The Yankees are baseball’s traveling road show, with stars who are here for the opener at Camden Yards like Derek Jeter and Opening Day starter CC Sabathia, and those who aren’t, like A-Rod, rehabilitating from hip surgery back in Aspen.
But the one most of the Baltimore and Washington media sought out before this afternoon’s game was their $180 first baseman, Mark Teixiera, the Severna Park, Md., native who spurned both the Orioles, his team growing up a child, and the Washington Nationals, who set the market that wound up making Teixiera a rich man.
Teixiera addressed questions about both failed suitors with reporters in the visitor’s dugout.
The Nationals: “Dealing with the Nationals was great. The Lerner family was very impressive. I have so much respect for what they are doing in Washington. They are going to put together a great franchise. They have a beautiful ballpark. I enjoyed talking to them over the winter.”
The Orioles: “I came to a lot of games, between Memorial Stadium and when this place opened up. I tried to come to five to 10 a year. I remember really late nights getting back from games and having to wake up at 7 a.m. for school the next day, my parents dragging me out of bed and saying, ‘You went to the O’s game last night, but you still have to get up for school.’ We got to see a lot of great memories here. …
“I loved Eddie and Cal. Eddie Murray is one of the reasons I am a switch hitter. Every time I hit a home run from both sides of the plate, I call it an Eddie Murray. It was a special day when Eddie did that. He is one of the greatest switch hitters of all time.
“I played here every year of my career, and the first time I played here as a rookie, it was incredible. And every time I come back it’s always great. I love to see my parents. I’ve had some great games here. I’ve had some terrible games here. But I love the stadium. It’s still the best in baseball.
“In a perfect world, the Orioles would have won the World Series every year I was alive, and i would be an Oriole right now. I have so much love for this city and this organization. But in the business world and the baseball world, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions, and when it came down to it, the Yankees were a better fit for me.
“I would expect that Orioles fans will boo the Yankees. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you grew up, if you are a Yankee, you are going to get booed. So I expect a little bit of it.”
Teixiera got it as soon as he finished the interviewed and walked out on the field and heard the following from fans in the stands:
“We hate you.”
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 90 AM on Tuesday, April 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com