BALTIMORE – “My daughter is due very soon,” Buck Showalter explained to the Orioles press sitting in the pre-game interview at 4PM. He polled the room. “Are any of you grandparents? What do your grandchildren call you?” A few reporters raised their hands. “Pa.” “Papa.” The answers came in. “Pa? Papa?” Buck paused… “I am thinking G Daddy.”
There was an air about Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night. A serene calm that hung in the air. And it proliferated down from the players to the security guards. The season has officially hit its groove.
A third of the way through the season, summer baseball is about to take hold and before we know it, crisp October games will be in full swing. On this day, credit ought to be given to Buck.
Buck Showalter is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. The manager clearing the brush and helping to build the foundation for the Yankees Dynasty of the late 90’s, Buck was fired in 1995. The Yankees won their first of four consecutive championships the next year. The same fate in Arizona. Like Moses, he took the Diamondbacks to the mountain overlooking the Promised Land, only to be fired the year before they defeated the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
After a stop with the Texas Rangers, Buck landed in Baltimore. With patience from ownership and a commitment to the process, Buck made the O’s a perennial contender. In his eight years at the helm the O’s have made the post-season three times constantly in the mix in baseball’s toughest division.
Last night, just listening to him it was evident how he keeps his team focused. He discussed the acquisition of former Met and Yankee, Reuben Tejada. Buck did his research. First he called Mets manager Terry Collins to find out about Reuben. Then he hit the injury records, knowing that Tejada was at the center of the Chase Utley’s 2015 NLDS Game 2 takeout slide. He informed the room that Tejada has never had surgery on his knees. Much to his surprise.
Gauging the room had no more questions, Buck took the onus upon himself. Was anyone watching the College World Series? Finding no takers, he rattled off the teams in the Regional Round matchups from memory.
Still no takers. “I spent time in the draft room yesterday.” Nothing. “I guess you guys only care about them once they get here.” The room chuckled then silenced. Buck was not deterred. “Do you eat that sinew, the part that is not quite shell on the crab?”
Everyone was in. “Who has the best crab cakes in Baltimore?” After some rapid fire from the audience, there was agreement on Friendly Farms.
As his Orioles took the field, fell behind, tied the game in the bottom of the 9th and walked it off in the 10th, William Nathaniel Showalter III never wavered. Buck is a man of the people and baseball runs in his blood.
G Daddy deserves some praise.