The biggest story in O’s spring training camp in Sarasota is about a guy who wears the uniform, but doesn’t play the game- he’s manager Buck Showalter who took over last August.  Though he doesn’t play, it’s hard to overlook his impact. Many players are admitting Showalter’s no-nonsense style, his resume, his 3-year contract and his attention to detail and accountability have begun to awaken a franchise that’s slogging through a 13-year losing streak.  One player recently sounded off about all of the emphasis and attention going to Showalter.  When Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter approached Adam Jones on the subject of Showalter, the O’s outfielder said, “I don’t want to answer any more questions about Buck. Too much about Buck, honestly. I answered like a hundred questions about him yesterday.”

When I spoke with Jones in Sarasota, he told me he was upset that his comments were misconstrued and he’s being unfairly criticized by those who have the perception that he’s not a fan of his new manager.  Jones insists that he’s happy to have Buck on board, but what should not be lost in the excitement over the manager is that no matter how well he prepares and inspires them, or holds them accountable- the players are still the ones who play the game and therefore win and lose the games.  So to give Jones a chance to state his case and clear up any confusion or controversy- I offered him the chance to respond to those who’ve questioned his comments.  And so nothing is misconstrued, I promised to run his statement in its entirety.  Listen for yourself:

My opinion:  Jones is not wrong, but his timing may not be right.  It’s hard to argue with his premise:  players ultimately win and lose the games.  If the players don’t execute better than their opposition,  the brilliance of the manager is lost.  But the fault in Jones’ statements could be found in the timing:  O’s fans are truly optimistic for the first time in memory, and their optimism is currently centered on the manager.  I’ve always appreciated Jones for his candor. For those of us who cover the Orioles- he will deliver for us some thoughtful, meaningful quotes and opinions.  He wants to be a leader, and even though he’s still young- Jones has the qualities to be a leader.  His opinion is not wrong, but he may be better served to let Showalter love-fest go unabated for now.  Let it play out and if the O’s do win- who cares who gets the credit?

What’s also interesting about the story:  Showalter loves Adam Jones and on Sunday told reporters that he’d be delighted if Jones puts up the same numbers he’s put up so far in his career.  Showalter is a big advocate of baseball players in general and his players in particular.  And he has told me on many occasions (including this spring training) that the attention should not be on him but on the players.  When I asked him about his role in changing the culture of a losing club Showalter said, “It’s about the players.  It’s about what they want to be about and what they want to accomplish.”  That’s part of what makes Showalter an admirable and effective leader:  he doesn’t want credit, he just wants his players to win.  And Adam Jones would like help make that happen.

180 mark viviano BLOG: Adam Jones Reacts to Critics Mark Viviano
WJZ-TV Sports Director/ Host of the Mark Viviano Show on 105.7 The Fan

Comments (10)
  1. Lance says:

    I always respect your analyses Mark. It seems to me that this issue is more simple than a player disrespecting his manager… he’s just tired of talking about him. How many quotes can one provide about their manager?

  2. Ed DeMEnt says:

    It seems to me Jones’ lack of maturity is at play here. Yes, players are the ones on the field making (or not making) the plays however the manger’s job is to get the most out of every player. I seem to recall hearing a story about Buck pulling Jones aside after a play in which he dogged it to first base. If I recall Buck told him if he wanted to be a leader on the team he wouldn’t get their by dogging out ground balls. Now Jones can dscount a manager’s effect on winning but he himself demonstrated with his actions why a manager can have a great effect on winning by motiviating, cajoling, advising, and correcting his players. Jones needs to realize that as fans we simply want to see quality competetive baseball. Dogging ground balls, getting burned by balls over your head because of bad positioning, baserunning blunders, poor situational hitting, and poor plate discipline do not endear fans to players and hopefully he can appreciate that a manager’s job is to address these shortcmings and make him a better baseball palyer. Hopefully Jones can realize that Buck seemed to be able to start to get the most out of the players on the team and that as fan’s we are greatful for that.

  3. Richard in White Marsh says:

    No, Buck doesn’t swing the bat or run the bases, but once Adam gets a hit, Buck can sure make him run faster!

  4. Hexexis says:

    Anyone remember Jones giving Buck a friendly pat on the fanny after a pow-wow @1st base last year. I don’t think he needs to do or say anymore.

  5. Eli says:

    Jones needs to grow up. I believe there was a report last year that Jones used his Twitter account to indicate, while preparing for a game at Camden Yards, that pre-game preparation is boring.

    Hey Jones: Do your job, shut up and grow up. It’s not like you play in New York, Chicago, Boston or LA and the media are constantly asking you questions. Why don’t you focus on becoming the player that you have yet to become and stop complaining?

  6. Mark Viviano says:

    Lance- I don’t think it’s a disagreement between the player and the manager because Showalter agrees with Jones that the players win and lose the game. I do agree and Jones has said- he’s tired of answering questions about the manager.
    Mark Viviano

  7. Sparkle says:

    This is receiving more attention than it merits. Adam Jones is in
    spring training to prepare for the coming season, not to be interviewed
    over and over again. This is a non-issue and I believe Buck Showalter
    would agree.
    Of course there are always a few “fans” who can’t wait to jump on
    a player for no real good reason. Those we don’t need.

  8. REV DR JOHN ELDER says:

    Rev John

    I work at University of Maryland Medical Center and I walk pass the stadium every morning and when I do I make the sign of the cross and say a prayer .These men are going to do great this year . GO O’s

  9. Herman Glimsher says:


  10. Richard in White Marsh says:

    If the Orioles somehow get to the playoffs this year, I’m giving all the credit to Buck. Even though Buck had more weapons once he arrived on the scene last year, he clearly lit a fire under those guys. Once Buck came on board last year, I remember Bulldog saying on the radio something to the effect: “What’s going on here?…Have these guys been lounging around all year?” Managers matter, and Jones is dispensable.

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