Roberts named AL Player of the Month
Second baseman led Majors in total bases in April
BALTIMORE -- At this point, Brian Roberts is accustomed to the horde of reporters and televisions cameras surrounding his locker after one of his stellar games.So he was comfortable on Monday when he addressed being named American League Player of the Month for April, an honor that surprised nobody in the Orioles' organization. Roberts collected the award after an amazing 23-game stretch. He batted .379 in the month with eight homers, 69 total bases, 26 RBIs, three triples, a .459 on-base percentage and a .726 slugging percentage. Roberts has emerged as one of the league's top second basemen, and his eight homers are a career high for a season, not to mention a month. "Any time you're given a personal award, you're grateful and blessed," he said. "But right now, I am concentrating on winning. There are so many people with personal accolades in this locker room, that's nothing to be all that excited about. It's just good that the team is winning and we are playing well. This team is fun to play on." Roberts has experienced an astounding four weeks. When the Orioles opened the season against the Oakland A's on April 4, he was considered a solid but not spectacular second baseman on a club that was tabbed for third place in the AL East. A mere four weeks later, the Orioles are on an eight-game winning streak and find themselves in first place by four games, while Roberts is in the midst of a career season that sees him now having trouble retaining his anonymity. When he was getting a chicken sandwich at a Baltimore-area mall on Monday, Roberts was approached about an autograph. Last week at a community service appearance at a middle school, where some of the students were as tall as the 5-foot-8 Roberts, he spent most of the time shaking hands and taking pictures. He can remember the times when he wasn't as popular. "There were plenty of times I could walk around and nobody would know who I was," he said. "I am just taken aback by it because it surprises me. But it's good when the fans wish you well and want you to do your best." Roberts' best has been good enough to spark the Orioles' resurgence. But the fact that he is second in the American League in homers -- his career high was five in 2003 -- is not lost on him or the media. He has been peppered with questions regarding his sudden success. A reporter from New York saw a bottle of creatine -- a legal supplement -- in his locker, and wrote an entire story on Roberts' usage and how it may have contributed to his power surge. Other reporters ask about contact lenses and how it may have positively affected his ability to see pitches. "It's not annoying, it's funny," he said. "The contact thing, I wore them three times in 25 games, or the creatine that I haven't taken since January. It doesn't matter to me. In some ways it's annoying. Sometimes it's like, 'If you don't have a question that's somewhat important, then why do you ask?'" But like dirt on his uniform after a stolen base, Roberts brushes off the perceived lack of respect and plays on. "You don't worry about those things," he said. "I know reporters have to come up with stories or try to create new stories. I am just enjoying this ride and helping the team win."
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.