Orioles catcher Steve Clevenger regularly made it to Opening Day at Camden Yards growing up, even if it meant missing school.
Clevenger grew up just across the street from Oriole Park in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore, so making his first Opening Day roster with the Orioles is special.
“It’s a dream come true,” Clevenger said Sunday. “I get to play for my hometown team, the team I grew up rooting for. It’s a special time.”
Not long ago, Clevenger was sitting in the stands on Opening Day.
“All the time,” he said. “That was a big thing. Opening Day was a big thing. I came to a lot of Orioles games. I grew up a couple blocks from here, so I was always coming down to the stadium. I always made it down for Opening Day until I was a little bit older and I had ball. But when I was younger, I always missed school.”
This is the third time Clevenger has made an Opening Day roster – he made it twice with the Chicago Cubs before being traded to the Orioles this past July – but being on the hometown team is different.
“It’s exciting -- to be from Baltimore and run down the orange carpet on Opening Day,” said Clevenger, a Mount St. Joseph product who will back up Matt Wieters. “It’s a long season, but that’s what I’m concentrating on.
"Last year, coming in getting traded over here it was kind of difficult,” he added. “I really didn’t know the staff too much. This offseason, I had the chance to study up a little bit and come into spring and catch all the guys and just get a feel for everything.”
Another local product, Columbia native and Atholton High grad Steve Lombardozzi, could be in the starting lineup for Monday’s game as the Orioles' starting second baseman. Lombardozzi was acquired last week from the Tigers in exchange for veteran utility infielder Alex Gonzalez.