As former Orioles manager Buck Showalter and his wife, Angela, made it to the starting line of the ninth annual KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K at Camden Yards Saturday morning, neither could go far without receiving a thank you or well wishes.
Showalter was back Saturday for the first time since the Orioles informed him on Oct. 3 he wouldn't return as manager. The annual event he and his wife have hosted for years was a lot like Showalter's previous public appearance at Camden Yards.
During the final weekend of the regular season, he tried downplaying that the Sept. 30 win over the Houston Astros might have been his last time at Oriole Park, and downplayed the emotions that came with the end of such a long tenure. He did the same Saturday.
"I'm trying to," Showalter said. "It's about the event, and the charity. My wife tells me I'm not good at that, so I'll continue to not be good at it. But believe me, I heard it. I got it. The last day [of the regular season], I could tell that people were trying to do some things, but I thought it was Adam [Jones'] day. That should have been all about Adam."
Showalter, 62, said the time since he left Baltimore in early October has been mostly about tying up loose ends in Baltimore and settling in his Dallas-area home.
"Just bringing some closure to a lot of things — packing," Showalter said. "Sheesh. There's a lot of stuff you accumulate in eight and a half, nine years. I've found some things that I'd thought I'd lost — seriously. We know we're going to pay a heavy fee today at the airport. How much stuff can you cram in there?"
He was all packed up for a Saturday afternoon flight from Baltimore, where he spent the past few days without cable service and forgot to leave out clothes to wear to Saturday's event.
"It's only been three weeks. I've had my hands full, trying to get reorganized," Showalter said. "Every offseason, every year, you try to get reorganized. I'm talking to a lot of people."
Some of those conversations are with contacts still in the Orioles organization, while others are from those around the game. Showalter said he's gotten plenty of calls from teams interested in former Orioles infielder Manny Machado, who is playing in the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is set for free agency.
"That's a tough conversation," Showalter said. "I keep telling Manny, I say, 'You know they're going to call, right?' "
Whether Showalter's own proverbial baseball free agency is settled quickly is another matter.
"I'm too close to it right now," Showalter said. "I've had a lot of interesting calls, so to speak. I've found if you want to make good decisions in life, you need to take some time and back off a little bit. Probably a week or so after the World Series, I'll decide what direction — if any.”
It seems he's had just as many short-term decisions to make as long-term ones.
"I found out I got a minor league pension, and I found out the optimal time to take Social Security Is 66 or 67. I don't know if I'll make that,” he said. “I'm looking for a bird in hand. We sold the tractor, the land, the truck, the big mower, and we're going to have an estate sale.
“I'm looking forward to getting organized again. We've had stuff scattered round the country for 10 years at this point."