Thursday, August 5, 2010
What the Buck?
The O's hire Buck Showalter and win his first 2 games as manager. Even more shocking, they actually looked like a fundamentally sound baseball team doing it, too.
Buck had the team doing infield before the game, and the result has been good -- two games played under Showalter, no errors and no major brain farts. And the O's are even starting to collectively hit.
So did Buck snap his fingers and make this team better than the 31-73 team it was before he arrived?
I liken Showalter's presence in the dugout to a pissed off father removing his belt when his kids have been goofing off. Funny how that always seems to get them back in line really quick.
All season long, Jim Palmer has continuously laid into the Orioles' lazy work ethic and blahzay mental state. He said they didn't work hard and weren't bothered by the losing. Well, Buck's here now and he's not going to take it. And for two games, it looks like it's working.
That doesn't mean that all the Orioles' problems have suddenly been fixed. These players need to buy into Buck's philosophy and his demands that they play the game hard. Some will buy in and some won't. It's just the way it goes.
What I am looking for in the final 50 games is a prolonged level of competition. The schedule over that 50 game stretch is brutal. If the Orioles are even close to finishing the season on a high note, the city of Baltimore should throw them a parade.
And that brings me to the 2007 Rays. In the final 56 games, the Rays went 26-30 -- still nothing to write home about, but for a team that was 40-66 (.377) in its first 106 games, a .464 finish to the season was noticeable improvement.
We all know what happened with the 2008 Rays.
OK, I know what you are saying. A decent finish to the season doesn't mean the O's will be playing in the World Series next year. I am not that crazy. All I am saying is that some measured improvement over these next two months can carry over to next season. Combine that with Buck's first offseason and spring training, and the 2011 season may turn out to be more like what we thought the 2010 season was going to be about -- noticeable improvement over an entire season.
But I'm not holding my breath. Like I said, the schedule to finish the season is extremely tough. But....and I do mean but... if the O's can show a pulse until the final game of the season, they just might hook me in again for the next season.
Because a few days ago I was ready to burn all my O's gear and call it quits.
Not so much anymore.