After 13 years and more than 1,300 games in an Orioles uniform, Brian Roberts will play at Camden Yards tonight for the first time as an opponent.
What kind of reception will Roberts get in pinstripes?
My prediction: Roberts will get a nice ovation his first time up and some fans will be standing and applauding. If I were in the crowd, that is what I would be doing.
While Roberts was a lightning rod for criticism late in his O’s career, and some fans were frustrated that he was injured and didn’t play as much as he once had, the guy was the face of the franchise at a time when that was a tough job.
He played in a lot of losing games and for a lot of bad teams. But he was a loyal Oriole and played hard and well and always represented himself and his team well. He is among the best leadoff hitters in club history.
All that should not be forgotten because he had concussion and other issues late in his Baltimore tenure. Last year, it was clear that Roberts was rejuvenated playing for a winning O’s team and many fans wanted to see Roberts and Nick Markakis to get to play in a playoff game together.
Some felt Roberts should just walk away from the game in the last few years. Instead, he worked incredibly hard to keep playing. He didn’t want to just collect his check and go on to the next step.
Roberts has his critics, but I don’t think the fans that write into message boards and ripped him on talk shows speak for all fans. I think there is a silent majority out there that appreciates all he did as an Oriole.
I think a lot of those fans will be heard from tonight.