Alright, who else is confused?
Over the past week, the Orioles’ team that we have seen show up hasn’t been what we have become accustomed too. Granted, I’m not complaining, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued by the change.
The reason is simple: Buck Showalter. However, the recent success has nothing to do with any changes he has made or even anything he has said to his players. It is the players’ collective fear of his reputation that has turned the Orioles into one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Before Buck arrived in Baltimore, the Orioles were struggling in just about every department. In spite of this, the mistakes that seemed to be the most obvious were those of a team with poor baseball IQ.
Completely preventable things like terrible fielding and dumb base running have cost the O’s 5-10 games this year alone. Add in the inability to hit with runners and scoring position and you have a basic understanding of why Baltimore is no longer seen as a baseball town.
Despite watching this all season, are we to believe that the Orioles have somehow learned to fix these things in a week? Not quite.
Players in Baltimore know what Buck Showalter is about. He believes in clean baseball as the way to turn around an organization. If they want to keep their jobs, they need to stop making the mistakes that made Baltimore the worst team in baseball, and start playing like the team that was predicted to win 80 games this year.
No longer do they have Dave Trembley to coddle them or the idea that Juan Samuel is an “interim manager” to hide behind. Showalter will be Baltimore’s general for the next three years and if you get on his bad side, you can be sure that you will be back down in Norfolk before the next day’s game.
With “fear” motivating the O’s to succeed, they are the team that they should be. The question of how long it lasts is a different subject. Will it last the rest of the year? More importantly, what does Buck do when the players become comfortable again?
I’m not sure anyone can answer those questions, but regardless, have fun watching the Orioles until this string of good performances is over. We haven’t seen good, clean, fundamental baseball like this in a decade.