It was a rare scene when Baltimore manager Buck Showalter gave a slight grin. Monday, the Orioles opened the season up in a Mark Trumbo walk-off win against the Blue Jays.
It’s been six months since the infamous “game that will not be mentioned” occurred. You remember the game in October when two-time All-Star Zach Britton didn’t pitch in the Wild Card game. It might be too soon to bring it up, but there was a lot of Deja Vu going on at Camden Yards, even down to the same 2-2 score in late innings.
Jayson Stark of ESPN highlighted that it was even the same umpire behind the plate, Gary Cederstrom. History tends to repeat itself, but this time around there were smiles and a win for the orange and black. And most importantly, Britton, who was in Cy Young Award discussions last season, got to actually make an appearance on the mound.
Britton finished a phenomenal season with the Orioles tossing a 1.92 ERA in 69 games with 74 strikeouts last year and was also in American League MVP talks.
After a ton of scrutiny during the offseason for not putting Britton into the game, three-time American League Manager of the Year Showalter grinned and simply asked, “That was fun, wasn’t it?”
When it comes to Britton, he says he “has turned the page” on the incident a long time ago. He also received a lot of text messages following the game from friends in a manner only they could provide.
“I probably have 20 text messages from friends right now,” Britton mentioned in an interview with ESPN. “So I don’t think it will be done any time soon. I already read them. A lot of smartass comments.”
These facetious friends didn’t give him even a moment to celebrate after he faced nine batters in two innings striking out one. “About time you got in,” one of the text messages read. He also wasn’t surprised by the amount of attention he received, no matter who was giving it.
“I knew this was going to happen the first time I got in against these guys. I knew I was going to hear it — from either my friends or from the fans.”
Britton addressed Showalter and the rest of the managers in the league who were still playing in October and discussed how they were using their relievers. The 29-year-old said his manager had a good humor about it. “Kind of just laughed it off and said no one wants to wear it like he did.”
And for those of you wondering if Britton has lost any sleep over not being put in that infamous game, he says he trusted Show’s actions stating he always has a plan and there’s “always a reason.”