A light drizzle began roughly two hours prior to Adley Rutschman’s Delmarva Shorebirds debut, lasting maybe 10 minutes. Just after, a rainbow appeared beyond the outfield wall, perfectly arching from the foul pole in left to the one in right.
You could hardly ask for a more fitting metaphor for the top overall pick in the MLB Draft, the 2019 rainbow to the 2018 storm that was the Orioles finishing with the worst record in baseball.
The catcher’s promotion was met with considerable hype from an Orioles fanbase desperate to support its stars of the future. Rutschman is one of the most-lauded prospects to enter the minor leagues in the last decade, and his potential future impact isn’t lost on anyone who cares about the team.
The enthusiasm surrounding everything Rutschman does was evident throughout the stadium Wednesday night, with several fans already proudly wearing Rutschman jerseys from his previous stop in Aberdeen. The buzz permeating through the stadium was palpable from the moment the gates opened an hour before first pitch.
Rutschman was the first player from either team out on the field, 45 minutes before the first pitch. It was an opportunity to soak it all in for a player who has rarely had a chance to stay under the radar.
The inevitable raucous applause did come eventually, whether it was during his introduction, first at-bat, or the first baserunner he gunned down from behind the plate. The long autograph lines and standing ovations will be a staple at every stop.
He’s going to have to work his way through most, if not all, levels of the Orioles farm system, and that means an opportunity for fans from all over Maryland to see the face of the rebuild in person.
For some fans, while Wednesday was a chance to see Rutschman in Delmarva for the first time, it wasn’t their first time seeing him anywhere.
“It’s been amazing, coming out and seeing him,” said Andrew Low, a local fan who already owns a Rutschman Ironbirds jersey. “I went out to his first two games in Aberdeen, crowd turnout has been fantastic at all the games he’s been in.”
“It’s pretty great that everyone’s getting more interested in the young guys coming up, and I think everyone’s excited for the future of the Orioles,” Low continued.
Rutschman joins one of the few Orioles affiliates apparently not in need of any help. The Shorebirds have already made history this season, setting a team record for wins while preparing for a playoff run.
Delmarva has been led by a terrific young pitching staff, full of potential future big leaguers. It’s a group Rutschman, as a catcher, will begin developing a rapport with from day one. His effort was already apparent in inning one, as he ran to pat his starting pitcher on the back walking off the field after the top of his very first inning with the team, and each subsequent inning as well.
Of course, it’s the looming postseason that makes Rutschman’s promotion all the more exciting.
“To be a part of a team that’s going to the playoffs for sure, and doing very well right now, I’m very fortunate to be a part of this team,” Rutschman told Will DeBoer, the voice of the Shorebirds, prior to his first game.
Low echoed this sentiment from the fan’s perspective.
“Oh yeah, of course it is,” the longtime fan said when asked how cool it will be to see Rutschman in the postseason so soon. “He’s going to get the experience in the playoffs that he wouldn’t have had down at Aberdeen, and I expect him to do good things in the playoffs.”
Wednesday night was another win in the books for the Shorebirds, and the ability to play with a team experiencing success was not lost on Rutschman.
“It’s awesome,” Rutschman continued with DeBoer. “Winning is extremely fun and shooting for that championship is absolutely the best thing you can go for in baseball. It’s the reason that you play.”
“Winning is extremely fun” is probably the truest quote Rutschman will ever give in his career, and it will be music to the ears of O’s fans everywhere to hear.
But what’s also fun is getting a glimpse of the future, and that’s exactly what Wednesday night was. Rutschman will have better outings than 0-2 with two walks, and he’ll have worse. But throughout it all, fans are going to shower him with praise.
Fittingly, the pregame rainbow did not mark the end of the storms on Wednesday. Lightning flashed behind the clouds in right field for much of the night. The Orioles aren’t out of their storm just yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t chances to enjoy the rainbows along the way.
MORE ORIOLES NEWS: