It seems like everyone had been waiting for Jonathan Schoop’s major league debut.
Especially the 21-year-old Schoop, who had been with the Orioles since Sept. 3, but hadn’t yet gotten into a game.
The Orioles were trying to stay in the pennant race and they weren’t going to replace veteran Brian Roberts at second base with Schoop, who is loaded with talent but also exceptionally raw. He hit .256 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 70 games with Norfolk, impressive for someone his age and for someone who battled a serious back injury (stress fracture) this year.
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But, not the statistics of someone absolutely, positively ready for the majors.
Schoop finally got the nod on Wednesday with the Orioles eliminated from the playoffs, and he made the most of his moment. He singled in his first at-bat, on the second pitch he saw from Esmil Rogers. Then he homered in his third at-bat – a deep shot to center off former top MLB prospect Kyle Drabek. Schoop also hit into a double play and walked. Overall, he was 2-for-3 with one RBI and three runs scored.
"The first at-bat there was (butterflies). I was a little bit shaky. After the first pitch, I was thinking, ‘OK, let’s go. Let’s go to work,’” Schoop said. “It was very exciting. To take the first one out of the way, the pressure away from yourself. Just take everything away and decide when you are going to hit it and when you see the ball and go for a base hit.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he certainly enjoyed Schoop’s milestones.
"As I get older, I can take in a moment. I just kind of sit there and watch him," Showalter said. "You can realize there's a lot of emotions there for him, probably [for] some people in his family back in Curacao. He played well, turned a good double play. Didn't look particularly nervous; I was for him.”
Schoop received both his home run ball and first hit as souvenirs. He didn’t have to exchange anything for the home run ball, though the Orioles gave future tickets to the recipient.
As for the base-hit ball, it was immediately returned to the dugout – and then the Orioles tried to play the tried-and-true switcheroo, throwing another ball into the stands. They attempted to mess with the rookie, but Schoop said he was on to the trick.
'When I came in, Alexi (Casilla) told me, 'Hey, we threw the ball up there (in the stands),'" Schoop said. "And I said, 'No way. No way.' They were joking about it."