After spending so many years with this organization and not playing on a winner, last year was special for Nick Markakis, even if he ended up last season on the disabled list as the playoffs began.
"It was awesome. That is what I've been waiting a long time for and why I wanted to stay here," Markakis said. "I knew what this place could be like when things are going good. I'd heard about it and saw some video and pictures. I think it could be the best baseball city in all of baseball. Our fans showed it last year and this is a place you want to play."
We are seeing some of that fan passion this year here with a record FanFest turnout of 18,000 fans at the Convention Center.
"This says a lot about our organization," Markakis said. "Is it going where we want it to go and the fans see that and realize it. This is all you can ask of from the fanbase."
Markakis said the reaction to the Orioles around Baltimore has been a little bit different this year.
"It's different, you can tell. It's awesome," Markakis said. "We are bringing back baseball here, maybe not quite where it used to be but we are on our way."
After batting some leadoff last season, would Markakis want to bat at the top of the order again?
"It doesn't matter where I am really," he said. "Guys know who I am and I know who they are. It's a constant adjustment. No matter where you are in the lineup, if you've been around long enough guys will know who you are."