SARASOTA, Fla. – Two of the most prominent new Orioles have little connection with Baltimore and haven’t had much exposure to the city.
One of them, Yovani Gallardo signed with the Orioles early in spring training, and another Mark Trumbo, was traded to the team with little advance warning in December.
Both, along with Pedro Alvarez, will be high profile players making the transition to a new city.
Alvarez, unlike the others, is an East Coast guy. Raised in New York, Alvarez, who has played five games at Oriole Park, has a close friend on the team, Ryan Flaherty who will make him feel welcome in his new baseball home.
Gallardo, who is from Texas, has pitched for the Brewers and Rangers, is looking forward to the change.
“It’s definitely a little bit different, to be honest. I’ve been there once—last year when I played there with Texas. I’ve got a little bit of a taste of the city. I went in the summer. It seems really nice, down by the water, the harbor and all that,” Gallardo said.
“You get to know a little bit about it just from talking to the guys around here in the clubhouse that have been there, where the good restaurants and that type of thing is.”
Gallardo knew he was going to be a free agent after last season, and he admitted he thought about prospective new homes when he visited each team during 2015.
“You’re in one city the next year, you’re in a totally different city the next one. I think going last year and seeing what it was like, it was definitely a big help,” Gallardo said.
Trumbo, who was traded, is still a season away from free agency status. He played his first six years with West Coast teams, the Angels, Diamondbacks and Mariners.
There is some familiarity with Baltimore since Trumbo has played 10 games there.
“You’ve got to get acclimated first of all. A checklist of figuring out where you’re going to live, your commute to the ballpark, how long it’s going to take, so you can factor that in every day. If it’s a cold weather city, then pack accordingly,” Trumbo said.
“It’s the same types of things that normal people would have to do if they had to make the adjustment. You try to get your house in order so you can have your clearest focus when you’re on the field. You’re not worrying about a bunch of other stuff that’s going on.”
Because Trumbo hadn’t gotten to the free agency stage, he wasn’t thinking about new cities last year as Gallardo was.
“People ask all the time which stadiums you really enjoy or which cities you enjoy,” Trumbo said.
“The reality is, until you get to a certain point in your career, you’re liable to go just about anywhere, and it can be totally unexpected. Baltimore wasn’t a team that I heard had any interest in me up until right before I came here. You’re going to have to process the information and take away all the positives and make yourself acclimated and part of the team.”
As a young baseball fan, Trumbo remembers Baltimore as the host of the 1993 All-Star Game.
“Iconic. The ballpark was something I watched as a kid, the Home Run Derby. I always had those memories of it, and actually playing there, it was every bit as cool as I expected. Lookswise, it’s a nice looking ballpark with a lot of history. It’s inspiring to get an opportunity to play out there. That’s how I always treated it when I came through,” Trumbo said.