Outfielder Nick Markakis, who had been the longest tenured member of the Orioles before signing a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Braves last week, has taken out a two-page advertisement in Wednesday's Baltimore Sun to thank fans, the city and the organization for his nine seasons with the club.
The ad includes a large "Thank You," on one side and an open letter to Orioles fans from Markakis on the other, which begins with, "This isn't a goodbye."
The letter is signed by Markakis, his wife, Christina, and their three sons. Within the text, Markakis says the family has every intention of continuing to live in northern Baltimore County and maintaining their extensive charitable endeavors.
Besides acknowledging the fans in multiple references, Markakis specifically thanks Orioles principal owner Peter G. Angelos and his family, manager Buck Showalter, his former Orioles teammates and coaches, as well as stadium, clubhouse and organizational employees.
Markakis, who will return to Camden Yards as a member of the Braves for a three-game series beginning July 27, ends the message by saying the fans have provided him and his family with so many memories that it's easy for them to want to continue calling Baltimore home.
Markakis, 31, was drafted out of a Georgia junior college by the Orioles in the first round in 2003 and made his major league debut in 2006. Through the 2014 season, Markakis repeatedly mentioned his interest in remaining with the Orioles for the rest of his career.
But after the Orioles slowed down negotiations on a four-year, $40 million deal — the club privately had concerns about a bulging disk in his neck that will require surgery — Markakis agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves.
He'll now be returning home. Markakis went to high school in suburban Atlanta and his parents still live there.