Oct. 10 Buck Showalter pregame interview
Q. The Orioles were the only visiting American League club with a winning record at Yankee Stadium this season. Is that just a reflection of the overall quality of your team or are there specific underlying reasons for that?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't want to oversimplify it. We've just pitched a little better here than we have in the past, I think, more than anything. It's like the agent that says it's not about the money. It's about the money. Well, pitching is part of it -- it's about the pitching.
We pitched better than we have here in the past. I know it's not a long, elaborate answer, but I think that's it more than anything and stayed in some ballgames. Didn't let them bludgeon us.
Q. Miguel González seemingly came out of nowhere, but it's a great story. At what point this year did you realize this could be one of these magical years that this guy could have?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You know, I still think that's ahead of him, too. This guy does so many things that gives himself a chance to be successful. He fills his position, he holds runners, strike throwers, off speed for a strike, and you couple that with Wieters and his ability to call the game, you can stay in some games with Miggy. I think Miggy will be the first one to tell you it's an ongoing process. He not assuming anything. He doesn't take anything for granted. I think that's the one thing I describe about our club generally. I've never had a club that doesn't take anything for granted; each pitch, each inning, each W. I think Miggy, the rest of his career, is going to be that type of guy. This guy is not going to ever get caught up. He knows how things can be fleeting, and once you get something taken away from you physically because of some of the challenges he's had. And our guys did a great job noticing that in the Mexican League. We're real proud of him.
Q. Can you just elaborate a little bit on the decision to move Brian Matusz to the bullpen in July and how pleased you've been with his progress and performance there?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Well, it was something that in the back of everybody's mind because if you look at his track record from the day he was signed with left handed pitchers and when you look at the trade market when we lost Patton, who was doing such a great for job us left handed out of the pen, we basically all year went with one left hander down there, but when you have three left hand starters in your rotation, which we do at times, the second left hander is not that big a need because you're always following left-handers with a right-hander.
But he, compared to the options we had and the trade market and some other things, we thought Brian could do as well if not better than some of the other things coming in. Brian will more than likely go in the spring as a starter and then he can always -- we think he can go back and do this but he needs to get his innings. It was also a carrot for him to come back to the Big Leagues, so there was a lot of want-to there.
Mike Griffin and Ron Johnson, our Triple A pitching coach and managers did a great job with him identifying that, and we set up some situations for him as the project went on to help us better evaluate whether he'd be able to do it as far as getting up quickly, being able to throw multiple days within a five- or six-day span. Brian has taken to it. He likes the idea of coming to the park and having a chance to pitch every night. It's like the chicken and egg; what comes first. If he wasn't doing well, I don't know if he'd be embracing it that much. But I think one of the biggest things is an opportunity to get back to the Big Leagues and contribute to this team.
Q. Obviously with Jim Thome you have a guy that's a future Hall of Famer --
BUCK SHOWALTER: Did he beat me here again today? I can't beat him here. He's something.
Q. I guess what's it been like to watch a guy that's still going, trying to get that first championship ring, and also what effect he has in the clubhouse given that?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Well, like I said, the more you're around guys like that, you realize things just don't happen; there are reasons why. Jimmy walks through our door every day like he's playing his first game in little league. He's enthused, he's upbeat, he is approachable. So many guys with his resume aren't approachable sometimes, and he's the one that makes everybody else comfortable in approaching him. He doesn't make them. We put a little thing up in the spring and we carried it. Anytime there is a tiebreaker about who gets to do what, we just say look at the time in the Big Leagues sheet. And when you see 20 something, I was looking at it today, 20 something years, and to have that same enthusiasm, talking about his dad coming to the playoffs and everything, it would be pretty cool to say that you were part of getting Jimmy what people like him deserve.
It's an honor to have had him pass my way, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Jimmy was a contributor for a long time still. He just -- a lot of guys would have shut it down with the injury he had and said I'll see you next year, this is just too much. Very humble man, went down to our complex, grinded it like a 20-year-old trying to get back to the Big Leagues, and our rehab coordinator said it's probably the best worker he's had some through there. It's an example more than anything else. But he doesn't trumpet it. It's not listen to what I say, it's watch what I do.
Q. You've had a lot of personal experience with Yankee Stadium. Do you think your club this year has done a particularly good job of not being awed by the history that goes along with this place and the history of this team?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We've pitched better here. Our guys have pitched better. All that stuff, it's -- I think staying in the moment -- I think our guys just stay engaged on what's important, all the hoopla and the pregame and the post game, and that's part of it. You're doing something important that people want to know about, and that's why our sport is so popular, so you keep that in mind.
But our guys realize that they're trying to be brilliant in the basics and do the things that -- and not do the things that cost you ballgames. It's not so much what you do but sometimes what you don't do. It's like coaching; sometimes the best coaching you do is the coaching you don't do.
I don't know if you've got -- I'm sure they've been told about it. There's so many things that I know and y'all know even better than I do that I get brought up, and I know if you want down to the locker room and brought it up, they would go, oh, really, that's nice, what else. Because they realize the reality of what's going on as human beings. There will be something that happens again tonight that patterns -- it will be a break of what you think should happen. Thank God, otherwise it would be incredibly boring. I'm okay with being bored, though.
Q. I think a lot of fans still are probably surprised at your success this season. Do you detect any of that in the clubhouse? And do you have to manage any differently at this point in the season with this team than you would, say, a team that may have been favored at Spring Training?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't think our -- I think, one, our club is out of the bag. I told them you can't -- you're not under the radar anymore. Probably about a month ago. You've played too many games. Luck is certainly -- you have some nights where you know you've dodged the baseball gods, but you've played too many games.
Good thing is you get rewarded for them. I don't think managing -- the games are different. They're obviously different. We have played one game already this year since the finality, and I think our guys really, the way they responded in that game was something I was very proud of.
But they realize that you live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, and there's only going to be one happy organization when this is all said and done, and there'll be some type of analyzation of why it didn't happen for somebody. You've crossed into the other world, so to speak. And we're okay with that.
When this is done, whenever it's done, then we'll have the toughest task of -- as tough a task, I should say, as doing it again. That's why I have so much respect for people that win when they're expected to win. That's one of the hardest things to do in sports.
Q. Phil is throwing for the Yanks tomorrow. You've obviously seen him before. On the times he's been tough, what do you think he has that makes him tough?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Well, a lot of things. He's got an above average fastball. He can pitch up or down, he change planes with the breaking ball, changeup is a usable pitch, very competitive, strike thrower. I mean, we have just been able to put him in that -- in anything. He can do some things to slow you down or speed you up. Good looking young pitcher. It's a given that he's going to pitch well, present himself well. He's one of the reasons -- you stack up guys, starters towards the back of the rotation, you compare them -- I always look at our 7, 8, 9 hitter against everybody else's 7, 8, 9 hitter. That's where you really get a feel in the American League where you are and the same thing with your fourth and fifth starters. If you take a look at that, it gives you an idea where you're stacking out.
But Hughes is a guy that's going to move up in the rotation as he continues to pitch. We just hope we don't have any other modes of transportation that are scary coming over. Wieters had a great line -- I think it was Wieters. Said, I'd rather have an electrical issue with a train than an electrical issue with a plane. We've got a lot of young kids. Wieters had his new baby. But everybody slept.
So we haven't officially blamed the Yankees for tearing up the tracks, right?
Q. What time did you get in?
BUCK SHOWALTER: 9:00 a.m. we got to the hotel. 9:00 a.m. Quite a bus ride.
Our guys took it great. They had some fun with it. A few didn't have some fun with it.
Q. How about you?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think we screwed up some people -- we didn't, somebody else did. The commuters. We knew we were in trouble when we saw the commuters coming over to get on the train going the other way. They were talking about jumping the tracks going around the Yankee train, but that never materialized. Quite a night. Brought back memories of Oneonta, Albany.