Buck Showalter doesn't like his garden gnome. He’s dismissed it since the day the Orioles announced the promotion in spring training. In fact, back then, he told the media it wasn’t going to happen. When the team revealed what the gnome would look like, he didn’t want to see it. He wanted no part of that. Trust us. We tried to show it to him.
He's scoffed at it at every opportunity. Showalter didn’t buy the hype. He doesn’t think fans decide whether to attend an Orioles game based on the prospects of getting their own Buck Showalter gnome. It doesn’t make sense to him.
But Showalter didn’t see fans line up around Camden Yards for Game 2 of Sunday’s split-admission doubleheader to be among the first 25,000 fans 15 and over through the gates. He didn’t hear the crowd cheer when Oriole Park’s metal gates opened. He didn’t see the excitement one 7 1/2-inch figurine prompted on social media.
He didn’t see collectors trying to purchase gnomes for cash inside the stadium. He wasn’t online to see one gnome draw 37 bids and sell for $86.50 on eBay less than two hours after the final pitch of Sunday’s night game.
I don't quite understand the gnome phenomenon either, but I know this. You're a pretty big deal if you have a gnome. Mike Trout has a gnome. Sonny Gray has a gnome. Joe Maddon had a gnome. Whitey Herzog and Tommy Lasorda both have gnomes.
Between games of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Orioles twitter account posted a photo of closer Zach Britton sitting at his locker on his iPad with the gnome positioned on his chair’s arm saying that Britton was chilling with his "gnomie.”
A gnome was positioned on the Orioles dugout railing watching Sunday night’s game. Another watched the game from the bullpen.
After the Orioles beat the Indians 8-0 in the doubleheader nightcap, the gnome was in the post-game high-five line. Travis Snider did his postgame TV interview wearing a gnome hat. As is customary after big wins, Adam Jones – who returned to the lineup from a shoulder injury in Game 1 -- pied Snider, but also then “pied” the dugout gnome with a cupcake.
In the postgame press conference, the media decided to place a gnome on Showalter’s postgame podium (Which media member placed it there is not of any importance for the purpose of this blog).
At first, Showalter didn’t find it very funny, “I’m glad I could be so entertaining,” he muttered as he placed the gnome to the side.
After he took questions about the Orioles' doubleheader sweep, Showalter stared at the figurine, saying he was glad it was facing away because he still didn’t want to see what it looked like.
“All kidding aside, it is an honor,” Showalter said. “I get it, if that’s the right word. I’ll be glad when the sun comes up tomorrow and we move on to another promotion.”
But in the end, Showalter seemed to take it in stride.
“You know what, it’s like autographs,” Showalter said. “When you’ve gotta worry is when they quit asking.”
-- Turn on the TV this morning to any sports channel and you’ll probably see Travis Snider’s diving catch from Game 2 of the doubleheader.
“Geez,” Showalter said. “Competition is great. Travis came over with a good reputation defensively. You won't find a better play made this year than him. My gosh. I had a good angle at it, too. I know Chris was thrilled with it. He had a pretty good reaction.”
With one out in the sixth inning, Francisco Lindor rocketed a line drive into the left-center field gap.
Snider made a break for the ball and took a full-extension lunging dive for the ball. After making the catch, Snider sprawled out on his back and extended his glove – ball inside – in the air.
“I haven’t even had a chance to see it,” Snider said. “I feel bad for the left center field grass. … I saw the ball hit off the bat. It’s over your left shoulder. You’ve got to turn around as fast as you can. I’m not fast. I was able to get there within the vicinity and try and lay off for the team and try and come up with one.”
“It was awesome, it really was,” Tillman said. “I talked to him about it. It was fun, it really was fun to watch. He was pumped up about it, and I think all of us were.”
-- The Orioles became the first team to win both games of a doubleheader by shutout in more than a year. The Yankees beat the Cubs with two shutouts on April 16, 2014. The Orioles were also the first team to have both starting pitchers of a doubleheader log at least seven shutout innings in both games since the Orioles did it on Sept. 12, 2014, when Kevin Gausman and Bud Norris accomplished that feat.
-- After his fourth-inning homer in Game 2, Chris Davis has recorded at least one RBI in five consecutive games, one shy of his career high. Davis also extended his season-high hit streak to eight games and has hit safely in 14 of his last 18 games, hitting .414/.469/.724 in that span.
-- Manny Machado extended his hit streak to 10 games, third longest of his career (His career high is 14 games). Machado has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games.