Buck Showalter insists he has more important things to do than dream up nefarious field tarp schemes to one-up his competition.
Hours ahead of Tuesday’s game with the Yankees at Camden Yards, Showalter’s Orioles took their cuts in batting practice and promptly left the field. Before the Yankees could get in their much-need pre-game swings, the Orioles grounds crew stretched the tarp over the infield dirt.
Yankees skipper Joe Girardi cried foul. “They hit and they’re covering the field,’’ Girardi said, according the New York Post.
In an interview with the Michael Kay Show the following day, Showalter laughed off the gamesmanship accusation and explained the reasons the field was covered.
“Basically, we got a weather report that it was going to start raining at 5 o’clock, so we started our BP, actually, early and got off the field early so they would have an opportunity,” the Orioles manager said. “And they [the Baltimore grounds crew] came up and said it was going to start raining in five minutes and they had to cover the field in order to keep the field from getting, you know, too wet to play.”
Rainy, yucky weather has plagued the Orioles the first this season, but on this Tuesday, not one noticeable drop fell from the sky. However, the tarp remained and the Yankees, who can’t seem to hit anything these and were swept in three games in Boston, were robbed of their opportunity to hit on the field.
In the seemingly lighthearted interview, Kay asked Showalter, “You didn’t dream this up to affect the Yankees?”
Still chuckling a bit, Showalter said, “Mike, come on,” and went on to say he didn’t think Girardi “insinuated anything” with is comments.
Showalter, however, seemed unhappy that the accusations had upset the Orioles’ head groundskeeper. “I know one thing. Somebody complained, because they called and our groundskeeper, who I think is the best in the business and one of the fairest going – she is really good – probably as good as I’ve ever seen… and she was upset today that someone had insinuated that,” Showalter said. “And she said, ‘why would anybody insinuate that?’ I said, ‘well, that’s the world we live in.’”
Bad weather hit the Orioles again Friday. Rain postponed the team’s series opener that night with the Oakland Athletics. The postponement was announced 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, and the two teams made up the game Saturday with the A’s taking an 8-4 victory. Baltimore claimed a 5-2 win in the regularly scheduled night game.
The postponement was the Orioles’ second at Camden Yards this season and third overall. A road game with the Texas Rangers in Arlington was postponed on April 17.
The Orioles have also endured 3 hours and 35 minutes worth of weather delays this season in games that have been played. On Opening Day, rain pushed back the first pitch of the season by 110 minutes. More inclement weather delayed the contest an additional 70 minutes after the completion of the second inning.
In the radio interview, Kay asked Showalter if the rain, snow and cold most affected the pitchers or the hitters.
“You know, I think you got to split it down the middle,” the manger said. “We’ve had games were the guys had no feel for the breaking ball because they couldn’t feel the ball.”
Showalter showed sympathy for the Baltimore fans as well, noting the weather’s effect on filling seats in the ballpark.
“I feel bad about the fans. You know, it’s really hurt our attendance because the weather has been so bad,” Showalter said. “We’re playing the Yankees, which are usually a good draw. Nobody will come out in it, yet we’re playing in it.”
Fans wanting to see the Reds and Brewers play at Great American Ball Park Sunday had to wait nearly two hours for the rain to move out and the field to be prepped before the game could begin Sunday. After the 1 hour and 55 minute delay, Milwaukee beat the home town Reds 5-4.
The Brewers have sat through a little more than four hours of weather delays in the season’s first month.