Many times during this season that has the Orioles just one game out of first place with 24 games to go, when a reporter has posed a question to Buck Showalter heaping praise in his direction, Showalter has turned that around and said “it’s about the players.”
But during this Yankees series, with more reporters than usual in the clubhouse, several players have been asked about the O’s season and several players have said something like “we’ve got a pretty good manager.”
Adam Jones was saying Thursday before the game that the Orioles believe now that they can beat the Yankees. I asked him what got the players to that point?
“You do have to give a lot of credit to our manager,” he said. “There is no bull. He doesn’t tolerate it. That’s what you need. I’ve said this before. He’s not anyone’s parent in here. He’s not our daddy, his family is in Texas.
“Show up ready to play. He and the coaching staff show up every day ready. I think it’s a small thing out of our day to come out and bust our (butt) for three hours. Heck we’ve played five hours.
“We picked this sport. We all could have gone to college or be doing something else. (Darren) O’Day could be a doctor right now. So, this is how it works. You have to show up and be accountable.
“He’s added that, not just to this team, but to this franchise. The guys in the minor leagues, the scouting directors, everybody that is employed by the Orioles. That accountability factor is a lot stronger than it has been. This is our job. We want to do it well, not just be adequate at it.”
Matt Wieters added that Showalter’s previous experience in pennant races is important for the players right now.
“It’s big,” Wieters said. “Any time you can get players with playoff experience or managers with it at the end of the year it gives you confidence and someone you can look to, to see how they are handling situations.”
So there you have it. Buck says it’s about the players and the players say give our manager some credit.
It brings about an interesting question. In a sport that has a stat for just about everything, we can’t put a stat on how important Showalter has been for this club. We all know his impact is huge, but how huge?
I also think there are times when Showalter gets the lion’s share of the credit and people act like there are a bunch of no-name, no talent players miraculously winning these games.
Having watched players like Jones, Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Jim Johnson and the entire bullpen for that matter this year, to name just a few, I beg to differ with that.
You don’t get to the point the Orioles are at right now without talent. You don’t get 138 games of smoke and mirrors. And just about any team in this position has some leadership in the dugout helping to show the way.
Buck and the coaching staff deserve their props for this turnaround and good season. But the players deserve some too.
How do you see it? When passing around some kudos to the 2012 Orioles how much should go to Buck and how much to the players?