Nick Markakis offers apology and explanation for comments

SARASOTA, Fla. - Former Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis said today he regrets comments that appeared in a USA TODAY article and holds no animosity toward the organization.

Markakis said he was responding to a specific comment from a reporter, which was passed along following an interview with a member of the Orioles’ front office, regarding the team’s failure to offer him a fourth guaranteed year during negotiations over the winter. The Braves signed Markakis to a four-year, $44 million deal, knowing that he would need to undergo surgery on Dec. 17 to remove a herniated disc and fuse two vertabrae in his neck.

markakis-from-below-white-blue-sky-sidebar.jpg“I was just tired of hearing the same B.S. and I spoke what was on my mind at the time,” Markakis said. “Should I have done it? Probably not, but when I hear people constantly saying what happened here and there, and nobody really knows, and I keep hearing the same B.S. ... Somebody said something and I said something that I probably shouldn’t have said.

“Basically, he asked me a question from somebody that said something in the front office and it was not even true and I just kind of spoke my mind at the time. The bottom line is, I shouldn’t have responded at all and I just wanted to clear things up and move on. My attention now is on the Braves and my teammates. What I did there (in Baltimore) is there.”

In the article, Markakis said, “Don’t believe a word they say. It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. It’s all B.S. But things work out the way they do for a reason, right?”

Markakis said he was told that a member of the front office, whom he wouldn’t identify today, stated that the Orioles didn’t want to offer a fourth year and would only guarantee three, and did the outfielder think that’s the reason why a deal didn’t get done.

“I said, ‘B.S., no. Don’t believe them. That’s them trying to do what they need to do,’ ” Markakis said. “I got put in a bad situation and I spoke my mind. Should I have said it? Probably not, but it’s said and done.

“It’s not directed at the Orioles or any players or personnel in the organization. It’s just something that came out of my mouth. Sometimes, you say things and you look back and ask, ‘Was that the smartest thing?’ No, but when you keep hearing things and people don’t know what happened, it gets to you. You brush it under and move on. There’s nothing I can do now. I apologized for what I said. It gets to the point where it is what it is.

“I just want to put it behind me and I apologize for what I did, but there’s a reason why it came out of my mouth. I’m just tired of people thinking they know what happened.”

Markakis talked to center fielder Adam Jones after the article ran and exchanged text messages with manager Buck Showalter this morning to offer an explanation. He didn’t want to discuss the negotiations with me during our phone conversation.

“I’m an honest person and I will speak my mind,” Markakis said. “Is that always the best thing to do? No, but sometimes it’s good to get things off your chest and hopefully I can move on. I have great friendships with a lot of guys over there in the Orioles organization. I apologize to any of those guys if they were offended by it, but sometimes you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say and get it off your chest.”

Markakis spent his first nine major league seasons with the Orioles and is a career .290/.358/.435 hitter with two Gold Gloves. He’s destined to enter their Hall of Fame after he retires.

“I have good friendships over there. That’s something more powerful than the game can be, and in the long run that’s all that matters to me,” he said.

“What I said wasn’t directed at any way to the Orioles organization or ownership. It’s just one of those things where I kind of said sarcastically, ‘B.S., I wouldn’t believe everything you hear. Don’t believe them.’

“I just want to put it behind me and I apologize for what I did, but there’s a reason why it came out of my mouth. I’m just tired of people thinking they know what happened.”

The Orioles play the Braves on April 2 and 4 in Orlando and April 3 in Sarasota in their final three exhibition games. The Braves visit Camden Yards for a three-game series July 27-29.

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