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Seven Years Later, Orioles In Better Shape Thanks Largely To Buck Showalter

August 4, 2017
BALTIMORE -- Seven years ago during Buck Showalter's first game as Orioles manager, the lineup included third baseman Josh Bell, shortstop Cesar Izturis, left fielder Felix Pie and first baseman Ty Wigginton. 
 
On Aug. 3, 2010, Jeremy Guthrie, who announced his retirement this past July 31, was the starting pitcher, as Showalter returned to a major league dugout for the first time in nearly four years.
 
Showalter has now managed 1,137 games for the Orioles, second-most in team history to Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, and he's played a significant role in the franchise's resurgence.
 
"That's a long time ago, wasn't it?" Showalter said.
 
Only one player on the current 25-man roster, center fielder Adam Jones, was on the team then.
 
Players such as left-handed closer Zach Britton, right-hander Mychal Givens, catcher Caleb Joseph, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and right-hander Chris Tillman were in the organization, and third baseman Manny Machado was a few weeks away from signing.
 
Showalter realized he inherited a team on the way up.
 
"There were a lot of good things going on here. I had great timing," he said.
 
The Orioles, who were 32-73 (.305) when Showalter arrived, went 34-23 (.596) under him the rest of the season.
 
"One of the things that people mistake … they make the mistake of thinking everything is bad because they've lost 'x' number of games," Showalter said. "It's always important to keep your mouth shut and sit back and take things in and realize where some of the challenges were and figure out what you can do to get better from within and see what you need from outside to come in."
 
There were some solid players on that team, including catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis, who were both on winning teams a few years later, but most of the players on the 2010 team have been long forgotten.
 
"I think the biggest thing you had to define is who are you, who you're going to be, how you're going to go about and not confuse the fans and the people that care so much about the Orioles," Showalter said "Not talking about it, just show them. We've got enough talk about it. We live in a 'show me' world. Talk's OK for a while, but realize you're not saying anything that a thousand other people haven't said."
 
By spring training 2011, Showalter had new players such as shortstop J.J. Hardy and first baseman Mark Reynolds and an entirely new coaching staff,  two of whom remain in Wayne Kirby (first base) and John Russell (bench).
 
Before coming to Baltimore, Showalter managed the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, but none for longer than four seasons.
 
While his contract is up after 2018, he's become such a fixture in Baltimore that it's hard to picture another Orioles manager in the dugout. Whenever he leaves, the franchise will be healthier than it was Aug. 3, 2010.
 
"We're better. We better be [better] than we were then," Showalter said.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox