ARLINGTON, Texas - The Orioles had to submit their wild card roster by 10 a.m. today. That doesn’t mean they had to make it public.
I’m still waiting for the club to release the names, as the Rangers did with their roster much earlier. In the meantime, I had a chance to catch up with former Orioles reliever Alan Mills, the pitching coach at short-season Single-A Aberdeen who drove Kevin Gausman to Tropicana Field for his bullpen session.
Mills was part of the Orioles’ American League Championship Series roster in 1996 and their Division Series and ALCS rosters in 1997. He’s enjoying the organization’s return to the postseason after 14 straight losing years.
“The fans in Baltimore love their birds, whether it’s the Ravens or the Orioles,” he said. “I’ve had fun all year, starting from spring training. The team just reminded me of when I was there. The talent is here and they’ve done well. It’s been phenomenal all year, watching them and following them. The only thing that could have been better is to just be there every day and experience it. But following them has been a pure joy.
“Buck Showalter’s track record speaks for itself. He did the same thing in New York and Arizona and Texas. That’s just what he does. He rebuilds. I wish I knew his secret. I wish I could bottle it. He has that influence on the team. He gets the most out of what he has and he’s very good at it. When he got hired, I was telling people in Baltimore that it was going to be a good move for the organization.”
Mills knows a good bullpen when he sees one, “and this one is really good,” he said.
“When you look at what they’ve done over the course of the season, when you do it for that long and as well as they’ve done it, it kind of speaks for itself. They’ve come in and maintained leads. The closer has done well, the set-up men, the middle men, the long men, everybody. Everybody plays a part in the bullpen. These guys have kept the team right there.
“You can tell a lot about a bullpen by how a team does in close games, and this team’s done really well in close games.”
Here’s the Rangers’ wild card roster:
Former Orioles first baseman Brandon Snyder isn’t on the wild card roster.
The umpires are Gary Darling (crew chief), Jerry Layne, Ted Barrett, Bill Miller, Greg Gibson and Chris Guccione.