If you ask him Buck Showalter will tell you he has been called many things in his time. Some of them good, some of them not so much (and some of them unfit for print in this space). Among the less flattering is the term “control freak.”

The story is well known by now: Showalter is a gifted field manager, whose tight control over other aspects of the organization wears thin on other members of the club until he is unceremoniously shown the door right before the team he assembled wins the World Series. OK, we get it.

But Buck Showalter of old does not appear to have come to Baltimore in August 2010, and he remains in hiding. That is not to say that he is a relaxed guy. Showalter is still a control freak, but it’s not the  same type of pressure that builds up and creates a toxic situation.

Buck has his finger prints all over the organization. From the minor league affiliates to the grass at Camden Yards. Somehow, you don’t get the impression that the interest he takes in the playing surface irks Nicole McFadyn.

During the fifth inning, Caleb Joseph avoided injury in one of the strangest plays you will see at the ballpark. While pursuing a foul ball, Joseph slipped on the plastic on deck circle and slid into the first base side camera well. Luckly, the only thing bruised was Joseph’s ego. And possibly his coccyx.  

   

 

As the play took place, Gary Thorne was beside himself, recounting a story that Buck Showalter had JUST expressed his disdain for the plastic on deck circles, and wanted them removed on grounds of player safety. Thorne seemed amazed, either at the timing, or simply at the foresight that Showalter’s “control freak” nature had predicted such a fringe case. A few minutes later, the on deck circles were gone – removed on Showalter’s orders. Tonight’s game featured a different look for the on deck circles.  

Let’s hear it for the control freak. The guy knows his baseball. And his team sits in first place, 25 games over .500.