Andino cheered, Gregg booed
Orioles second baseman Robert Andino had a pair of special guests in attendance for Friday’s season-opener, with high school baseball coach Fred Burnside and Laura Harlow, who also worked at Southridge (Fla.) High, both making the trip from the Miami area to Baltimore.
“We went out to dinner yesterday and all that,” said Andino, who credits both Burnside and Harlow with help keeping him on the right track. “[Harlow] was like my second mom. She calls me her stepson.
For them to be at not just any Opening Day, but an Opening Day that I started, for them to see it, I thought it was pretty cool. I thought they deserved it.”
The 27-year-old Andino –who had a career year in 2011 in Brian Roberts’ absence– received one of the loudest cheers during the Orioles’ pregame introductions on the orange carpet a fact unbeknown to him.
“I didn’t hear anything to be honest with you,” said Andino, who was introduced as an Opening Day starter for the first time in his career. “I was just worried about tripping; I was concentrating on my steps so I wouldn’t trip. I think [manager Buck Showalter] had the loudest one.”
While Showalter’s cheers were deafening, one of the most noticeable introductions was reliever Kevin Gregg, who was heavily booed by the sellout crowd at his home park.
“You never like to see anybody have that, but Kevin is an experienced guy,” Showalter said of Gregg, who converted 22 of 29 saves last year and has been replaced in the closer role by Jim Johnson. “If it was a young guy, you’d feel a little more strongly about it. Our fans, like a lot of places, are waiting to embrace you and to be real positive. And it is up to us to do the things that make them want to embrace us. We control that. And Kevin knows that.”