One thing that is deeply ingrained in the DNA of the Baltimore sports fan is the expectation of our favorite teams and players being mostly ignored by the national media of whatever sport it is. This is what we believe whether it's true or not, because we don't know how to believe anything else. It makes things fun whenever that recognition does arrive, though. It feels like this long-awaited awesome thing that has finally gotten here.
I mention all of this because tonight's MLB Network Presents: Buck Showalter, A Life in Baseball, is one of those things where it feels like some of that recognition is arriving. Buck is great. We've known this pretty much from the week he arrived in Baltimore, when he was saying all the right things and seemed to be doing all the right things and the terrible 2010 Orioles even won the first four games after he arrived. What a master!
The special airs on MLB Network tonight at 7pm, so it will be beginning shortly after this post appears. If you don't get a chance to watch it, hopefully it will be airing again some time, although just now I don't know when. But maybe you can get a sense of what's going on from the comments section below.
It's not entirely about his time with the Orioles. One of the people interviewed, for instance, is former Yankees GM Gene Michael. Showalter has been around baseball and done a lot of things. He has won the Manager of the Year award on three different occasions, each time with a different team. There is that perception that teams only win it all after he gets fired, which he addressed not long after he arrived here, saying he was tired of someone else walking his daughter down the aisle.
A lot of it is about his time with the Orioles, like this preview clip where he talks about putting on a Sabermetrics for Dummies back in spring training:
The rest of baseball didn't want him when he was hired. He'd been fired from his last job and he was bumming around on the Baseball Tonight crew - a fine place to be if that's where you want to be, but Showalter had more to give to baseball, and we're lucky that the Orioles brought him here. Can you imagine this era of success ever arriving here without him? It almost seems impossible, even if every single player move made was exactly the same.
Now anybody who tunes in to MLB Network this evening gets to watch something about how great and interesting our manager is - and that's pretty cool.