BALTIMORE—It’s Jonathan Schoop’s first time back in Baltimore since he left the Orioles last July, and it’s a funny feeling.
“Weird a little bit,” Schoop said as he prepared for Saturday’s doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins. “Get to see my old fans, my old teammates. I went to the neighborhood to see where I was living, see the people that helped me through my career.”
Schoop was traded on July 31 to the Milwaukee Brewers, who didn’t offer him a contract to stay. He quickly signed with Minnesota.
The Oriole team he left nine months ago bears little resemblance to the one he’ll play against on Saturday and Sunday—and again next weekend in Minneapolis.
“It’s strange to see some guys I played with and some guys who were in the minor leagues, guys like Cedric [Mullins],” Schoop said. “I still have some old teammates in there like Trey [Mancini], Chris [Davis], Joey [Rickard]. It’s weird, but it’s a good weird.”
Schoop is batting .235 with two home runs and seven RBIs. He says he’s enjoying playing for Minnesota, which is 9-7 and a game behind first-place Cleveland in the American League Central. His teammates include Nelson Cruz, who mentored him with the Orioles in his rookie season, 2014.
“We’ve got some young talent over there, and they’re really good,” Schoop said. “It’s not like the team we had with the Orioles because I came up with Manny [Machado], and all those guys.”
There are many good memories for Schoop with the Orioles.
“I had my first big league games in Camden Yards,” he said. “Playoffs in 2014. The crowd was so loud here. It’s a really good memory.
“I miss it a little bit. It’s a different dugout. Normally, I watch the game from the other side. It’s a different view. I’m looking forward to seeing the game from the other side to see how it looks like.”
Schoop keeps in touch with Machado and also hears from his old infield coach Bobby Dickerson, who is with Philadelphia, first base coach Wayne Kirby, who is out of baseball, and Adam Jones, who is with Arizona.
“Adam’s like a big brother,” Schoop said. “He called and told me the things he wanted me to do. Those guys I’m so close with that when we stop playing baseball we’re still going to keep in touch with them.”
Schoop and Machado will always be linked.
“It’s good,” Schoop said of Machado’s 10-year, $300 million deal with San Diego “I think he deserved more than that, but it’s good.
“The Orioles and baseball gave us a chance to be best friends,” Schoop said of Machado. “I think I’m better than him.”
Schoop played against the Orioles three times in spring training. One of those was in Sarasota, where he was greeted warmly.
“I got a good one, but I was nervous,” Schoop said of his reception last month.
Fortunately for Schoop, his trip to Baltimore comes early in the season.
“You see the schedule, and I was looking forward to come play my old team,” Schoop said. “[The fans] helped me off the field, too. They looked for a house for me. It’s not only baseball. It’s outside, too. You get to know fans, you get to know people that help you with the career.”
Friday’s rainout gave Schoop a free night in Baltimore, and he went to Ruth’s Chris. He went there because he received a gift card when he had a good game with the Orioles.
“I went to eat and go back to the hotel,” Schoop said. “Normally, I go back to my house. It was weird a little bit.
“I spent a lot of time here. The city’s good. The fans are good. I can’t complain. They treated me really good, and I love them.”