Brian Roberts waited 13 months for this.
Sidelined by recurring symptoms of a concussion and myriad other issues related to his health Brian Roberts showed last night why he was once considered one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. Roberts, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, was playing in his first game since May of 2011 and wasn’t wasting any time getting back into the swing of things.
From 2005 to 2009 Roberts batted .294, with 65 home runs, 321 RBI, 183 steals, and compiled a .369 OBP. He made two All-Star game appearances during that stretch as well and was rewarded with a four-year $40 million dollar contract for his efforts.
That’s when things went south for Roberts.
He played in 59 games that season, which was the lowest total since 2002, because of various injuries that kept him out of the lineup. In 2011 things didn’t get any better as he only managed to play in 39 games. On May 16, 2011 he sustained a concussion while sliding into first base. Afterwards, the symptoms lingered and he experienced dizziness and headaches.
For him that was the scariest part as he is quoted in the Boston Herald:
“There were times throughout the process that the future looked so bleak. I haven’t started a family yet, I haven’t had kids yet. I have a wife that I want to love and support the rest of my life, and all those things take physical abilities to be able to do. Baseball is important and my contract is important, things like that. But I would hope people would understand that was No. 1.” -Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles
For him to have made it this far in the process is a testament to his ability to overcome adversity that could have ended the careers of many. As a former ball player (second basemen at that), I always admired Roberts’ game because of his ability to hit for average, power, and that penchant for getting on base. His speed adds a dynamic that makes him the total package on a baseball field.
So what does this mean for Baltimore?
Well only good things if he’s able to stay healthy and contribute to an already solid ball club. Baltimore has been the talk of the baseball world because they have been able to prove they are legitimate contenders in the American League for a Wild Card spot, if not the American League East title. Adding a player of Brian Roberts caliber to the top of that lineup only makes this team more formidable. Count Adam Jones among those that completely agree:
“He’s the sparkplug. “We’ve missed him dearly. [It’s been a] long road and I know it’s tremendous steps that he’s made, and we welcome him with open arms. He’s a big part of this team.” -Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (Source: MLB.com)
Buck Showalter put it all in perspective as well:
“As I’ve gotten older, you kind of take in some moments,” manager Buck Showalter said of the atmosphere surrounding Tuesday’s game. “You feel like you’ve been through a lot of it with him, but nothing like what he’s been through. You’re lucky to be able to see that … It was fun to watch. The guys kind of fed off of it because you know what it meant to him.” -Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles (Source: MLB.com)
Baltimore also knows what Roberts means to their chances of success; and if Tuesday was any indication things could be looking even brighter for this Orioles bunch.