- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

BALTIMORE Brady Anderson hasn't spent much time thinking about his 14-year career with the Baltimore Orioles since signing with the Cleveland Indians last December. But when Anderson went out to dinner Sunday night at one of his favorite Little Italy restaurants, it was as though nothing had changed and life had regained a sense of normalcy.
"Certain things are so familiar that you forget how familiar they are. Walking out of that restaurant was one of them," said Anderson, who returned to Camden Yards for the first time as an opposing player last night. "So there was a split second where your mind actually forgets that you don't play here anymore."
The feeling was no longer there yesterday afternoon as Anderson dressed in the visitors' clubhouse. Sure, it felt strange to be putting on a gray Indians uniform and navy blue cap, but he wasn't lamenting the fact that the Orioles released him after last season.
"Things change," said Anderson, who was released despite having one year remaining on a five-year contract. "The front office changed so much and the personnel changed so much in the 14 years I played with the Orioles, you come to expect change and shouldn't be shocked if you're the one it happens to."
Anderson knew one thing for sure: He still felt he could play in the major leagues, despite his troubling 2001 season (in which he batted .202 with eight homers and 45 RBI). So with the Orioles committed to paying him $3.8million for one more year, Anderson signed with Cleveland on Dec.5 for the major league minimum of $200,000.
The Orioles were in the middle of a youth movement, and the 38-year-old Anderson certainly didn't fit in. But there were no hard feelings between player and organization.
"I like Brady," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said, "because he gave it everything he had, he didn't offer excuses and he did what I asked him to do, whether he agreed with it or not. He was a professional's professional, and a pretty good player."
Though he got off to a hot start, Anderson brought a 5-for-45 slump and .176 batting average to Baltimore. He also was battling back spasms but told Indians manager Charlie Manuel he could serve as the designated hitter last night.
Anderson said he didn't know what kind of reaction he would get from the Camden Yards crowd. He received warm applause when he came to bat in the second inning although only a handful of fans offered a standing ovation. He then grounded into an inning-ending double play, the start of a 2-for-4 night, which included a double.
The ballpark scene certainly paled in comparison with the last time Anderson played here. His final at-bat as an Oriole came with two outs in the ninth inning of last season's final game and retiring star Cal Ripken standing in the on-deck circle. With the crowd pleading for one last at-bat from Ripken (who paid a quick visit to the Cleveland clubhouse yesterday), Anderson struck out on a high 3-2 fastball.
Though it was a difficult way to end 14 seasons in Baltimore, Anderson can now look back and laugh about his final appearance.
"I thought that was a perfect goodbye 'We want Cal!' during my last at-bat," he said. "What more could you ask for?"


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