For fans who came into the Inner Harbor on their lunch hour, or a day in the city, that ventured into the ESPN Zone on Tuesday got to see the newest Oriole, George Sherrill participate in a Q&A for about 20-25 minutes.
After the Q&A session, he signed autographs and posed for pictures in an adjacent room near general seating area of the restaurant.
In an event sponsored by ESPN Zone and the team’s public relations department, Sherrill was affable, introspective and personable, joking with the fans and the event’s moderator, team’s radio play-by-play man Fred Manfra.
The Baltimore closer talked about his life in independent baseball, his road to the majors and his personal experiences along with perseverance have shaped his time in the big leagues.
Sherrill never got drafted in college or high school and may have got into the majors in an unconventional way – however, he never wavered on his dream. “I had other jobs and hated them – I hated going to class; some kids enjoyed it, but I hated it. I loved going to the ballpark each day, and nothing beats it.”
In the past few weeks, I gotten to see him up close on the field, and we all as fans can agree, he’s had a hot start to the 2008 campaign and is nothing but a welcome addition to the organization. He had nothing but positives when it come to his teammates as George said, “it’s great – you’ve guys like Millar who are gonna keep it loose, as well as Walker who keeps it loose in the ‘pen; it’s a good mix of guys, old, young, outgoing…”
Of course he gave the man at the helm in dugout, Dave Trembley credit by saying, “it’s great; I love playing for him – except he’s a Notre Dame guy.”
Sherrill adds: “He knows the right buttons to push; he knows how to get everything out of you. He seems to the be one who spurs the late game heroics, with the pinch hits, pinch runners with like (Guthrie), but he (Trembley) seems to know how get everything going. If he’s got something negative to say, he’ll start out with a positive. All the coaches are for the most part — positive, trying to build you up and get the most out of you.”
He also gave credit to his pitching coach, Rick Kranitz.
“Is a funny quiet guy, when he comes to the mound – he cracks a joke; he’s always loose and his meetings have a lot of information in them. He tries to work on your strengths and hits on your weaknesses if you’re out there and need something from him.”
Although he’s over 30, and is in no shape or form still a prospect – he knows all too well that being in the majors is a not a right – but a privilege, and he intends to stay here.
He added, “I don’t care about personal accolades – they’re nice and all, but I want to win. I want a ring and hopefully bring Baltimore back a World Championship.”
He also opined of the state of the team before the season – despite the gloom and doom of many in the media, “we knew we were going to be good – of course most of what we heard, we were going to win like 50 games or something.” He added, “The guys we have in the clubhouse, I knew we would be better than that.”
We all know as fans, the season has been filled with comebacks and also strong play; thus, Sherrill gave credit to the many fans of the Baltimore Orioles and how it pumps up the team.
“The fans, with the wins from behinds, give us all confidence.”
All in all, he is extremely likable, humble, and very personable. I knew based on what I have read about him, he’s a down to earth individual, and what you see with George is what you get.
About his famous flipped cap: “In independent ball – I used to bend it, but you know it used to look crooked, but when I got to San Antonio, I got grief about it, so I kept it as it was.”
Sherrill quipped when his teammates started to do it after each successful save for the first, “I could not stop laughing – it was against Tampa, and I could not stop laughing – but it’s all in good fun.”
“I like it.”