What the Buck?

First of all, let’s just come right out and say that MASN, the Peter Angelos owned regional sports network that broadcasts Orioles’ and Nationals’ games has completely embarrassed itself this weekend. Just about everyone associated with the broadcast has spent the entire weekend complaining about the Yankees “whining,” their “sense of entitlement,” and just basically parroting the company line in every way and at every turn. The only exception I’ve noticed has been color commentator and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who tonight noted that the Yankees “certainly had a reason” for being upset about the situation.

And they most certainly do! Thanks to the layout of the schedule and make up games already on the docket, the Yankees only had one full day off in the month of September, and they’ve lost that now. This even though the Yankees proposed the eminently reasonable course of action of playing a double header Friday, instead of Saturday, which would have left them able to play a second twin-billing Sunday or Monday as well, and thus getting all five schedule games in between Friday and Monday. The Orioles refused that idea, supposedly unwilling to give up a night game weekend gate against the Yankees. But, of course, since the game has now been rescheduled for a Thursday afternoon, they’re losing that gate anyway.

Not that the Orioles are the only guilty party, however. The Orioles reportedly agreed to play a double header at Yankee Stadium in which Baltimore would take the gate from the second game when the Orioles come to New York next month (which I’m pretty sure was Angelos’ goal all along), but the commissioner’s office reportedly nixed that proposition, supposedly because an extra home game would be “unfair” to the teams the Yankees are in a playoff battle with. Because taking away the only true day off they have for an entire month won’t be unfair to the Yankees, or anything. Certainly not in the view of the Orioles’ mouthpiece, anyway.

But the award for the most bizarre statement of all goes to, who else, Buck Showalter, who somehow worked the tragic suicide of Mike Flanagan into the equation:

“First of all, I felt that some of the stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny, quite frankly. That didn’t sit with me very well. I can tell you that,” Showalter said, referencing Wednesday’s tragic death of Mike Flanagan.

I mean…what? I honestly have no idea what this could possibly mean. The idea of playing a doubleheader Friday was disrespectful? I understand that the Orioles were coming home for the first time since the event, but it’s hardly as though they were set to forfeit Friday night’s game or anything. There’s still baseball to be played, and the weather is what it is.

I don’t think I’m the only one by any means, but I’m quickly getting tired of Buck Showalter’s new act. Showalter took over a team on pace to be historically bad last season, and proceeded to go 34-23 the rest of the season (though still finishing in last place, of course) after which he was quickly crowned the king of Baltimore, non-Ravens division. This season, however, the Orioles are back to being bottom feeders, despite having Showalter around for over a year now. In other words, Showalter proved to be mostly hype and very little substance when it came to turning around baseball in Charm City.

Not that that’s kept him from talking a big game by any means. No, Buck loves to talk, especially when the subject turns to the Yankees and Red Sox. Showalter loves to talk about how the Orioles “aren’t afraid of those guys up North” and “you don’t win games with your checkbook,” amongst various other barbs he’s thrown at the Yanks and Sawx. Has the performance of the Orioles merited such big talk? Of course not, the Orioles currently “boast” the lowest winning percentage in the American League and stand 28 games behind first place Boston, 26 games behind the Yankees.

Perhaps Buck might consider giving the talk a rest until the Orioles are a bit closer to their division rivals in the standings. Of course, odds are he’ll have worn out his welcome in yet another organization long before that happens, so I do suppose he might as well get his licks in now.

 

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

27 thoughts on “What the Buck?

  1. Hugh

    Flanny? His old pal Flanny? Well now I understand his sensitivity,

  2. Don't forget his comments about Jeter's actions on inside pitches. The guy should just shut up.

  3. Frank S.

    I had the exact same wtf reaction when I read his comments. To my knowledge, Flanagan's funeral was not on Friday afternoon (if it was, the O's relucatance to play would have been explainable), and his death was not at the time offered as a reason not to play. This is a post hoc justification for an unsupportable willingness to do something sensible just because the Yankees wanted it, and, at the same time, a chance for Buck and the O's to paint the Yankees with the "bad guy" brush. As far as I know, Buck didn't even have any kind of relationship with Mike Flanagan. He should just stfu.

  4. Bill

    The suicide comment was just silly. What better way to celebrate a baseball player… than to play baseball? Sandwich a memorial between the double header. People like to find controversy in everything.

  5. Bret

    Given the circumstances surrounding Flanagan's death it was out of place for Girardi to go on and on and on about losing the off day. Behind the scenes say whatever you want but it was inappropriate publicly given the circumstances. Had Tino Martinez died on Thursday Yankee fans would feel the same way. Fine if you disagree but there are good arguments to be made that the O's didn't want to play. As far as Buck not getting the job done, he has had some constraints. Matusz has been a total zero all year, they lost Roberts, lost Scott (and got zero out of him), Arrieta is gone for the year, etc. Girardi was offered the Orioles job if you remember, he didn't take it because he wanted an expensive drink mix where all you had to do is add water. Buck has to be applauded for being willing to take over a very tough job that he knew would not be an overnight fix regardless what you think of his managerial skills. O's are only going to go as far as their pitching, doesn't make Buck an awful manager because the team has given up more runs than any other in baseball.

    • BrienJackson

      "Had Tino Martinez died on Thursday Yankee fans would feel the same way."

      I don't buy that at all. I would understand that people would be sad, and I would also understand if the guys on the team who played with him took the day off to go to the funeral or something, but life goes on as they say, and baseball still has to be played. Part of this in on MLB for not doing a very good job with their scheduling, but it is what it is.

      And again, I didn't see them considering forfeiting the scheduled game Friday night, so it certainly wasn't that big of a deal. When it comes down to it, Angelos was hoping to get a Yankee Stadium gate out of the deal, plain and simple.

      • Bret

        You are missing my point. I don't care about the merits of playing or not playing the game. Both team's had their own arguments for and against (and the home team has the right to make these kind of determinations). My point is if your father died and I came to the funeral and had loud conversations about how poorly organized the catering was with everyone in attendance instead of paying respects or keeping my mouth shut about it you would not be happy. It should have been a day to honor an all-time Orioles great, not a day to complain about a 2 hour plane trip in September. Again, behind the scenes if he wanted to go crazy to the commissioner or the union be my guest. But I certainly understand where Showalter was coming from.

        • Well, your analogy has two obvious problems.

          1. It wasn’t my father, Buck’s father, Matt Wieter’s father, etc.

          2. This wasn’t someone’s house or a personal setting, it’s their job site.

          And again, I’m pretty sure Flanagan’s death had nothing to do with anything.

          • forged

            I concur with Brien on this one. Flanagan's passing is a tragedy, but doesn't amount to re-scheduling games around a hurricane.

            The Orioles took the path that they felt was most advantageous to them in figuring out when to reschedule the games. So be it. However, knowing they did that, they really don't have a high-road on the Yankees organization not being thrilled with their proposed solutions. (imho)

          • Bret

            Flanagan was a beloved member of the organization. My most enduring memory as an O's fan is going to the last game at Memorial Stadium and having him come in to pitch the 9th inning then have all the greats come out on the field after the game. I have never met him personally but was extremely upset by his passing.

            The day should have been about paying respects to him. If David Cone died and Buck the next day started talking for 2 hours straight about how upset he was that they had to make up a game in September you wouldn't find that insensitive? Girardi thinks the world revolves around him and there is no one else in it. It really isn't for Yankees' fans to decide how O's fans should feel about Flanagan or how the team chooses to honor him. And it would have been very difficult to make all those preparations to honor him in less than 24 hours.

          • BrienJackson

            "And it would have been very difficult to make all those preparations to honor him in less than 24 hours."

        • BrienJackson

          In fact, I'll do you one better. Considering how poorly Flanagan has been treated by angelos in the past few years (to the point that many people in the local media here are openly speculating that that played a big role in Flanagan's suicide) I don't think ANYTHING could have been more disrespectful towards Flanagan's memory than invoking his suicide as a cover for Angelos' refusal to be flexible in the face of losing a portion of a gate.

          • Bret

            You are going off on tangents but I do not think one has to do with another. Flanagan had no business being a GM just like Michael Jordan had no business being a GM. I don't think he ever should have been offered that job and he wasn't very good at it which I will freely admit. But he was a great pitcher and very loyal to the organization and deserved to be honored on Friday. And though I despise Angelos I don't think Flanagan was treated poorly. If I hire someone unqualified and they do a poor job for 5 years and I fire them and then re-hire them to make a lot of money broadcasting is that treating them poorly? Flanagan had internal issues, may have been financial, may have been his wife who knows but if everyone involved with the Orioles over the last 14 years killed themselves because of the team's ineptitude Camden Yards would look like Stalingrad circa 1942.

            Again, the Yankees had valid reasons for not wanting to lose their off day and I believe the O's had their own valid reasons for not wanting to play but Girardi should not be spouting off given the circumstances publicly.

          • BrienJackson

            Well, the Orioles DID play Friday night, and they DID have a tribute to Flanagan. I guess I just don't understand how having a game Friday afternoon needed to affect that at all. Because it didn't, of course, and the decision was all about money. WHICH IS FINE. After all, just look at this site's banner. But spare me the BS about Girardi not having a right to complain (especially considering how much Showalter loves to run his mouth) and definitely spare me the transparent BS about Flanagan. Again, I don't see how anything coule be more disrespectful to the man than using his death as cover for an unpopular business decision.

          • Bret

            I'm not sure it was 100% a business decision. That played into it but the O's had just played 11 games in 10 days on the road, had to go from Minnesota to Baltimore and be ready to play at 1, and the notice to fans would have been very minimal not to mention the Flanagan preparations etc. Like I said, I understand the O's position and I understand the Yankees position. But your position is you have no clue how anything Girardi says could have been perceived as being insensitive and I'm telling you I was offended and I explained why. And you talk about Showalter having transparent BS but don't mention that Girardi's two hour rant bout losing the off day came after his 17 million dollar pitcher imploded again and was designed as a complete decoy to avoid that discussion. What about transparency there? Showalter does love to talk but he has great knowledge and respect for the history of the game and would never have gone off publicly if the situations were reversed, I guarantee you that.

          • BrienJackson

            You don't consume much in the way of local NY media, do you?

            In any event, I really don't care about any of that. The fact of the matter is that there was a massive weather event coming through no one could do anything about, and concessions have to be made. I can appreciate the position the Orioles are in on all accounts, but there's just nothing that can be done about it, and taking away the only off day the Yankees have in September is just flat out unfair from a competitive standpoint. If the Orioles were that adamant about Flanagan's death impacting their ability to play Friday, they should have put their money where there mouth is and planned on making the game up after the season, with the risk of the game being cancelled entirely if it didn't matter.

            Of course, they weren't going to do it, because the decision was all about money. Which I don't blame them for, but I do blame them for pulling out this nonsense about a recently deceased man, and I do blame MLB for going along with the nonsense.

          • Rich7041

            It was my understanding that the Yankees requested the Friday doubleheader on Wednesday when it became clear that Saturday would be a washout. If the decision was made that evening (even with Flanagan's unfortunate death) there would be plenty of time to get the word to the fans for a 1 pm Friday game.
            Also, for Buck to invoke Flanagan's death and to play "what if the shoe was on the Yankees' foot" is in bad taste. Consider this: say a Yankee (an active player, not a retired icon) passed away unexpectedly during the season. Would they use it as an excuse to get an extra payday? Or do the right thing and play? History lesson: the Yankees played a game the same night on the day Thurman Munson was buried. So save the righteous indignation.

        • Anant

          If I may here Bret, you may be right, the Yankees may have failed to account for the circumstances surrounding the tragedy that was Flanagan's death. However, I find that anyone would be hard-pressed to say that there was any intent on the part of Girardi, the players, or the organization with regards to being disrespectful to the memory of Flanagan. Showalter's comments, on the other hand, were meant to paint Girardi and the entire organization as petty and disrespectful, and follows a pattern on his part of taking jabs at the Yankees whenever he can. It's fine if Showalter believes the Yanks are an evil empire, but he could have followed your advice and voiced his displeasure behind the scenes. As to why he chose to make it a public issue, one need not speculate given Showalter's penchant for running his mouth when it comes to the Yanks.

          • Bret

            Rich and Anant,

            The point about Girardi isn't that he was blatently disrespectul, it was that he was blindingly oblivious to anything non-Yankee. It shows a lack of maturity or a lack ot tact or whatever you want to call it but Friday night was not the time or place to go on and on about missing an off day. Did the Yankees have their reasons for being upset over losing the off day? Yes. Did the Orioles have legitimate reasons not to want to play a double header? Yes. Thurman Munson has zero to do with my point. Thurman Munson would have something to do with my point if Showalter on the night of Munson's death talked for an hour about what a crappy hotel he was staying in or how the peanuts on the plane were subpar. Not the time. I don't care what he does behind the scenes but not the time in public on Friday night. Girardi doesn't have much knowledge or respect for the history of the game, unless it is related to the Yankees whereby the team forces him to learn.

          • BrienJackson

            I'm getting tired of this. Look, by basically every report, even from Baltimore reporters, the Orioles refused to play the doubleheader Friday because of the gate. That's it, and that's fine. The Yankees coming to town is important business for most mid-market teams, and I can't begrudge them not wanting to lose that many ticket sales. It's unfortunate that the league doesn't have more authority to act in the interests of baseball in these reschedulings, but the rules are the rules.

            But that's what it was, a business decision, and the Yankees have every right to be angry about losing their only September off-day for the sake of helping out the Orioles' ticket sales. Ultimately, to even bring up Flanagan at all is both exceedingly dumb and disrespectful.

          • Bret

            #1, I wasn't responding to you so there was nothing for you to get tired of. #2, you keep avoiding my point and keep making the same stupid point over and over again.

            I will repeat, I can see the Yankees side, I can see the O's side for the game. Did business play into it for the O's? I'm sure it did. Was it the only issue? I don't think it was and I've given several other reasons.

            My point has nothing to do with the merits of playing the game that day or another day. You don't come to someone's funeral and spend an hour talking about your own life issues or annoyances. Girardi should have made his complaints in private or in public on a different day and should not have started campaigning to play a doubleheader 10 minutes after Flanagan died. To do it the way he did shows that he doesn't have much appreciation for the history of the game or respect for those that came before him. Playing a baseball game on September 8th is ephemeral and meaningless in the grand scheme of life, losing an all time great player is not.

          • BrienJackson

            And again, your analogy is flawed because it wasn't anyone's funeral. It's a place of business. I would actually be very sympathetic had Flanagan's funeral been Friday and that factored into things, but it didn't. You can't make a business decision and then complain when some adversely affected by it shows up at the job site angry.

          • Bret

            For the fans it was his funeral. And your analogy doesn't make sense either, if your co-worker down the hall in the next branch died suddenly would you go into the office the next day and go on and on about how bad the coffee was that morning? Of course not. And Girardi started campaigning right after Flanagan's death on Thursday to play a doubleheader. I'm not saying this as an Orioles fan but as a fan of baseball history. Yankee fans would object very strongly if Ron Guidry died and the manager on the opposing team showed zero acknowledgement for it and went on and on about something minor and trivial. I don't necessarily think there was any malicious intent on the part of Girardi, I just think he is incredibly obtuse with no appreciation for anything except that day and that game. I know he has a tough job and the NY media has conditioned him that way but that still doesn't make it right.

          • Anant

            Bret, you didn't reply to my comments about what Showalter did, making the issue a public one rather than addressing it behind the scenes. He obviously did so in order to try to publicly humiliate the Yankees, and Girardi in particular. Furthermore, though you claim Girardi is simply "obtuse," your rhetoric is supportive of Showalter's actions, which accuse Girardi of being disrespectful, not ignorant. Furthermore, Girardi has an obligation to look out for his players, the organization, and Yanks fans, thus it should be understandable why he was upset at the Orioles' refusal to work out another solution. Not to mention you are repeatedly ignoring Brien's point that the issue, even for the Orioles, was not Flanagan, and that they never believed that the Yanks were affecting any arrangements being made. The issue was money for the Orioles, vs. the rest day for the Yankees (important because of the impending playoffs). It was not about Flanagan, not until Showalter decided to use that tragedy for his own personal gain by way of painting Girardi and the Yanks as disrespectful, and callous.

  6. Frank S.

    Two comments on Bret's points about Buck.

    First, he took the job not because he wanted a challenge, but because it was probably the last job he would ever be offered, having worn out his welcome at three previous stops, where he was canned even after putting a winning product on the field.

    Second, every comment made by Buck seems to conclude with "I'll tell you that." He comes off as trying to sound like a bad-ass tough guy all the time. No wonder nobody likes him.

    This had zero to do with Mike Flanagan, and Buck and the Orioles know it.

    • Bret

      Every place Buck has gone the team has gotten better. I do not think he is perfect but he is much better than every manager they have had subsequent to Davey Johnson. You can't blame him for this year, he has no pitching and young players haven't stepped forward or have gotten hurt. And wasn't he part of the management team that took the Yankees from a 76 win team in 1992 to a huge lead in the AL East before the strike in 1994? He may wear out his welcome but sometimes it takes breaking eggs to make an omelette and the Yankees, DBacks and Rangers have him in big part to thank for delicious WS appearance omelettes. Give him a couple years and let's see what happens. I think the O's get markedly better with Matusz healthy and some experience for Britton, Arreita etc. You can't lead baseball in runs given up and be very good, even Houdini couldn't get out of that. And Buck doesn't pitch.

  7. Frank S.

    Oh, and by the way, Mike Flanagan was awesome. I used to hate watching him pitch against the Yanks because he always dominated them. I remember there were 3 Yankee killers all named Mike: Flanagan, Witt and Caldwell. Those guys were studs. That was when the O's were a class act, and a team that you just couldn't dislike even when they were beating you (e.g., in 1979), with guys like Singelton and Palmer and Flanagan and Dempsey and Loewenstein and Roenicke.

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