The biggest news to come out of today’s press conference at Camden Yards involved pitching coach Dave Wallace’s retirement from his current role.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the media, which waited until the conference was over to pass it along via Twitter. By then, it already had been leaked to USA Today.
Showalter stressed that Wallace wanted to stay in baseball, just in a different capacity, and was hopeful that it would be within the Orioles organization. Showalter referred to it as retiring from active major league coaching.”
“He’s at a point in his life where he needs to be home a little more, but he’s going to still be active in some form or fashion the next year,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, it’s with us. We’ll see how that works out.
“He’s got some things he’s got to stay on top of at home, like all of us do. But he’s going to retire from an active major league coach.”
The door seems wide open for a job as a pitching instructor.
Showalter said he anticipated the rest of his coaching staff to return in 2017. The club first will look internally for Wallace’s replacement, making bullpen coach Dom Chiti a candidate, but whatever the outcome, the members of the staff will stay with the Orioles.
“We’re going to look at all the candidates and as always, we try to look inside first,” Showalter said. “We’ve got some good, capable people in our organization, but you’re always trying to place them in the capacity that best fits what their skills are. We’ll take a look at it.
“Dom has done a lot of different jobs in baseball, from farm director to scouting director to assistant GM to major league coach. Dom, he’s a soldier. He likes contributing in whatever capacity. He’s a real loyal, tell me what needs to be done and I’ll do it guy. He’s got a unique skillset.
“I do want to stress, I and we are going to look from within first. Sometimes, you don’t want to rob from Peter to pay Paul, though. If you’ve got someone doing a really good job, whether it’s a pitching coach in Triple-A, a pitching coordinator, a bullpen coach, you want to make sure because then you’re going to be looking to replace that, too.
“Dom is obviously a real bird in the hand down in the bullpen. It’s been a big reason, he and (Wallace) both, that our bullpen has been really consistent and strong and should be one of our strengths next year. I’m going to be careful and we’re going to be careful not to tinker with that too much.”
Closer Zach Britton tweeted: “Sad to see Dave Wallace go. Very grateful for all he has done for me and my family. Any success I’ve had is a credit to DW and Dom Chiti.”
Wallace contemplated retirement last winter and returned only because Showalter arranged for him to make occasional trips home during the season.
The next pitching coach will be the sixth under Showalter since his arrival in Baltimore, a group that includes Rick Kranitz, Mark Connor, Rick Adair and interim pitching coach Bill Castro.
Showalter isn’t a social media guy. His family keeps him updated, whether or not he cares. Because of them, he’s aware of the heat he’s taking for not pitching Britton in the wild card game.
“I understand the way it works and I’ll wear it,” Showalter said. “There’s been a lot of really nice things said to me and about me since I’ve been here and it’s been a great place. It’ll continue to be. It’s just unfortunate for our players and our fans. I know they care a lot, obviously, and they’re very passionate about us being successful.
“When something is deemed, decisions are made over the course of the year, you’re going to be critiqued. Is it fair? Yeah, it probably is fair, because that’s the world you choose to participate in and will continue to.”
I won’t rehash all of the details. You can recite them by now.
“I understand where the emotion comes from and I would be the same way if I was someone who cared a lot about the Orioles,” Showalter said. “No one cares more about them than I do, and our players and our coaches.
“I don’t know if ‘worry’ is the word, but you have anxiety about how it reflects on your city, your organization and your players and you don’t want anything to detract from the great things they accomplished this year. Unfortunately, that’s the society we live in today. You know the description going in. But there’s a lot of coulda shoulda woulda. You’re a human being. You have those emotions and there’s certain things in my capacity you just have to wear. I’m used to it.”
Showalter wouldn’t bite when asked to expand on his decision based on his comments following the game that there are certain things that remain private.
“These are the times when you understand, you’ve got a choice of what world to live in,” he said. “I’ve been very consistent, I’d like to think, and very steadfast in things I try to do and the way I try to treat people. I just don’t think it behooves anything to go through all those things.
“We live in a result-oriented society and I understand that. There’s things that you have to do every day and everybody who has jobs has to do every day. You’re judged on the results. It didn’t work out. I’ll take that judgment.”
The beer can chucking story out of Toronto is tired. The incident has taken on a life of its own. A horrible act, of course, but one that didn’t influence an outcome or define a city or a team’s fan base. But the subject came up again today and I’m forced to keep writing about it.
Showalter said he would have taken his players off the field if the can, aimed at left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, had touched down in the middle of the inning.
“It’s unfortunate that, like I said after the game, that one person in 50,000 people reflects poorly on the whole group and I’ll tell you, if it had been the middle of the inning, I’d have taken the team off the field,” Showalter said. “When you’re real close to it where we were, there was a certain tenor there. That’s part of the challenge you faced playing on the road.”
Executive vice president Dan Duquette appreciated the apology from the Blue Jays.
“The Blue Jays, to their credit, reached out us and (team president) Mark Shapiro apologized to the Orioles organization and of course Kim and Adam (Jones),” Duquette said. “They told us they’re making adjustments to address that so it doesn’t happen in the future.”