The Orioles brought about a flurry of excitement Tuesday night by revealing pictures of the year’s best ballpark giveaway, a garden gnome modeled after manager Buck Showalter.
The replica of the 2014 American League Manager of the Year will go to the first 25,000 fans over the age of 15 when the Orioles play the Cleveland Indians on June 27 at Camden Yards.
To promote the game, the team started a #SHOWtheGnome social media hashtag and posted pictures of the gnome looking out onto many iconic Baltimore locales.
Count Showalter among those who don't understand the gnome's appeal.
“What is the purpose?” Showalter asked this year when told of the giveaway. “Do people get up in the morning and they go, ‘Honey, are we going to the game today? … They’ve got that gnome tonight. Pack up the kids. We’re going?’ ... Really?!”
Last year, Triple-A Norfolk gave away a garden gnome modeled after manager Ron Johnson. Showalter said he was forewarned by Johnson about its lasting consequences.
”R.J. said 'no matter what you do, don’t let it happen,'" Showalter said. "He said it was the worst night of his life. He said whatever respect he had from players was gone.”