Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bitter Showalter a real bummer for Orioles

Have the troubles of the Baltimore Orioles finally driven Buck Showalter off the deep end?

Perhaps it’s the stress of managing a team that is now 31 games behind the first-place New York Yankees (boy, does that feel good to say!), but Showalter really seems to be losing it. He has said some things recently that were completely out of line.

The worst comment was when Showalter accused the Yankees of being disrespectful to former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan, who committed suicide right before their recent series in Baltimore. The Yankees and Orioles engaged in a bitter war of words over the O’s refusal to play a day-night doubleheader during the first day of the series in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. But as Michael Kay and Joe Girardi discussed on the most recent episode of the manager’s show, the Yankees weren’t even aware of the tragedy at the time the doubleheader suggestion was first made.

I thought it was despicable that Showalter invoked Flanagan's name in the context of this dispute, but I was willing to write that off as sadness and just plain raw emotion over the tragic news of Flanagan’s suicide. I have less patience for Showalter’s dismissal of the impressive performance of young Jesus Montero, who hit two homers and had the game-winning RBI in yesterday’s game. Showalter reluctantly acknowledged Montero’s talent before taking a swipe at the Yankees benefitting from their higher payroll. Aside from being unnecessarily hostile, Showalter’s comments made absolutely no sense as Montero is not (yet) a big-money player and is a homegrown Yankee product.

I don't remember Showalter being this bitter when he was the Yankees manager in 1995 and had young, talented players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte on his radar and roster. Perhaps Showalter’s resentment toward the Yankees has to do with the way he was dumped by then-owner George Steinbrenner, which is perfectly understandable. Showalter deserves some of the credit for laying the groundwork for the 1990s Yankees dynasty so maybe he’s upset that he hasn’t been given the recognition he feels he deserves.

Or maybe the losing ways of the Orioles have finally taken their toll on their manager. But he really shouldn’t be so bitter about that since he knew what he was getting himself into.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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