ARLINGTON, Texas - Players kept asking, “Where’s Buck?” Once they found him amidst the bedlam inside their clubhouse, they rushed him with bottles of champagne and absolutely soaked him.
Showalter had won his first playoff game since 1995. Naturally, he deflected the credit, passing it first to his starting pitcher.
“You know, in regards to what happened during the course of the game, it all starts with Joe Saunders and the outing he gave us,” Showalter said. “He’s had two good outings here in a row, and felt like if he could get his feet on the ground, all the emotion around the ballpark, you could really see the experience that he’s had play out.
“Real proud of everybody. Tacking on runs were big. Knew they were going to run at you. But just a real proud moment for us. Our guys approached it and we talked about it being sudden life instead of sudden death, and we played that way. You’ve got to seize the opportunity. We don’t get many.”
But what about being able to turn around the Orioles’ franchise and lead it back into the postseason the way he did with the Yankees?
“No, it’s about the players,” he said. “I didn’t do it. I had good players, general manager, scouts, our front office. It’s just unfortunate in our society we want to hang the golden hero around somebody. It doesn’t fit in this case. With our team it’s just a bunch of guys that raised the bar and wouldn’t give in and still haven’t. Now they get a chance to win to roll the dice, and there’s a lot of good card players in there.
“There’s too many good people that are capable of doing the job as well, if not better, than you. I understand the shelf life of coaches and managers in sports and the way our sports society works, and you’re just thankful for every opportunity you get and hope in some form you’ve impacted them the way they’ve impacted me. We all grow through life’s experiences, so without getting too deep, I was real thankful for the opportunity I got here and continue to be.
“It means a lot to a lot of players here for the Orioles. I look at Jim Johnson out there at the end. He loves the organization and the people and the city. There’s just a real identification. One of the biggest regrets of this year would have been if our guys couldn’t have a moment after the game like that. We came so close a couple times. We got in the playoffs and didn’t really get to ... except on the plane with a couple of iPads telling somebody you know. And the other part that guys have rallied around is trying to get back and play some games at our ballpark in front of our fans and trying to keep winning so Nick Markakis can get a chance to play in the postseason. Each day that passes, we get a chance of that.
“I look at Brian Roberts, Nicky on the bench, and they’re pulling and grinding with every pitch just like their teammates.”
And they were drenched in champagne, beer and euphoria, just like their teammates.