Buck Showalter Comments Were Just “Envy And Jealousy,” Wants Orioles To Get To The Yankees And Red Sox LevelMarch 28, 2011 – 8:00 am by Steven Cuce
There is no question regarding Buck Showalter’s managing abilities. He’s generally been perceived as the guy who builds up organizations long enough that he never sticks around to see the end results come to fruition. If you look at Buck Showalter’s time spent in the Bronx (1992-95), he helped build up the New York Yankees along with Gene “Stick” Michael before the team became the dynasty of the late 1990′s. His second managing stint was with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000) before they won their first World Series crown in 2001. Even in Texas (2003-06), Buck managed the team up to respectability and last season the organization made the World Series.
Making noise with the Baltimore Orioles has been a point of emphasis for Showalter. On July 29th of 2010, Showalter succeeded Juan Samuel as Baltimore Orioles manager, inheriting the worst record in baseball at a staggering 32-73, and finished the 2010 campaign at 34-23 which was the best record among AL East teams during that stretch. Now Showalter has made some noise with his recent comments to Men’s Journal magazine regarding Derek Jeter’s exaggerated movement in the batters box and Theo Epstein not being that smart because his team has one of the highest payrolls in baseball.
Are these comments really anything ground breaking to baseball fans? They shouldn’t be. Showalter is letting everyone around the league know the Baltimore Orioles are not to be messed with this season.
Buck Showalter joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York to discuss the comments he made regarding Derek Jeter and Theo Epstein in the April Issue of Men’s Journal, if he really yelled at Derek Jeter from the dugout last season, if he’s jealous of competing against teams with money like the Yankees and Red Sox, how much of his quick success with Baltimore last year is real for this year, his thoughts on the Yankees and Red Sox this season and if there’s one player he could single out for the Orioles that’s going to have big year who would it be.
I see this story that says “Showalter rips Derek Jeter and Theo Epstein,” so I run to see this story and you said nothing that we don’t know? You’re basically saying other teams aren’t going to come into Camden Yards anymore and have a picnic?
“Well I just want our pitchers to have a mentality of you know about their presentation and about you know here’s mine. Let me see what you got working? That doesn’t…you gotta have good stuff. You know Mike [Francesa], no one has more respect for people that can do it year in and year out regardless of how they do it than me. You know how I love Derek [Jeter] and the things he brings. Everybody would love to have him. It’s one of those things you’re sitting there having a casual conversation, the same conversation we’ve had all over baseball just about everyday. A lot of it is envy and jealousy. We want to get to their [New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox] level. It’s right there in front of us every day.”
So in your dugout you did yell at Derek Jeter last year? Were your guys shocked you would yell at Derek Jeter while up at-bat?
“Oh it’s kind of…I don’t know if yell… it’s kind of tongue-and-cheek. He gets a lot of it [tongue-and-cheek] because you know he’s the guy everybody likes to emulate, like to see their team play like. Derek is one of those guys that his substance is his style, not his style being his substance. The only way…I’ve said this about Don Mattingly, the only way he equates whether or not he’s had a good day at the park is whether the New York Yankees win a baseball game. When we can get our guys to emulate the way he [Derek Jeter] approaches his day at work we’re going to be in good shape.”
And about Theo [Epstein]. Bottom line is if I’m working against the Yankees or the Red Sox I’d be a little jealous too because [Brian] Cashman and Theo [Epstein] do have advantages?
“But you know what Mike, from their standpoint though one thing is there’s such a thing as playing a good hand well. I don’t think anyone has done that better than guys like Joe Torre, Charlie Manuel…you know it’s one of the tougher things to do when you’re expected to do well and you do. That’s…I have a lot of respect for people to be able to do that because the mental edge you kind of lose when you’re the little engine that could as opposed to the guy that doesn’t catch anyone by surprise. Those guys do it year in and year out. That’s where we’re all trying to get to. It’s a tough call.”
You came in last season, had immediate success and turned things around. How much of that is real? How much of that translates into this year?
“Well I hate to belabor the same point, one thing I will say I think for the first time all year the team that Andy [MacPhail] and Dave Trembley envisioned on the field from a health standpoint was there and I was lucky the timing was such. I also think our guys got a little tired of getting beat up on. In baseball, because you play so many games things can snowball for awhile. I’ve been fortunate enough to manage teams that won one-hundred games. We lost five or six in a row that year. You know our expansion year [Arizona Diamondbacks] we lost ninety-five and we won five or six in a row, so you gotta keep a grip on reality and know who you are and know where you are in the scheme, but I chuckle when I hear football coaches say they weren’t ready to play this week. I mean try playing over two-hundred games including spring training. There are no “Cinderellas” in our sport. You’re strength and weaknesses will show up.”
Give me your thoughts on the Yankees and Red Sox? How do you separate them?
“Well I love the Yankees “What If?,” so to speak. That’s another thing they’re able to do. They bring in the [Mark] Prior’s, you know I can name four or five other guys that they [New York Yankees] are able to resourcefully bring in and make sure that they cover. Some guys they hit on because of their health and track record. It hit me the other day playing the Yankees, everybody has been…there’s been a lot of buzz conversation about the Red Sox this offseason and rightfully so. The lineup they run out there is pretty staggering, but the Yankees are pretty good Mike. I’ll tell you what I looked around and said wait a minute this is a pretty good…you know if you put infield vs. infield those are two great infields. I like where they are. If their [Yankees] catching settles in the Red Sox are going to have their hands full believe me.”
If there’s one guy on your team that you want to single out that’s going to have a breakout season for the Orioles who would it be? What guy looks really good this spring that makes you say “Wow I can’t wait to see him play this year?”
“Well I tell you there’s not a day that goes by I don’t realize what a baseball player Nick Markakis is. The pride that Matt Wieters takes in catching and calling a baseball game. I’m so proud of him [Matt Wieters] at a 24-year old age, grasping, you know he’s going to get four at-bats a night,he’s gonna put down between two hundred decisions behind the plate. He [Matt Wieters] gets the math, but Markakis as much as people respect him and I don’t think that many people know how good of a baseball player this guy is.”