I apologize in advance for the upcoming feels.
I hate that Nick Markakis isn’t with the Orioles anymore. From an “exes and O’s” standpoint, I understand: he’s a player in his thirties whose skill set, though still quite serviceable, may not warrant a four-year, $45MM deal. From a purely analytical view, I can see that the qualities he brings as a player can be easily replaced, with less investment. I get all that, it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I wanted Nick Markakis back for all the wrong reasons. I wanted him to remain an Oriole because of the player he had been over his nine-year career in orange and black. I wanted to reward him for grace in the face of horrid teams, now that the Orioles are contenders. I wanted him to win a championship with the Orioles. I wanted him to be that rare player who retires with the team that drafted him. I wanted to be able to buy #21 jerseys for my young children, confident in knowing they’d be looking up to a great role model. None of that matters, of course. Nick Markakis is a member of the Atlanta Braves.
But he will forever be linked to Baltimore – a fact he made abundantly clear in his two-page ad in the Baltimore Sun this morning. In it, the “man of few words” spends quite a few spreading his thanks to the many people in Baltimore who shaped his career and his family.
Markakis thanked the Angelos family and team leadership. He thanked Buck Showalter and the organization’s coaches. He thanked fellow players, stadium personnel, and finally, the fans:
It’s because of this community that I have been able to grow into the player that I am. It’s because of your passion, dedication, and heart that make me proud to say that my career will always be rooted in the bricks of Eutaw Street.
But wait, there’s more:
I sincerely hope you understand how difficult this is for my family and me… it’s because of the great memories that you have given Christina, the boys and me that makes it easy for us to continue to call Baltimore our home.
The ad concludes with a personal touch from the Markakis family.
You can say what you want about the decisions involved: in Markakis’ for leaving, in the organization’s for letting him go. You can make your own determination on what he has left in the tank. But here’s an indisputable fact:
He’s a hell of a guy.
Good luck, Nick.
Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun