The Orioles refusal to push up Saturday’s doubleheader to Friday, and the Yankees subsequent vocal criticism of that decision, has created a strain between the two organizations. Until this morning, the harsh words were mostly directed by Joe Girardi and Yankees’ players toward the Baltimore organization, but this morning, Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter took the opportunity to fire back.
According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, Showalter not only called the Yankees hypocritical, but implied their reaction was insensitive in light of the recent death of former Orioles’ player, broadcaster and executive Mike Flanagan. “Some of stuff was a little disrespectful to Flanny. That doesn’t sit too well with me,” Showalter told reporters.
Admittedly, I am big fan of Showalter, and his desire to defend his organization is admirable. However, by evoking the death of Flannigan, he has crossed the line and, ironically, done a greater disservice to his memory.
As Jack Curry reported Wednesday night, the Yankees had broached moving the doubleheader up one day as early as that afternoon. Unfortunately, almost concurrently, Flannigan was in the midst of taking his own life. In other words, the Orioles refusal to adjust the schedule likely had nothing to do with the aftermath of Flannigan’s death.
So, why did the Orioles refuse to bow to common sense and play two games on Friday? The answer seems simple: money. With a hurricane bearing down on the region, the number of Yankees’ fan flocking to Baltimore would be limited, so instead of trying to squeeze five games into one rainy weekend, why not schedule one game for another week? Undoubtedly, more additional tickets will be sold for the newly minted September 8 game than the makeshift one that would have been played on Friday afternoon.
If Showalter had criticized the Yankees for being hypocritical from a business standpoint, he would have had a legitimate point. However, by mentioning Flanagan, he lost the moral high ground. Whether or not the Yankees’ brass responds to his retort, Showalter’s next comment on the subject should be an apology: one directed not at the Yankees, but the family of Mike Flanagan and all those who mourn his loss.