Showalter faces off vs. Rangers for first time
O's manager must push aside warm feelings in four-game set
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter swears there won't be any feelings of déjà vu when he looks around the field at Camden Yards on Thursday and sees the Texas Rangers in the opposing dugout.
But that doesn't mean there won't any feelings at all for the former Rangers manager, who makes his home in Dallas and admits to pulling for his old team.
"You move on with your mind, but not necessarily your heart," Showalter said of facing a Rangers squad with several players still left from his three-season tenure that ended after the '06 season.
"I've still got a lot of close friends there that I'm happy for, that have worked real hard to get to where they got [to] now. Life's too short to have any other feelings than that."
Showalter still keeps in contact with several Rangers players, including infielder Michael Young, and saw the promise of this year's Texas team earlier this season while serving as a baseball analyst for ESPN. Showalter's forecast has proved correct, and the American League West-leading Rangers enter Thursday's series opener at 67-52 despite a 3-7 record in their past 10 games.
"They are special," Showalter said. "All of the things had to come together, and I'm excited for them. I really am. The people in Texas, [owner Nolan Ryan], has done a lot of great things, [general manager Jon Daniels] has done a great job. The players' flow is good. They got a lot of good things going on."
Although the Orioles stunned the Rangers in a four-game sweep in Arlington to close the first half, Showalter knows it will be a tough task for last-place Baltimore to hold its own in this weekend's wraparound set. The O's are 10-6 under Showalter and will be tested playing a team in the thick of a pennant race.
"It's not going to be fun to play again them," Showalter said. "I'm proud of them. But the next four days, we will try to figure out a way to hang with them."
It will mark the first time in a long time Showalter won't root for them.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.