Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked earlier today about Davey Johnson’s hiring as Nationals manager.
“Managed against him, he was a sharp guy. A very good, solid baseball guy,” Showalter said.
“A lot of times, players as good as Davey was sometimes aren’t always really as good a manager as they are a player. But he’s both. He always did a good job with pitching, and looked at the game through a lot of different eyes. It wasn’t just a pure infield only. He was very well-rounded. I was always impressed with how he ran his bullpen. Also, as a young manager coming up, he always had time for me, made me comfortable around a guy of his background. I’ll always remember that. So, I’m pulling for him.”
Johnson hasn’t managed in the majors since 2000 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Showalter doesn’t anticipate a rocky adjustment period for the former Orioles second baseman and skipper.
“A guy like Davey, because of his track record and his status and success level at different stops, it’s going to be more them adjusting to him,” Showalter said. “With his resume and his track record, he’s going to walk in with a lot of instant credibility, so I think it will be a real smooth transition where he’s concerned. He’s very competent in uniform and in the dugout and on the field.
“As much as I think of Jim Riggleman, I’m sure it’s not a situation that Davey wanted to see happen this way. Once you’ve kind of been in that fraternity a little bit, you don’t take any joy in the situation that came to be with Jim Riggleman, so Davey will handle it in a classy way and get about the business that he was hired to do.”
Has the game changed that much while Johnson’s been out of a major league dugout?
“Not the game between the lines,” Showalter said. “Players still have very similar buttons. I think way too much is made of all that. I mean, everything in some cases improves. Cars get better, medicine gets better. The one thing that seems to be challenging is the pitching because you can’t practice it every day. You can’t throw.
“It’s going to be a short adjustment if there’s any at all for Davey. I can guarantee you that he’s been watching them a lot, very familiar with them. The situation that got thrust upon the Nationals, they’re very fortunate to have someone like him so close by, and familiar with their organization. I think it’ll be a very smooth transition.
“I’m glad we’re through playing them.”