Baltimore O’s Manager Buck Showalter might as well be from Mayberry

O’s manager has encyclopedic knowledge of baseball — and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

by Marty Noble/ Columnist (July 22nd, 2015)

“…each show had a moral, and told you not to take yourself too seriously.” – Buck Showalter

“That show’s beyond passion with Buck,” Orioles TV man Gary Thorne says. “It’s obsession. It’s the same as it is with baseball. He remembers every detail.”

Thank God I’m a Country Gnome.

NEW YORK — The smartphone on the desk in the visiting manager’s office at Yankee Stadium dinged, a short, hardly invasive sound that Buck Showalter recognized as notice that his wife, Angela, had something to share. He responded. A photo of Angela atop a tractor in the middle of a 10-acre parcel of land outside Baltimore appeared. The Showalters had purchased the land adjacent to their existing property shortly before the All-Star break. Grass grows in the summer, and the Orioles don’t play all home games. Somebody has to cut the lawn.

Her husband had heard some time ago that land developers had their eyes on the property, as well as plans to subdivide and develop it. And what a revolting development that would have been in the eyes of the manager who brought the second-place team in the American League East to the Stadium on Tuesday night.

Showalter didn’t want to be fenced in by other folks and their brick and mortar. Give him land, lots of land, under starry skies above. For him, those 10 acres made for a field of dreams of a different sort.

Showalter proudly acknowledges that he has a strong farmer presence in his DNA. He accepted the adjective “hayseed” as an appropriate modifier. He clearly is more Buck than William Nathaniel. “I’m from Mayberry, [N.C.,]” he says. Not geographically, but, without question, spiritually and fundamentally.

In that way, Showalter seemingly would be better suited to manage the Royals than the Orioles. When he managed the Rangers, he seemed most at home. It’s sometimes hard to imagine that he spent the first four summers of his big league career in the Bronx, taking his obsessive preparedness and baseball acumen to the desert thereafter. Not much grass to cut in either setting.

But Showalter carries his peace with him — DVDs of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Go ahead, whistle the theme to the beloved sitcom and envision Sherriff Andy Taylor and his boy, Opie, en route to their fishing hole outside Mayberry.

Showalter’s affection for the series is well documented, and his knowledge of it is beyond staggering — though he was unaware that Tuesday would have been the 91st birthday of Don Knotts, more readily recognized as Sheriff Taylor’s deputy, Barney Fife. His whiff on that factoid was forgiven, though, when he notes that Andy and Barney played cousins in the earliest episode.

Don Knotts played "Barney Fife" on The "Andy Griffith Show."

Don Knotts played “Barney Fife” on The “Andy Griffith Show.”

Had Barney’s, not Knotts’ birthday, been on Tuesday, “I would have had it,” Showalter says.

Continue reading “Showalter might as well be from Mayberry” at

Buck’s Dream MLB (Mayberry League Baseball) Lineup:

The Mayberry 9

The Mayberry 9

Related Media:
1. Watch Buck’s five favorite “Andy Griffith Show” episodes:

The Ball Game” (Season 7, Episode 4)
Andy is the ump who calls Opie out at home plate. Mayberry mayhem ensues.

2. Watch SCTV’s “Merv Griffith Show” spoof:

Related Articles:
Buck Showalter is the micro-manager from Mayberry (Knight Ridder, Oct. 15, 2002)

The Bucks Stop Here:
“Showalter recalls spending $349 on a VCR during his instructional league years, before he was appointed Yankees manager, and years before he could easily afford such expense.”
- Marty Noble,


No doubt Buck later upgraded to DVD, where the “Andy Griffith Show: Complete Series Collection” DVD set, containing all 249 epsiodes, is considered an essential purchase for Mayberry fanatics – even at a list price of $179!

Posted in Orioles, Sports, Television, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Man finds caterpillar with face of Edgar Allan Poe

caterpillar with human face

Real or fake? Man claims to have found face on caterpillar
(KATU News, 7/23/2015)

TOUTLE, Wash. – Robert Palmer was giving his horse some water a few weeks back when he says he spied this fuzzy little face looking back at him from the side of the trough.

“My first thought was to crush it with my cane, then I thought, no, it looks so strange, I’m going to take a picture of it, “said Palmer.

Blown away by the pattern’s likeness to a human face, Palmer tells KATU News he snapped this photo and he’s been asking experts about what type of caterpillar he’d seen.

“I’m going to be 70 in November. And I’ve never seen a bug with a human face staring back at me,” said Palmer.

Continue reading at KATU News.

(Hat tip to Dangerous Minds)

Posted in 2010s, Roadside Attractions | Leave a comment

Rock Around the Block: Music Videos Featuring Baltimore’s Sex District

Bright Lights, Big City; Urban Blight, Big Titties!

Baltimore's infamous Block (image taken from 1976 WMAR-TV archive footage).

Baltimore’s infamous Block (image taken from 1976 WMAR-TV archive footage).

Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll: it’s all here in Baltimore’s infamous red light district, “The Block,” and local bad boy rockers love to show themselves celebrating life’s more lascivious pleasures in music videos shot here. In fact, it’s almost required on any self-respecting musician’s CV.


Back in 1981, Baltimore’s “New Wave” band Bootcamp got things started when they set up on the sidewalk across from Gayety Show World to shoot “Hold On to the Night,” the 42nd video ever shown on MTV.  Yes, Bootcamp can boast that they were one of the first artists to be seen on MTV’s very first day on the air, August 1, 1981. (This was back in MTV’s early “we’ll air anything to fill our time slots” days).

In 1997,  country rocker Neal Coty – a “Fredneck” born in Thurmont, Frederick County, Maryland –  chose The Block for his “Tainted” music video.

Neal Coty as 2 O'Clock Club barker.

Neal Coty as 2 O’Clock Club barker.

Coty filmed in and around numerous clubs, including The Circus Bar, which MeTV Baby Boomer viewers may recall was the club Tod Stiles (Marty Milner) and Buz Murdock (George Maharis) visited when looking for Buz’s mother in the Baltimore-based “Mud Nest” episode of Route 66 (air date: November 10, 1961).


Buz helps a Circus Bar floozie pay the rent in exchange for geneological research in “Route 66″ episode set in Baltimore.

Neal Coty outside The Circus

Neal Coty outside The Circus

In 2009, Baltimore Street again provided the setting for a wild-and-wanton shoot when Tommy Tucker and the Supernaturals chose it for their “Keep Good Time” music video.

Tommy Tucker shakes some action on The Block.

Tommy Tucker shakes some action on The Block.

For their 1988 “Blow My Fuse” video, Baltimore hair-metal band Kix filmed scenes of the boys eating at Crazy Joe’s and flirting with the tarted-up floozies down on The Block (though in terms of fashion, it’s hard to tell the hookers apart from the female fans who regularly attend Kix concerts!).

Kix – “Blow My Fuse”

And our filmmaker friend Jim Hollenbaugh (Program Director of the MOVIATE Film Cooperative and Underground Film Festival in Harrisburg, PA)  recently shot a music video for local punk rockers Ravagers that featured scenes of rat-faced streetwalkers and doormen down on The Block. Baltimore Street seems an ideal setting for a rat-themed video.

Scene from Ravagers "Just Another Rat" video.

Rat streetwalkers line up on The Block in the Ravagers “Just Another Rat” video.

Ravagers – Just Another Rat (Dir: James Hollenbaugh)

Notes from the Underground

Away from the bright lights on East Baltimore Street, a number of local bands played below street level at the Flamingo Lounge, thanks to the efforts of Rev. Fudgie Dobson.  Back in 1996, “Fudgie” (George Leroy Dobson) - artist, music promoter, and former drummer in Dogzilla – started booking bands like Buttsteak, Thick Shake, Hula Monsters, One Spot Fringe, Garage Sale, The Jennifers, The Kick Souls, The Put-Outs, and Hassassins to play downstairs in the dark and dank back room of the Flamingo. The “Raunch & Roll” setting was reminiscent of The Beatles’ days playing the Star Club in Hamburg’s red light district, though perhaps not quite as sleazy. More importantly, it was the first live music on the Block in some 20 years, according to writer Raphael Alvarez (“At long last live music rocks Block,” Baltimore Sun, January 23, 1996).

Flamingo Lounge flyer by Fudgie Dobson.

Flamingo Lounge flyer by Fudgie Dobson.

Flamingo owner Pat Mooney was quoted as saying, “We had a bunch of space open and wanted to do something with it…I’m taking a chance that Fudgie knows what he’s doing; I really don’t know what his story is. This wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea, but some of the bands are right good, some are off-beat and some I just don’t know how to describe them.”

“I started it as a nice little getaway for me and my friends,” Dobson told Alvarez. “A place to smoke a cheap cigar, have a martini and listen to cheesy lounge music. It’s groovy.”

Garage Sale at The Flamingo, April 1996.

Garage Sale at The Flamingo, April 1996.

Raunch & Roll

Ah, yes. The ’90s was a period that saw a revival of interest in Exotica & Lounge Music, best exemplified in the Las Vegas Grind CD compilation series that featured obscure garage and nightclub bands playing “strip club music.” Allmusicguide reviewer Jessica Jerigan called Las Vegas Grind “the reprobate little sister of lounge music and the unwed mother of all ’60s garage bands,” and the genre saw the emergence of such cocktail culture-celebrating  ensembles as Combustible Edison and, locally, The Swingin’ Swamis. So, the Flamingo was a perfect fit for the times.


Las Vegas Grind (Strip, 1990s).

Though it ultimately proved to be a short-lived groove, it was an interesting mix of generations and cultures. Baltimore Or Less recalls walking through the front entrance of the Flamingo and being ushered down the steps by bored dancers with a dismissive “Send the straights downstairs for the music” (no doubt sensing we were lame tippers who would rather spend money on bands and cheap beer than be hustled for champagne and lap dances). Never have we been so relieved at being ignored!

Finally, Adolf Kowalski of Thee Katatonix adds that his ’90s band Blunt Force Trauma “used to play The Block in between strippers. My wife was a big tit star back then. But of course you never get any credit in your home town.” (We eagerly await stories and photos, Adolf!)

Blunt Force Trauma: Paulie, Adolf, Johnny & M.T. Chelle, 1992.

Blunt Force Trauma: Paulie, Adolf, Johnny & M.T. Chelle, 1992.

“Hey, hey, my, my, Rock & Roll will never die,” so goes the song. And while The Block has often looked like it was dancing on its last leg, the fascination with its raw and raucous reputation still holds appeal for musicians and artists alike. Just look at the popularity of the Nouveau Burlesque revival, as seen locally with performers like Gilded Lily Burlesque. May there always be a Boom for Va-Va-Va-Voom!

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Posted in "The Block", Baltimore Babylon, Music, Nightlife, Roadside Attractions, Sex, Uncategorized, Vices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment