8

An open letter to Buck Showalter

By on April 19

This time was supposed to be different. And as soon as you arrived, it was. The team magically began playing better, seemingly just because you expected them to. And those expectations gave us, gave me, hope. But hope is a fragile thing, especially among those who have too often seen theirs shattered. What’s left of ours is all but lost, but the worst part is that I’m not sure I believe anymore than you can save it.

You see, it’s not even primarily the losing the bothers me. Though, of course, the losing bothers me a lot. To be blunt, the team’s performance recently has been nothing short of embarrassing and unacceptable.  But no, what it is that really bothers me, what really erodes my faith in the team, is the nonchalant acceptance of that failure, the almost passive attitude towards it.  Apart from being completely distasteful to those who have heard enough promises of a better tomorrow and grown completely tired of waiting for that day, what these words say to us as fans is that the team doesn’t care as much as we do. Maybe that’s wrong, maybe that’s unfair, but when you’ve suffered as much as we have, it’s reality.  So if you’re not going to deliver on the results, at least give us accountability.

Yeah I know, you keep telling us that these guys have ‘track records’ and that they’ll figure it out. The problem with that is that it sounds too much like the same loser mentality we’ve heard for the past 13 years, and not at all like the tone you had when you first arrived. You’re the one who reminded us that today is always the day to get the job done right and showed us that success isn’t a product of inevitability but rather preparation. You showed us that things don’t get better until you demand that they do. It seems to me like accepting subpar performances, and in my opinion, efforts, is not only destined to beget more failure but also contradicts everything you stand for.

Early on, you said that you understood that there are fans out there who live and die with the team, with every pitch. You claimed you understood that there is a special covenant between the fans and the team, and that as manager it was up to you to ensure the team lived up to its end of the bargain, because the fans had suffered enough. What happened to that?

We’re still here. And there are many of us who probably aren’t going anywhere no matter what happens. But if you want us there shouting down Yankees fans, then be prepared for our anger and frustration at times like these, because passion is a two way street. We haven’t given up on you or the team yet, but it’s time to stop making excuses and start making things right.

We deserve better.  And we deserve it now.

8 Responses to “An open letter to Buck Showalter”

  1. Paul O. says:

    This is the first post that I fully agree with! Bravo. I have so many questions for Buck.
    I want to know why people aren’t walked intentionally in a tight inning with nobody on first to create a double play opportunity. I want to know why he feels like Gregg and Gonzo need to keep coming into tight ballgames. I want to know why he isn’t at the top step yelling at these guys. I want to know why he hasn’t drastically changed the lineup. I want to know why he isn’t furious about their “Dave Trembley” style losing streak. We have SOOO much talent on this team, and it goes unused. What isn’t Pie playing DH if Vlad is struggling? Pie is a talent super star in the making. I don’t know why others don’t see that.
    I could see him putting up offensive numbers to rival Jones if given 550 AB. It is about time to share that motivational video with the fans. cmon Buck. Maybe Brady can some and pass out amphetamines and steriods. Seems like we need it. Jake Fox should not be behind the plate EVER. Markakis got drilled last night…but it didn’t appear to be intentional…still Buck…why weren’t you pissed? Or were you and I just didn’t notice because I found the commercials on another channel more interesting than leaving RUNNERS ON BASE!
    Anyway…I’m going to be parked right back in front of the TV or radio tonight again giving you another chance. I have nothing to lose. If we can’t do anything with a good manager and gobs of talent then we will never win.

  2. Kyle R says:

    Could not agree with you more, Mark. Good analysis! I was at The Yard last night and it just seems that there isn’t any fire and/or compassion coming out of the dugout from Showalter. I would just love to see him chew a player out for making a poor defensive error or at least do something to show the fans that he’s angry. Those blank stares and non-expressions (even the post game interviews) really don’t prove to me that he’s all there. They need something to wake up these hitters. ANYTHING!

    After Kevin Gregg came in and just blew the game out of reach, I stayed and watched knowing that the chances were not good. Then, when Luke Scott homered in the bottom on the ninth with two outs to cut the lead to two runs, the only thought going through my head was, “so what”. I didn’t even stand up, I felt ashamed in myself for not celebrating but at the same time I realized that it would take an absolute miracle for this team to score 2 more runs. 20 runs in the last 8 games is completely atrocious, and to think we are going to score 2 more runs in the ninth with 2 outs. Not going to happen and it didn’t!

    I sure hope that someone does SOMETHING to pick this team up. If not, we are in for another long season. I have faith that the bats will eventually heat up and that the team will start playing winning baseball again.

    Just put 5-6 runs up a game and we are talking about playing competitive baseball. Averaging 2.5 runs a game over the last 8 games is truly unacceptable!

    Nice write-up Mark! It is nice to see that there are other Orioles fans out there that truly care about the team. Let’s just hope that in August we can look back on this losing streak and say, “Yeah all those loses early on sucked, but at least now we are playing Good, Quality, Baseball!”.

    Take care!

  3. Mark
    Mark says:

    There’s no reason for us to be ashamed of our frustration. Not anymore. Not after 13 years. No, it’s time for them to start earning all the devotion we give to them and giving us a reason to beileve in them, not just taking for granted that we will.

    Just like both of you, I haven’t lost my passion for the team, but I want more. I want to be able expect us to do things right, not wait for something bad to happen. And if nothing else, that’s the feeling that I think Buck brought with him instantly on his arrival. Let’s hope he can bring it back, starting tonight. Bring it on Twins.

  4. Adam
    Adam says:

    This is well said, sir. Very, very well said.

    Of all the things that Showalter said last night during the post-game interview that got to me, his defense of Kevin Gregg hurt the most. How anyone could judge his body of work this year as anything other than awful is beyond me.

    It almost feels like to get back on the right track, it’s going to take a herculean effort from one of the starters to just lock it down for 9 innings. I’ve always thought that Jake Arrieta had the potential to be a big game pitcher, so maybe he can get it going tonight. I really hope so.

  5. Paul O. says:

    Adam, out of curiosity, where does your faith in Arrieta come from? Have you seen something I have not? I think he will be a good pitcher, but I see Matusz being our guy moreso than Arrieta. Again, Just curious. I catch most of the games on the radio, so I can’t see his stuff per se.

  6. Adam
    Adam says:

    Hey Paul,

    Good question. I’m sure that you have heard and read everything I have, if not more. My feeling that Arrieta could become a good “big game” pitcher has more to do with that often overused gloss of “makeup”. In my opinion, his attitude and approach to pitching are fairly different from those of the other young pitchers.

    I agree with you that I think Matusz’s ceiling is sky high, and he might be our best everyday pitcher, but I think when it really matters, I could see Arrieta establishing himself as the guy who actually pitches a little better when the lights get brighter. It’s partially his repertoire, but mostly just the way he carries himself.

    It seems to me that he’s not afraid to go right after people, and he definitely has a more assertive personality than some of the other young guys, which I actually like. While I think Matusz is more understated (a la Greg Maddux) I think Arrieta could be the guy who wills himself to greatness by drawing on emotion. Maybe it’s the Texas connection, or maybe I view him as feeling a bit spurned by being taken so late in the draft despite having really good stuff, but he definitely stands out to me in the way he carries himself and answers questions. And I think it’s actually a really good thing.

    I think this quote, taken from a Baltimore Sun article in 2010 helps to demonstrate his mindset:

    “As far as trying to live up to expectations, I like that. It makes me work harder. There are all these people who expect great things from you, and I want to give it to them.”

    It’s just little things like that that make me see him the way I do. That is how winners talk.

  7. Jon says:

    Watched the game tonight from home. Another game with no offense. Where is everybody? One guy over 300? And he has 22 at bats. Wieters is starting to come around but c’mon. I thought we were supposed to have the bats this year? What’s the deal?

    Can I get a post on this? Are we just in a slump or are we that bad?

    Looking at April’s schedule, it’s tough, but when you’re in the AL East, you know what you’re up against. Let’s get the bats out of the Rambox and hit some damn balls!

  8. Paul says:

    Adam,

    Thanks for the explanation. It turns out that 2 hours after I made that post I saw why Arrieta is so good. He really brought his stuff that evening. I want to see these arms improve. I would be happy with a 4.20 ERA for an entire season. Next year get under 4.
    Etc.

Leave a Reply