When he's sitting down, you don't really notice that Nolan Reimold is a towering 6'4'' and a not-so-lanky 205 pounds.
His casual jeans and unassuming gray polo matched his easy demeanor as he worked his way through his first major community appearance at the ESPN Zone this afternoon the way he might work a 3-2 count--on his toes but with a confident eye.
With the exception of a few nerves held carefully in check by an even attitude that's carried him through the greater scrutiny and pressures of a Major League Baseball game, he appears relatively comfortable under the spotlight, if only still a little surprised to find himself to be the one under it.
Nolan's introduction by Orioles broadcaster Joe Angel referenced Reimold's position among rookie leaders in the Majors, as he sits in the top ten in hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, OBP, SLG, and OPS among that group and only missed the top ten in average by one ranking (11th with .283)
I was told that Nolan, waiting in a side room during the introduction, was dumbfounded to hear he was among the leaders of major league rookies in so many categories.
"There must not be very many rookies out there right now if I'm leading in that many then," Reimold remarked to Angel with lingering surprise.
And it's precisely that natural, down to earth modesty that seems to make Reimold so plain likeable. So it wasn't a surprise that by the time he'd settled into the autograph room following the Q&A, crowds of fans waited patiently for an autograph and a moment's eye contact with the O's new left fielder.
Even after strings of fans had already filed through the room, he continued to greet each fan with a casual "Hey, how're you doing?" and never missed a "You're welcome" after any of the many earnest thank you's. When a fan extended further comment, he took it with the same stride he steps into the batter's box with at Camden Yards, and somehow without making fans behind them wait.
Stationed near the exit door, I was able to hear parents banter that their sons had wanted nothing more for their birthdays than to "come and see Nolan Reimold and get him to sign my baseball."
Another young fan, this time a teenage girl, gushed to Nolan, "You're my favorite Oriole!--No really, I mean it!" He responded with the smile of someone still not yet accustomed to the attention and admiration, but it was a warm one and she was beaming as she walked out the door. I wonder if she remembered that she was wearing a Luke Scott T-shirt...
At one point, a family of Reimolds made the front of the line, and when Nolan heard who he was to address the next photo at hand to, he took an excited minute to talk with them about the coincidence, as he doesn't often run into many other Reimolds.
Still other O's fans, like Michael Renbaum and his grandson David who traveled to the inner harbor from Owings Mills with friends Matthew Ingerman and Gary Talles, left looking like there wasn't another way they'd rather have spent their afternoon.
Reimold ended up staying well past the allotted hour to accommodate the long line of fans that would surely still be forming if he'd stayed hours past the 1:00 p.m. cut-off time. Insisting he had no objections to staying a few extra minutes or with finishing out the line in the room after those extra five were up, he didn't hurry through, instead giving each fan a small piece of time with the new Oriole they'd come to see.
It was one of those community appearances that makes you want to show up at the Yard to cheer that much harder for an Oriole who let fans get to know him just a little bit better with an hour of his afternoon before a game at Camden Yards; because even in torrential rain like the kind fans swam through to see him this afternoon, Nolan Reimold's an easy one to root for.
So if you're in need of a new favorite Oriole, Reimold's one I'd recommend.