Orioles’ Showalter takes shots at Theo Epstein, Derek Jeter

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (R) and batting coach Jim Presley talk in the dugout during the third inning of a MLB spring training game against the New York Yankees in Sarasota, Florida, March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

“I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll. 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?’”

All right! Let’s fire this f**king season up!

Those comments were made by Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, who recently did an interview with Men’s Journal. He also took a few swipes at Derek Jeter in which he said the Yankee captain “ticks” him off.”

“The first time we went to Yankee Stadium, I screamed at Derek Jeter from the dugout,” Showalter told the magazine, according to the Bergen Record. “Our guys are thinking, ‘Wow, he’s screaming at Derek Jeter.’ Well, he’s always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets — and yes, he [ticks] me off.”

I love it. Some readers got upset with me last year because I didn’t mind when Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips stirred the pot with his comments about the Cardinals. But I don’t mind stuff like this. It brings intrigue to a league that has the opportunity to regain some of its popularity back from the NFL because of the CBA mess. I respect and love the game of baseball as much as anyone (I’ve played it my entire life and someone would have to cut my limbs off to ever get me to stop), but comments like Showalter’s breathe some life into Bud Selig’s stuffy league.

What’s ironic is that Epstein would somewhat agree with Showalter’s comments. In fact, just last week Epstein told the Boston Herald that “it’s definitely easier” to win with the more money you have. But as Epstein points out, there’s more to his job then just spending John W. Henry’s money.

“It’s easy to get defensive when people attribute a lot of our success to our payroll,’’ Epstein told Borges. “To a degree they’re right, but it’s still a challenge. It’s definitely easier the more money you have, but I’m justifiably proud of what our organization has done in the draft, in scouting, in player development. The core of our roster is 26 years old, and most of them came up through the organization.”

Epstein is right. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard and Jed Lowrie all came up through the Red Sox’s farm system. It’s also important to note that Boston isn’t a big market team. They may spend like a big market team, but that’s only because the fans’ interest is so high in Baaahstin. Otherwise, Boston is actually a mid-market team.

But getting back to Showalter, whether he was trying to poke the embers in the AL East or pump up his young Orioles, it works. Baltimore may finish in fourth place again this year, but Showalter is trying to light a fire under his club’s ass. It’s time for everyone to wake up in Baltimore and maybe Showalter can be the rooster. (What? Stupid…)

The only beef I have with what he said is the part about “whipping” the Red Sox’s butts. As ESPN’s Gordon Edes points out, the Showalter-led Orioles went 3-3 against Boston last year, which hardly constitutes whipping anyone’s butts. Still, I like his spunk.

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