NORFOLK (WAVY) – Al Bumbry spent much of last Saturday night at Harbor Park. He signed a few autographs, threw out the first pitch of the Norfolk Tides’ game against the Toledo Mud Hens, and then spent the rest of the game up int he press box.
Just watching…and critiquing.
“It’s still in me,” said Bumbry, who enjoyed a 13-year Major League career, 12 years with the Baltimore Orioles.
Still to this day, Bumbry prides himself on what was his willingness and his desire to take care of every single detail of his game. “I hated to fail, I didn’t want to fail and I didn’t want to embarrass myself,” said Bumbry.
And he wasn’t close to embarrassing. Bumbry was named American League Rookie of the Year in 1973, earned his only All-Star bid in 1980, and finally helped Cal Ripken Jr. and company win a World Series in 1983.
“People from the old school still talk about the ‘Oriole way,'” said Bumbry.
The current skipper for the O’s, Buck Showalter, has kept up the tradition of the “Oriole way,” and Bumbry has certainly taken notice. “[Showalter] came in with immediate respect, and the players nowadays, you have to have the players’ respect,” he said.
Even though Baltimore has enjoyed tremendous success under Showalter (the 2014 Orioles won their first AL East title in 17 years), you won’t find Bumbry around the stadium too often, mainly because of that critical eye that he can’t seem to calm.
“I don’t want to get too involved in it,” he said, adding that he can’t simply sit back and enjoy it. His mind is always fixated on the details of what’s happening in the batter’s box, on the mound, and in the field. “It takes too much out of you,” said Bumbry.
That being said, he’ll be watching from a far, and believes the team has some real potential to make a deep playoff run. “The pieces are there,” he said.