Changing places in Baltimore

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Changing places in Baltimore

There was a time when Baltimore was just about the happiest place on Earth for the Red Sox.

Aside from Fenway, there wasnt a stadium in the American League more inviting than Camden Yards. There wasnt a team in baseball whether they were managed by Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, Lee Mazzilli or Dave Trembley; led by Jeff Conine, Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada or the great Rodrigo Lopez more ready and willing to roll over for the Sox.

For more than a decade, the Orioles were a joke and Boston always had the last laugh.

But now, for the second straight season, the Sox are living their worst nightmare at Fenway South. They're grasping at straws as the walls around their season crumble; meanwhile, you know their former punching bag cant get enough. Theyll never say it publicly (actually, they might), but the Orioles love every second of this Red Sox disaster.

A big reason is Buck Showalter.

From the moment he took the job in the summer of 2010, Showalter set out to instill a culture of Red Sox hatred in that Orioles clubhouse. He took a group of young, impressionable minds (which also happened to possess a ridiculous level of talent) and began molding them into an army of big market assassins.

"Id like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll, Showalter said last spring. You got Carl Crawford cause you paid more than anyone else, and thats what makes you smarter? Thats why I like whipping their butt. Its great, knowing those guys with the 205 million payroll are saying, How the hell are they beating us? "

If thats what he was saying in public, you can only imagine what was flying around behind the scenes. And regardless of what it was, its worked. The Orioles are currently on pace for their first winning season since 1998. Meanwhile, Showalter's in a two-man race with Robin Ventura for A.L. Manager of the Year.

On the other side, the Sox can't keep from repeatedly slipping in the same pile of their own expletive deleted.

Of course, there are more factors in play within both these franchises than merely a focused and inspiring manager. In Baltimore, you have a ton of young, finally-developed talent, but also guys who know their place and are willing to learn, even though there's no question Showalter must rub them the wrong way from time to time. You have a front office willing to let Showalter to do his work; who haven't forgotten why they hired him in the first place and are smart enough to stay out of the way. You have timid expectations; resigned patience within the organization, the media and what's left of their fanbase.

In other words, you have the polar opposite of the Red Sox.

And with all we're going through here, it's no surprise that Baltimore's finding success on the other side of the coin.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy on the "State of the Sox"

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AP

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy on the "State of the Sox"

In episode 9 of "The Baseball Show" podcast, Sean McAdam talks with Boston Red Sox Team President Sam Kennedy about a wide range of issues, including the pressure to win this season after two straight last place finishes, the long-term future of Fenway Park, increasing revenue with other events, and changing the schedule early in the season for more games played in better weather.

McAdam also talks about recent MLB suspensions for PED's of Chris Collabello of the Toronto Blue Jays and Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins. Should teams pay a penalty for their players' actions? Are suspensions too long?

 

Tomase: Farrell saved by a good team, not horrible schedule

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Tomase: Farrell saved by a good team, not horrible schedule

John Tomase joins Sports Tonight to give his opinion on whether John Farrell has earned more job security after the Sox lead the A.L. East after 25 games.