Buster Olney is Still a Jerk
ESPN writer's long-time beef with the Orioles takes center stage
Everybody on social media is aware that ESPN’s Buster Olney is kind of a jerk. Just take a look at how my interaction with him went and led to current ESPN host Sarah Spain outing herself as an anti-Catholic bigot.
But Olney saves his biggest jerk tendencies for taking shots at the Orioles.
Last summer, Olney was one of many sportswriters targeting the Orioles for unfair scorn for not unnecessarily spending millions of dollars on bad players in an effort to implement Mike Elias’ program and system.
This weekend, Olney decided to take a happy moment for the Orioles and Orioles fans and tried to piss on it in an effort to bring attention to himself.
Unless you have been living under a rock, the Orioles recalled phenom Adley Rutschman on Saturday morning.
Within MINUTES, Olney was dunking on the Orioles for issuing Rutschman #35. The number Rutschman has worn going back to his days at Oregon State.
Why does Olney care? Because of this.
And he goes on.
Olney of course either fails to realize a few things or, more likely, choose to ignore them to be a jerk to the Orioles and their fans.
The Orioles have seven retired numbers proudly displayed at Camden Yards.
#4: Earl Weaver
#5: Brooks Robinson
#8: Cal Ripken, Jr.
#20: Frank Robinson
#22: Jim Palmer
#33: Eddie Murray
#42: Jackie Robinson
Other than Jackie Robinson, whose number is retired throughout the league, ALL six of those players are in the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing an Orioles cap on their plaque.
You will notice that there is no logo on that plaque. At all. Mussina didn’t go into the Hall as an Oriole. So no number retirement for him.
Now there are two other numbers “unofficially” retired by the Orioles: #7 for Cal Ripken, Sr. and #44 for Elrod Hendricks. Those numbers are not issued but are not retired because of their lifelong service to the Orioles.
Rutschman is the 13th Oriole to be issued #35 since Mussina left the Orioles. That list includes such luminaries as Josh Towers, Rick Helling, Matt Riley, Daniel Cabrera, Greg Aquino, Brad Bergeson, Bill Hall, Omar Quintanilla, Danny Valencia, Brad Brach, Dwight Smith, Jr., and Adam Plutko. So why did did Olney decide this was the moment to make an issue out of it?
Olney went back to it this morning.
Eagerly awaiting Olney to start questioning why the Yankees haven’t retired Mussina’s number, either.
On top of all of this, I can think of a lot of former Oriole players or staff members who have done more for the team, on the field and off, than Mussina did. That includes not only Cal Sr. and Ellie Hendricks, but Adam Jones, Boog Powell, Mike Flanagan and (yes) Buck Showalter. Mussina, while a tremendous pitcher, did not have the legacy both on the field and off that those players and coaches had.
I’m not sure what Olney’s beef is with the Orioles. But it’s pathetic and unbecoming of his position as a “journalist” and it undermines ESPN’s already questionable baseball coverage.
If Olney wants to be a jerk all the time, fine. But ESPN should not give him the platform to do it.