And a guy named Brooks Robinson showed up – the 75-year-old Hall of Famer is a part owner of the York and Sugar Land teams of the independent Atlantic League.
I passed on a bunch of quotes yesterday, but here are a few more of interest.
Here’s Clemens on seeing Robinson at the press conference: “I’m excited today because I got to see this man over here. He came in for this and it’s a treat for me to see some guys that when I was younger I watched and paved the way for me and my teammates to play the game and play it the right way. So any time I can give thanks to Brooksie and these guys that have played before me, again, I know that’s the reason I had the opportunities that I had. I was able to make the money I did playing a wonderful game and take care of my family and extended family. So I’m very appreciative of that.”
Clemens, who spent most of his career pitching in the AL East, said he has been paying attention to his old team, the New York Yankees, and the Orioles, who are led by former Yankees manager (but not Clemens’) Buck Showalter.
“Yeah, I am watching what Buck is doing. And the way he is handling his bullpen and doing everything,” Clemens said. “I had the opportunity to meet Buck in person when he was with the Rangers and so I stay in tune with a little bit.”
Robinson is especially excited about how the Orioles are doing this year – he said he watches nearly every Orioles game and reads about them every morning. (He also watches most Nationals games and he and his wife, Connie, think their old buddy Davey Johnson needs to smile more when things are going well).
I asked Robinson if this Orioles team reminded him of any of the ones he played for in Baltimore. He said the 1960 club that won 89 games (a .578 winning percentage) but finished second to the mighty Yankees. That surprising squad took a two-game lead over the Yankees right before Labor Day with a three-game sweep of New York.
“They ended up beating us four in a row in New York (Sept. 16-18, 1960), but that was an exciting time and an exciting part of the season to beat the Yankees three in a row,” Robinson said. “It’s one of those years that nobody is out there running away with it. And that gives a lot of teams opportunities.”