The death of Mike Flanagan, it seems, has impacted different Orioles players in different ways. Some didn’t know the former Oriole player very well. Others had several interactions with him.
Manager Buck Showalter pointed out today that Flanagan did not seek players out in the clubhouse but was always there if a player sought his counsel or advice or just wanted to talk.
Catcher Matt Wieters is one of the players that did spend some time with Flanagan.
“It’s hard because it comes as such a shock and the news sort of hits you,” Wieters said. “You sort of don’t really know what to think. We were in Minnesota and not being as close to it. Flanny was always a guy that seemed like a great guy to be around. He was always a fun guy to be around. It was a huge shock.
“I talked with Flanny a good bit and that’s what makes it hard. He’s a guy who loved this game, he loved being around it and it’s hard anytime you lose somebody who was such a big part of the Oriole family.”
Wieters was asked how the team is dealing with the news and still playing the games.
“We’re just trying to go out there and play,” he said. “One thing with baseball is you’re going to play every day, so it can be a little bit of a retreat and also something where you can sort of remember some of the things that he did for each person individually on the field.”
When Flanagan’s career ended in 1992, Wieters was just six, but he is quite aware of Flanny’s accomplishments on the field.
“You can look at his numbers, just the years that he was here is something that’s amazing,” Wieters said. “To have that long of a career and to be able to be on some of the teams here, that’s just special, and then you look at his numbers and more importantly, just as a person, he was always a guy who was into baseball, ready to talk baseball and ready to help you improve.”
Flanagan was the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations in 2007 when the Orioles drafted Wieters in round one out of Georgia Tech. He said the conversations they had never dealt much with that, though.
“He just wanted to talk baseball, more of just a good guy. We weren’t really going to talk salary, we weren’t really going to talk bonus or anything like that. We were just talking baseball when I talked to him and that’s what I really loved about Flanny,” Wieters said.