Barcalounge Skipper - Buck Up

"Good game, good game. I'm buying the candy corn!"

     Here come the Baltimore Orioles.  It's about time.
     Although the O's aren't likely to avoid their 13th straight losing season, they now have the -- can I say it -- underrated Buck Showalter managing the team.  Since taking over the directionless, listless Orioles a few weeks ago, Baltimore's boys of summer have gone 11-7 and appear to have a new sense of purpose.  Credit Showalter for turning around the team's attitude, as was clearly evident in Buck's disgusted and dismissive remarks about the Oriole's goofy orange uniforms, worn during a game against the Rays last weekend.
     "Someone said it looked like Halloween candy corn," Showalter said via the AP. "Take a picture. You won't see them again."
     He's right.  Candy corn sucks. Now, it seems, the Oriole's don't.
     If baseball has a modern-day turnaround artist, it's Showalter.  Having previously taken change of three foundering franchises -- the Yankees of 1992-95, the Diamondbacks of 1998-2000, and the Rangers of 2003-2006 -- Big Show has always had a big impact.  Season by season, here's the composite record and winning percentages for all three teams, year by year:

Year One 212-274 (.436)
Year Two 277-209 (.569)
Year Three 234-203 (.535)
Year Four 159-147 (.519)

     Showalter won Manager of the Year twice, in 1994 and in 2004. And he built the Yankees into the franchise that won Joe Torre four championships, as well as the team that beat the Yankees in 2001, Bob Brenly's Diamondbacks.  Since Showalter left the Rangers four years ago, that team has been a winning franchise, certainly better than it was before he got there.
     Buck is the kind of coach I think I'd like running my team, and Oriole's president Andy McPhail certainly sees it that way.  Prepared, focusing on fundamentals and preparation, Showalter should help turn around a historically great franchise in a truly great baseball town.  Baltimore deserves a great team, and it should be coming sooner than anyone suspects.
     And I have to like a guy who has nothing but disdain for Throwback Uniform Night.

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