BALTIMORE – Steve Pearce has joined the legion of Orioles who don’t regularly drive to the ballpark. In the past, Jeremy Guthrie and Luke Scott rode their bicycles, and Chris Dickerson has joined the group.
Pearce has a souped-up electric skateboard stationed near the clubhouse entrance, and that’s his usual mode of ballpark transportation.
Last year, Jake Arrieta recommended the skateboard to Pearce.
“I had a big old truck last year. Driving around in the city sometimes is a pain in the butt,” Pearce said.
“[Arrieta] introduced that skateboard to me, and I’m like ‘I can use that thing’ so I don’t have to drive that big old truck here. I love that thing. It’s comfortable. It’s cushioned. Great gas mileage. It’s electric.It’s not like a regular skateboard. It’s got big old wheels on it. I don’t have to worry about a rock throwing me off of it. It’s durable.”
The outfielder, who’s one of the lower profile Orioles isn’t often recognized, but says he’s been spotted a few times when he’s close to the ballpark.
He brings it to his Lakeland, Fla. home over the winter.
“My dogs love it. They chase it. We have a church next to the housee with a big old open lot. I get on the skateboard and they get some exercise,” Pearce said.
Against left-handed Jason Vargas, Pearce was in left field for the second time in three games.
On Sunday, he boosted the crowd at Tropicana Field, about 60 miles from home by buying 25 tickets for perhaps half his family. Lots of friends and other family members bought their own tickets.
“I probably lost money,” Pearce says of the series.
The 30-year-old journeyman has never played a full season in the major leagues. From 2007-12, he spent part of the season in the minors. Last year, he was with the Orioles twice. In between were stints with the Astros and Yankees.
On Sunday, he had his best day of the season, with three hits. Pearce began Tuesday with a .247 average in 24 games. He knows his opportunities are few and far between.
“When somebody goes 0-for 4, they get to show up the next day.If you’re a bench guy, and you get an 0-for-4, you might not see another at-bat for five or six days. If you want to try an adjustment, you have to wait another couple of days,” Pearce said.
Pearce was unlikely to make the team until Wilson Betemit severely sprained his right knee in the last week of spring training. Despite an average far above .300 in the spring, Pearce didn’t know he made the team until the final game of the exhibition season, and he’s been rewarded with his longest concentrated stretch in the big leagues.
“I had to do what I did in spring training just to make the 25th spot. I know that there’s not many openings for starters on this team,” Pearce said.
“Getting every day at-bats on this team would be great, but I know my role. I’ve accepted my role. I love being here, more than anything. It’s a winning atmosphere, great fan base. It’s fun coming to the ballpark even though I know I’m not playing the best baseball I can play.”