Every now and then – even in a lopsided loss – there’s a feel good moment.
On Monday, there were two.
The first one had to make Orioles fans cringe a little.
The second is easy to applaud, no matter which team you follow.
First, let’s start with Brandon Snyder.
The Orioles drafted him in 2005 out of Westfield High School in Virginia and proclaimed him as the catcher of the future. By 2007, that title had been claimed by some guy named Matt Wieters.
Meanwhile, Snyder bounced from position to position – corner infield, catcher, a game in left field. Twice he got the call to come to the big leagues, in 2010 and 2011.
He didn’t get much playing time in Baltimore, just 37 plate appearances in parts of two seasons. To be fair, he didn’t fully earn the promotions – never tearing up Triple-A the way it was hoped he would.
Still, he’s only 25, and the Orioles gave up on him last offseason, sending him to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations because they needed the roster spot (for Jai Miller). I always thought Snyder could hit with power and a solid average if given 250-300 at-bats in the majors, maybe not be a superstar, but a solid contributor.
But, frankly, regimes change and new people bring in guys they feel have more talent, and Snyder fell off the depth chart. That often happens in baseball. Nothing new there.
Snyder may never have succeeded here. He said on his way out that he thought the parting would be good for both the Orioles and his career. He took no shots at the organization.
On Monday he had 6 RBIs – two more than his previous career total. He homered – something he had never done at Camden Yards.
“I'm probably going to have to wake up tomorrow and read something to make sure it happened,” Snyder joked. “It's a special night, being back in Baltimore, but the biggest thing is having my family there. They haven't seen me since spring training. It's been awesome.”
He also said he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings toward the Orioles for giving up on him.
“It's a lesson learned for me,” said Snyder, who is 8-for-19 in 12 games. “It's something that kind of bugged me in the past, but they were also the team to give me my opportunity to come here. It's just something to build on.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked about Snyder’s performance: “I'm happy for him. Not tonight, but he's a good young man and he's doing well and I'm happy for him.”
Snyder is a good kid and it’s hard not to be happy for him; that he could have such a big night against the team that cut him loose.
Now, if you want an Orioles feel-good moment, look to Stu Pomeranz, who was a second round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003. He dealt with injuries, and alcoholism – he’s been sober for 15 months -- and battled his way back in pro ball.
The Orioles picked him off the scrap heap in February and, after a great start in the minors, was called up Monday. And in his debut, he threw three scoreless innings. When he finished the third inning, the Camden Yards crowd chanted “Stuuuuu.”
That was definitely cool.
The whole experience was for Pomeranz.
"I didn't want to take in the moment. I didn't want to realize what I was doing until after it was done. Obviously, it's a big deal. It's my first outing in the big leagues.”