The Orioles are one of the more interesting teams in baseball. They’re generally media friendly. Their manager, Buck Showalter, spent several years at ESPN in his years not managing. His quotes are enjoyable, and many of the players are good quotes, too.
As 2013 ends, let’s look back at some of the most poignant quotes of the season.
April 21-Showalter consoled family members of armed forces members who had been killed in action.
“It's an honor to be asked to go out there. It's an honor to be in their presence, but I can't imagine how families feel when a sacrifice like that has been made. Reminds you in the whole scheme of things what we're doing out there for three hours or whatever is not really that important. One of them pointing out to me where their son sat to watch our games."
On June 30, Brian Roberts played his first home game in more than a year after being sidelined with hip and hamstring injuries. He'd play the rest of the season without incident, but left to sign with the Yankees earlier this month.
“My first at-bat was definitely special for me. To be here as long as I have and go through so many ups and downs, you don’t really know sometimes if people are just tired of you. Or they really want you out there still."
The Orioles were trailing the Yankees 1-0 on July 7 when Adam Jones connected with a two-run home run off Mariano Rivera.
“It’s off the greatest closer in the history of the game. I’ll always remember it.”
Jason Hammel had a good start last season. On May 27, he was 7-2, but never won another game. Hammel was always a go-to guy in the clubhouse, and on July 13 after he gave up six runs on 10 hits in six innings, he ripped into himself.
"Unacceptable. Far too many baserunners. Getting behind hitters. Fastball-hitting club that I'm feeding fastballs. It's easy to hit when you know what is coming. I'm not throwing sliders for strikes, not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is non-existent. I'm beating myself right now. Very frustrating.”
Hammel is unsigned, and whatever club gets him will be acquiring a stand-up guy. Another player who fit into that category was Nate McLouth, who left the Orioles after the season for the Washington Nationals.
On July 31, the sad-sack Houston Astros beat the Orioles 11-0. McLouth analyzed it well.
“That was kind of baffling. Pretty safe to say that was our worst game of the year, just all-around. It was embarrassing, actually. I’m glad it’s over.”
For most of the season, Jim Johnson was a lightning rod. Even though he had 50 saves, he blew nine. After one of the blown saves, on Aug. 14 in Arizona, Showalter defended him.
“The world's full of those guys who come in after the war's over and shoot the wounded. I'm not one of those guys. I'll leave that to the guys who are outside the arena."
The Orioles didn’t change closers during the season, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette tried to reassure reporters that the team would offer Johnson a contract.
“Jim Johnson is one of our core players,” Duquette said on Sept. 27.
The biggest story of the season was Chris Davis. He broke the team’s single-season record for home runs with 53. When he was announced as the team’s most valuable player, Davis said he hoped that the Orioles would offer him a contract extension.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to hit for the rest of my career,” Davis said on Sept. 29.
Davis’ agent is Scott Boras, who also represents catcher Matt Wieters. Duquette said he would like to sign both players to contract extensions.
Boras said he would talk with the Orioles about them, and said he has good relations with Duquette. At his annual media scrum at the winter meetings on Dec. 11, Boras dropped this gem about Duquette.
“He’s got great hair, too.”
After the Orioles traded Johnson on Dec. 2, Duquette said the move was part of a reallocation of resources. The team agreed to a contract with Grant Balfour, but they didn’t sign it after a physical exam found some issues with his shoulder.
On Dec. 20, Duquette indicated that the Orioles would not attempt to renegotiate with Balfour.
“The Orioles are moving on from this situation.”