As I type this sentence, the Orioles are down 6-4 in the top of the eighth inning in Anaheim after blowing a 3-0 lead.
With a loss tonight, the O’s would have to finish the season 16-23 in order to avoid their first 100 loss season since 1988. The 2011 Orioles are on pace for the 3rd worst season in franchise history, behind only ’88 and 1954, their inaugural season in Baltimore.
And, of course, 2011 will be their 14th consecutive losing season.
All of this is under the management of Buck Showalter. Yes, the same man who lead the team to a 34-23 record down the stretch in 2010 and who has his name plastered on every “punny” Orioles T-shirt; you aren’t cool if you don’t have a Buck Pun O’s Tee.
Even though the O’s are hitting rock bottom, I have yet to hear Buck Showalter’s name in the same sentence, or even the same thought, as “fire.” Players, pitching coaches, and even scouts have all been hated on because of the team’s record. But not Buck.
What has Buck done to develop this immunity to criticism? Was it the great finish in 2010 or the playoffs he hasn’t made since 1999? Maybe it’s the rollback Mr. Angelos is getting from all those punny shirts; that’s probably his excuse.
But what about the rest of us? Are we hung-up on the excuse that Buck doesn’t have the talent he needs to manage a solid ball club? I do agree that a manager needs a solid team in order to put out results, but Buck’s team is no worse than what any of the other canned managers had.
This team with Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters is better than the 2001 squad with a 40-year old Cal Ripken, a roided-up David Segui, and a starting rotation headed by Jason Johnson. They managed to avoid losing 100 games.
Look at all the fired managers during the long losing stretch:
Mike Hargrove – fired with a .425 win percentage
Lee Mazzilli – fired with a .480 win percentage
Sam Perlozzo – fired with a .427 win percentage
Dave Trembley – fired with a .398 win percentage
What makes Buck’s .453 win percentage not only immune from firing, but immune from even a whisper of a lukewarm seat?
Hell, Davey Johnson was fired after winning AL Manager of the Year!
It begs the question that I have been wondering myself for a while now: If Buck’s name wasn’t Buck, say if he was John Showalter, would we even care? Would John Showalter have a job right now outside of Baseball Tonight?
I’m not so sure.