Big League Stew

Buck Showalter, prankster: Orioles manager dupes pitcher Darren O’Day during ‘interview’

David Brown
Big League Stew

In a video that contradicts his reputation as a humorless curmudgeon, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter effectively pranked one of his unsuspecting players, relief pitcher Darren O'Day.

O'Day spent a recent afternoon at Citi Field in New York being interviewed — so he thought — about his Solowheel, a gyro-stabilized electric unicycle that all the kids these days love. (It's like a Segway, but just for your feet.)

"I think it's got the best of everything, as far as a people-moving device," O'Day said.

As neat as that sounds, actually, the interview was a sham. What really was happening? Organized shenanigans, that's what. O'Day's teammate Jim Johnson had been prompted by inhabitants of the MLB Fan Cave to punk his buddy with Showalter's help.

So, shortly after the "reporter" from the "Wall Street Journal" persuaded O'Day to give a Solowheel demonstration on the ballpark's warning track, Showalter poked his head out of the visitor's dugout and castigated his employee for goofing off. He was pretty convincing, too:

O'Day seemed legitimately worried/upset that he got on his manager's bad side. Of course, one of the reasons the prank worked was because Showalter tends to be all-business (a nice way of putting it.) He's definitely the sort who doesn't suffer fools well, and O'Day was feeling pret-ty foolish there for a second.

"Isn't this a contract year for you?" Showalter asks.

Though he's become one of the better short relievers in the league, isn't every year a contract year for O'Day? Still, a nice ad-lib by Buck. To be fair, we know Showalter does have a sense of humor — either ironically or otherwise — because he reportedly owns the entire "Andy Griffith" TV series on tape/DVD. He's a veteran of ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," and he honed his acting skills on "Seinfeld" shortly before getting fired by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in 1995. So he's comfortable emoting in front of a camera.

O'Day certainly must have a sense of humor, because this one time, the Texas Rangers thought he was Kason Gabbard and made O'Day wear his teammate's jersey in a game. Someday, O'Day will have his day and get revenge on the world that's apparently out to get him.

Update: Good news for O'Day! Some time after the actor pretending to be a reporter left, a real one from the Wall Street Journal came by for a real interview about the Solowheel.

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