TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian Roberts was wearing pinstripes Tuesday night, a sight many Orioles fans would have a hard time believing was true. But there was the 36-year-old, penciled in at second base and cleanup for the Yankees after spending his entire career with Baltimore.
"I had 15 incredible years of my life there. Why would I be angry?" said Roberts, who signed a deal with New York this past offseason after Baltimore didn't make a move to keep him. "There is no point in living that way. I'm grateful and thankful for every day that I had there. At some point, it was going to come to an end, whether it was you had to retire. ... Very few guys get to do what Derek [Jeter] does and walk in and say, 'I'm done on my own terms.' I think probably one percent of the world gets to do that, so I'm not angry.
"That organization, and that team and our fans and the city, have been great to me and my family, and I have nothing but praise for every one of them."
Still, was Roberts disappointed by the lack of interest from the Orioles, who said publicly that they wanted him back in the right scenario?
"It's hard to really sum up all the emotions that went into it," Roberts said. "Sure, in some way, you might be [disappointed], but at the same time, you understand it's a business. I knew going into the offseason [leaving] was a possibility, and I told everyone I was fine with it if that was the case. I don't know all the circumstances behind it.
"Did I want to spend my entire career there? Sure, that probably would have been my No. 1 choice. But, that doesn't always work out."
Roberts doesn't make it a habit to read a lot of baseball news, but he was aware of the Orioles' recent additions this spring and hailed the club as a contender that was "good for the city of Baltimore". How that city will react when Roberts trots out of the away dugout at Camden Yards for the first time on July 11 is unclear.
"I'm not expecting anything, and I'm not going to bring myself to have any big buildup over whether they boo me out of the place or they like me," Roberts said of the reaction when he returns to Baltimore with the Yankees this summer. "All I can say is I gave it all I had every day, and if they respect that and they like that, great. And if they didn't, I feel bad, if they think I didn't do that."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.