BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a big weekend for Orioles fans as FanFest kicks off at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Mary Bubala reports part of the excitement this year is the return of Buck Showalter as the Birds’ skipper.
Soon the sights and sounds of Oriole baseball will fill Camden Yards. Opening Day is a springtime rite of passage and this year fans are hopeful for a winning season. It’s something they haven’t tasted for more than a decade.
Many are pinning their hopes and dreams on Buck Showalter. WJZ caught up with the team’s new manager as he settled into his office and life in Baltimore.
WJZ asked him if he felt pressure to deliver a winning season.
“I don’t think any more than what’s self-inflicted. I understand the job description. I know the way it was here and the way it can be,” said Showalter.
Showalter took over as manager last August and immediately the Orioles started winning games – lots of them.
Showalter is a no-nonsense guy, who tells it like it is.
“That’s what I told them when I first got here. ‘You have to understand I like all you guys, I like baseball players, but I will hurt your feelings, because you are hurting our feelings when you don’t care,’” said Showalter. “I am a fan of good baseball, I am not a fan of bad baseball,” said Showalter.
Showalter managed the New York Yankees, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers. He moved his family to Dallas years ago, and promised his two children they’d stay put until they left for college. The children are now out of the nest and Showalter and his wife are putting down roots in Baltimore. Recently, the couple bought a home in Baltimore County.
“I do like it. It’s very fashionable. I just like the feel of the people. There’s no pretense, just cut to the chase,” said Showalter.
Showalter’s style is simple and direct, like his nickname, “Buck.”
He sets the record straight where this nickname came from.
“It’s been embellished a lot. A guy said I looked like a buck. He wasn’t going to call me William Nathaniel III so in the south you always end up with a nickname and Buck fits pretty good down there. We’ll leave it at that,” said Showalter.
Showalter says he will be ready to take questions from fans — even the tough ones — at FanFest this Saturday.