BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters didn't want to build up his reception at Camden Yards during Monday's 6-4 loss to the Orioles. But the catcher's return certainly struck a chord, as he received a pair of standing ovations in the first two innings of the series opener against the Nationals.First, the
BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters didn't want to build up his reception at Camden Yards during Monday's 6-4 loss to the Orioles. But the catcher's return certainly struck a chord, as he received a pair of standing ovations in the first two innings of the series opener against the Nationals.
First, the Orioles played a video montage of Wieters' eight years in Baltimore as he warmed up Nats starter Giovany Gonzalez, bringing the crowd to its feet. They roared even louder in the top of the third inning as Wieters stepped to the plate. O's starter Kevin Gausman stepped off the mound to allow Wieters the moment and he stood back and waved to show his gratitude for his second ovation of the night.
"I knew O's fans aren't going to stop until you give them a little bit of an acknowledgement," Wieters said after the game. "So I just wanted to say thank you for my time here and get on with the at-bat, get on with the game."
Wieters, who played parts of eight seasons with the Orioles -- the team that drafted him in the first round in 2007 -- was an odd vision in all Nationals red, as the backstop returned for the first of two games between the two clubs at Camden Yards.
He went 1-for-4 with an RBI double to right field in the ninth inning during a late-rally by the Nats.
"Once I signed with Washington, I thought it was going to be a long shot," Wieters joked when asked when he knew his days with the O's were over. "No, it was something where really, until late in the offseason, I didn't really have any idea where I was going. The door's always open everywhere until you do sign, and once Washington looked like it was going to be the right fit, we moved forward with that."
Wieters said he will look back fondly on his debut in 2009, the '12 season in which the Orioles broke a long playoff drought, and all of the relationships he has in Baltimore that will extend far beyond his playing days.
"You always hope that you'll play for the same team [throughout your entire career], but it was something to where I really didn't know what was going to happen," said Wieters, who became a free agent when the O's didn't extend a qualifying offer to him last offseason. "I didn't have some offers for a while in the offseason because of the wrist injury, so I didn't really know what was going to happen. But I was OK with that. It was a matter of I always believed we're in certain places at certain times for a reason, and I was in Baltimore for so many years for a reason, and now in D.C."
Wieters still keeps tabs on the Orioles, watching on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network or by checking the box score.
"I'll follow these guys, and there's no love lost because I'm not there this year," he said. "I still love all those guys in the clubhouse. I hope they do well. I just hope we do a little better this week."
Wieters admitted he'd have some butterflies for Monday's game, and he joked that he hoped there would be no microphones around to capture the loud exchange when Adam Jones steps up to the plate for a reunion.
Wieters wasn't sure what the Orioles fans' reaction would be when he stepped into the batter's box, but he hoped it would be similar to former Oriole Nick Markakis' return with the Atlanta Braves in 2015. It was.
"I just hope I remember to walk into this dugout and not go into the other one."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.