I’ve heard some fans say one reason the Orioles are playing so much better under Buck Showalter is because he is not afraid to kick some players’ butts if needed and they know that.
While that may be true, it seems to me that, rather than confront players and get on them to make them play better, Buck has boosted the confidence of the players and convinced them they are pretty good, or they wouldn’t be here.
Check out this article from Peter Gammons where he talks about Buck improving the O’s self esteem.
Showalter seems to have made Matt Wieters a special project. If you sit in on many of Showalter’s pre-game interview sessions with reporters, as I have, you often hear the man praise Wieters.
While I have no doubt, the young catcher has provided the new manager with reasons to praise him, it all seems part of a bigger plan to me.
To fill the kid with confidence and remind him just how good he is and can be.
Buck had not been on the job long before he said of Brad Bergesen, “I told him I wish he could be in the other teams’ clubhouse when they go over the scouting report on him to realize he’s pretty good.”
It’s not all rosy with Buck. He quickly pointed out his concern the other day about Josh Bell forgetting how many outs there were.
But he has also gone out of his way to point out his improved defense and strong arm, too.
He has told the players “don’t give the other team too much credit,” and he keeps pointing out that Tampa Bay has made it so the O’s have no excuse now about competing in the AL East.
I’m sure Buck makes mistakes too, but he’s calling a lot of right shots right now.
He played Jake Fox last night and he delivered a two-run homer and double. He put David Hernandez into the game for the first time in over a month in a key moment and he put up a zero. He used two pinch runners vs. Detroit and they both scored.
In a game where there are so many statistics, there is not a category for team confidence.
But Buck has these Orioles believing.