BALTIMORE – John Russell sat in an unfamiliar chair on Saturday afternoon. While Buck Showalter was attending the graduation of his son Nathan from Texas Christian University, Russell stepped in for him.
Showalter departed late Friday night for a flight to Dallas and was scheduled to return around two hours before the scheduled start of Saturday night’s game, but Russell will fill in for the entire game a week from now when Showalter’s daughter Allie graduates from Southern Methodist University Law School.
“It’s basically a normal day,” Russell said.
He was been with the Orioles since the 2011 season, and managed Pittsburgh for three seasons before that. He began 2011 as the third base coach, but two months into the season, he was moved into the dugout.
Russell spoke with Showalter several times about Chris Davis’ rehab at Bowie. He’s filled in for Showalter before, most notably in July 2011 when the Orioles manager was suspended for a game after the brawl in Boston.
“I can’t be Buck. I never will be, but I have been around him. This is my fourth year. I have an idea of how he likes to do things,” Russell said.
Showalter has often saluted Russell for putting the Pirates in a position to win, knowing that the clubs he had weren’t very good.
“I wish I had the players in Pittsburgh we have here now,” Russell said.
“I enjoy what I do, whether it’s the bench coach or managing or something else in baseball. I thoroughly enjoy coming to the ballpark,” Russell said.
“Sitting here, I don’t look at myself as the manager for the day. When we’re in Kansas City, I don’t look at myself as the manager. I’m stepping in for a guy I truly respect and has done a great job here in Baltimore. I’ve learned a lot from him.”