Take that, Thomas Wolfe.
Clevenger grew up in the Pigtown area and played baseball at Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore. Being at Camden Yards obviously has special meaning to him beyond joining the expanded roster of a contender.
“Oh definitely,” he said. “Coming home, my hometown team, the team I watched growing up. I’ve got a lot of special memories here. And just getting a chance to play in September here and the playoff push.”
Clevenger has made 229 major league plate appearances over parts of three seasons, but none of them in an Orioles uniform. The excitement of his first at-bat in Baltimore, whenever it happens, could rival what he felt during his big league debut with the Cubs.
“It’s going to be up there,” said Clevenger, acquired with pitcher Scott Feldman in the trade that sent Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to Chicago. “Like I said, coming home to Baltimore, getting to play for my hometown team, playing in front of the home crowd.”
And trying to fulfill all the ticket requests.
Local ballplayer problems.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I try to keep it limited. They get kind of expensive. But yeah, I put my Mom and my family and stuff on there. I’ve got a couple people coming tonight.”
Not surprisingly, Clevenger also is a huge Ravens fan.
“I love the Ravens,” he said. “Hopefully, they can have a repeat season and win the Super Bowl again.”
Manager Buck Showalter passed up the opportunity to comment again on the scheduling controversy that sent the Ravens to Denver for their opener tonight while the Orioles host the White Sox.
Asked if he had any thoughts on it, Showalter grinned and replied, “Yes, but no. Yes, I do. Have you got a quote from the coach of the Jets (Rex Ryan) that I could go off of? Does he have a new response? Give me some kind of a tee-up.”
I see what he did there.
“If you’re a hometown team like we are and they are, and they’re just coming off a Super Bowl win, and they’re opening up the season in Denver... Would it change if we were in first place by seven games?” he asked.
Showalter understands that the crowd could be sparse tonight with the Ravens playing and country music singer Keith Urban performing in the Inner Harbor.
“We’re just trying to get to their level consistently like they’ve been consistent, and that’s what we want to be,” he said. “To critique fans, what they consider, human beings, fellow Baltimoreans, what they consider worthy of their time on a given night, for me to critique that, I’m just excited that anybody’s excited to be here.
“It’s a good choice to have. Lot of good choices.”