Pre-game Showalter - Part I

The Orioles’ tentative schedule for 2011 includes interleague home games against the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, and road trips to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. They’ll also engage in the usual home-and-home series with the Nationals.

Though it’s subject to change, the Orioles are currently slated to open the season at Tropicana Field for the second straight year, beginning on April 1. The first home game would be April 4 against the Detroit Tigers.

New manager Buck Showalter met with the team this afternoon before the media was allowed inside the clubhouse.

“I tried to get a little feedback, but it’s a little quiet right now,” he said. “We’ll do that one-on-one. But it was good. It was fun for me. I try to keep in mind that it’s the third time they’ve kind of been through that. I’m sensitive to that. Andy (MacPhail) spoke to them for a short while. There’s time to be a little more in depth with it, but I’m going to watch a few baseball games along the way. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

“I have respect for what they’ve been trying to do. Obviously, it hasn’t worked out well and we’ll try to identify some of those things, try to clean slate and we’ll start over from here, from this day, in a lot of ways, more than just Ws and Ls.”

Showalter was asked how it felt to be in a major league uniform again.

“I’m excited that it fits,” he replied. “I think that maybe they did their homework on sizes and stuff. I know my feet are the same size and my head certainly isn’t any bigger. That’s for sure. It’s exciting. Nervous? No. Anxiety? It depends how you define it.”

How long will Showalter observe the team before perhaps changing some roles?

“I met with Rick (Kranitz) and all the coaches today, individually and as a group, and obviously we had the advance report come in,” he said. “It’s been pretty hectic, but talking to Crow, I’ve got a pretty good feel for what’s been going on and what their feelings are and how they got to that point, as far as why they’ve been doing some of the things they’ve been doing and what their thoughts are going forward. I’m going to stay close to that early on and see what develops from my view a little bit.

“Certainly I’m going to reach out and ask opinions, but at the end of the day you might see some adjustments as we go forward. I know what I feel in my gut right now and I want to have some things verified about what I see on the field.”

I was curious about how Showalter made out the lineup. Did he crosscheck some recent ones? Did he rely on his familiarity with the players?

“I crosschecked them. Who’s hit here most of the time?” he said. “My questions today are, ‘How did we get to that point? Why?’ Make me aware of something I don’t know, some things you don’t get from sitting at ESPN watching 15 games at one time. Trying to educate yourself as much as possible to make good decisions and try to have respect for the people who were here before you and how they reached those points. But believe me, if there are adjustments to be made, I won’t be overly cautious with that.”

More to come.

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