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Brian Roberts unlikely to attend fan event due to concussion, but Orioles want him to sign autographs

Jan 12, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

Brian Roberts missed the final four months of last season due to aggravating a concussion suffered in 2010 and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the second baseman is not expected to attend the Orioles’ “fan fest” event as he continues to struggle with post-concussion symptoms 16 months after the initial injury.

Roberts was scheduled to attend the event and the Orioles have sold tickets to get his autograph, prompting executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to say:

I hope he goes to the autograph session. I don’t really know any reason he can’t show up to sign autographs for 10-year-old kids. I am not aware of anything that would prohibit him from doing that.

Duquette is new to the job and Roberts has been in Baltimore for the past 11 seasons, so that’s not exactly a great way for their relationship to begin. Roberts, like Justin Morneau and Jason Bay and several other players in recent years, is trying to fight his way back from a maddeningly unpredictable injury that can ruin careers, so while the physical act of signing some autographs may not seem like much of an effort the fact is that concussions can make seemingly innocuous activities a major struggle.

And whatever the case, publicly calling out the longest-tenured member of the team within your first couple months of taking the job seems like a mistake. The bigger concern, of course, is that if Roberts can’t sign autographs in mid-January what are the odds he’ll be able to play baseball games in March?

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Dan Duquette sure comes off as a dick with that quote. I am sure 10-year-old kids are the primary target of autograph sessions, but let’s get real. Plenty of these events are taken over by aggressive adults. If I have a badly bruised brain, I’m not interested in taking part of a circus.

    • benandjerrysberryhorny - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      I agree with you about Dan coming off as a bit brazen, but I do believe there is a bit of subtext here basically implying if you can’t sign autographs for an hour, how do you expect to hit a 95 mph heater in Yankee stadium? Dan can’t just come out and say what everyone is thinking due the sensitivity of the subject so he has to beat around the bush for now. Roberts is due to make 10 mil over the next 2 years and that is money the O’s can’t afford to waste. Somehow Dan is going to need to find a way to cut the fat.

  2. bravojawja - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Of course Duquette isn’t “aware of anything that would prohibit him from doing that” — he’s not a doctor.

    Dear Dan:
    Let the doctors decide what their patients can and can’t do, and they’ll let you screw up your team in other ways.

    • paperlions - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Yeah, because the GM of a team never ever talks to the team doctors and has no idea how injured players are progressing in recovery. It is one of the horrible oversights of modern day GMs.

  3. tcostant - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    It’s a huge deal if he needs to get aon a plane. Not sure where he lives…

    • randomdigits - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      Yea it is a damn shame you can’t get from FL to MD by car anymore. Glad I made it down here before they changed the law.

  4. phillyphreak - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I’m no medical doctor but I’ve read that even the simplest tasks that involve mental stimulation can be difficult after a concussion. I guess it depends on how bad his concussion was and how many previous concussions he had. But the effort of such a mentally draining task* (constantly signing your name, interacting with fans, talking with media probably) may not be the best for him now.

    *I understand this isn’t rocket science……just preempting some jerk response.

  5. Old Gator - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Sounds like a great organization to play for, doesn’t it?

  6. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    “Um, I got Brian Roberts’ autograph, but he signed it ‘Gjabfg, Uajanh, Bniar Stsbero'”

    • hammyofdoom - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      I’m going to hell but I laughed at that comment… good show Matt 😛

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        At least you’re not the one that said it 😉

    • Old Gator - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      That’s nothing. I once played chess with Stephen Hawking. He beat me – but it took him over an hour.

  7. cur68 - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Last I heard bright lights, lots of noise, focusing on things up close, and just traveling can leave you nauseous, dizzy, prone to blacking out, and severely depressed (which is not just a side effect of all the preceding in relation to stuff you once took for granted). I’d suggest Dan Duquette take about 5 minutes, head on over to any of the dozens and dozens websites devoted to describing concussion symptoms to the lay person, and get his learnin’ on. Otherwise, he’s heading (ha) for more trouble with his staff…which is how his ass got turfed out of baseball in the first place.

    • paperlions - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      While I agree, in general, it isn’t like Roberts was concussed last week…it’s been about 7 months. If he is still so bad that he can’t get on a plane (I’d be shocked if he hadn’t been on one several times the last 6 months), they he has no shot to play baseball in 2012.

      • cur68 - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        I don’t know a lot about Robert’s concussion history, latest symptoms, progress, or projected return but Duquette has that information. In the position he’s in, his public statements need to be in line with his knowledge of that and he needs to frame his statements as such. In fact, the best course of action is not to say anything at all, beyond “concussions are complex. I hope Brian is well enough to make it”. By saying what he’s said, he comes off as either ignorant of concussions or ignorant of his player or knowledgeable about his player and calling him out. None of these three scenarios indicate good ‘people skills’. Robert’s concussion status is almost a total aside.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        Paper I thought the same things but concussions have forced people to retire early in other sports and have severely impacted their lives. Just something to keep in mind. It might have anything to do with getting on a plane.

        That said, yea his 2012 chances look slim…

  8. saints97 - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    What a douche bag. He needs to publicly apologize really fast, even if Roberts is jaking it just to avoid signing autographs.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      You had me until those last few words.

  9. randomdigits - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Roberts name wouldn’t be on the list if he had not agreed to it earlier. Guthrie for instance had a prior engagement and will not be attending.

    I see no reason why they could not sequester Roberts off in a separate room and control the access to him.

    Honestly if 16 months after concussing himself via a self inflicted head injury he is still unable to do things of this nature he needs to arrange a buyout of his contract.

  10. tomtravis76 - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Brian Roberts has made alot of money in baseball, gave his career to an awful organization, did alot in the Baltimore community and now it is time to move on, he is holding up the Orioles at 2nd base ( not that the Orioles have done anything in 17 of 20 years of Angelos awful ownership).

    Bad way for Duquette to induct himself in the ever dwindling Orioles fanbase. Its not like Roberts is holding himself out over money, the dude has a damaged brain and that has to be awful to live with. Show a bit more class to a fan favorite.

  11. Kevin S. - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    El Bravo, do we have a new nominee to the 2012 -nozzle list?

  12. nategearhart - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    10 year old kids? Please, that line will be made up exclusively of douchy memorabilia salesmen.

    • randomdigits - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Like there is a big market for O’s signed gear.

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