Big League Stew

Buck Showalter strikes back at Yankees scheduling complaints

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but her repercussions will be felt by millions for days and possibly much longer.

At the very bottom of that list in importance is her effect on Major League Baseball's scheduling. Specifically, the bickering it has caused among Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and several members of the New York Yankees, including general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and player rep Curtis Granderson.

The Yankees' frustration stems from the Orioles' decision to play one game, as scheduled, ahead of Irene on Friday night, and to schedule a doubleheader for Saturday, which was ultimately postponed. Then, in light of those postponements, the Orioles suggested the teams play doubleheaders both Sunday and Monday.

Not surprisingly, the Yankees scoffed at that idea with a big series against the Boston Red Sox beginning on Tuesday, accepting only a doubleheader Sunday and a single game on Monday. The extra game will now be made up on Sept. 8, which was one of New York's final days off in the regular season. Those developments, coupled with New York's 12-5 loss to the O's in Friday's perfectly dry game, led to these unhappy comments from Girardi that same day:

"It's silly to me. I don't understand why we didn't play a split doubleheader today," he said. "Someone's got to step up, and they did it all over the country. They did it in Philadelphia, they did it in Boston, they did it in Florida. Football games have been moved up. Soccer games. Golf has been canceled, 18 holes. Why we didn't play a split today, I have no idea."

Those seem to be fair complaints but, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun points out, there were several reasons for the Orioles to go the route they did. Chief among them, at least in Buck Showalter's mind, was to put the focus on honoring and remembering Mike Flanagan in their first home game after his passing.

Once Showalter caught wind of the Yankees' gripes, the never-shy skipper fired back. {YSP:MORE}

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"First of all, I felt that some of the stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny, quite frankly. That didn't sit with me very well. I can tell you that," Showalter said. [...]

"I'm real confident that our guys have thought about every possible thing, and we hope that the scenario we've had coming back home here never presents itself again. I'm sure if they stopped and thought about it, if the same thing that happened to one of their greats, that they probably would have given a lot of consideration to how they were going to handle that day. [...]

"I respect where they are in the season and what their people are saying about the competitive part of it, but it means something to us, too. We'll continue to do what's best for the Baltimore Orioles and the fans, which are the same thing. Along the way, we'll wear that. Sometimes we confuse some things from a real-life standpoint compared to what we're actually doing here, OK? Obviously, there's more, but I'll stop there."

Needless to say we have a number of sensitive issues converging here.

First, I can understand Showalter's point of view — to a point. More times than not, when it comes to sports, our perspective isn't where it needs to be. I also completely agree with their decision to play only once on Friday, not only so they could give Flanagan the tribute they desired, but because it was their first game back in town after a 10-game, 11-day roadtrip.

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With that said, I simply don't believe Girardi, Cashman or any other Yankees' beef should be construed as disrespectful to Mike Flanagan or his memory. That's a real reach on Showalter's part, and I'm honestly not comfortable with the insinuation they were coming across as callous or uncaring. Yes, they may come across as spoiled and abrasive at times. Maybe even lacking in some perspective in this case, but it's only natural to look out for their players and their own best interests first.

Maybe you disagree. Maybe you think the Yankees were acting in poor taste. Feel free to give your opinion in the comments section.

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