Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts has already played against his old team several times this season – including two series at Yankee Stadium and during spring training in Florida – but his first trip back to Baltimore as an opposing player was definitely something different.
After 13 years with the Orioles, many of them as the face of the franchise, he passed the home clubhouse at Camden Yards on his way to his new clubhouse.
“It’s crazy,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if I think I’ve walked in here one time in my career. … I think this will be the weirdest moment, probably. When they were at our place, it was different but it wasn’t crazy different because you weren’t in the city, you’re not in Camden Yards, you’re not in a different clubhouse. … This will be a little bit strange, but I think once you get on the field and start playing baseball, it will all be the same.”
Roberts, whose 1,327 games in an Orioles uniform are the most by any active player, said he hoped the received a positive reception from the crowd at Camden Yards, but also realized that returning wearing a Yankees uniform can be polarizing.
“I haven’t thought a lot about it,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to get back out on this field. It’s certainly my favorite stadium to play in. The fans were always great to me, and the city was always great to me and my family. I’m not overly concerned with it. You never want to get booed, but at the same time, they’re pulling for their team and I understand that. I don’t expect them to be cheering me on all night.”
Roberts added that it did take time getting used to playing with the Yankees after spending his entire career in Baltimore.
“It definitely took a little bit,” Roberts said. “Walking into spring training putting my uniform on was very different. I had a lot of guys say, ‘You look strange in that.’ But I guess at this point I’ve gotten more used to it and I’ve enjoyed every day I’ve had here. It’s been a great experience. Certainly the 13 years I had here in Baltimore were the best years of my life. Nobody can every take that away from us. I’m very appreciative to have those years, and the opportunity to do this is just something new.”
But having seen the Orioles’ resurgence, Roberts isn’t surprised his former team is in first place in the American League East.
"They played great the last two years and the second half of ’11, so really 2 1/2 years now, they’ve really had it going pretty well," he said. "I don’t think anybody had any reason to think it would be any different this year. They have a great team and they’ve put together a very solid 25 guys over there. I don’t think anyone expects them to go anywhere the rest of the way. I’m always happy to see them do well."