BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Friday was the first day of full-squad workouts, and Sports Director Mark Viviano spoke to some of the team and to manager Buck Showalter at Orioles’ spring training in Sarasota, Florida.
The players have spoken about the close-knit family culture that team has, but manager Buck Showalter is certainly the head of the family.
In a training camp filled with superstars and all-stars, the Orioles also have manager Buck Showalter, the guy who aligns those stars. Buck is 60-years-old and past his athletic prime, but as we see during a break at spring training, he’s as popular as any player on the roster.
“I got Buck Showalter’s autograph today, I’m a very happy Orioles fan,” says one woman visiting Ed Smith Stadium.
“I think he’s a great manager. I’m glad he’s still here with the Orioles. I think he’s doing a heck of a job,” says Randy Hopkins, visiting Sarasota from Easton.
Showalter’s entering his 8th season as O’s manager. Only Hall-of-Famer Earl Weaver managed the O’s longer and won more games. Buck’s been the man in charge during the Orioles’ resurgence over the last 5 years. He’s reluctant to talk about his run of success, but his players are happy to sing his praises.
“He puts guys in a situation where he feels like they’re going to be successful. And that’s a big part of why we’ve been successful,” says Orioles Pitcher Zach Britton.
“You’re always trying to say- how can I serve them, how can I make their path easier. Last thing I want to do is make it harder for them,” says Buck.
“He’s very honest with you, gives you a good idea of what he expects out of you and that goes for everybody here. It just allows you go out and play the game to the best of your ability,” says outfielder Mark Trumbo.
“He’s a smart guy. He’s a baseball genius. He gets the best out of you and tries to be there for you every time,” says pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez.
One of the challenges for every major league manager is dealing with injuries. Buck Showalter is dealing with an injury for the second time this week as J.J. Hardy is suffering from back spasms and won’t be able to participate in drills for some time.