On its “Hot Stove” morning show, MLB Network has been pondering which players or members of each major league team can be considered the club’s face of the franchise.
Yes, they asked the question about the Orioles and I don’t even remember how the results broke down, but I’m more interested in what the readers here think.
Who do you consider the face of the Orioles franchise? Here are four strong candidates, listed in alphabetical order.
Jim Johnson: Don’t sell this guy short. He is also a clubhouse leader and it’s clear he has the respect of every player in there. If you can get Johnson to ever brag on himself, you’ll be the first. He is a team guy and it shows daily. If you ever want to see Buck Showalter gush over a player, mention Johnson and it won’t take long. And it’s all true and sincere.
Adam Jones: He is an obvious choice. He is the club’s cleanup hitter, an All-Star and is signed through 2018. He and the Orioles are joined at the hip and he and the Orioles seem very OK with that. Jones has emerged as a clubhouse leader, something he said he aspired to be from the day they traded for him - and now he is.
He is one of the club’s most outspoken and outgoing personalities, but he doesn’t disrespect opponents and is always preaching team, team, team. He has become a big part of the Baltimore community and has earned even more props from some O’s fans recently for his Ravens fandom.
Buck Showalter: Can a manager be the face of the franchise? Absolutely, and a lot will pick Showalter and not think twice about it. Buck has provided a combination of credibility, smarts and leadership to the dugout not seen since, well, probably the Earl of Baltimore worked there.
Yes, the two men are a lot of alike and that’s a good thing. A very good thing. Showalter has just about earned hero status among Orioles fans. After leading them to 93 wins and the playoffs after 14 dry years, why not?
Matt Wieters: Wieters’ position demands he be a leader and he lives up to it. He’s much more reserved and quiet than Jones, and probably Johnson, too. But it seems Wieters will say something to a pitcher out of the media glare if it needs to be said. There is a clear toughness and fire within Wieters that you can’t easily see on the surface or in interviews. I say don’t let his reserved manner be construed for any shortcoming in the leadership department.
What is your take? Who is the face of the franchise? How important is something like leadership? Can a clubhouse have several leaders, as the Orioles clubhouse appears to have?