Buck Showalter Is Spinning His Managerial Magic One More Time
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Buck Showalter has a knack of coming in when a franchise is down and rebuilding the team within 2-3 years after. He started with the struggling Yankees back in the early 90’s and almost brought them to the promise land a couple of times. The Players Strike cost him a chance in the 1994 season and he was on the back-end of a hot 1995 Seattle Mariners club, (who were left for dead and caught lightning in a bottle with the emergence of Randy Johnson.) Showalter was blamed for not being able to reach the stars on the club even though he was a master tactician with young players. Don Mattingly quickly retired and a new wave of young players were meshing with the old stars . The Yankees went onto hire Joe Torre, while Buck was left to view the club win 4 World Series in 5 years and make 6 out of 7 World Series Appearances overall. Showalter’s managerial record was 313-268 with the Yankees.
Joe Torre was a great manager, however I am of the belief that if Buck Showalter was given one more chance with the PinStripers, that he would have succeeded. So Showalter went to the Arizona DiamondBacks 2 years before the franchise was even playing so he could hit the ground running, From the get go, the D’Backs brass were willing to sign premier free-agents. In the second year of the club’s existence, Showalter took the team to a playoff appearance with a 100-62 record- and was was named NL Manager of the Year. He left the club after the 2000 season. Bob Brenly swept into the fray and reaped the benefits of all the hard work put forth by Showalter, by winning a World Series with the D’Backs in 2001. Showalter was left to watch from a distance yet again. Actually it was his two former teams in the World Series of 2001 as the D’backs ousted the Yankees in 7 games. Showalter left the Arizona franchise with a 250-236 record.
Showalter’s stay in Texas from 2003-2006 was quite mixed. I must point out that soon after he took over the reigns of the team, they decided to trade their best player in Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano. The Rangers then owner, Tom Hicks was bracing himself in financial ruins and was slashing payroll. He still managed to mold some productive young players such as Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock. In 2004, the club sprinted out of the gate and was in contention all year, but were in a tough division with the Angels, Mariners (yes the Mariners were a good team in the early ote’s with Lou Piniella) and the Money Ball A’s had great pitching. Showalter reeled in his second Manager of the Year. When it all boils down to the question whether Showalter was able to max out the talent in Texas, I would have to say no. Buck went 319-329 (.493) for his 4 year stint with the Rangers.
For the next few years, Showalter worked as an ESPN analyst until the Baltimore Orioles came calling with their .300 winning percentage into the month of August in the 2010 season. Showalter showed immediate dividends with this horrific club-by going 34-23 down the stretch and gave the Baltimore faithful some hope for the future. Last year was a disappointing finish despite several young individuals making key strides in their development. This year has been unbelievable for the Orioles Manager and he will duel Bob Melvin of the Athletics for his 3rd Manager of the Year Award. This Orioles Team has won 13 straight extra inning games (the longest such streak since the 1995 Indians), and his team sports the best record in the MLB for 1 run games this year. Showalter has mixed and matched his lineup, battled injuries, shuffled pitchers (most notably starting chuckers) back and forth between the minors all season long in order to maintain a competitive team at all times.
He has weaved and maneuvered his bullpen to amongst the best in baseball this campaign. The Orioles have no guy lighting the world on fire, although Adam Jones has had a really solid year. The players that have rotated in the lineup have seemed to come up with clutch hits, Cast-offs from other organizations like Lew Ford and Nate McLouth have had several game winning hits. Mark Reynolds went on an HR brigade against the Yankees and the rest of the AL.
If I may, in describe putting a team together by comparing it to cooking up a dinner. It shows you that you can cook a meal with just enough of this and that out of your fridges leftovers to make it all a fantastic meal, while others cook the left overs in their fridges and it is called and labelled “TILT”. If you are the Baltimore Orioles, that is your shopping list for groceries, as oppose to other teams in the MLB that have the luxury of starting with gourmet meals on deck to serve-and can only mess it up by not paying attention to details while cooking. While other teams have the steak, the Orioles have provided the sizzle!
The Orioles have an atrocious run differential of -24 heading into play Sunday, yet they are 17 games over .500-and still hold onto the 2nd Wild Card Position with a 2.5 Games lead on Tampa Bay, 3 Games Lead on Los Angeles and a 3.5 Games Lead on the Tigers. It will be hard to keep the charge up down the stretch as they have 7 games only remaining at home and 10 games on the road (including the series finale against the #1 Wild Card Team the A’- in which they have lost the 1st two games in.) After today, they do play the Red Sox 6 more times and the Blue Jays and Mariners 3 games each. There are some definite winnable games. The Yankees have a similar schedule and the Bronx Bombers play 10 games at home. I think the Yankees will clinch the division down the stretch. The Orioles definitely are in the driver’s seat for the 2nd Wild Card. They still have to play the Tampa Bay Rays on the final weekend of the year. Something tells me that Buck will have to save his finest spinning of magic of the year for that series in order for the club to have a chance to play in the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
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Posted on September 17, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged alex rodriguez, alfonso soriano, angels, atizona diamondbacks, baltimore orioles, Bob Brenly, Bob Melvin, buck showalter, don mattingly, hank blalock, Lew ford, manager of the year, mark reynolds, mark teixeira, mlb, moneyball, nate mclouth, new york yankees, oakland a's, randy johnson, red sox, seattle mariners, tampa bay rays, texas rangers, tom hicks. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.