Manager Buck Showalter asked the first question tonight.
“What was time of game?”
Told that it lasted a mere 2 hours, 23 minutes, he replied, “Everybody’s happy here, right?”
And there’s nothing like a victory to set the tone for the remainder of the season.
“It’s not imperative, but I’m excited about it and I hope the players are,” Showalter said. “You always like to end up on the right side of it, regardless of the situation. But what comes first? That’s the old chemistry and culture and whatever you want to throw on there. What comes first? I’ve got news for you, Ws come first. It certainly helps a lot of things carry a little more importance.”
Did it feel like his team tonight?
“Yes, I feel like now more so,” he said. “It’s a process. Everything is in life, and whether or not it felt like it, it was. It was our ballclub, it was Orioles fans ballclub. I hold that responsibility very dear.
“I know there’s a lot of people who live and die with everything we do out there every night, and a lot of people have trouble with that responsibility that you have with putting on an Orioles uniform. We have one of the highest viewerships in all of baseball, and I made that point to a few people along the way. They’re there. It’s up to us to put something they want to be a part of.”
We learned a little something about Showalter tonight regarding his use of the bullpen. He won’t automatically go to his closer in the ninth inning.
Showalter stuck with Michael Gonzalez for the first two batters before Alfredo Simon struck out Howie Kendrick.
“The matchup was a lot better,” Showalter said. “Gonzo, I’ve been watching him throw the ball and talking to Kranny and some of the guys. And I liked the switch-hitters turned around. The tough call was (Torii) Hunter (in the eighth). That’s a tie ballgame at worst, though, and we like our chances at home with the last at-bat. Take our chances.
“Believe me, I know the save rule and, quite frankly, it doesn’t carry much weight with me. I like the win rule a little bit better.”
The man’s a quote machine.
Showalter said the crowd’s reaction to his every move was “humbling,” but he won’t let it go to his head.
“I also know both sides of that,” he said. “I think everybody, including me, is thirsting for good things to happen. It’s one day, one game, but it was fun.”