Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts went 3-for-4 with one RBI in his first big-league baseball game in more than a year after being sidelined with recurring concussion symptoms.
As good as he was on the field Tuesday, his performance may have been even better in the news conference afterward.
When Roberts is willing, he can be one of the more thoughtful, introspective players in baseball.
Boy, was he willing Tuesday. So much so that I thought it was worth sharing a bunch of the quotes with you in blocks.
Did you take in the standing ovation/moment in your first at-bat?
“I did. I actually got a little more emotional than I thought I was going to. It took me a second to gather myself. It was very special and much appreciated, that's for sure. Everyone has been so good to me here in my career, the fans have been so great and supportive of me the whole time. That was very special.”
Is this a game that you’ll remember for a while?
“Oh, yeah. It'll be one of those that sticks out for sure. There's not a ton of games that stick out in your mind after a lot. But you have your few. … It'll be one that's good.”
Did you feel like there were plenty of tests in the game, defense, sliding, at bat?
“I said after the first, that was probably a little more than I bargained for, the first 15 minutes of the game. That's what I was hoping for. I was hoping I was going to go through stuff like that and come out of it as good as I did.”
What was your feeling about getting shaving cream in the face from Adam Jones?
“I never had one in my career. Jonesy said he's given a lot of [them to] eight to 10-year vets, shaving cream pies this year, and he was not sure if he's supposed to do it sometimes. I said I'll take a hundred of them. After I wiped it off, all the fans were cheering around me, I got a little emotional again. Talk about being a part of a team. I hadn't felt like that in a long time. And that's something that, there's not that many people in the world that can understand that feeling, what it feels like to be a part of 25 or 30 guys that are all striving for the same thing, working toward that, and all have the same goals and desires. To be a part of that is something really, really special.”
Is it strange to be with guys now that you’ve never played with?
“A little bit [strange], but I've been here with them. I had spring training with them. I didn't get to be on the field with them a lot, but it's a really good group of guys. Everybody's so on the same page with our goals and our desires. I think this is one of the few times I've been in a locker room where it really feels that way. Everybody has each other's back. Even the new guys. It kind of felt like I've known them for a long time. That's the good part. When we do bring new guys in they seem to just kind of slide right in and nobody even notices.”
What was it like to get three hits on your first night back?
“It felt great. I actually had bad dreams last night. I had to wake up and cross some stuff out of my mind. I have no idea why. But I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't expecting three hits. I was just trying to go out there, and, as cliche as it sounds, try to have good at-bats and try to do something that would help us win a game. I really didn't want to be part of coming in here and losing five or six in a row. That was probably my biggest fear, more than anything. So I just wanted to try to be productive. It was definitely more than I could ask for. I'm just so grateful. I sometimes don't have words right now for what I've been through and where we are now. I'm humbled and grateful to have the opportunity.”
Is it relief or happiness?
“Probably a little bit of both. I think it definitely makes me realize that I've always tried to live for my faith and really trusted God. If I had a plan for my life I wouldn't have scripted this by any means. I don't think anybody would script hard times in their life. We try to grow from them, learn from them and we try to use them for good. As much as I would have liked to have played the last 175 games or 190 games that I wasn’t able to, I'm hoping the next 190 will be better than I ever imagined.”
Do you feel the team fed off you being back, like Buck Showalter suggested?
“I hope it’s true, a little bit. That would be great. It wasn't my goal. Obviously, it's always my goal, in some ways, to set the tempo and try to let the guys behind you feed off you a little bit. It gives them opportunities. But geez, I mean, a lot of these guys have been playing so well they don't need me.”