time. However they’ve also heard stories in the national media about how they’re an aging bunch with little to no direction. At a certain point, that weighs on guys.
And in Toronto’s case, they’ve had no success since winning the World Series in 1993. Furthermore, they’ve made it their personal crusade to battle the Orioles at every step of the way – both on and off the field. They, along perhaps even with the Kansas City Royals, seeed to take the Orioles’ seeing success somewhat personally.
And you can throw in any number of other organizations; Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, NY Mets, etc. The all seem to be seeing some sort of upstart success, yet the Orioles haven’t been able to sustain that this season. So…are these organizations just better?
You can call it whatever you’d like I suppose. However I would submit that the players on those teams might be just a little hungrier than the Orioles – this year, that is. And that doesn’t mean that top to bottom that’s the case; the Birds have several players who want to win, and win now. But the fact is that if your organization isn’t the hungriest or the hungry, sometimes other teams who might or might not have comparable talent can overstep you. The Orioles need to ensure that doesn’t become a years’ long trend.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Norfolk wins the pennant!