BOSTON -- Come on Buck, who are you kidding?
Buck Showalter’s reputation for going after teams in the press precedes him. The Orioles manager should have just owned this shot.
Instead he doubled down on Wednesday, reinforcing he feels the Red Sox have talked too much about how sick they’ve been.
- Showalter: I wasn't trying to 'needle' Red Sox about flu
- Buck Showalter takes unwarranted flu shot at Red Sox
Then he attempted to blame the media for simply hearing him properly.
“Am I trying to needle the Red Sox? No,” Showalter said. “That’s ridiculous, but appreciate you trying to go down that road, that’s typical.”
His own words clearly said otherwise.
“That’s how you read it,” Showalter said. “Wasn’t meant that way. What else?”
Verbal sparring can be clever and it can be clownish. Trying to play the “Nothing to see here!” card was clownish.
A day earlier, Showalter basically accused the Sox of being whiny, if not weak. There was too much talk about the flu for Showalter’s taste.
“I know we’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t 100 percent with it, but so do a lot of clubs,” Showalter told Orioles reporters Tuesday, unprompted by a question. “So nobody really wants to hear somebody else complain about it. Our guys have done a good job not broadcasting it to the world.”
This whole thing is kind of pointless, in the end.
What’s the best result for the Orioles: maybe an angry Red Sox coach or player would read one less scouting report because he’s distracted? On the flip side, bulletin board material could actually help the Sox.
But you take a shot as a major league manager, well, that doesn’t usually go by the wayside.
When the subject was raised to Showalter on Wednesday, he didn’t even let a reporter get his full question out before the mockery began.
“Buck, with the Flu, with the Red Sox,” the question began, before Showalter interrupted.
“The Red Sox are the only ones that have it. I didn’t know that,” Showalter said. “Nobody else has it.”
The reporter said he was unsure of that.
“Everybody in the whole league’s got it,” Showalter said. “Seems to get broadcast more here.”
He’s funny. And obvious.
Sox manager John Farrell on Wednesday was asked if he was surprised by Showalter’s comments from the day before.
“No,” Farrell said icily.
No one in baseball is.
Showalter was asked what the Sox could do differently if players were not showing up to the park because they're ill. What does Showalter expect, that no one would notice Hanley Ramirez was missing in Detroit?
“I’d talk about it too when a guy doesn’t show up at the park, wouldn’t you?” he said. “No, I’d do it the same way.”
Yes, he’s done it the same way for a long time: taking shots all over the place.
It would be just as easy to acknowledge his own tired tactic.