Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hinted earlier today that ceremonies for the home opener would be adjusted due to the health and safety protocols implemented at Camden Yards.
Can’t mute the excitement, however, with fans allowed inside the ballpark at 25 percent capacity.
Asked if he’s going to run out of the bullpen and down the orange carpet or come out of the dugout, Hyde said, “I’m hearing it’s different this year because of COVID.”
“But I’m still going to stretch,” he said. “Foam roll, make sure the Achilles are fully stretched just in case.”
It appears the the Orioles will come out of the dugout, where a shorter orange carpet is laid out.
The Orioles had a relatively quick turnaround to get here after playing 11 innings last night in the Bronx.
“It’s not tough to get up for a home opener,” Hyde said. “Maybe a little less sleep than normal last night, but you walk in our clubhouse, you would never know. Our guys are ready to go, looking forward to playing in front of our home fans, first time in a long time.”
How long? This is the first game with a crowd allowed inside since Sept. 29, 2019, a span of 557 days.
“I think anytime you have a home opener it’s exciting for everybody,” Hyde said. “We have a lot of guys who have never experienced the big leagues before, and so to be able to play in Camden Yards for the first time and to be out there for a home opener, it’s a special moment in someone’s career. So, we have a lot of firsts with younger guys, then we have Trey Mancini, it’s an emotional day for him. We have Matt Harvey on the mound and it’s an emotional day for him, so I want these guys to just soak it up and relax and have fun.
“You see a lot of smiles on guys’ faces. ... The home opener is special. A lot of guys’ families are here - friends, families - so that always makes it fun. Like I said, a lot of these guys have never experienced Camden Yards before, so you see guys walking out on the field to take some pictures, soak it in a little bit before they have to go out there and go to work.”
Mancini is going to be the center of attention. There’s no way to downplay the significance of his return to Camden Yards.
‘I think Trey is putting a ton of pressure on himself so far and I think he’s talking a lot about it,” Hyde said. “I think he just really wants to go play. I know he’s really going to enjoy this moment. He’s going to have his family here. It’s a big deal for him to play in front of the home fans again. I just want him to relax and play and enjoy being in the big leagues again. To go through what he went through and make it back and to be hitting second for us today in a home opener, that’s a real special moment.”
Mancini knows that he’s getting most of the attention today, but he’s hoping that fans also acknowledge Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who missed the 2020 season after testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequently dealing with myocarditis.
For the Red Sox
Enrique Hernández CF
Alex Verdugo RF
J.D. Martinez DH
Rafael Devers 3B
Christian Vázquez C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Christian Arroyo 2B
Franchy Cordero LF
Bobby Dalbec 1B
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP