Buck Showalter modeled his new Orioles’ jersey today, which included No. 26 to honor the late Johnny Oates. It was one of the more memorable scenes to come out of today’s press conference.
“The first thing, our kids looked at the media guide and my son Nathan said, ‘Dad, Mr. Samuel’s got No. 11,’ and I said, ‘Well, he’ll keep it.’ That’s just part of it. I thought Juan certainly earned it,” Showalter said.
“The first thing that came to mind was John. He meant a lot to me in my life, my career, the impact he had. I played for him for a couple years, his first two years managing. John knew he needed to go to the minor leagues and ply his trade. I was one of those guys who knew I wasn’t going to be the first baseman for the New York Yankees when I saw Don Mattingly, so John meant a lot to me.
“I called Gloria a couple days ago to get her permission and she was touched by it. She spoke to Andy Oates and the kids and got back to me in two minutes. I didn’t know at the time that they’re coming in Friday and Saturday for the Hall of Fame ceremony. It’s going to be pretty neat to see her.
“It’s been 5 Ã‚Â½ years since John passed away and not many days go by that I don’t think about how lucky I was to have him pass my way. It was pretty special.”
What about Showalter’s reputation for being a micromanaging control freak?
“I try to be true to my own skin, and it depends on who you talk to,” he said. “It’s kind of like the person you pick to deliver the eulogy at your funeral. There’s only one or two people who really, really know you. So I’ve come to grips with it, I live with it. And I try to do what’s best everyday and move on.”
Adam Jones attended the press conference. So did MASN analyst Rick Dempsey, who interviewed for the job. Showalter thanked him for being there and offering support, and mentioned that he would seek the former catcher’s help.
Reliever Jim Johnson made his first injury rehab appearance with the Gulf Coast League Orioles today, and he allowed three runs (including a homer) and five hits in the first inning against the GCL Red Sox. He also struck out two batters. The other out came on a ground ball.