Anthony Amobi: Regardless of manager, players need to perform

It's been a tough two weeks for the Baltimore Orioles and we all know it. After a promising start to the season, there's been a lot of losing thanks to inconsistent pitching and a lack of offense.

After the sweep by the Yankees this weekend, a lot of fans either on sports talk radio and various places online started to question the decisions of Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

It's hard to rationalize, but there's a difference in the perception of a manager when they are either losing or winning. That fact is even more striking when many found that person to be a hero mere months ago.

Everyone knows that new additions Derrek Lee, Vladmir Guerrero and Mark Reynolds have struggled at the plate since the start of the season. As well, a few of the faces of the franchise - Nick Markakis and Adam Jones - have been scuffling, too.

Before we forget, when the season started, many felt that Buck Showalter was the best thing to happen to the franchise in a very long time. It's safe to say that he had a considerable influence over the Orioles over the final two months of the 2010 season. The fans believed it and so did much of the media, local and national.

Frankly, the Orioles were a horrible team - close to being historically so, until Showalter suited up in August. Now, even though Showalter acquired the same talent that deposed managers Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel had, the players responded to him.

After Showalter debuted as the Orioles' manager, everyone saw improved pitching, defense and clutch hitting. The players seemed prepared, they won more than they lost and fans were hoping for a return to prominence - and national relevance - for the Orioles.

One could also say that Showalter is the public and yes, marketing face, for the Orioles right now. He is currently seen in commercials for MASN, his face is plastered on billboards around the region; furthermore, he probably got the loudest cheers of anyone on opening day.

He called out his rivals through the media and Orioles fans ate it up.

Even though Showalter acquired pretty much the same talent that Trembley and Samuel had last season, he did what a revolving door of managers could not do since the late 1990s: win, inspire and bring hope to a proud, but now downtrodden franchise.

However, some fans feel differently about Showalter now considering what has happened over the past two weeks. Whether the feeling is temporary, or permanent, we don't know. Only time will tell.

It's not fair to judge a manager on only a few weeks of work, especially when he has a successful track record.

When all is said and done, a manager can only do so much to inspire his team and win; at some point, the players have to respond and perform.

Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's will appear this week as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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