HOUSTON, TX – JUNE 02: Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter waits near the dugout in the first inning during their game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 2, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

We’re less than two weeks into the 2017 MLB season, and we’ve already got a nice feud boiling.

This one comes to us from the AL East, where the Red Sox have been hit hard by a flu bug. That’s dominated the coverage recently, including when broadcaster Dave O’Brien had to leave the booth mid-game due to symptoms.

Buck Showalter is apparently a little tired of hearing about this. He said as much last night:

“I don’t know where we are with the flu today,” Showalter said. “I haven’t gotten updated by [head athletic trainer Richie Bancells]. Everybody in the league has had that issue. I’ve had it and it’s a different strain, I’ll tell you. It lingers for a long time.

“Some of them seem to be a little more noteworthy, it seems like, but our guys have fought their way through it. I know we’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t 100 percent with it, but so do a lot of clubs. So nobody really wants to hear somebody else complain about it. Our guys have done a good job not broadcasting it to the world.”

Showalter is generally fairly intelligent, and this seems to be a combination of mild annoyance at the Boston media machine talking nonstop about a legitimate team health issue and an attempt at riling things up a bit ahead of an early-season series. His comments have done just that, leading to a few hot takes like this one from CSN NE’s Evan Drelich:

Showalter’s a calculated man, usually.

The only thing the 60-year-old does on accident is forget to use the best reliever in the majors, Zach Britton, in a win-or-go home playoff game. 

(Perhaps Showalter had the flu last October and felt a little dazed, but was too noble to say anything?)

Sick burn, Evan. He continued:

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has nothing but experience in this game. He can’t remember something like this in his 40-plus years in baseball. 

The Red Sox have had players quarantined. Quarantined! 

Yes, what possible sense of Boston exceptionalism might Showalter be chafing against after spending the better part of a decade in the AL East?

The final piece to Showalter’s puzzle is likely a form of motivation for his own clubhouse; if indeed the Orioles have been dealing with some flu of their own, having your manager declare to the world that you’re tougher than a division rival going through a similar issue (similar according to Showalter, not according to me) would be welcome.

For neutral fans, though, this is great! It’s only April, and there’s already a nice potential for random hot-tempered episodes when these teams play. This is the exact kind of thing where, when a brawl breaks out in August, analysts will say “Of course this goes back to April, when Buck Showalter took a swipe at the Red Sox over flu talk.”

A good season-long simmer is the best way to prepare baseball beef.

[Baltimore Sun]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.