NEW YORK—The night before managing his first major league game, Brandon Hyde admitted to nervousness.
“I didn’t sleep much last night,” Hyde said about two hours before Thursday’s opener.
“This is the real deal. If you can’t get up for this, you can’t get up for anything. This is a special day, more so Yankee Stadium, with all the tradition.”
Hyde got to Yankee Stadium around 7, and his routine wasn’t what he went through as a coach.
“It was a lot of talking, a lot of talking, more than I’m used to,” Hyde said “I’m used to being ultra-prepared and preparing and sitting there and going through the game with [Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon] or coaching the bases. This was a little more communicating with everybody and not doing as much physical work, but it was a great day, and I wish we could have come out on the other side.”
Hyde’s first day as Orioles manager ended with a 7-2 loss to the Yankees.
Andrew Cashner, Mike Wright, David Hess and Paul Fry combined to walk eight batters and hit another as the Orioles trailed, 4-0, after three.
Hyde had his wife, children, his parents, wife’s family and friends from Santa Rosa, Calif., on hand. Lots of tickets and airfares for the new manager.
“I’m coaching for free today,” he joked. “It’s a lot of people, but it’s so worth it.”
Hyde admitted to getting emotional, especially when his name was announced and he ran on the field, and then shaking hands with his New York counterpart, Aaron Boone
He spent an extended time at home plate when he brought out the lineup card, listening to home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth explain the ground rules.
The control issues were highlighted in the fifth inning when Cashner began by walking his final two batters, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge. Wright walked Giancarlo Stanton and hit Luke Voit with the bases loaded. Another run scored on Miguel Andujar’s fly ball.
Voit hit a three-run home run against Cashner in the first.
Trey Mancini, who went 3-for-4, noticed Hyde’s demeanor on his first day.
“He had great energy the whole game, even when we were down,” Mancini said.
“If something good happened, he’s right there, pumped up and it was very, very loose and a very calm atmosphere out there, a guy you’d want to run through a brick wall for.
“…It was pretty cool to see him in his managerial debut and go through the whole introductions and the big show that goes on for Opening Day. Everybody enjoyed it for sure, but it would have been nice to get a different result.”
The Orioles go into the season with low expectations, and the clubhouse, once full of large personalities, is no longer.
“The dugout seemed a little quieter than normal and I think that will loosen up and guys will start getting a little bit of a rhythm and a feel,” Hyde said.
“I want to believe [they’ll] gain confidence. And that comes with experience and it comes with time and games played and success and all sorts of things. I thought the dugout was good. I felt like it was quieter than normal because of some jitters from some younger players.”
The Orioles’ oldest player, Chris Davis, was hitless in three at-bats, striking out each time. Left-hander Aroldis Chapman was pitching in the ninth when Davis was due up, but Renato Nunez batted instead.
“Everybody wants to get off to a good start,” Hyde said. “I’m sure he’s hoping to get a better game offensively, but they pitched him well. I thought he had a couple of calls that didn’t go his way, but it’s part of the game, and you come back in a couple of days and do it again.”
Hyde put Davis in the seventh position and explained why.
“I want Chris to get off to a good start, so I’m going to try to do everything I can to take pressure off of him,” he said “I want to see him succeed as well as everybody else does…Chris is going to be a big part of our lineup.”
At game time, the temperature was 48 degrees, 30 degrees cooler than it was three days before at the Orioles’ final Grapefruit League game in Sarasota.
“I didn’t think bad weather affected anything today,” Hyde said. “I didn’t think it was bad at all, to be honest with you. I’ve seen a lot worse on opening day. Guys had the adrenaline going. I thought the conditions actually were pretty good for what they could be.”
After a day off on Friday, the Orioles return to play the Yankees, and they’ll use Nate Karns as the opener. The reality is that the Orioles have 37 more games to play against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, nearly a quarter of their schedule.
“That’s a great team over there, a great lineup, and they showed it,” Mancini said.
“…Look at our division. There are some great teams there. You’re lying to yourself if you say anything differently. We’re not going to go out there and play scared or anything else We all see ourselves as major league baseball players, and that’s what they are. So, we’re going to go out there and play hard and try and compete with these guys.”
Hyde refuses to be intimidated by the Orioles’ competition.
“I look at it as a challenge,” Hyde said. “I’ve never backed down from anything. I think it’s awesome, to be honest with you. It means great competition.
“This is the atmosphere you want to play in, this is what you want to feel on a nightly basis, and that’s how you’re going to get better, that’s how you’re going to be able to look in the mirror and see who you are as a player.
“These are the kind of places you want to go in and compete. I love the fact that we’re in the AL East and I love the fact that there’s some really good clubs in our division and we’ve just got to grow and get better.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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