September 8, 2012
The New Oriole Way
The Orioles’ storybook season added another amazing chapter on Thursday night, as the O’s pulled off a startling four-run comeback after blowing a five-run lead in the opener of their huge four-game series against the Yankees at Camden Yards. This is Baltimore's first meaningful baseball September in more than a decade, and on the night that the Orioles unveiled a statue of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr, they erupted for six home runs to move back into a tie for the American League East lead.
The Orioles have finished under .500 for 14 consecutive years and have lost 91 or more games in nine of the last 11 seasons, including each of the last six years. But if the season had ended yesterday, the Orioles would have been postseason bound, which represents a remarkable turnaround under General Manager Dan Duquette and Manager Buck Showalter. Credit also has to be given to former GM Andy MacPhail, who hired Showalter in 2010 and laid the groundwork for this team.
The Orioles’ record right now is impressive enough, but how the O’s have reached this point has been fascinating.
Defying the odds
I first met Showalter during the 1992 season, when he was in his first year as the New York Yankees manager and I was the Assistant GM of the White Sox. It was after midnight, maybe two hours after a late-April night game at Comiskey Park, and my office phone rang with an internal Caller ID listing "visiting manager's office." It was Buck, and he asked me if I could help him, as a game played earlier that night by an upcoming Yankees opponent was being replayed on a satellite channel, and he wanted to watch it from the clubhouse. We were already taping the game ourselves, so I went over to the visitor's clubhouse and showed him how to view it.
After that late-night conversation, I knew his clubs would always be prepared.