Longtime Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the rival New York Yankees, met with the New York media for the first time this spring on Monday in Tampa.
Roberts spoke fondly of his days in Baltimore, saying he thought he’d play his entire career in an Orioles uniform. He said he’s spoken to several former Orioles teammates since joining the Yankees.
“I always envisioned myself being an Oriole for my career,” Roberts told Yankees reporters. “At the time, that was important to me, I thought that was something I wanted to do. In the end, it didn’t turn out that way. I have tons and tons of great memories there, and will always be fond of it.
“My intent was to play my whole career there, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out the way you think it is. If I had all the options together, I don’t know what I would have done.”
After spending his entire big league career in Baltimore, Roberts said joining the Yankees has been an adjustment.
“Everything is different right now,” Roberts said. “I’ve only known one thing. I don’t think it mattered where I would have gone, it would have been a little bit different. But going to New York, probably being our biggest rival in a lot of ways, it’s certainly different. There are a lot of familiar faces and I know a lot of guys, so it makes it a little easier.”
Asked whether he’s felt negative reaction from not re-signing with the Orioles and going to the Yankees, he said he has received “plenty of it.”
“Probably a lot more than [catcher Brian] McCann,” he said. “You either love them or you hate them, right? And that’s OK. That’s the great part about it. For 15 years I’ve been on the side where, I guess, all the people around me – I won’t say I hated them, because that wouldn’t come across real well – but at least all the people around me did. And now I love them. It’s just part of it.
"A lot of my closest friends in the world are [with Baltimore],” he added. “I’ve talked to them all in the last couple days. Is it weird, is it different, do I miss them? Yeah. But at the same time, I’ve worked out with Jacoby [Ellsbury] for seven years in Arizona. I’ve known Derek [Jeter] for 10 years now. Brian McCann and I got the chance to play on the WBC team together. So there’s a lot of familiar faces. Sure, I’ll miss it, who wouldn’t miss a place where they’d been for so long. But at the same time, I’m extremely excited to be here."