As an Orioles fan, I was delighted when we got Buck Showalter as our manager in 2010. He made an immediate difference and, after a hiccup in 2011, the O’s have been a winning team ever since. One of my favorite things about Buck is his propensity to make with the “Buck-isms”, little nuggets of baseball or life wisdom related in his inimitable dry and droll fatherly manner. I’ve been compiling these for a while now, and someone on Roch Kubatko’s "School of Roch" blog asked me to post ‘em, so I’ll do so here.
Many of these are not classic Buck-isms, which are typically rather short and become immediately memorable. Rather, the collection here includes lots and lots of colorful quotes from the skipper, many coming from his post-game reactions. Thanks to many folks on the aforementioned blog for helping me collect these, and please feel free to add any that I may have missed. In fact, why not bookmark this page and let the comment section serve as a central collection site? I’ll amend this post with all worthy quotes. So, without further ado… your Buck-isms:
"came out of his hand well"
"good look on his face"
"turning some wind around"
"robbing Peter to pay Paul"
"His throw can suck the air out of the infield."
"I like our guys"
"You’re never too old to learn a lesson"
"He takes batting practice like a big ol’ boy"
"He’s been a real shot in the arm for us."
"Don’t think that doesn’t go unnoticed by the boys."
"I’m real proud of him and we are lucky to have him on our side"
"He’s kind of got through that baby fat stage. This is a big, strong man."
"I know the Save rule. I like the Win rule better."
"You’re in Seattle, it’s 12:30 at night back in Baltimore and somebody is sitting in front of the TV living and dying with everything you’re doing. And you better take that seriously."
"I don’t want to hear Yankees fans and Red Sox fans at our ballpark. We want to play well enough that they can’t get a ticket."
"He’s got a look on his face sometimes, it’s a little Norman Bates here and there"
"I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford because you paid more than anybody else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing these guys are saying, ‘How the He11 are they beating us?"
"I think I’d be a little more concerned about Nov. 24 when the Jets come here and trying to figure out a way to beat the Ravens. Wouldn’t you? I think that would be a little bit more of a challenge"
"“How did you phrase it? ‘Unusual?’” he asked. “I think it’s borderline unethical. How’s that?"
"It’s an honor to be asked to go out there. It’s an honor to be in their presence, but I can’t imagine how families feel when a sacrifice like that has been made. Reminds you in the whole scheme of things what we’re doing out there for three hours or whatever is not really that important. One of them pointing out to me where their son sat to watch our games."
"Well, if I was going to, I wouldn’t broadcast it in here (to the media)"
"in a good place right now"
"He was yelling at the third-base coach, … If somebody’s wearing black and orange, I’m not going to let that happen"
"He got a little cold-footed in the meeting this morning."
"He’s got one of those swings that, his bat stays in the zone a long time"
"It’s unconventional unconventional, if that makes any sense, which I’m sure it doesn’t."
"We got him 3.93 on the jailbreak time yesterday in (Port Charlotte), which is really good right-handed. He’s out over the plate."
"Delayed does not mean denied."
"Don’t overlook an orchid while looking for a rose."
"He won’t be having the skillet breakfast anymore. I can tell you that."
"We’ve got some hairy guys too."
"He fills up the strike zone & comes at people. I like what I see so far. I like the way he gets down the hill."
"Get all the married men off the field"
"I hope he’s healthy for his sake, but not for the Yankees’ sake."
"He’s going to impact some young guys."
"He wasn’t too keen on Mr. Gamboa coming in," Showalter said. "I had to talk him out of his anxiety there."
"A little early anxiety. I think he was kind of sitting there going, ‘Holy (crap), I’m glad it hit there.’ But he seems to be fine."
"In two weeks you’re kind of forced to show your hand even though you can massage that, too, if that’s something you want to do."
"We talked about that yesterday in the scrum heap, and this isn’t the first time."
"He had a very physical night last night and I wanted to get him out of there."
"He might be continuing to make it an easy decision."
"He has a skill that tilts the field now and then and makes people hurry up."
"I’m talking about just baseball friendly."
"I think we’ve gotten like nine outs (actually 11) in the last two games from our starters. Hopefully, that will pick up a little bit."
"It got him pretty sharp."
"You know there’s a lot of emotion flying around there. I thought he presented himself well first time out."
The Phillies won’t let the Orioles use a designated hitter in Monday’s split-squad game in Clearwater.
"(Brian) Matusz is acting like he’s excited about it," Showalter said, grinning. "Kevin Gausman is sincere about being excited about it."
"He ambushed a high fastball. I like it."
"We try to out-opportunity teams."
"There are things about Chris you can’t put on paper. Running down the hall trying to hide from me so I don’t take him out of the game"
"One thing I got is his face got a little different color."
"He’s very unassuming. He doesn’t assume anything."
"That’s why certain things in the game are a science and certain things down here are viewed as an art."
"Running down the hall trying to hide from me so I don’t take him out of the game. Where do you put that on a pie chart?"
"He looked hitterish."
"When (the umpire) told me that he saw yellow paint pop up, I said to him, ‘You know, I’m going back to the dugout. If you can see yellow paint from 200 feet, I can’t talk to you.’ How do you argue with that?"
"I was watching. He was like, ‘I’m not messing around here at all.’"
"If you drew it up before where you wanted to get him pitch count and everything, that was good."
"It was this deep all the way the length of the rubber."
"I haven’t seen the actual gun charts. It’s coming out of there clean and loose."
"Challenging day, condition-wise. That’s good to see. Right where you want him to be. Got where he needed to be with his pitch count and innings. Good day for him."
"Some of it separated itself, but there’s not much separation in my mind."
"Quite frankly, he likes our guys, but he’s tired of watching."
"Guys can turn around a bullet up here."
"Got his ups where he needed to be. "
"They’re good tough."
"One of the first guys there and last guys to leave. Nothing has been beneath him this spring. Anything we’ve asked of him."
"People who needed to present themselves well did & we had the tough decisions that we were hoping to have at the end."
"I think we’ll have our arms around it by the end of the day."
"Spasms or whatever."
"He was fine when he got on the plane. We’ll see."
"He’s excited, and that makes me excited. I think he gets great confidence in the confidence we have in him."
"Roles don’t often get defined here. They just evolve."
"Chris Davis comes from good parents."
"I just got a haircut yesterday. I’m proud of it, what hair is left."
"It’s not always going to look aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a hard thing to do."
"Really, the whole part of it is it’s a chain. If your chain’s that long every night, you’re going to have some problems."
"I like that statistic at the end of the game where there’s another run than the other team has."
"You get a return from something that you spend so much time on."
"It wasn’t a command issue. It was more of the Red Sox," Showalter said. "I haven’t counted foul balls, but that’s what they do, and you’ve just got to keep grinding and keep matching and not give in in an at-bat. Keep the ball in the ballpark. I think Sizemore broke his bat on the home run. So, I can’t fault that."
"Don’t think he had some juice flying around today. These guys know when something’s, not taken away from them, but not there for them. He didn’t have anything to do with it. It’s an injury, and to get back to that point… I think you’ll see Evan get nothing but better."
"You saw the velocity and everything this spring compared to today, there’s a little bit, I don’t want to say tightness, but your want-to is so much it kind of gets in the way a little bit. I think once we get into the flow of the season, we’ll have a chance to have some contributors down there."
"I think Jon was floating on it," Showalter said. "He didn’t have to worry about tripping."
"(Tillman) was dodging me in the fifth up the runway, trying to get up the stairs before I could get him. I took him about five more pitches than I really wanted to. I felt like he had earned the right to face (Mike) Carp."
"There’s different levels," Showalter said. "The first time you meet him, he’s throwing on the side and people are (watching). The first time he throws batting practice, the first time he throws in a game in spring training. There’s a different level of want-to as you start this.
"So far, I haven’t (seen it), but we’ll see. The Boston Red Sox have a way of creating some challenges for pitchers they don’t normally see."
"If you’re good, you’ll be good, and if you’re not, you won’t be."
"He slows them down with a get-me-over slider, and a split for the left-handers. He’s got a lot of weapons. And that’s a sharp knife. If you can ever get him in that 15-pitch margin, you’ve got a chance. He doesn’t really give you time to make the adjustments with the late life on the fastball, so you get ambushed by him early."
"The season wouldn’t have ended if we didn’t win yesterday."
"It’s not that big of a deal. We can’t live in that world."
"You don’t just go up there and say, ‘I did this last year.’ Nobody cares."
"We strung some good at-bats together and got some things done. Stayed on our feet."
"It’s just, they’ve got so much want-to going on right now and sometimes you can’t get in the flow of letting it happen."
"The computer tells you the heck with batting orders. Just take your best hitter and hit him first and your second-best hitter and hit him second. I’m not so sure they’re not right."
"You know what friends are, they know all about you, and still like you."
Buck said he wondered how yesterday’s two fans felt about the infield as they were tackled. “They thought it was properly soft?”
"I’ve been accused of saying some things that everybody else would like to say."
"They didn’t exactly sugarcoat it out there," Showalter said. "I know Derek (Jeter) and Brian (Roberts) and our guys love the infield here, but I wonder how those two guys felt the infield was. They thought it was properly soft?"
"We know where his heart lies. I knew he was real frustrated last night. I’d like to get him back out there and get him on the horse."
"That makes for real good friends with your teammates, the other pitchers."
"It’s not just something that’s going to look aesthetically pleasing or be perfection. It’s just assume the position and hope you like the end game."
"…that’s what gives you some tugs at an older man’s heart because you know they’re real sincere about it."
"What was the tale of the tape on that thing?"
"The thing about it is, he defends well while we’re waiting for him to figure some things out, and I’ve said that a lot of times. That’s the key with the young players. If they can defend, I can wait on the other stuff."
"Good. As advertised, as paid for."
"I see how guys have rallied around (Flaherty) and Jonathan, and that’s what gives you some tugs at an older man’s heart."
"Some of it separated itself, but there’s not much separation in my mind."
"He gains confidence in the confidence that we have in him."
"Glad to get him out of the dugout, in more ways than one."
"He’s one of those guys that, you ask, ‘Any questions?’ And he puts his hand up and you go, ‘Oh geez, I better be good for this one.’"
"He’s got a nice presence about him."
"He had some challenges last year and came on real strong. You trust the person and the character. He’s in good standing where that’s concerned. He’ll keep fighting. He’ll work his way through it. He’s very close to giving us … Zero and three is not always indicative of how he has pitched. Some cases it is, some cases it’s not."
"I don’t like hearing guys, say, position players, when they talk about early-season history of not doing well and say, ‘My numbers will be there at the end of the year.’ You lose me at hello," Showalter said. "I guarantee you, Ubi’s not thinking that way. He’s thinking every opportunity."
"I always say something to them. I always check their temperature over the course of a day. I will. I’ll think about it. He’s got the right mentality. He’s been through tough times before, but he wants it to end now. I guarantee you. I understand what the numbers say, but you guys have seen it. It’s very close to being some quality outings, but at this level and against this competition, close sometimes gets you in trouble."
"Coaching third base is an art. It’s not something you can program on a computer and SABR it up. That’s a feel."
"They hit a lot of balls hard. Fortunately, we had people where they hit them. The baseball gods were kind to him tonight after not being kind to him early on."
"For me, Ryan Flaherty had four hits tonight. He had two hits and he took two…he took a double away. That’s 180 feet. That’s how I look at defenders. You can go 0-for-4 and in my mind really have three hits, because you kept three balls from being base hits."
"Maybe by, what, July, it might get warm?"
"He’s in a good place right now and you can see it. Presentation-wise as much as physically."
"Just the situation it puts you in a nice little rocking chair sometimes when you got a left-handed pitcher who can defend himself against right-handed pitchers."
"I’d rather steal bases at a high percentage instead of just recklessly running around," said manager Buck Showalter. "If it’s there, we’re going to try to take it."
"Fifty plate appearances? That’s a good number, but it could be less and it could be more. That politically correct enough? Go ask Dan if he wants to retract that. He might. From talking to him, I think he does."
"I’m anxious to see him get in front of some competition where guys are trying to beat up on him."
"I try to get everyone off the schneid early, get everyone’s feet wet. The perfect situation doesn’t always present itself. What do you do, wait two weeks? You can’t. If they’re going to bite when they’re a puppy, they’re going to bite when they’re a big dog. So you see what happens."
"He actually, I think, was too strong tonight."
"It’s fun to watch. He’s got a great look on his face. He’s just…real sincere, earnest look. He’s not giddy. That’s what I like about him."
"We had a choice between what pictures to put up down in minor league camp and we put up our Gold Glove winners. It’s a message that you want everybody to get."
"I think their gun’s a little high here, but still he was crisp."
"Sometimes, you’re always waiting around on being overly cautious. I tell our guys all the time, ‘You see it, you feel it, you take it.’ The only problem I’m going to have is when you go back and wish you’d been a little more aggressive with something I felt."
"This is an art. You’re down on the field and you’ve got to trust your players with it."
"Go figure. They’ve got some really strange rules. That will change, too, going forward."
"That’s why they’re different than the rest of us. They can do that. We’ve got a lot of mentally tough guys here."
"He runs a little better than you’d think he does. He’s had a lot of rest."
”There’s a lot of pride involved. I was talking to Jonesy (Adam Jones) about the seventh inning and he was gassed, absolutely gassed. To have him say that, it just tells you what a challenge it was for these guys, professional athletes.”
"I start getting worried sometimes we are putting these guys in harm’s way. There’s got to be a better way to do it. But we’ll take it."
"Everything is a process. These guys are getting exposed to this, put in the fire here. They’re only going to get better. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And our guys, hopefully will."
"This is the epitome of cold jock, so we’re warming up the jocks."
"We were a tad tougher."
"Nicky, this is what the team needs. He doesn’t bat an eye. Some people would look for a reason to not be good at it. He looks at it as a way to make a contribution that a lot of people can’t do. There’s a lot of Gold Glove right fielders that would have broke out in hives if you asked them to come play first base, but he’s got a pretty good background at first base. Just like we knew Chris has a background in pitching, but we don’t want to do it again. Nicky’s got a background at first, but we don’t want him to do it the rest of his career. But it’s not the first. He’s worked at it some this year."
"I’ve told you guys Jemile is a guy who’s hit .300 in the big leagues," Showalter said. "Maybe not over a full whole season, but he’s a good offensive player just about everywhere he’s been if you look at his track record. He’s a good offensive player. He can do a lot of things well. And there’s not a whole lot of split between him left- and right-handed."
"I actually thought he was carrying pretty good stuff."
"We gave them some things we don’t normally give them."
"…in the realm of things…and it’s a big realm."
"We’ve got another one around the corner, too, which is crazy," said manager Buck Showalter. "You go 20 days and then you have three in 10. I mean …"
"He was a good pick there, boy. That’s a big hairy left-hander. And he signed quick."
"Real proud to watch how they went about their business."
"It depends on if you think we need sparking."
"I’m pushing up this 80-lb dog while I’m sinking into the muck and his balls are flapping in my face and Angela’s pulling him up."
"I use my GPS all the time. I just turn when the woman’s voice tells me to."
"You drive in New York City, someone cuts you off, you give him the finger and never see him again. You do that to Mr. Johnson in Century, everybody finds out."
"When you see coaches doing a lot of coaching during a game, you know they haven’t done their homework."
"Details are an exhausting business."
"Never draft an 18-year-old with a full beard, [because] it means he’s fully developed and won’t grow anymore."
"You think fraternizing’s gonna get you your next job? You’ll get your next job by doing a great job here, then everyone will want you. When I take a job, I bust my ass and see where it leads me."
"The difference between Cabrera and most hitters is, a guy throws him a great slider, he smiles, nods as if to say, ‘That was a great pitch. Throw it again.’ The other guys would say, ‘Don’t throw me that again.’"
"These people someone you want to be in a foxhole with? They the people you want to say your eulogy?"
"Some managers play a good hand well, and some play a bad hand well."
"good stuff started happening with the Rangers. You can date it from our clearing the payroll of Alex."
"I’m bound to say something stupid."
"I called my father and said, ‘Dad, don’t sell the mules, I’ll be home shortly.’"
"You know, I can go into Target and buy anything I want. That’s enough for me. I can’t believe how I’ve fooled them all these years. It’s sinful I make a million dollars."
"I get emotional when the players leave at the end of the season. I tell them I’ll miss them, but I don’t know if they believe it."
"Well, the first thing I learned was that I couldn’t talk on-air like I did to the players," he said. When an umpire called a perfect strike a ball, Showalter piped up, "That pitch was right down the cock."
"You do realize my daughter is a load."
"That’s debatable whether he was a real president." Then he said, "But don’t use that."
"This is Texas, the land of the big wedding. I told my players at the end of the season, ‘We gotta pick it up, guys, and make the playoffs. I need that playoff money for the wedding.’"
"Remember, we are not paranoid, just overly alert."
"Be the big dick in the shower."
So there they are. Many at the top of the list were merely remembered to the best of my ability. I welcome more complete quotes and context. Again, please add to the list as you see fit using the comments below (click on the post title if you don’t see the Disqus thing). I try to glean quotes after each game at least, but inevitably a few get by me. Perhaps by the time Buck’s contract is up in 2018 there’ll be enough to fill a book. Hope it comes out of his hand well.
NEW CONTENT: As you can see, I’ve simply added a big bunch of Buck-isms to the list, so as to save time and effort. As before, feel free to correct, augment, et cetera. I’ll be doing this probably until Buck retires. That’ll be one huge-ass list by then.
Oh, and for anyone that missed it, the ones at the bottom of the list (below the last photo) came from this wonderful piece I read today on Buck by Pat Jordan. One of the best bits of sports journalism I’ve ever read. Go there now! Then come back here. Every day. Several times. Thanks for reading!