Showalter, Harbaugh in unusual forum
Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Ravens coach John Harbaugh found themselves in an unusual situation on Wednesday, onstage together for the first time in the five years they have in common leading Baltimore's two major sports franchises.
Showalter and Harbaugh covered a variety of topics at the "Finding Your Path" leadership conference at SECU Arena in Towson. The subjects ranged from their particular leadership philosophies to how they hope to lead their teams back from disappointing performances in 2015.
On Davis: Not surprisingly, Showalter found himself again answering questions — both on stage and during a quick media session — about the seemingly endless saga of free agent Chris Davis.
Though Showalter and the Orioles have made it clear they want Davis back and have offered him a $150 million deal to stay in Baltimore, Showalter seemed both resigned and a bit defiant in his latest comments about the situation.
"How much is enough?" he said. "I asked Chris during the season, 'Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want. So, how much is enough?'
"I love Chris, but if that (his decision) makes or breaks our team, shame on us."
On Chen: Showalter also said that the decision by free-agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to sign a five-year, $80 million deal with the Miami Marlins did not come as a big surprise to anyone in the Orioles' organization, though there were reports that the Orioles were involved in the bidding.
"It was expected," Showalter said. "I felt like Wei-Yin would get four or five years, an area that just doesn't make sense for us. We'd all like to have him. He was great contributor and a real find for us. Now he gets to go to the National League. I know you've been watching how many pitchers are going to the National League. It's like two to one. That's why it puts more and more premium on us developing our own pitchers.
"We just have to. We've got seven picks in the first 100. That'll be one of the biggest days of this season. We really have to hit on this draft."
The conference also featured retired Army sergeant Matt Eversmann, whose heroics were depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down; soccer legend Mia Hamm; Ollie's Bargain Outlet CEO Mark Butler; and BSO conductor Marin Alsop. It benefits Pathfinders for Autism, whose president is Orioles Hall of Famer B.J. Surhoff.
On Ravens: Harbaugh fit his appearance in between a week of film study and preparation for this weekend's front office summit at owner Steve Bisciotti's home in South Florida. He told the conference that the Ravens have a lot of work to do, but they are positioned well to get it done.
"We will do everything we can do,'' he said. "We'll look at every good player we have and every good player we might draft. It's not like we have to look hard to see how we can get better. The vast majority of our team is going to be rock solid. We have playmakers, but we need more playmakers."
Learning from each other: Showalter and Harbaugh agreed that they enjoyed the opportunity to get together and learn from each other while supporting a great cause.
"That was really fun,'' Harbaugh said. "I've been around Buck a few times. Sometimes you just ride the Buck wave. He's a great guy who has so much knowledge. Great storyteller. I thought there was some pretty incredible insight today. Good people ... what a great cause. The Surhoff family puts this on. We had a great day."
Showalter said he looks for any opportunity to pick the brains of other successful coaches.
"I steal stuff all the time,''' Showalter said. "I have a lot of respect for John and Ozzie [Newsome], the organization and what they've accomplished. It's fun to watch."