Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who has been dealing with myriad health issues, was in York, Pa., on Tuesday to attend Roger Clemens' press conference.
Robinson, who made his pro debut in York in 1955 before joining the Orioles that season, is part owner of a group that runs four baseball teams in the Atlantic League, including the York Revolution and the Sugar Land Skeeters, for whom Clemens is pitching.
Robinson said he is feeling better and expects to attend Thursday's unveiling of Cal Ripken Jr.'s sculpture at Camden Yards. He been to some of the unveilings this year, but has not been able to participate on the on-field activities. He hopes to do that Thursday and at his own sculpture unveiling Sept. 29 – which was pushed back several months because of his illness.
The 75-year-old Robinson, by the way, is pretty excited about the current Orioles. Here's a brief conversation I had with him Tuesday.
What do you think about the Orioles' current run?
"It seems like Buck [Showalter] has pushed the right buttons and [Dan] Duquette has, too. The bullpen has probably been the biggest part of their success. I watch them mostly on TV, but I've really been impressed with all the players. They really know their roles. And they've been hitting home runs and that's one of the keys. Baltimore, that ballpark is really conducive to hitting home runs; it's a great park to play in. But they've also been doing it in other places, like [Mark] Reynolds hitting four home runs in New York. It seems like one guy gets hot and another guy takes over after that. You have to be impressed with that and getting guys like [Joe] Saunders, coming in and doing the job he did the other day. Very impressive."
Can these Orioles make the playoffs?
"Oh sure. New York had a 10-game lead at one point. Their best pitcher [CC Sabathia] didn't do too well the last times out. He may have pitched well, but they ended up losing both games. So they are hurting for pitching, too. You get past Sabathia, [the Yankees] have problems, I think."
Think this is an exciting time for Baltimore?
"It's wonderful. I think all the fans are still taking a 'Well, what's going to happen?' a 'look-see attitude' that they have. I think they could finish real strong and get in the playoffs and win the pennant, it's all possible. I think everyone was thinking this is only going to last a little while, but it's going to last the rest of the year. Everyone is going to win a few and lose a few. There's no dominant teams. That's a big factor."
What's your take on Showalter and Duquette?
"They've done a wonderful job. Buck, I think he is a lot like Earl [Weaver]. He gets everyone involved in the game. No one sits too long. You can't have a player on the bench for two weeks and then put him in and expect him to [perform]. But Buck gets everyone involved in the game and he's got guys that can play that come off the bench. That's the impressive thing. And they have done a great job of collecting players, sending guys down and bringing guys back. It's been a lot of fun."
How are you doing?
"Better. I'm going to be there for Cal. Absolutely. And I think I've been there for everyone but Frank, if I'm not mistaken. I didn't go out on the field for Earl or Eddie Murray, but I'm going to try to go on the field for Cal. I am feeling better.
What about having your own statue with the rest of the Hall of Famers?
"That is something wonderful. The sculptor has done a magnificent job. And to have something there like that, I look at those other five statues and I get so many great feelings, thinking about those guys. I did a lot of television for Ripken and Murray ... and I have special memories of all that. I think it has created a lot of excitement – from the times I've been there to watch the unveilings – from the people that are there. It's just great."