O’s manager has encyclopedic knowledge of baseball — and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
by Marty Noble/MLB.com 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.”
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.
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 MLB.com.
Buck’s Dream MLB (Mayberry League Baseball) Lineup:
1. Watch Buck’s five favorite “Andy Griffith Show” episodes:
- “The New Housekeeper,” Season 1, Episode 1
- “Man in a Hurry,” Season 3, Episode 16
- “Opie The Birdman,” Season 4, Episode 1
- “Barney’s Sidecar,” Season 4, Episode 16
- “The Ball Game,” Season 7, Episode 4
“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:
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, MLB.com
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!