Deflecting attention, Markakis appreciated nonetheless
It is just after the Orioles’ stunning ninth-inning comeback win at Fenway Park on Wednesday night and right fielder Nick Markakis — who hit a solo homer and had two RBIs in the 8-5 win — is nowhere to be found in the visitors’ clubhouse.
He is not the star of this game — that would be Manny Machado, who hit the go-ahead homer — and Markakis rarely is sitting in front of his locker even if he is. There are postgame workouts to get in and treatment to receive, the latter of which Markakis finally appears from in Boston and unassumingly sits on the couch, more than happy to fade into the background of reporters’ game stories and be overshadowed by the flashier players and more-quotable personalities.
It is the same thing at home, when Markakis — the Orioles’ longest-tenured active player — has two hits and two runs scored in the home opening-win and follows that with a 4-for-5 night that includes two doubles. It isn’t that he’s purposely avoiding interviews — a job he’s more than willing to let center fielder Adam Jones claim — so much as Markakis simply doesn’t want the credit, a fact that extends beyond the baseball field and into the clubhouse, where the players frequent the pool and ping-pong table, both quietly purchased by Markakis.
“He’s one of the most giving guys around, but it’s not broadcasted,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Probably about half the stuff [he does], I don’t know about.”
“He’s such a great example. Nick takes the responsibility of being there, of posting up, very seriously. And, believe me, he’s one of those guys that teammates don’t want to disappoint.”
Jones may be the vocal leader, the convivial Chris Davis the resident power hitter, and catcher Matt Wieters the anchor of the pitching staff. But it is Markakis who is the heart of the team, a hard-nosed player — coming off a calendar year in which he had three surgeries in less than nine months — who teammates and coaches alike gush about, and as Wieters dryly remarked, won’t be happy to see a story focused on him.
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