Roberts named 'Most Valuable Oriole'
Local media selects second baseman in career year
BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts is Baltimore's most recognizable player, and he's also the Most Valuable Oriole in the view of the local media. Roberts was named MVO for the second time in his career on Saturday in recognition of a season that has seen him set a Major League record for doubles (56) by a switch-hitter.
Roberts, the second-longest-tenured Orioles player, received a vase from president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, as part of an on-field ceremony before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. Roberts, who also won the award in 2005, holds the top three single-season doubles marks in franchise history and is in the top 10 in several categories.
"We have some guys who had good years on this team," Roberts said. "For whoever picked me, it's certainly something that is humbling and very much appreciated."
Roberts has also set a career high in runs scored (108) this season, and he became one of just four players -- along with Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial -- to have three 50-double seasons. Roberts, a leadoff hitter and two-time All-Star, has stolen at least 20 bases in seven successive seasons.
"Roberts has had a career year," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "He is one of the premier leadoff guys in baseball. It's that simple. ... And he'll come to play. He came to play every day. He never asked out of the lineup. He gives you what he's got. You take away a period of about three weeks when he was real sick -- and he still played through it -- he would have put up even better numbers. But he had a career year, and he means a lot to the team, to the organization, and I think he is probably one of the more positive professional role models in this city."
Only one other player -- Nick Markakis -- received a single first-place vote in the balloting. Markakis finished second and Adam Jones finished third, with Brad Bergesen, Cesar Izturis and Nolan Reimold also receiving votes. Roberts, who signed a lucrative contract extension before the season, said it's too soon to have new perspective on it.
"I don't think I will know that until maybe two or three years down the road," he said. "I can't say right now, because it's that situation where did I think we were going to be close to losing 100 games? No, not really. So based on that, it wouldn't be the greatest decision in the world. But if you base it on two years from now, I can't say. And that's what we were doing to begin with. I still think that is going to be a good choice. We just don't know for sure yet."
Roberts voted for Markakis as Most Valuable Player last week when players were given an opportunity to take part in an informal straw poll, and he said Saturday that there were several candidates who could've taken his place. And when asked if he considered this a career year, Roberts wasn't sure how to really respond.
"Every year, it is different," he said. "I have had years where I did other things better. Yeah, as a whole, I'd say this was certainly up there for me. It's just been kind of a weird, kind of a different season for me. Up and down. Better in some categories than usual, and a little worse in other categories. So that's the way this game works, though. You never know. Your stats are never going to be across the board the same, year in and year out."
Roberts has commented several times on the changing dynamic in the clubhouse, and he spoke again Saturday about the importance of leadership and setting a positive example for his younger teammates.
"I think as much as anything to go out there and play every day, to show those guys what it takes to play here every day," Roberts said. "You are going to have your good and your bad. It's not always going to be hunky dory, everything every day. So to be able to be out there every day and do that, I feel very fortunate and blessed to do that throughout the course of the year. ... The organization put a lot of faith in me by giving me that contract, and by investing in myself and Nick this winter. And I think that we both tried to go out there and, you don't try to justify that, but I think you certainly do put some effort into trying make it seem like it's not a bad decision."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.