Good morning, Birdland!
I really did not want to make Buck Showalter the lead story again. Not because we don’t love Buck or anything, but the guy hasn’t been the Orioles manager for a few years now, and we have already talked about him quite a bit on here recently. It’s a bit much!
But despite my best efforts, I could not dig up any other real news surrounding the team. There is nothing going on. No rumors, no guesses, nada.
So once again we talk about Showalter in this space. Which is fine. He’s the Mets skipper now, a position that comes with natural drama and silliness. The new-ish team owner, Steve Cohen, has quickly become the most public-facing of his ilk and possesses an itchy Twitter finger. It will be interesting to see how long the honeymoon period lasts before a lengthy losing streak leads to a digital tirade.
You can already see that the magnifying glass is more intense than what he experienced in Baltimore. Showalter used the term “spongeful” in his introductory presser on Tuesday, and that became a thing on Twitter for a bit. That was after the internet dug up a Jon Meoli tweet from a few years ago in which Showalter refused to use baby sunscreen.
This is all insignificant and frankly pretty fun. But it does illustrate that there’s more eyeballs watching the little things. Little things can become big things. But Buck knows this. He had the Yankees job before and while it’s a stretch to say he is a friend to the modern game, he is certainly familiar and more adaptable than some of his generational peers.
I’m wishing him the best. I’ve never been one to have two rooting interests, but I think the Mets will be my “NL team” with Buck in charge.
Former Orioles manager Buck Showalter talks ‘painful’ end in Baltimore, embracing analytics in introduction as Mets manager | The Baltimore Sun
There is a piece of me that wonders if there could have been some scenario in which the Orioles could have retained Buck Showalter as their manager and rebuilt everything else around him back in 2018. He was just that likable in my mind. Of course, that is unrealistic. Many of the changes that needed to be made were a reaction to some of the things that Showalter implemented. He would have been toxic. Those fond memories won’t fade for some time.
Former Orioles prospect Kimera Bartee, who later played and coached in major leagues, dies at 49 | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles drafted Kimera Bartee in 1993. He spent three seasons in their farm system before being given a big league chance in Detroit. At the conclusion of his playing career. Bartee worked his way up the coaching ranks, including a time with the Delmarva Shorebirds. He was a member of the Tigers’ major league coaching staff in 2021 and was set to return in 2022.
Is there a starter ready to lower Lyles from No. 2 in rotation? | School of Roch
I don’t know. Maybe? Bruce Zimmermann was kinda good for parts of last year. He might be able to do it. Honestly, I just hope Grayson Rodriguez comes up at some point and blows he doors off everyone else, making this question pointless a year from now.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! A whole slew of former O’s were born on this day.
- Richie Martin is 27. The former Rule 5 pick was recently outrighted off of the team’s 40-man roster following three difficult years that saw him battle injuries and struggle with a 53 OPS+ over 157 total games between the 2019 and 2021 seasons.
- Rey Navarro turns 32. He had a 10-game stint with the 2015 Orioles as a backup infielder.
- Zack Britton celebrates his 34th birthday. The Orioles selected the left-handed pitcher in the third round of the 2006 amateur draft with eyes on him as a future rotation piece. That’s exactly what he was from 2011 through 2013, but then found his way to the bullpen, where he was one of the best in baseball, including an incredible 2016 campaign that earned him fourth place in Cy Young voting. He was traded away at the 2018 deadline as part of the team’s dismantling at the end of the Duquette/Showalter era.
- Blake Davis turns 38. He was a utility infielder for the 2011 Orioles.
- Chris Jakubauskas is 43 years old. The righty appeared in 33 games for the Orioles in 2011.
- Lonnie Smith is 66. The outfielder made brief appearances in the 1993 and ‘94 seasons in Baltimore to cap off his 17-year big league career.
- The late Tom Underwood (d. 2010) was born on this day in 1953. He turned in a solid 1984 season with the Orioles, compiling a 3.52 ERA over 37 appearances, mostly from the bullpen.
- The legendary Elrod Hendricks (d. 2005) was born on this day in 1940. The former catcher had three stints as an Orioles player, first from 1968 through ‘72, then again from 1973 through ‘76, and finally from 1978 through ‘79. Following his playing career, Hendricks served as the team’s bullpen coach for 28 seasons until his death
This weekend in O’s history
1953 - The name “Orioles” is officially turned over from the International League team to the current iteration of the Major League club.
1999 - Buddy Groom signs a two-year deal with the O’s.