Showalter talks about Frank Robinson (updated)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Owner Peter Angelos just arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. He walked through the media workroom a few minutes ago.

We’re still waiting for the Orioles to announce the Nelson Cruz signing.

Update: Angelos left the complex after shaking hands with manager Buck Showalter, who thanked him for stopping by.

Angelos was in Tampa and decided to make the trip with son Lou Angelos and team counsel Alan Rifkin.

As for Cruz, the Orioles are setting up for Tuesday morning’s press conference, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. All we need is the announcement.

Showalter spotted 19-year-old outfielder Josh Hart walking down a hallway today and called him over to meet Frank Robinson.

Frank-Robinson-talks.jpgHart, the Orioles’ supplemental pick in last year’s draft, had just arrived at the complex to take part in the workout. Robinson, the Hall of Famer, was invited to speak with the players on the camp roster.

“He was coming down the hall and I was walking Frank out of the locker room,” Showalter asked. “I go, ‘Hold on a second, Frank. Josh, do you know who this is?’”

Showalter already knew the answer.

“He says, ‘No,’ and I said, ‘OK, by this time tomorrow I want a page on Frank Robinson,’” Showalter said. “I said, ‘You go home, you research it and you come back tomorrow and have it on my desk. Frank got a kick out of that.

“It’s not their fault, it’s not their fault.”

Is Hart going to do it?

“You bet your ass,” Showalter replied. “It better be there tomorrow. He knows.”

Robinson had accepted executive vice president Dan Duquette’s invitation to speak to the players before today’s workout.

“You can tell they have so much respect for Frank,” Showalter said. “What made me feel great is, not only did he agree to it, you could tell he wanted to do it. Our guys love Frank. He’s worth adjusting the schedule. We pushed back a half-hour so we could get the honor of listening to him talk about the Orioles and about baseball. He’s not supposed to be biased in his positions he’s had with MLB, but it’s a fight for him not to be.”

Robinson mentioned how he’s felt a reconnection with the franchise. Same with other Hall of Famers. And they all seem to credit Showalter.

“I think a lot of it had to do with, the players started playing better,” Showalter said. “It’s tough on a lot of Oriole old-timers the last 13 years. He showed us the (orange) shirt he had in the closet for a long time.

“He was having fun. He would have done it all day.”

Soon after he was hired, Showalter thought about former Orioles from the glory years that he wanted around the team. He also wondered why they weren’t already there.

“First thing you’ve got to do is go, ‘Why aren’t you?’” he said. “I want Cal here yesterday. Cal’s so busy. We’d love to have him around. He’s just got so many things pulling on his time. He’s come a couple times, though. And Eddie (Murray) came in.”

Showalter has renamed the half field at the Sarasota complex “The Earl Weaver Little Field.”

“You don’t want to leave anybody out,” Showalter said. “We could do Eddie Murray batting cage. We could do Jim Palmer, the pitching area where they all pitch. And then we’ve got enough to do the four fields. For another day.

“There’s such a fine line. You don’t want to confuse change for lack of respect for tradition. It’s not necessarily change. It’s just trying to get back. What you want to have in common with them is winning.

“I tell the guys all the time, these are the good old days. These are the good old days. You get bogged down by the past. You embrace it, but... If you’ll notice some of the pictures here, the jersey numbers and statues. But I want these guys to graduate.

“I got here and there were people on the wall who didn’t have their nose bloodied or wet yet in the big leagues, and I was like, ‘Hold on a second.’ Now, we’re starting to be able to put up Adam Jones and Chris Davis and J.J. (Hardy). They accomplished something. I’m not saying they’re near on the par of those greats we had, but we want these to be the good old days. You’re trying to always blend both of them, but you also want to be doing something they’re proud to be associated with.”

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