By Stefen Lovelace
No one could have predicted that a simple managerial change could have this effect.
Since taking over the Orioles two weeks ago, Buck Showalter has led the Orioles to an 8-1 record in his first nine games. The Orioles – who were just 32-73 before Showalter’s arrival – are the hottest team in baseball right now, and it’s clear that Showalter was the right fit in making the Orioles relevant again.
Showalter is a baseball lifer, having played the game as a young man and becoming a manager right after. He’s left every team in better shape than when he got there and it appears he’s doing the same with the Orioles. The players have responded, and the unthinkable has happened… right now teams don’t want to face the O’s.
What’s even more important than the wins and losses though is the effect this turnaround has had on fans and Baltimore residents. There’s a sudden excitement that just wasn’t there before. Obviously the Orioles aren’t making the playoffs, but Showalter has helped make a city care about a team that’s more than 30 games out of first place in the AL East.
Baltimore used to be a major baseball city. But the Orioles haven’t fielded a playoff team since 1997, causing most fans to fall out of love with a team they once filled ballparks for. This little resurgence, even if it is brief, might be the start to getting those fans to come back.
It’s impossible to predict whether we’ll look back at this start under Showalter as just random, fluky, good luck that couldn’t be sustained, or truly the beginning of when the Orioles became a great baseball franchise again. Next season will start to answer that question.
But for now, I’m just happy to be living in a city that cares about baseball again.
Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.