Photo by Harry Bosk
Orioles manager Buck Showalter had four words to describe the March 4 reception and awards event presented by the Baltimore Sun and the Greater Baltimore Committee that drew more than 150 business executives to honor him.
“This is really cool,” Showalter told a spirited audience that had gathered at the Sun‘s Calvert Street headquarters to celebrate his naming by the newspaper as the “2012 Marylander of the Year.”
Sun Publisher Tim Ryan and Greater Baltimore Committee President & CEO Donald C. Fry praised Showalter for his role in leading the Orioles to the playoffs in 2012, and the positive and energizing effect the team had on community spirit in the region and the state.
At a reception prior to the awards presentation, Showalter chatted with event guests and enthusiastically posed with fans seeking photos with him. He had flown to Baltimore for the event with his wife, Angela, to spend a spring training days off with the team’s Baltimore fans.
The award is an honor not just for him, but “it’s a reflection of the job our players did,” Showalter said in accepting the award.
He and Orioles players understand the team is a “very precious commodity” to its fans, Showalter said. “This is just a reminder to us of what the Orioles mean to the state of Maryland and Baltimore. And we’ll never take that lightly.”
A “sense of urgency” permeates the entire Orioles organization and drives the team to its gritty, never-quit style of play, he noted. Even on nights when they find themselves on the west coast in an extra-innings struggle into the wee hours of the morning, the team’s players remain driven by the realization that “back in Baltimore there’s someone sitting in front of a TV living and dying by everything you do.”
“I can’t tell you what the city and state meant to us in the last month of the season,” he said, recalling the non-stop loud, packed late-season Camden Yards crowds that cheered the Orioles as they drove to achieve a playoff slot.
That kind of fan support, that at one point last year was characterized by a stadium full of people staying through a long rain delay in a pennant race, energizes the team, Showalter said. With spring training well underway, “we’ll be back soon, and we’re going to need you again.”