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Teixeira Comes Home

By Mallory Rubin

Online Exclusive

When Mark Teixeira stepped onto the field at Camden Yards in 2003 he was anxious. He had played there before during his high school days at Mount St. Joe, but this time was different. This time, Teixeira was taking the field as a big leaguer.

When the Texas Rangers took on the Orioles at home in mid-July, the nerves Teixeira felt when he first played in Baltimore as a major leaguer had long since subsided.

“Now it’s just so much fun because I remember so many great games as a kid, playing here,” Teixeira said. “I love the stadium, I love the city. It’s nice coming back.”

Teixeira, who grew up in Severna Park, was drafted out of Georgia Tech by the Rangers with the fifth overall pick five years ago. In less than four seasons in the majors, he has already achieved national prominence. He made his first All-Star appearance in 2005 after fans selected him as the American League starting first baseman. Last season he also received his first career Rawlings Gold Glove award and was named to the A.L. Silver Slugger team for the second consecutive year.

Though he isn’t an Oriole, baseball fans in Baltimore have cheered Teixeira on as one of their own and looked toward him for inspiration, something he embraces.

“I think what it can show kids from Baltimore is that it’s not really considered a baseball hot bed, there aren’t a ton of players who come out of Baltimore, but there is some really good baseball here,” Teixeira said, noting that Philadelphia pitching prospect Gavin Floyd and Washington pitcher Mike O’Connor have come out of Mount St. Joe as well in the last three years alone.

Teixeira said that he still roots for the Orioles, so long as they are not playing the Rangers.
“I have a lot of family and friends that still live here who want the Orioles to do well,” Teixeira said. “They obviously want the Rangers to do well also, but people live and die with this ball club, with the Orioles. So if they have a bad season or make a bad trade or something like that, it hurts.”

However, despite the fact that the Orioles were his favorite childhood team, Teixeira said playing them now is just like playing anyone else since the roster includes no players he watched while growing up.

“If Cal Ripken was at short and Eddie Murray was at first, I think it would be a little bit different,” Teixeira said.

Teixeira said he doesn’t get to go back to his childhood house often, so when the Rangers are in Baltimore he tries to relax at home and spend time with his family.

Though Teixeira said he and his wife have come to love Texas and view it as their home, Baltimore is still in his heart. Aside from his family and friends, the thing he misses most about the city are its crab cakes.

Teixeira said he has accomplished so many individual goals in such a short time that his main goal from this point on is winning a championship.

“I think if I don’t make another All-Star team or win another Silver Slugger or whatever, and I win a World Series, I think my career will be complete,” he said.

Baltimore fans want to know whether or not Teixeira will consider one day coming back to his hometown to win that title.

“There’s no doubt I think about it,” Teixeiria said. “It’s tough not to think about the future. I’d love to play here. It’s my hometown, it’s the place where I grew up watching baseball and there are so many family and friends who still live here, I think it would be incredible to play here. At the same time, who knows what’s going to happen three years from now. We win a World Series in Texas, there’s a good chance I might stay. So who knows what’s really in the cards.”

Posted July 26