Roberts’ value extends far from field

February 19, 2009 |

The value of Brian Roberts’ new contract with the Orioles is expected to be about $40 million dollars over the next four years. The value to the Orioles will be huge, as they have a solid second baseman – arguably one of the better ones in the game. They also keep one of the solid leadoff hitters in baseball and a guy who can steal bases with the best of them.

He is certainly a fan favorite. Usually on a given night at Camden Yards, you can spot numerous people wearing a jersey or t-shirt with his name and number on the back – “Roberts 1.”  Whether it is for his hustle, looks, personality or play on the field, there is no denying Brian Roberts is one of the most-admired Orioles.

As much as we in the media enjoy covering him, or fans in the stands love cheering him on, it is another group of people that he means the most to.

We always talk about how players do not do enough work in the community. Well in the case of Brian Roberts, he probably does as much. if not more. than any other athlete. Brian holds his “Brian’s Birthday Bash” every season to benefit the University of Maryland Hospital Center for Children and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Roberts even teamed with a company called GameWear to sell bracelets to raise money for UMHC and to honor Shannon Obaker who worked for the Orioles’ community relations department and passed away from cancer at the age of 29. Any event that the Orioles have in the community, Brian is usually there to do whatever needs to be done.

Although there are usually press releases sent out for Brian’s Bash, the O’s Christmas party and other events like that, there are things he does that not a lot of people know about. There are countless stories of Roberts going to see children in the hospital on his own – without any media coverage – and that is the way he likes it. Roberts has been known to visit kids, parents, staff along with anyone and everyone involved with the care of the children of the hospital.

I have seen how Brian interacts with young kids in a couple of personal experiences.

My son Andrew, who suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa, got a chance to come up from Virginia a couple of years ago and attend an Orioles game. Thanks to the Orioles’ public relations department, they gave my son a pass to come on the field and watch batting practice. Several players came over and said hi to him, signed a baseball and had pictures taken with him. Brian came over to my son, and carried on a conversation with him, wanting to know about his condition, how he was doing in school and what he liked to do. Brian even later asked about my son, and he said he was glad he got to meet him.

To this day, my son is an Orioles fan, and Roberts is his favorite baseball player, because of what a small, but meaningful, gesture can do.

A nephew of mine went through a horrific incident. I was at the ballpark one night when I got the call that my nephew was in a car wreck. Several minutes later, I got another call saying that my nephew was in the car with his mom, and that she had been killed. The Orioles heard about this, and a couple of months later when my nephew came up with my parents to visit, the let him come on the field to watch batting practice.

Once again, Brian came over and carried on a conversation with my nephew, signed his baseball, posed for a picture with him and made my nephew a very happy kid. Much like my son, he is an Orioles fan living in Louisiana, and he will tell you that Brian Roberts is one of his favorite players.

While Orioles fans are happy B-Rob is staying here, there are many children and families who will also continue to benefit from the re-signing of Brian Roberts.