The lines of O’s fans waiting in the spitting rain to meet Matt Wieters stretched around the building.
One ESPN Zone employee even told me that anticipating the enormous crowd, she arrived at 6:45 a.m. - only to find that one Orioles fan beat her there.
It was by far the most crowded ESPN Zone Orioles Q&A in the last few years, and extra tables accommodated the packed house to within arm’s reach of young Oriole.
You wouldn’t have guessed it to look at Wieters, however. The same ease we see him project from the plate followed him to this afternoon’s Q&A and autograph session.
The actual Q&A portion, hosted by MASN’s Tom Davis, didn’t last long in an effort to make sure as many fans could receive autographs as possible.
It began with some easy talk of May’s significance for Wieters, having been called up on May 29 of last season and with a birthday not long before that date and coming up here soon on May 21.
Since that May call-up date, Wieters says he’s been enjoying Baltimore and specifically likes spending time in the Canton area.
“The town was easy,” Wieters laughed. “Getting accustomed to the Majors was the hard part.”
Also throughout the course of the Q&A portion, Wieters revealed that he grew up a Cowboys fan in Charleston, SC, and though he was recruited out of high school, he always knew he wanted to attend Georgia Tech.
Once there, despite his own visits to the mound as a pitcher on occasion, Wieters said catching was always his passion.
Now, the big league backstop says a good split-finger is the toughest pitch to catch because “it can move one way one time and another way another time. You have to really focus on it.”
But jumping back to Wieters’ transition from Georgia Tech to the big leagues, what was the one thing the first-round draft pick wanted to buy after he signed?
It had to be a new car. After driving a “beat-up pickup truck” all through high school and college, Wieters said he “wanted to upgrade the ride a little.”
Now that he has the contract and the new car, Wieters says it’s a unique experience to get to play with teammates he came up through the farm system with.
“We can sit and listen to the veterans, but we can also talk to each other,” Wieters said of his fellow young teammates.
As for life on the road with his team, Wieters said he likes the travel so far - and the opportunity to sleep in late that he doesn’t always get when he’s at home.
Finally, following the quick Q&A session, Wieters settled in behind the autograph table to accommodate a long line of excited O’s fans, holding anything from the catcher’s Sports Illustrated cover issue to bobbleheads, baseballs, bats, gloves, jerseys and photos.
For more pictures from today’s event, check out the photo gallery on the MASNsports.com Facebook page.