Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter talk about the end of the season and highlights of the season. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, in his first local comments since the team's 5-2 wild-card loss to the Toronto Blue Jays and the criticism of his decision not to use closer Zach Britton, said he hasn't heard much of the negativity about that move but is more concerned about it overshadowing what he thought was a good season for the team.
"I understand the way it works, and I'll wear it," Showalter said. "There's been a lot of really nice things said to me, and about me, since I've been here, and it's been a great place. It'll continue to be. It's just unfortunate for our players and our fans. I know they care a lot, obviously and they're very passionate about us being successful.
"When something is deemed, decisions are made over the course of the year, you're going to be critiqued. Is it fair? Yeah, it probably is fair, because that's the world you choose to participate in, and will continue to."
The critiques have come from all circles of the baseball world, with local and national figures questioning Showalter going to and sticking with starter Ubaldo Jimenez in the 11th inning Tuesday in Toronto. To that point, he had used relievers Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart, Brad Brach, Darren O'Day, and Brian Duensing to extend the game and keep it tied from the fifth inning to the 11th. But he held back Britton, the league's best closer, for a save situation that never came.
Showalter's son, Nathan, and daughter, Allie, told him of some of the commentary about the decision, but he said he didn't see much himself.
"I understand where the emotion comes from, and I would be the same way if I was someone who cared a lot about the Orioles," Showalter said. "No one cares more about them than I do, and our players and our coaches. I don't know if worry is the word, but you have anxiety about how it reflects on your city, your organization and your players and you don't want anything to detract from the great things they accomplished this year. Unfortunately, that's the society we live in today. You know the description going in. But there's a lot of coulda shoulda woulda. You're a human being. You have those emotions, and there's certain things in my capacity you just have to wear. I'm used to it."
All that said, Showalter knows that the outcome of the decision makes the rationale that went into it relatively moot.
"These are the times when you understand, you've got a choice of what world to live in," Showalter said. "I've been very consistent, I'd like to think, and very steadfast in things I try to do and the way I try to treat people. I just don't think it behooves anything to go through all those things. Believe me, no one asks you about things that happened in spring training if things work out. We live in a result-oriented society, and I understand that. There's things that you have to do every day, and everybody who has jobs has to do every day. You're judged on the results. It didn't work out. I'll take that judgment."