In some ways the Orioles are a very forward thinking team. They’re very aggressively internationally, signing players from non-traditional markets. They’re making aggressive use of video for scouting.
But, in one key way the Orioles are traditional. There’s an old school relationship between executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
Duquette isn’t much on glad-handing players. He stays out of the clubhouse and visits the manager in his office when he needs to.
He watches home games from a box near the radio and television booths and his office is in the warehouse.
The Colorado Rockies have a very different setup. They just hired a novice manager, Walt Weiss, who spent 2012 coaching his son’s high school baseball team.
The Rockies’ director of major league operations Bill Geivett has a desk in a conference room adjacent to the manager’s office.
Traditionally, the clubhouse is the manager’s purview. Showalter lets the players have the run of it. He points out that it’s often a glorified interview room and players have little time to just be with their teammates.
At home, the clubhouse is generally open for 50 minutes before night games. From 3:10-4 p.m., the press can conduct interviews. At 4, the team is due on the field to stretch.
For years, the clubhouse was open after batting practice, but now the only time the press is allowed in is before the game.
I couldn’t imagine either Duquette or Showalter comfortable with the Rockies’ setup. It would seem that the front office could use it to spy on players and it could also be viewed by players as management undercutting the authority of the manager.
Lots of teams believe in heavy statistical analysis also have low profile managers who are often thought of as technocrats. That was the Oakland model in “Moneyball.”
In Baltimore, the field manager is still the highest profile figure. Showalter is comfortable with dealing with the media. Duquette is always polite, but is probably happy to have a manager who enjoys that responsibility.