A contingent of Orioles players and staff, including Showalter, visited wounded veterans Tuesday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda before the team’s game against the Washington Nationals.
Major League Baseball encourages the visitation when teams play in Washington, and the Orioles try to make it an annual trip.
“I challenge everybody to go some time. Some people are given a completely different perspective, some people it … makes you kind of understand the price you pay for everything,” Showalter said. “It’s one of those things that you can’t say you look forward to it initially, but once you’ve done [it], you’re glad you went.”
“It was definitely eye opening. Puts in perspective sometimes when we complain,” Valencia said. “These guys are our military troops. And what they’ve gone through, and how they are in such high spirits, it’s amazing. I am glad I went.”
Valencia, who had never played in Washington, said it was his first time visiting Walter Reed.
“They were very excited to see us,” he said. “There were a lot of people there that were from the Baltimore area, so they were really happy to say ‘Hi,’ and we were able shake hands, get our pictures taken and sign autographs for them. It was nice.”
He said there wasn’t one story that struck him — just an overall sense of optimism from those who were critically wounded.
“The whole general attitude they have with some of their situations,” Valencia said. “That they are still positive is really enlightening.”