KANSAS CITY - Orioles manager Buck Showalter couldn’t believe that Jeremy Guthrie’s T-shirt and Jarrod Dyson’s latest jabs at his club were going to be the major topics of conversation before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
May as well have a little fun with it.
In case you’ve been under a rock, Guthrie wore a T-shirt last night that read “These O’s Ain’t Royal,” a play on the lyrics to a Chris Brown song that aren’t suitable for print. He later apologized on Twitter and a press conference that he requested this afternoon.
Dyson, the Royals pinch-runner who’s 0-for-2 in stolen base attempts in the ALCS, accused third baseman Ryan Flaherty of purposely kneeing him in the shoulder last night on a pickoff play to get a rise out of him.
Here’s how the exchange went today in Showalter’s press conference:
Q: Obviously Dyson’s comments made headlines the other day and Guthrie’s T‑shirt kind of rubbed people the wrong way.
Showalter: “Fill me in on that. What’s the T‑shirt, some fashion?
Q: “These O’s Ain’t Royal.”
Showalter: “Where does that come from?”
Q: Chris Brown song. It’s the Chris Brown song.
Showalter: “Chris Brown is weighing in on the Royals and the O’s in a song? How’s that selling?
Q: The original line is not that.
Showalter: “What’s the original line?”
Q: I can’t say it.
Showalter: “Roch, you can say it, right?”
Q: I’ll tell you after this.
Showalter: “Whatever. Really, it’s not... so inconsequential what somebody... Was it a licensed T‑shirt that they wore up here?”
(This is Showalter’s subtle way of wondering why Major League Baseball allowed Guthrie to wear it)
“That’s a good reason to wear something. I’ve got one from Yankee Stadium that says: Baltimore... I’m not going to say it. And Buck something (laughter). I’ve got that one hanging up in my locker area at Camden. But I don’t wear it here. I might offend somebody. Was it licensed?”
Q: Has that taken away from the games, though, do you think at all?
Showalter: “Our guys, it’s kind of, I don’t know. No, I’m not going to say anything. I’m not going to categorize it. It’s not really a topic of conversation. It’s kind of, consider how it ends up there. And whether you Tweet or Twang or all those things, whatever they all do. Come on, man, I don’t know. How would you respond? It’s not bragging if you can back it up. But they’re good. They’re a good team. That’s why you hate to have anything like that take away from the essence of the competition and really how good they are. We don’t need any extra motivation. We already have enough.
“Regardless of what happens in the series, it won’t be because somebody wants it more than the other. It won’t be because of what somebody didn’t do. It would be because of what somebody did, though it won’t always be looked at that way.”
Q: Since you brought it up, did Flaherty intentionally block third base with his knee?
Showalter: “I don’t know. Did you ask him? It’s not designed that way. We actually didn’t execute... We’ve been saving that for three months now. The last time we practiced it, (Kevin Gausman) didn’t step off. I reminded him a couple times to be sure and step off. The key is when you turn around, don’t analyze the play, but put it in flight. If he puts it in flight, he’s out. But it was close. Ryan got there early. We think Dyson, it’s kind of what happened with Jonathan (Schoop) at second base. So, intentionally drawn up that way? Let’s have a meeting and say we’re going to do that? Of course not. No, it’s not that consequential. It’s funny how imagination runs rampant this time of year.”
While meeting with the local media earlier in the day, Showalter said the T-shirt wasn’t a topic of conversation in the clubhouse. And as for the Orioles’ supposed intent to rile Dyson, Showalter said, “You know what we’re trying to do? We’re trying to get an out.”
Showalter confirmed that Chris Tillman would start Game 5 if he’s not needed in relief today. He’s in the bullpen with Bud Norris, who would start Game 5 if Tillman weren’t available.
Of course, the Orioles need to win today.