Showalter downplays Men's Journal comments
Says quotes about Jeter, Epstein not made in negative context
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter realizes that his comments, in the April issue of Men's Journal that became available two weeks ago, have generated some buzz regarding his targets, most notably Yankees captain Derek Jeter and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
But Showalter said Thursday he didn't mean for the two quotes in question to be perceived as him attacking anyone.
"I didn't really say it in that [context]," said Showalter, who told the magazine Jeter backs off on balls at the plate to get calls, and praise for Epstein is overrated given that Boston's two acquisitions, left fielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, had more to do with the club's large revenues than the GM's cunning work.
"Maybe it is envy or something on my part," Showalter said of his remarks. "But obviously you all know what I think of Derek and the success the Red Sox have had. Hopefully, we can get to their level one day."
Showalter, who managed the Yankees when Jeter first came up, remains in close contact with the shortstop and said he didn't feel any need to reach out to explain himself.
"I know Derek. He knows there are a lot of things you talk about in clubhouses and what have you, jokingly, kind of matter-of-factly and everybody understands it within the arena," Showalter said. "But when they get out there publicly, it's not particularly comfortable. But I can't remember ... we were sitting down at a table [with the reporter] laughing about different stuff and three or four months later somebody brings it up as a quote, and it's newsworthy. I can't remember if I said it or not, but I am 55 years old, I probably did."
Given the size of the media market of New York and Boston, Showalter wasn't surprised that the article had become a hot-topic in New England, and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail -- who calls himself "conservative by nature" -- didn't have any inherent problem with what was said.
"It's probably not my first choice [for airing opinions], but I don't really think it's a big deal," said MacPhail, who added that it will all blow over in a few days. "If that's how [Showalter] feels, that's how he feels.
"I think we all understood when we interviewed Buck, one of the things we were looking to get was somebody that has a personality about him, has some success," MacPhail added. "This is part of it. You raise the profile of the team which is a good thing, and we just got to do everything we can to make sure we play as well as we can. Which we've done."
Showalter said he went back and reread the article the other day, and at the time didn't think his statements were going to be spotlighted in the story.
"I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll," Showalter was quoted as saying. "You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?'"
Showalter also told the magazine the first time the Orioles went back to Yankee Stadium he was screaming at Jeter from the dugout.
"Our guys are thinking, 'Wow, he's screaming at Derek Jeter,'" Showalter said. "Well, he's always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets -- and yes, he [ticks] me off."
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.