Baseball is a game of intimidation. We all know that. It’s such a physical game that all you have to do is talk some serious smack and you are bound to rattle your opponent. Like hockey and football, baseball is a contact sport. Win the mental battle with the opposition and you will win baseball games. For that reason, Buck Showalter and the Orioles will probably win a lot of games against the Red Sox this season.
In an interview with Men’s Journal magazine, via Boston.com, Showalter ripped Red sox GM Theo Epstein about Boston’s payroll.
“I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll,” he barked. “You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying ‘How the hell are they beating us?’”
In 18 meetings last year, the Sox and Orioles split the series right down the middle, 9-9 (3-3 after Buck took over). Now that the whole “whipping their butt” thing is out of the way, what is Showalter’s beef? He sounds like a manager on the hot seat in July who is sick of being bombarded with questions about his team’s struggles. The season hasn’t started yet. As far as I can see, Epstein didn’t say anything about landing Crawford or any other free agent because he’s smarter. I’m sure Theo knows baseball players like money.
As for trading, Epstein has been smart. He and Boston’s front office have put themselves in position to maximize their financial resources by having the pieces needed in their farm system to trade for studs like Adrian Gonzalez. The money is a major advantage, but it doesn’t eliminate Epstein’s responsibilities as a GM.
I suppose we can say that Showalter proved his point with the comments: the Orioles don’t plan on being an A.L. East doormat in 2011. Baltimore went on a good run when Buck took over as manager in July last season, so it will be interesting to see what they can do in a full season against some of the toughest competition in baseball.Google+