Gotta Love Buck Showalter

The New York Mets were roasted during their first year at Citi Field because the new stadium showed more a Brooklyn Dodgers feel than that of the Mets.

That never would have happened had Buck Showalter been running the show. Showalter, who is cut from the original old school cloth, gets it when honoring the game’s past.

Frank Robinson was in Orioles’ camp Monday and Showalter casually asked 19-year-old prospect Josh Hart if he knew about the Hall of Famer, a member of the 500-homer club and one of the three greatest players in club history along with Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken.

Incidentally, Robinson was also the first African-American manager in major league history, and as a black man, you would think that’s something Hart would want to know.

When Hart said he didn’t know, Showalter assigned the rookie to write a one-page report on Robinson. Kind of like “I will not talk in class,’’ 100 times on the blackboard.

Hart not knowing Robinson ranks just below on the ignorance scale of LeBron James – who prides himself as a basketball historian – leaving Bill Russell off his NBA Mt. Rushmore.

The Robinson-Hart reminds me of something that happened in spring training several years ago, and also involved Robinson.

Then Mets-GM Omar Minaya asked former prospect Lastings Milledge to follow him across the field to the Washington dugout to introduce him to then-Nationals manager Robinson.

Milledge could not have been less interested and showed Robinson zero respect. And, in doing so showed the same amount to Minaya.

It was a precursor of things to come for Milledge, who was chastised by manager Willie Randolph for not honoring the game’s unspoken traditions, and later by his teammates, who posted a sign on his locker saying, “Know your place, Rook. Signed, your teammates.’’

Milledge never did get it and his career fell into “what might have been,’’ status. Here’s hoping Hart gets the message.

4 thoughts on “Gotta Love Buck Showalter

  1. What is that quote?

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Milledgewas an idiot. He seemed more interested in his budding music career than his budding baseball one. He did have talent. He had speed some power and the ability to hit the ball. He lacked discipline and the will and humility to want to get better.

    Of course he washed out. He is an excellent example of why Omar is. to a good GM. I did not know this story, but in 2006 he put him on the post season roster for the experience. Why? If he doesn’t get it and there are more productive players on the roster why give up a spot for a loser who doesn’t get it?

    • Dave: You’re so right. His head was always someplace else. He had the physical skills, but didn’t understand what it took to play on the major league level.-JD

  2. I wonder how many Orioles players, or baseball players in general, know who Frank Robinson is.

    In contrast I remember Butch Huskey said he wore “42” because it was Jackie Robinson’s number. I always wanted him to make it big for that.

    • Dan: I would hope a lot, but I don’t really know. Many players I’ve spoken to have very little knowledge of baseball history and that’s sad to me. … I once did an article on Jackie Robinson and interviewed Eric Davis. He said he didn’t like the idea of having a Jackie Robinson holiday because it would be another excuse for kids to miss school. Instead, he said the schools should teach kids about Robinson on that day.-JD