The proof may be on the wall of his spring training office, where hitting coach Jim Presley keeps a daily log of the position players' work. After three weeks of writing with a black dry-erase marker, Presley switched to a blue one when the black one ran out. In Showalter's world—where as MacPhail says, "I don't think there's a lot of spontaneity"—having two colors on the board would seem to reflect an egregious lack of order. And yet the next day, the one row of numbers remained blue.
"In the past it wouldn't have bothered me," Showalter says. Then, after a pause, he admits, "But I would have changed it."
He was raised in the game by men such as Martin and Clete Boyer, old Yankees who knew there was "a covenant you had to live up to—loyalty not just to the organization but also to baseball." And at the end of these full spring training days, when the sunlight comes in low and golden and the complex is abandoned, Showalter likes to hop in a golf cart with the groundskeeper and set off for the back fields. In such quietude, the covenant, like the wind whistling through the leaves, becomes almost audible. He is on the lookout for anything he might have missed—the cut of the grass, the texture of the dirt—any small detail that might help the Orioles win a ball game.
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