I remember hearing the news last season that the Orioles had signed Buck Showalter as the new manager and I, along with everyone else, got really excited.
After reading up on his history as a manager, winning American League Manager of the Year twice, and for being known for turning struggling teams into playoff contenders, I thought, 'Wow, this could really be the final piece to this franchise puzzle.' After all, we had the core, young players, the young, prospective pitching staff and the proven manager. It was finally our time.
With that mindset, the team took off to a 34-23 record to end the season, which was the best record over that time span besides the Phillies. Coming into this season, there was even more hype about how much potential the Orioles had. On everyone's minds was: "Could they make a play for a wild card berth in the playoffs? Could they have a winning season, finally? Could they get out of the AL East basement?"
Yes, I among all of you was extremely optimistic about this season because Baltimore fans are really good at being optimistic, too optimistic that is. But it looks as if we all spoke too soon as this team is nowhere near playing for a wild card, having a winning season, or getting out of the AL East basement.
I've discussed this numerous times on my blog, Birds Watcher, that Showalter is not a great manager like everyone thinks. Every time I read comments on a blog, listen to the radio or watch TV, the fans blame everyone but Showalter. We still hear sayings like "Buck the Past!" and "Fightin' Showalters!" even though the team is sitting at a miserable 44-68, 26 games back from first place. Why won't people shift their blame to the manager? His stubbornness and old school ways lose games for this team time after time. Why does he refuse to change the lineup? I wrote last week about how Mark Reynolds should be hitting cleanup and never taken from that spot in the lineup, yet he's only batted fourth 11 times all season.
Showalter refuses to change anything about how he runs the team, which, in my opinion, is very detrimental. He has been described as a control freak and tries to get involved in duties that don't concern him. I feel that many fans will disagree with me because they're still giving Buck a free pass because of how great the team played last season as soon as he came around. However, you also have to attribute their success to a new energy in the clubhouse from having a new manager and can't give him all the credit. Just like now, you can't give the players all the blame because great managers make great teams and this team is not great at all. So, it's time to start shifting some of your blame to Showalter because, let's face it, he's not a great, World Series-winning manager.
Lauren Tilley blogs about the Orioles for Birds Watcher, and her thoughts on the O's appear here 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.