As Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson addressed the fans as Camden Yards, calling them friends instead of fans, rookie third baseman Manny Machado stood next to manager Buck Showalter listening intently.
The Orioles’ 20-year-old phenom then ran onto the field and played third base in front of a large orange No. 5 on the outfield grass behind third.
And after the on-field ceremony honoring Robinson, the Hall of Famer gushed about Machado -- who came up through the minors as a shortstop -- and his ability to quickly adjust to the position he redefined as a player.
“I like that kid playing third base,” Robinson said. "I tell people when you make a transition from short to third, it takes you a while to get adjusted. I think Cal Sr. told Cal when he came back to third, ‘It’s going to take you a few games.’ ... He’s that good and it didn’t take him long to get acclimated to it, but this kid seems like he can play anywhere. He’s got a great arm and a great instinct. We’ve seen that. He’s got a great instinct for the ball.”
Robinson -- who won 16 gold gloves at third base, the most of any non-pitcher -- has obviously paid close attention to Machado.
“There’s a few things they can work on to make him better," Robinson added. "And I’m not trying to criticize him, things like men on first and second no one away, where do you play and when do you know when to go after a ball or not go after a ball. Little things like that. But he’s a terrific player and nobody’s really fooled him when it comes to hitting. He swings the bat and gets his hits.”