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Friday Bird Droppings: Where Buck Showalter could soon be back in baseball

The former Orioles skipper didn’t manage in the majors in 2019, but he’s a hot candidate for a number of newly vacant jobs.

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Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Hey, remember Buck Showalter? Used to manage the Orioles for a while? One of the most popular figures in recent O’s history? Led the team back to postseason glory after 14 seasons of losing? Then had kind of a dismal end to his Baltimore career? Yeah, that guy.

After the O’s dismissed Buck at the end of a franchise-worst 47-115 season in 2018, he stepped away from the diamond in 2019, peeking his head in only to do a bit of analyst work for the Yankees on YES. Now, though, Showalter’s name has popped up in connection with several of the vacant managerial seats around baseball.

The Mets, seeking an established manager to replace Mickey Callaway, are rumored to be interested in Showalter. Showalter has plenty of experience managing in New York after his four-year stint with the Yankees from 1992-95, and he told WFAN that he’d like to be talked to about the Mets job.

Showalter is also one of the four candidates for the Los Angeles Angels’ job vacated by Brad Ausmus, and is expected to interview soon, although Joe Maddon is the frontrunner for that position. And Manny Machado recently campaigned for the Padres to consider Showalter, although it doesn’t appear they’re going to.

The most intriguing option might be the Phillies, who fired Gabe Kapler yesterday. Their team president is Andy MacPhail, the man who hired Buck in Baltimore, and their GM is Matt Klentak, another former O’s front office exec during the Showalter era. They have a roster built to win now, which could play to Buck’s strengths.

Will he land one of these jobs? I’d like to see it happen. And whenever he makes his first trip to Baltimore as an opposing manager, he can expect to receive a standing ovation from the Camden Yards crowd.


Listen up, parents: 10 things youth coach and Orioles pitcher Mychal Givens wants you to grasp about kids’ sports – The Athletic
Mychal Givens, who coaches youth baseball for his non-profit foundation, gives advice on how not to be that parent at your kid's game. I enjoy the story about how a parent was criticizing his kid’s hitting so Givens told the guy, “Hey, if you want, we can go in the back fields and let me pitch to you. And you’ll see how easy that is.”

Mychal Givens faces uncertain Orioles’ future -
Givens may be killing it as a coach, but his pitching was a much more unfortunate story in 2019. Now the O’s face a decision on what to do with him next year.

The Orioles may be forced to part with Jonathan Villar - Steve Melewski
If the Orioles have to cut their best all-around player because they can’t afford to pay him an estimated $10.4 million, then this rebuild is going to be a lot tougher than I thought.

Means turned heads in 2019; what’s next in ‘20? -
I never tire of reading stories about John Means. When’s the last time the Orioles actually had a pitching prospect who overachieved when he got to the majors?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, Gregg Olson (53). Olson, the club’s all-time leader in saves with 160, was the last Oriole to win the Rookie of the Year award, which he earned in 1989 when he posted a 1.69 ERA and notched 27 saves for the “Why Not?” Orioles. He now works on the occasional O’s radio broadcast.

Three other ex-Orioles have birthdays today: infielder and unlikely O’s All-Star Ty Wigginton (42), six-game first baseman Mike Fiore (75), and the late catcher Joe Ginsberg, who would have been 93 today. He died in 2012.

The O’s have played 10 postseason games on this date, going just 4-6. Among the victories: the Birds opened the 1969 World Series by beating Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and the Mets, 4-1, in Baltimore (which, sadly, ended up being their only win of the series). They won Game 2 of the World Series in both 1970 and 1971, the latter buoyed by Brooks Robinson, who reached base five straight times to set a World Series record. And in 2012, the O’s played the longest postseason game in franchise history, a 2-1, 13-inning victory at Yankee Stadium that tied the ALDS at two games apiece. J.J. Hardy drove in the game-winner with an RBI double in the 13th.

As for the losses, the O’s were eliminated from the ALCS on this day in 1973, getting shut out by Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter and the A’s in Game 5. It was the first time the O’s had ever lost an ALCS, in their fourth time taking part. In 1979, the O’s lost Game 2 of the World Series to the Pirates on Manny Sanguillen’s ninth-inning RBI single off Don Stanhouse. In 1983, the O’s lost the opener of the World Series to the Phillies, 2-1 (but didn’t lose again in the series).

In 1996, the O’s dropped Game 3 of the ALCS by coughing up four runs to the Yankees in the eighth, with third baseman Todd Zeile errantly chucking the ball straight into the ground on a relay throw to allow the go-ahead run to score. The following year, the O’s again lost Game 3 of the ALCS, this time to the Indians, when Marquis Grissom stole home in the bottom of the 12th. And in 2014, the O’s dropped Game 2 of the ALCS to the Royals, giving up two runs in the ninth to break a four-all tie. That series was annoying.