Brian Roberts: Can He Stay Healthy In Baltimore This Year?
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Once upon a time in Baltimore there was this speed demon, 40 2B+, 40 SB and 100 Runs a Year guy that played for the Baltimore Orioles. He was the best player on a team that hadn’t been competitive in quite some time. The team rewarded the player with a 4 YR/$40 Million Dollar Contract. I am talking of course about Brian Roberts.
Earlier this week I wrote a similar column about how Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner were also world – beaters amongst AL hitters before a rash of injuries had grinded their careers down to a halt. Read that blog right here .
It must have been bittersweet for Roberts to see his teammates celebrate with a champagne bubble bath – after clinching the clubs first Post Season Birth in 15 years. Heck, it was only a few years later (in 1999) that the Second Baseman was taken in the 1999 Amateur Draft (5oth pick overall).
Brian Roberts speaks about Post Concussion Recovery:
Roberts was the epitome of playing all out and was considered one of the best Lead – Off men between the years of 2004 – 2009. As a Switch – Hitter, he could beat you either way. He hits better as a LHB (.788 OPS) to a RHB (.712 OPS).
It all started in 2010 when he suffered a herniated disc in his lower back during Spring Training. He came back later in the season but would only play in 59 Games. He still had pretty decent numbers in having 64 Hits in 59 Games – with 12 SB and 28 Runs Scored, yet it was a slow down to a man who averaged over 150+ Games Played in since 2004.
In 2011, Roberts was off to a really slow start, hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .221/.273/.604 after 39 Games. In a game during the middle of May, Roberts plunged into 1st base - head first at Fenway Park. He hit the back of his head and sustained a brutal concussion. He would have several set backs in his come back attempts during the next full year.
As a guy that had to quit playing baseball from Post Concussion Syndrome myself, I understand what Brian Roberts is talking about in that video clip after the first portion of this blog post. You hate the sun….Sudden movements and loud noises irritate you. You can go from feeling great in one minute – to having a pressure mount on your brain. The sun and bright lights are your worst enemy.
People around you could literally swear that you are two people at the same time. From the normal you – to short and angry. It hurts to read, it hurts to do a shoulder check on a lane change while driving. I can only imagine how hard it would be to resume playing baseball at a Major League Level.
Trying to hit a baseball that travels from 80 – 100 MPH is hard enough in itself and takes incredible concentration. Doing this with while suffering from concussion symptoms is crazy to fathom. This is not a sore shoulder or knee you can take a shot for.
After recovering from his concussion – and finally making it back to the big leagues in 2012, Roberts suffered a groin strain. While doing a conditioning rehab stint, his hip had finally gave way on him and he elected to have season ending hip – surgery in July of 2012.
A lot of people have always said that Roberts may have taken steroids for more than just the one time that he has officially validated. I am not going to enter the speculation mob on this.
So Roberts is healthy at Spring Training for the 1st time since he signed his big 4 year contract. At Age 35, he has a chance to reclaim his place as the clubs starting Second Baseman this year. He will make $10 Million Dollars in contract this year as the 2nd highest paid member of the team.
He has batted 8 – 24 (.333) in 8 games so far with 1 HR and 1 RBI. He has yet to try to steal a base, but that is probably more of a cautionary thing as done by the franchise. Showalter will never take any necessary risks with the Veteran player from Durham NC.
The team could really use a facsimile of Roberts even at 80% of his old self for this campaign. It would almost be likened to adding a Free Agent since he had not been with the team very much in the last 3 years – including missing 123 Games in 2011 and 145 Games in 2012.
I am pulling for the man. Just like Justin Morneau is doing in Minnesota, I would love to see a guy fully recover from a severe concussion. Even as a Yankees fan, I have always admired how Brian Roberts goes about playing the game. I am still hoping that the Orioles do not finish higher than New York, but not at the expense of having Roberts see more time on the DL. The game of baseball is better for having speed and athletic players like him between the white lines.
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Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames: To learn more about my “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book” and how to purchase it, click here . You can also follow my Guinness Book of World Record Successful Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 Days - click here. I am happy to be part of such an awesome Magazine-Style Baseball Website and am looking forward to talking to all of the fans of the MLB. You can reach me on Twitter here Follow @mlbreports
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Posted on March 15, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged baltimore orioles, boston red sox, buck showalter, Chuck Booth, cleveland indians, fenway park, grady sizemore, justin morneau, minnesota twins, new York, new york yankees, Paul Waner, stan musial, travis hafner, tris speaker. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.