My internet card has been iffy here in the basement at the Baltimore Convention Center but it appears to be up and running. While FanFest is typically a happy time, there has been a different vibe this year with the news that Earl Weaver passed away last night.
There’s full coverage up on Orioles.com, but here are some reactions from around the organization…
Orioles manager Buck Showalter
“This year meant so much to him and the Orioles meant so much to him. There’s a lot of emotion in the building today. Some of it is with Earl. A lot of it is. You see a lot of people talking about him, sharing a lot of emotions that everybody has. But, I’m just so thankful for the time I had with him. It’s something that you look from afar and you hope that it’s as good as you think it is. Getting a chance to spend some time with him, spring training especially last year, we had him down speaking and basically having a classroom with our coaches and managers in the minor leagues and everything. Riding around in a cart and talking about baseball, listening to him. I’ll never forget we went to a drill and he said, “Oh, we were doing this forty years ago, you guys just got more fungos and more coaches .maybe a different machine. But we are all trying to accomplish the same thing.’ He gave me time. And that’s the most precious thing.
I think everybody is still trying to come to terms with their thoughts and their feelings. He meant so much to so many people. There’s a reason why they called him, ‘The Earl of Baltimore’, there was such a connection with the way he went about his business.
“I had a No. 4 in the dugout every day. Before every game I had a little thing where I would just kind of look at it, sometimes I’d rub it if we needed an extra out or a big hit. He didn’t let us down too much. ..I got a four-run out of it one night.”
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette
“I have to be grateful that Earl was with us for the legends series and we got a chance to spend time with him, like every single statue unveiling,” Duquette said. “He was terrific and his simplicity and the clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball, he’s unmatched. And he’s a treasure for the Orioles and we’re so grateful that we had the opportunity to work with him this year.
“Earl was just a classic. He didn’t let you wait too long to let you know where you stood with him. What a great, great baseball man and a legend in Baltimore. He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles and we’re so thankful to have him with the Orioles and grateful for his contributions. Sad to go, but he has a legacy which will live on.”
[on what he learned from Weaver] “That baseball isn’t complicated; it’s a simple game. You pitch, you have good defense at every position, you catch it and you hit the ball over the fence. I mean, it’s pretty simple. And a couple of the tenets we follow, [are] great Weaver tenets. Put all your resources into today’s game and worry about tomorrow’s game tomorrow – that was a hallmark of this past year’s team and will be part of the Orioles tradition. And of course, his passion, his unfailing passion to do everything he could to win a ballgame. That to me, is what Earl Weaver was all about.”
Center fielder Adam Jones
“I heard this morning, that’s very sad. But I started to look at thing sin a bigger picture. The man lived 82 years. Think about what he’s seen, think about besides the championships, think about all the things he’s seen in his life. You come to appreciate, the man lived to be 82 years old.
The man lived a great life. So I think it should be a celebration. Eighty-two years is a long feat. I hope I can live that long.”
[on his interaction with Weaver this spring] “Not much, but he said he loves the way I play. He said it reminded him of the way they played back in the day. And I said I really appreciate that because that’s how I play the game. I’m always going to play hard-nosed, I know the middle infielders don’t like it, but they are not on my team so I can care less.”
Second baseman Brian Roberts [who found out right when he was asked in the media scrum]
“Shocked, obviously. Holy cow. We watched that movie last night at the event and you see Earl up there for his statue unveiling and, I love Buck, but he’s still the manager you think of when you think of the Orioles. And his fire, his intensity, his passion for the game, his passion for this city, his passion for doing things the Oriole Way and doing it the right way, I think it’s something that everything in this city can relate to. He will certainly sorely be missed by this organization and this city.”