Minutes after his team had lost last night to the Texas Rangers by 11 runs, Buck Showalter could have said his club was tired and his pitching staff taxed after playing 39 innings over three days in Boston.
There was an excuse to be had for the loss there if Showalter chose to use it. He did not.
“I know that’s a real easy area to go down, but I don’t think anybody in our locker room would,” Showalter said. “(Matt) Harrison pitched well. Their whole pitching staff is very deep. But that’s not something our guys or I’m going to dwell on. It’s part of what we do for a living. You get thrown some self-inflicted things that you have to deal with and nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. Hopefully get a good night’s rest and turn the page.”
Under Showalter, excuses for losses or bad baseball are not acceptable - even when no one could blame them for using one. Play 17 innings and then travel and have to play the next night. So what? You still have to play to win and the other team had to travel to get here, too.
Of the many talents Showalter brings to the manager’s office in Baltimore, the ability to handle the postgame press conference ranks pretty high on the list.
I’m not talking about being glib or articulate, although Showalter can be that. I’m talking about striking the right tone with his comments and Buck does that every night, it seems. He always seems to say the right thing and provide a message to his players and the fans.
Earlier this year, when Jake Arrieta had a tough outing in Los Angeles, Showalter said it’s time to stop calling him a young pitcher. Showalter has said many times that playing in the tough American League East is no excuse for losing. Tampa Bay put that excuse to bed, he has said.
When the Orioles provided all that rotation competiton in training camp, the message was clear to the young pitchers and pitchers here of all ages: It is about performance and it’s time for that to be the primary focus. Pitch well and you can have a job here, but if you don’t, someone else might have that job.
Showalter always seems to strike that perfect tone, both with his team and the fans.