As I took Tri-Rail[South Florida's train system] down to Ft.Lauderdale yesterday I was filled with anticipation. This would be my first visit to O's camp and even though only pitchers and catchers were there I knew it would be a terrific experience.
Unfortunately, it was a gloomy day with highs only in the mid 50's and off and on showers. As I entered Ft.Lauderdale Stadium I was greeted by a kind elderly man who handed me a team roster, pocket schedule and pamphlet about ticket information.
The stadium was pretty empty with about 20-30 fans watching the team work out. Starting pitchers Daniel Cabrera and Adam Loewen got their work in and then it was time for several relief pitchers including closer Chris Ray to work out. After they were done pitching, the players grabbed bats and worked on bunting.
At O's camp, the fans are very close to the players and this permits for easy access to receive autographs. Chris Ray, Ramon Hernandez and Paul Bako were nice enough to come over, but it would be later in the day when I acquired the bulk of my autographs.
I discovered that the key to snagging autographs is to wait patiently by the players parking lot, and as they exit the majority of them will role down their windows to sign for the fans. I happened to be one of 7-8 eager fans who were standing and waiting for the players to come out.
In the 60-90 minutes that I was out there, I was able to receive the signatures of John Parrish, Jamie Walker, Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard, Ramon Hernandez[for the second time], first base coach Sam Mejias, third base coach Juan Samuel, manager Sam Perlozzo and pitching coach Leo Mazzone.
Unfortunately, the only players who were outright rude were relievers Danys Baez and Chad Bradford who sped away without stopping to sign a few baseballs. I was also able to see pitcher Steve Trachsel step onto the field for the first time as a Baltimore Oriole.
The majority of the players were very nice, but Paul Bako receives the award for nicest Oriole because he stood there signing autographs for a good 10 minutes.
I look forward to going back to O's camp next week when the entire roster will be present.