9/5/2013 11:20 P.M. ET
Showalter respects fans' choices when conflicts arise
By Tom Schad / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- While the Orioles were preparing for Thursday's series opener against the White Sox, the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were hours away from kicking off the NFL season in Denver.
The Super Bowl champions usually host the NFL season opener, but the Ravens played Thursday night's game on the road because of other conflicting events, including the Orioles game. The conflict made an uncomfortable situation for both franchises and divided the attention of Baltimore sports fans Thursday night.
When asked about the possibility of a light crowd because of the Ravens' game -- as well as a downtown concert by country music star Keith Urban -- manager Buck Showalter said that he was not concerned about attendance.
"We're just trying to get to [the Ravens'] level consistently like they've been consistent. That's what we want to be," he said. "To critique fans, human beings, fellow Baltimoreans, what they consider worthy of their time on a given night? For me to critique that? I'm just excited that anybody's excited to come here. … It's a good choice to have. Lots of good choices."
The Ravens game did not deter 17,383 fans from watching the Orioles defeat the White Sox, 3-1. With that crowd, the Orioles also eclipsed the 2 million mark in season attendance for the second consecutive year and 24th time in franchise history.
"It shouldn't affect the way we play or the intensity we bring," Showalter said of attendance. "But it makes it easier with the support we've had last year, this year and in the past."
O's deliver memorable night for young fan
BALTIMORE -- As the Orioles took the field Thursday night, 10-year-old Daniel Sullivan sat in the lower bowl of Oriole Park at Camden Yards with his grandparents and his friend, Christian.
Daniel wore a No. 13 Manny Machado jersey and clutched an orange foam finger. He said he has been an Orioles fan all of his life.
"Since he was in an Oriole diaper," Trisha Sullivan-Haas said.
Daniel is being treated at Sinai Hospital for Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer most frequently found in bones or bone tissue. Despite his love of the Orioles, he had never been to Camden Yards for a game -- until Thursday.
The Orioles brought Daniel and his family to Thursday night's game against the White Sox with the help of the Casey Cares Foundation, a non-profit founded in Baltimore that supports critically ill children and their families. But even before the game began, Daniel had already had an evening to remember.
It started when a limousine arrived at the family's house that afternoon to pick up Daniel, Sullivan-Haas and her husband, Jeff Haas. They shared the ride with one other passenger: the Oriole Bird.
How did the Orioles' mascot even manage to fit in a limousine?
"Well," Daniel said, smiling, "the limo was pretty big."
Daniel received a jersey and backpack, among other gifts, and arrived at Camden Yards in time for batting practice. He watched the Orioles take some swings from the field and got autographs from manager Buck Showalter, Brian Roberts and Ryan Flaherty. Then Daniel and his family took an all-access tour of the stadium, including the press box and television studio.
"They didn't have to do this," Haas said. "It was just awesome."
With his gifts and autographs in tow, Daniel took a seat in row 23 between Haas and his friend, Christian. He listed Adam Jones and Chris Davis as his two favorite players.
Jones homered to left field in his first at-bat.
"I can't say enough about the Casey Cares foundation and the Orioles," Sullivan-Haas said. "To give children a wonderful day after the years they've lost fighting cancer, I just can't say enough."
• Nick Markakis was left out of Thursday's lineup because Showalter wanted to give the outfielder a mental day off.
"I don't want him to take batting practice. I don't want him watching video," Showalter said. "It's been frustrating for him not to be able to contribute at a level that we know he's capable of at an important time of the year. So I think he really needs to have a back-off day, and we'll see if one is enough."
Markakis entered the 3-1 victory over the White Sox in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in right field.
• Showalter said that outfielder Steve Pearce, who is on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, could rejoin the Orioles as soon as Sept. 12. After resting the wrist for about a week, Pearce should begin swinging a bat again in the next couple of days, according to Showalter.
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.