I enjoy reading Joe Janish‘s take on the New York Mets and baseball in general over at MetsToday.com.
Today he wrote about why the Baltimore Orioles are still playing, while some of the supposed “best teams in baseball” will be able to watch the rest of the post-season on TV.
Manager Buck Showalter instituted a winning program in 2010. There wasn’t a “rebuilding.” There wasn’t any talk about payroll flexibility nor fiscal responsibility. There wasn’t an expectation of losing seasons while they got their s*it together. There wasn’t any yakkety-yak about building from within nor over-hype of prospects to placate the fan base. Rather, Buck Showalter joined Baltimore and changed the focus of the organization. It was not unlike Vince Lombardi’s influence on the Green Bay Packers way back when — winning was the goal, and winning isn’t an outcome, it’s a process, it’s a habit. Yes, the Orioles had one rough year in 2011 while making the conversion from whatever was happening before to winning. Now, though, they’re a juggernaut, despite a cast of characters that changes every year, every month, and every week. Parts are interchangeable because everyone knows the goal, knows what they need to do, and are put into situations in which they can succeed. Pitchers make pitches, fielders execute, batters put the ball in play. It’s baseball at its simplest, much like we witnessed in Atlanta during the Bobby Cox years.
Don’t you want to see that kind of culture-change take hold in Queens?
3 thoughts on “Joe Janish on why the Baltimore Orioles are a team to watch”
Both Dan Duquette and his predecessor Andy MacPhail have undoubtedly made some astute moves to build the Orioles roster, but there’s no question that Buck is the linchpin of that team. He makes sure that the team is truly a team, all pulling in the same direction, and not just a collection of 25 guys. I can’t think of any non-trite ways of describing what I’ve seen with this team, other than I would absolutely love to have Buck running the Mets… but not at the expense of the Orioles. There would have to be cloning involved, or perhaps an evil twin.
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I’d love to see Terry Collins figure out how to implement that kind of team-first, winning culture with the Mets even though it’s pretty unrealistic to expect a big shift in his fifth season.
With the possible exception of Bruce Bochy, I can’t think of any active manager who does anything like what Buck Showalter can pull off.
I believe that, while the Jerry Manuel firing watch was on during the 2010 season, Buck Showalter was mentioned as a candidate to replace him in Flushing. But, the Orioles hired him late summer in 2010 and Buck’s name was taken off the boards.
I felt that he might have succeeded with the NY Mets, but I guess we’ll never know. Will Terry Collins take it to the next level? We will see.
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