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Brandon Hyde relishes all that comes with first Opening Day as Orioles manager

NEW YORK — Even if the Orioles' 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Opening Day proved a forgettable result for his Orioles managerial debut, Brandon Hyde won't think of that first whenever he reflects on Thursday. He'll remember all the talking.

"I just got here super early, and it was a lot of talking — more than normal, probably than what I'm used to," Hyde said. "I'm used to being ultra-prepared and preparing and sitting there and going through the game with [Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon], or coaching the bases. This was just a little bit more of me communicating with everybody and not doing as much physical work. But it was a great day. I wish we could have came out on the other side."

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On Thursday, 11 of the 25 Orioles in uniform at Yankee Stadium for the 1:05 p.m. first pitch will be taking part in their first major league Opening Day, a milestone in every young ballplayers' life that none will take for granted.

Much like his time at FanFest made him realize all eyes were on him, Hyde's first Opening Day as skipper of baseball's most daunting rebuilding project made clear that this job is about more than the game.

Considering how he pushed back when asked Thursday about how daunting facing the Yankees and the rest of the division powerhouses would be, his message is one Orioles players and fans will be glad to hear.

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"This is the kind of place you want to go in and compete," Hyde said. "I look at it as, I love the fact that we're in the AL East and I love the fact that there's some good clubs — some really good clubs — in our division."

His fire on that front is the right balance for an Orioles team that has its challenges on the field but will also be full of players experiencing special individual moments. Hyde said he did get emotional as he was announced as making his debut as Orioles manager during the pregame ceremony at Yankee Stadium, and when he exchanged lineup cards with his counterpart, Aaron Boone, at home plate.

He reveled in the fact that so many people were at the game to support him that he "might be coaching for free.”

"It's a lot of people, but it's so worth it," Hyde said.

Orioles fans spent Thursday's Opening Day loss to the New York Yankees trying to get to know a team full of unfamiliar faces.

For a team with so many players experiencing their first major league Opening Day, and two rookies in Richie Martin and Drew Jackson making their debuts Thursday, the manager recognizing that gives the players the freedom to do so as well. Hyde had family and friends in town to entertain Wednesday, then got to the ballpark around 7 a.m. for the 1:05 p.m. first pitch.

"I didn't sleep much last night," Hyde said. "This is the real deal. If you can't get up for this, you can't get up for anything. But this is obviously a really special day."

In the dugout, Hyde struck that same balance — trying to keep the competitive fire going with an early deficit while being mindful of recognizing a job well done. Even if Hyde said it was a quieter dugout than he wanted, owed to a lot of young players taking in the moment, he was in a familiar place and let it show.

"He had great energy the whole game," designated hitter Trey Mancini said. "Even when we were down, if something good happens, he's right there pumped up. He's very loose and very calm, the atmosphere out there. He's a guy you want to run through a brick wall for.

"It was pretty cool to see him in his managerial debut, go through his whole introduction and the whole show that goes on on Opening Day. I think everybody enjoyed it for sure. It would have been nice to get a different result."

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