By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
9:26 PM EST, January 22, 2014
In his first public interview since signing with the division-rival New York Yankees, former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts had stinging words for Orioles fans.
In a phone interview with the YES Network on Tuesday night, Roberts said that the Yankees “didn’t need a whole lot of sales pitch” in order to draw him to New York and added that, “as a kid, I think so many of us dream of putting that [Yankees] uniform on at some point.”
Not what you necessarily expect to hear from a player who spent his entire career in an Orioles uniform before leaving town for pinstripes.
Roberts did say that the opportunity to play his entire career in one city was “incredible,” but added it was “time to move on.”
After agreeing to a deal with the Yankees, Roberts didn’t give The Baltimore Sun an exit interview despite numerous requests.
Here a transcript of Roberts’ interview with the YES Network:
On the Yankees’ sales pitch:
I don’t think they need a whole lot of sales pitch most of the time. When you have the opportunity to play for such a storied franchise and an organization that is always going to give you a chance to win a World Series every year, it doesn’t take a whole lot. As a kid, I think so many of us dream of putting that uniform on at some point. I had the incredible opportunity to play so many years in one city, and it was just time to move on, I think.
On being on the field more often than the past four years:
That’s what I was hoping to do last year, and unfortunately, the third game in I felt something in the back of my hamstring pop. We wasted about five or six weeks before I had surgery, so I felt like I really should have played a lot more games than I did last year. But I’m excited for the opportunity. My goal is to come in and play as many games as they want me to play and obviously help us get where we want as an organization.
On being completely back from concussion problems:
I am. It’s great. That was by far the hardest year and a half of my life. When you go through what I went through, I really wasn’t thinking about playing baseball at that point. I was thinking about being a normal human being again and [living] my life and being a husband and a father again. And honestly I would have never come back to baseball if my doctors hadn’t assured me that the rest of that stuff was gone. ... It is nice to put that behind me and feel like I can just go out and be a baseball player again and not really worry about that stuff.
On playing the game instinctively again:
Definitely, and that’s just a little while after they give you the go ahead. It’s still in the back of your mind when you go through that sort of thing. It’s hard to go back out there and jump back in. But given the time I’ve had now and playing last year, I’ve been able to get back on the field and play and enjoy playing and play the way I’ve always wanted to and the way I did for the most of my career. So I’m glad to have that further and further behind me and be able to just enjoy the game.
On whether he has anything to prove to himself or the game of baseball:
I’ve never really looked at it that way. I’ve just tried to enjoy every day I’ve had to play the game. We’re so blessed to go out there and do what we do on a daily basis and do something we enjoy. I’ve never done anything to try to prove anybody wrong or make some big name for myself or anything. So going out here this year, I’m not going to do anything different. I just want to play the game. I want to have fun. My goal is to play in a World Series. I’ve [played] a lot of time to never play in a playoff game and that’s what I’m excited for.
On remaining in the American League East:
It wasn’t necessarily the first thing on my checklist with my agent. But I certainly enjoy the American League East. It’s all I’ve known. I’m very familiar with the parks, and the cities, and the teams, and the players and the organizations, and I think it’s the best division in baseball. I enjoy that challenge every day. But then, when you look at the history in our division and you look at Boston and New York, they’re great destinations to play also. For this to come about the way it did – I certainly didn’t see this coming, heading into the offseason -- but I’m excited for the opportunity.
On his role with the Yankees and the possibility of moving around the infield:
No, we really haven’t talked about that that much. I did have a conversation with the organization a little bit about what our role is, what we were looking at, and it was something that appealed to me. I made it pretty clear that my objective – if somebody wanted me to and I still could – was to play second base on a daily basis for the most part as much as they wanted me out there and as much as we thought it was smart to be able to do to keep me healthy for the long run. That’s our goal and I think that’s my goal, to be the second baseman for the majority of the games, hopefully.
On going without facial hair:
My wife is going to love it. ... You know with the Orioles, we had a facial hair policy for pretty much the first 10 years of my career, so I’m used to it. I think it keeps it very professional, and I’m excited for everything that comes with being a Yankee.
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