Now that the Orioles are done playing in 2012, manager Buck Showalter will undergo surgery Wednesday on a right knee that's required treatment all season and often left him limping or using a fungo bat for support.
Less painful was the time he spent chatting with reporters in the home dugout this afternoon.
On whether it felt weird to wake up this morning without a game to play:
"Weird? Not yet. At some point, your body kind of goes, 'OK, that abuse, I'm getting ready to pay you back.' And you're going to kind of be a zombie. No, it's not there yet. A little numb? How about you all?"
On whether he'll watch the rest of the postseason games:
"Probably glimpse at it. As far as being glued to it, this time of year you want to be a participater. It may sound selfish, but I think everybody that plays wants to be a part of it. Regardless what the perceptions were coming in, when you get this close, you want to take it there. We felt like we were one win away from having a chance to play in the World Series."
On when he might sit back and appreciate what the Orioles' accomplished:
"Yesterday. I already have appreciated it. Really. I've appreciated it. I understand that. Maybe a little more as you go forward. You're getting some messages in from different people and you realize how many people our players touched this year and the whole organization. And now the challenge is to hold onto it and continue to get better. The reward for doing a good job is the chance to do it again. Hopefully, continue to raise the bar."
On what it was like to be greeted by a large group of fans at the ballpark:
"It was fabulous. Fabulous. It could have been 10, it could have been 1,000. When you think about the people taking the time. It was extremely sincere and I know it really touched our players' hearts and everybody on there. And it was pretty emotional for everybody. When you see guys who can talk with anybody be real quiet coming in the lockerroom for a pretty good period of time, ... things like that mean something. It's not a little thing. Those are the things that you'll reach back for in tough times next year."
On whether expectations are raised for next spring:
"I hope so. I don't think you can raise the expectations any higher than what we already had for ourselves. That's why you get up. We didn't go into the season about, 'Geez, we want to be better.' Which we were. We didn't (say), 'We want to be .500 or better,' which we did. The first meeting we had with each other in the spring, it wasn't about setting some expectations that were just good enough to get by. These guys held themselves to a high standard. I was proud of them."
On his working relationship with Dan Duquette:
"Great. That's the one common denomenator of all organizations that have consistency. I did know Dan. We were bumping heads with the Montreal Expos and the New York Yankees (in 1994), the two best teams. We talked about who would have won the World Series that year when the strike happened. They had a real good club, but we would have whipped their (butts). It's a respect thing. I tell players all the time, 'Bring what you bring.' Everybody has a strength that's somebody's weakness. There's things in Dan's job I don't want to do and can't do, am not talented to do. It's been kind of a tag team."
On the likely roster turnover in the winter:
"That's what's so sad. You see them and they know. This time of the year, you look at somebody and you shake their hand and you linger a little bit. It gets emotional. And I'm an old fuddy-duddy. I don't apologize for it. They mean a lot to me and when you go through that many things together, you've got to summon some real strong will to get through some of those conversations. I hate good-byes. It's, 'See you later,' and this game has a way ... everybody crosses paths. But it's tough. Coming in here today, I wasn't in a hurry. You try to give everybody the time they deserve, and gosh, if you did that, it would be three hours for every guy. Just a look in Jim Johnson's eyes. 'No need to say anything, right?' And I go, 'Exactly.' And you look at each other for a little while. And whether it's Mark Reynolds or ... Guys get it. They know what's going on. They know the competitiveness of it. Not my job. I take the people our scouts who did such a good job, Dan this year. My job is to manage the 25 we break Sarasota with. And that'll be right around the corner."
On whether he feels comfortable going forward with this team or if he needs to shore up the offense:
"You don't want to be disillusional about some things. You want to make sure you don't drink some Kool-Aid on some things you've got to get better at, even though you're one game away from playing for the American League championship. But you're always looking to improve. I know that's Dan's mode. This is a very important time between now and when the season starts next year, and we'll grind it. But you look at both J.J.s and you look at Nicky (Markakis). I can't tell you how many times during the Yankees series that I didn't think about having Nick on that club and how he ended up on the DL, quite frankly. It really hurt us to watch Nick not be able to play, because it meant so much to him. I look at Nick and I look at (Manny) Machado and I look at guys that got in that environment, even if they didn't play. (Chris) Tillman. That whole environment. Just to be there, knowing that's worth what you do, getting to that point. And having those games being played, it makes it worth while what you do in the offseason, what you do during the season. I think it's going to bode well for a lot of the maturity and growing up of a lot of our young players to be exposed to that."
On whether he expects his entire coaching staff to return:
"They did a great job. It's as good a coaching staff as I've ever had. It's one of the things Dan and I will start to talk about. I know we want to get that taken care of. That should be a short conversation."
On whether he wants to sign a contract extension:
"I have a contract for next year. We have people in our country and our city, they don't know what's going on tomorrow. I mean, really? I've got a contract for next year. (Owner Peter Angelos) and the organization committed to me long before they had to. They had a great deal of faith in me just to put it beyond a week. That's a non-issue to me. I'm committed and I've fallen in love with this city and we'll see what happens. That would be an honor. You take every job with the idea that it's going to be your last one. But to me it's a non-issue in any form or fashion."
On what it means to have an owner who's been as engaged this season as Angelos:
"It means a lot to us. He's always engaged. Since I've been here, I couldn't ask for a better owner. He's been so supportive. He said yes to just about anything we felt like could help the organization. I could give you 20 things. This is a guy who hasn't taken a penny in salary since he got the Orioles. My conversations with him, it's very obvious he's in love with the city and it means so much to him. Talking to him last night and hearing the emotion in his voice, it means a lot to him and his family for the Orioles to be good for the city. It's nothing selfish. That's just my take on having known him and we're lucky to have him."
On whether the moment has passed or still lies ahead where he'll ask Angelos for whatever big piece that can put the Orioles over the top:
"It's always now. It's always, 'This gets us a little better.' You think about how many things in the offseason that we did that people kind of said, 'OK, Darren O'Day, waiver claim. Luis Ayala, OK, he's this and that.' It's not always the marquee perception of some guy. It's baseball players. It's about timing. But I don't think there's any doubt that if there's something that helps us short-term and long-term and Dan thinks that it's the right move, then ... Peter's the least of our ... I think it's an asset, and it's a huge asset. It isn't anything that's going to be a negative. I can tell you that. He's enthused, but he was enthused the day I got here. He was frustrated, but believe me, we're kind of getting into that 'Braveheart' mode."