Nick Markakis & the Baltimore Orioles: Much ado about nothing


Former Oriole Nick Markakis sat for an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, and the article which came of that meeting wasn’t too kind to the Baltimore Orioles. Markakis seems to say that the Orioles were lying in terms of what motivated them to walk away from the negotiating table. Granted, the Birds seemed hung up on a three-year deal as opposed to the four-year contract Markakis signed with Atlanta. Along with the fact that Dan Duquette later said that Markakis’ neck issues did factor into the team’s decision, that seems to be the point of contention. Markakis had surgery for a bulging disc (in his neck) on December 17th, and announced yesterday that he might be ready for opening day.

Courtesy of Brad Mills US Presswire

With that said, NOBODY can ever take away what Nick Markakis meant to the Orioles during his time in Baltimore. He was an instant fan favorite, and in my view he deserves to go down as a beloved Oriole in the hearts and minds of fans. That’s not to say that his comments aren’t disappointing. And no, I’m not suggesting that he’s right and the O’s are wrong. But what I am saying is that perhaps Markakis shouldn’t have made those comments. If you read Nightengale’s article, it’s not conversational in the sense that he indicates the questions he asked and then gives Markakis’ response. In other words, it’s very probable that Markakis was led into the answers that he gave; I highly doubt he called Nightengale and said I want to get this stuff about the Orioles off my chest and I’d like it to be through you.

However still, I would have expected a guy like Markakis to have had better judgement than to have in effect called the Orioles liars:

"It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. Don’t believe anything they say. It’s all B.S."

However again, Markais should still be regarded highly by the fans of Baltimore. I think he simply made a momentary lapse in judgement when it came to how he answered the question that was asked. In fact, it was well documented how much Markakis wanted to stay with the Orioles. So it almost comes off as him still being “hurt” by the fact that he’s not staying in Baltimore. Markakis would have been the last guy I would have expected to say something along those lines, however as Buck Showalter often says, “…we’re dealing with human beings here.”

I would submit that the reasons the Orioles had for not keeping Markakis are all but irrelevant in reality. His contract with Atlanta is regarded as one of the worst of the off season in terms of being a good deal for the team. Ultimately I do think that Markakis’ neck issues had more to do with his departure than the Orioles let on publicly. If you want to call that lying, so be it. But the fact remains that as of right now it appears that the Orioles were right – regardless of their motives

In reality we won’t know for sure if they were truly right for some time. If Markakis somehow has career years in Atlanta, perhaps that contract looks better and better as time goes on. For Markakis’ sake, I hope that ends up being the case. However I know that if I were a Braves fan and they had signed a 31-year old player who immediately had neck surgery after signing and is unsure if he’ll be ready for opening day, I might not be the happiest of campers. But time will tell.

In sum, I stand by the view that the O’s made the right business decision when it comes to Nick Markakis – whatever the true motive might have been. Markakis should (and I think will) still be held in high regard in the hearts and minds of Orioles fans. He just had a lapse in judgement when it came to what he said in an interview yesterday. As someone who’s put his foot in his mouth more times in his life than he cares to admit, my hope is that fans can forgive this lapse and move on.