Orioles Exhibit Perfect Timing in Locking Up Showalter
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
There is an unforgettable scene in "Pulp Fiction" in which two bubble-gum bad guys played by John Travolta and Samuel Jackson, have accidentally shot a man in their car and they must call in Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel), The Problem Solver.
|Buck Showalter led the Orioles to a 34-23 finish after taking over.
Keitel instructs Travolta and Jackson on how to clean up the car, and as they finish Keitel said: "We may just get out of here … but it's not time to celebrate just yet."
The excitement surrounding the Orioles' 34-23 finish under Buck Showalter has started the high-expectation factory working overtime. But enthusiasm in Birdland, while great to see, certainly needs to be taken down a peg or two.
Showalter clearly was the right man to play problem solver for Orioles owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. And it's amazing how MacPhail was able to pull this hire off in the nick of time and snatch victory out of the slowly-moving jaws of another Angelos time management defeat.
Out of 30 Major League Baseball teams, there are a whopping seven (Seattle, Toronto, New York Mets, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs) in managerial flux, plus two more (Florida and St. Louis) possibly looking for a new skipper shortly. Factor in the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Royals and Orioles, all with new skippers in place, and nearly half the teams in the big leagues will have a different opening-day skipper in 2011.
Many of the teams looking for skippers, including the Braves, Mets, Cubs and maybe Cardinals, would have looked like more attractive starting point for a difference maker like Showalter. Is it possible a couple months into Juan Samuel's tenure as interim manager, MacPhail forsaw multiple managerial openings being more attractive to Showalter and decided to push Peter to move more quickly, by threatening the loss of Showalter to another team?
In almost all of Angelos' decisions, he waits until the last possible moment. That is the lawyer in his DNA. In this case, Angelos uncharacteristically moved at the right time and was able to lock in the right man.
But while The Problem Solver may have been able to wrap the Orioles season up and clean up all the blood, sweat and tears, it awaits to be seen in 2011 what he can do with a clean slate.
Posted Oct. 7, 2010