To drive home my point in this piece, I'm going to use a parrallel in another sport. When I was a kid I was a Washington Bullets fan, however my favorite player growing up was (and still is) Larry Bird. While Jordan was busy slam dunking, Bird was doing that along with shooting from the outside, and playing tough defense. Nevertheless after his playing career was done in by back problems Bird was eventually hired as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers. While Bird was an NBA Coach of the Year and led the Pacers to the NBA Finals, he only coached a few seasons because coaching wasn't his forte`. On the other hand, you have a guys such as Pat Riley and Phil Jackson who were never NBA superstars but ended up being great coaches. Why is that? The great players are great because they don't stop and think. Okay, what exactly does that mean, and how is it relevant? There's certainly a large amount of thinking that goes on in every players' mind, however ultimately players play and coaches think. Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time; he's also the NFL's all-time leader in interceptions. There came a point where Favre would just chuck the ball downfield in games, which in essence is doing without thinking. Compare that with Jason Campbell who played for my beloved Washington Redskins; there's no comparison between the two. Campbell had the athletic ability to be a good quarterback, however his indecisiveness led to sacks which cost the Redskins games.
Here's what all this hurky-jerky talk about other sports is leading up to; do the Orioles have more coaches than players? Baseball is a thinking man's game moreso than the other sports. Again, if a quarterback stands in the pocket and thinks too much he's going to get taken down. If a hockey goalie tries to outthink a forward on a break-away, the guy's ultimately going to score while the goalie thinks about it. When Oriole hitters are at the plate, you can almost see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to figure out which pitch is coming, or what they're going to do next. Meanwhile the pitcher's focusing in on the task at hand while the Orioles are thinking. There are certainly exceptions to this, and it is possible to break out of it as well. Last year and early this season Adam Jones had a lot of problems picking up sliders off the pitchers' hands. The beauty of a well-thrown slider is that is looks just like a fastball coming off the pitcher's hand, but at the last minute it slides downward. There were times when Jones would end up almost taking a knee at the plate when he'd try to reach those sliders low-and-away. However after struggling the first month of the season, Jones has become good at picking up the slider. And guess what? He doesn't see as many of them, and he's thus getting better pitches to hit.
This is not to say that you shouldn't think at all out there, because as I said baseball's a thinking man's game. And that goes for the other sports as well; there's a certain amount of thinking that goes along with every sport in the world. If you can't put two-and-two together and you have next-to-no athletic ability...well, let's leave Vinny Testaverde out of this! However the point is that athletes play and coaches coach. Buck Showalter wasn't the most gifted of athletes and he never made it very far in the big leagues. However he had the gift of cognition, which he's put to good use. To invoke Pat Riley's name again, he was mainly a role player in his career in the NBA. However he sat on the bench and watched superstars play, while learning how to deal with them. Look at Oriole closer Kevin Gregg for instance. On Saturday night he was throwing off-speed pitches and breaking balls in the ninth inning. Traditionally you only need one pitch as a closer, that being a fastball. In other words, Gregg (and catcher Craig Tatum) was outthinking himself a bit.
Again, none of this is to say that athletes should play on impulse alone. However I would again bring up the comparison between Brett Favre and Jason Campbell. If pressure was coming on Favre, odds are he'd chuck the ball downfield so as to at least have a chance. If pressure was on Campbell, odds are he would probably take a sack because he'd reason in his mind that a sack was better than throwing the ball up for grabs and getting it picked off. (For the record, I don't like gunners however you tell me which of those two QB's is a future Hall of Famer.) Very few superstars in sports end up being coaches, or great coaches at that. Mike Singletary was a star linebacker for the Chicago Bears, but he failed as the head coach in San Francisco. There are exceptions to this rule, as Joe Torre was a borderline Hall of Fame catcher before he was a Hall of Fame manager, however the fact is that many more role players became great coaches. So I suppose what I'm saying is that if the Orioles have a group of potential coaches in their lineup, they may well be in a heap of trouble.