7/11/2014 11:27 P.M. ET
Roberts returns to Camden Yards with homer
By Brittany Ghiroli and David Wilson / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts was greeted with a mild ovation as he came to the plate in the second inning of the Orioles' series opener with the Yankees on Friday. There was a smattering of polite applause mixed in with a handful of boos.
Miguel Gonzalez delivered just one pitch to the second baseman before Roberts gave the Oriole Park at Camden Yards crowd a familiar sight. Roberts belted a home run over the right-field wall to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Even then, there weren't many boos, and those were drowned out by the cheering New York fans.
"I know there were some people that liked me and some people that don't," Roberts said. "I kind of knew that going back, and after the home run, I really wasn't paying attention, to tell you the truth. I didn't hear it a lot; I saw my teammates and that was about it."
Roberts, who finished the night 1-for-4, had faced his former team in a pair of series in New York this season, but Friday was his first time back in Camden Yards since leaving the Orioles this past offseason.
It didn't take long for Roberts to be reminded why Oriole Park is his favorite ballpark -- but that came after he ventured into a new part of the stadium's underbelly.
He's played more games in this ballpark than anyone else, but in the 13 years he played with the O's, he never traveled past the home clubhouse and into the visitors' area.
"I don't know if I walked in here one time in my career," Roberts said. "It's definitely strange to walk by the home clubhouse and come over here, but it's kind of a new chapter of life. I'm certainly excited to be back. Spent the night in my house. Good to sleep in you own bed sometimes."
It was a relatively underwhelming ovation for a player who garnered American League MVP votes during the 2005 season, but there was no undeserved animosity, either.
"I think our people are real good about that," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said before the game. "They have a real feel for the game and the history, and they remember the things that Brian did so well for us."
Roberts was named to a pair of All-Star teams during his time with the O's, twice led the AL in doubles and led the league with 50 steals in 2007.
His final four seasons in Baltimore, though, were beset by injuries, and Roberts never played more than half of any one season. This year, he's already played in 79 games -- his most since 2009 -- and entered Friday batting .246 as an everyday player for the Yankees.
By now, he's used to wearing pinstripes, although it was strange at first to be away from Camden and in a new uniform. The Baltimore years, though, will forever be the highlight of his playing career.
"At this point, I've gotten more used to [being a Yankee]," Roberts said. "I've enjoyed every day here. It's been a great experience for me, and certainly the 13 years that I had here in Baltimore were the best years of my life. Nobody can ever take that away."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.