As Brian Roberts stepped into the batters box at Camden Yards for the first time in 13 months, 15,618 people rose to their feet to applaud the Orioles veteran on a tough comeback from a difficult injury.
“I actually got a little more emotional than I thought I was going to,” Roberts told the media is his postgame press conference. ”It took me a second to gather myself. It was very special and much appreciated. Everyone has been so good to me here over my career.”
The Twitterverse and sports talk radio callers have often given Roberts grief about his difficult comeback and lengthy time away from the field after signing a large contract extension in 2009. No knowledgable fan would do so now. Not after hearing his comments, watching him fight back tears or learning more about how difficult this come back has been.
“It’ll be one of those [games] that sticks out in my mind for sure,” Roberts said. ”As much as my brain allows me to remember, it will be one that’s good.”
He didn’t shy away from baseball in his return. Roberts went 3-for-4, led off the game with a single, drove in a runner in the fourth inning and dove both feet-first and head-first into the bag while on base.
“That’s what I was hoping for. I was hoping that I would go through stuff like that and come out of it feeling as good as I do.”
Roberts received a very delicate shaving cream pie in the face after the game from Adam Jones and told reporters with a big grin that “he’s never had one.”
“Talk about feeling a part of the team. You know, I haven’t felt like that in a long time. It’s something that not that many people in the world can understand.”