Showalter’s Yankees Comments Are Ridiculous

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Buck Showalter‘s image was that of a strategic wizard; a baseball hard-liner; an organization-builder and Mr. Fix-It who doesn’t tolerate small transgressions like a player wearing his socks at a different specification than Showalter deems appropriate. Nor does he allow large errors—mental and physical—like failing to hit the cut-off man, missing a sign or not running hard to first base.

It was the focus on “small stuff” like the socks that eventually grated on his veterans’ nerves and left his clubs tight and weary of the nitpicking. The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers were all better because of his presence…and they were all better after he left.

With the Orioles, there was a “miracle-worker” aspect to the way the team went on a 34-23 run over the final two months of the 2010 season when he was hired to replace Dave Trembley; it was only exacerbated when they won 6 of their first 7 games to start the 2011 season.

Some actually expected this Orioles team to contend in the American League East with the Yankees and Red Sox still powerhouses and the Rays and Blue Jays having greater strengths of their own.

It didn’t take long for the Orioles to fall into a familiar fit of losing. Now they stand in their familiar terrain of last place, 25 games under .500 amid questions as to whom is going to run the club from the front office with the likelihood that Andy MacPhail will not return.

There is promise in Baltimore because of Showalter and the young players they’ve accumulated and acquired. Despite terrible records, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman have good arms; their offense is productive with Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters; and Showalter can strategically manipulate his team to a few more wins than they’d have under a lesser manager.

Whether he was reeling from the suicide of Mike Flanagan or was, in part, frustrated by the way the season came apart after the accolades and promise, Showalter’s comments about the Yankees being disrespectful to Flanagan for preferring to play a doubleheader in advance of Hurricane Irene on Friday rather than schedule the make-up for early September is ridiculous to the point of embarrassing.

The entire quote follows:

“First of all, I felt that some of the stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny quite frankly. That didn’t sit with me very well. I can tell you that. We didn’t say much — I think we had an April rainout there — and they just told us when we were playing. We were Ok with that. Like I told you the other day, you tell us when we’re playing, we’ll play. The whole scheme of life, the things that really consume you. We understand that sometimes our opinions on things are not relevant. They come to me when there is two options and talk about it from a baseball standpoint. Every club does that. But some of it kind of has a feeling of [hypocrisy]. I don’t know. I don’t dwell on it. Their opinion on what the Baltimore Orioles should do for their fans and for their organization isn’t really that relevant to me personally. I can tell you that. We’ll do what’s best for our fans and for our organization and we expect it back that they’re going to do the same on their side.”

Orioles director of communications Greg Bader added the following (clipped from The Sporting News):

“Are we really still talking about this? We’ve just seen a hurricane come through this region which has caused millions to be without power, tens of millions of dollars in property damage and even several deaths,” Bader told in an email Sunday night. “We’ve got people out there literally trying to put their lives back together and yet there are some still worrying about a rescheduled game time?”

How the Yankees preferring to keep one of their two scheduled days off for September turned into a show of “disrespect” for Flanagan and a lack of concern for people whose lives were impact by the hurricane is a mystery to me.

That Showalter and Bader would bring other issues into the debate as if the Yankees were sitting around and diabolically scheming to sabotage the Flanagan tribute and simultaneously downplaying the severity of the hurricane indicates a tone-deafness bordering on the stupid.

The Orioles need follow their own rules of propriety and put things in perspective. They should let it go before saying something else idiotic and looking more petty than they do now.


Blaming Peter Angelos For Mike Flanagan’s Suicide Is Despicable

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Former Orioles star pitcher, Cy Young Award winner, executive and broadcaster Mike Flanagan committed suicide yesterday.

One reason being presented for the act is that he was despondent over the state of the club for which he dedicated most of his professional life, the Baltimore Orioles. The TV station that reported this somewhat unbelievable line of reasoning—WBAL-TV—is backtracking while “supporting” the reporter, Gerry Sandusky.

There was no note and police are saying it was “financial difficulties” that led to this. The police had interviewed Flanagan’s widow to come to this conclusion.

Who did Sandusky speak to?

Multiple unnamed sources.

If Mike Flanagan’s personal problems caused his suicide—whether they were real or imagined—and it turns into an indictment of the baseball ownership of Peter Angelos or stuff the media and nameless, faceless people are saying about Flanagan’s work in the Orioles’ front office, then it’s a despicable attempt to pin a sad event on a reviled owner.

Saying that Angelos’s stewardship of the Orioles led to this is akin to saying that Gabe Paul’s death in 1998—at age 88—was caused by the stress of working for George Steinbrenner.

In other words there’s no direct connection between the two and making one with speculation and rumor is not only ludicrous, but it’s vile.

Angelos is the owner of a baseball team; his team has been poorly run and dysfunctional for the past 15 years. Flanagan worked for them for much of that time. Equating one with the other by implying friends said that was the reason is idiotic.

Those overreacting to the prospect of Flanagan having killed himself because of a perception that he ruined the Orioles clearly don’t understand what small things can go through a suicidal, depressed, mentally ill person to drive them over the edge. It could’ve been anything. He should’ve asked for help and if the philanthropically minded Angelos knew that things were heading to this point with Flanagan, he absolutely would’ve helped him.

But partisan voices are trying to sully Angelos because he’s run a baseball team badly. This selfish storytelling is making a terrible situation worse and it has to stop. Now.