01/05/2009 2:43 PM ET
Brian Roberts: No room for self doubt
Diminutive Oriole has overcome questions about his size
I guess I've become an expert at dealing with the trade rumor. The first time I ever dealt with that was three years ago, and it's been off and on since then. When it first happens, it's flattering because another team wants you, but in other ways it can be a little hurtful thinking your team wants to get rid of you. There are a lot of different ways you can look at it, but you try to keep it in the most positive light you can and make the best of whatever situation arises.
It's sort of like how, earlier in my career, there was always some doubt as to whether I could play at this level even though people know this is a game where you don't have to be huge to play. When scouts look at players, they look for physical attributes. Guys my size may not be the most imposing people when we walk on the field, but the bottom line is we can play the game and play it well. It doesn't matter what size you are at that point.
But anybody who is my size or Dustin Pedroia's has had people doubt them, which makes you doubt yourself at some point, and that's something you just have to fight through.
The great part about baseball is that size doesn't matter. You can play at 6-foot-6 or 5-foot-6 and play at a high level at your size and that's not true in the other major sports. There have been a few little point guards, Muggsy Bogues for instance, but they are few and far between. In football, you're going to be hard pressed to play at 5-7, 170 pounds in the NFL.
But if you look at Pedroia and others making impacts at small sizes, that gives hope to all those kids out there who won't be 6-4 and 240 pounds.
But regardless of size, you have to work hard, even in the offseason. Having played with durable guys like Jeff Conine, B.J. Surhoff, Cal Ripken, Mike Bordick and Scott Erickson, I realized that they really take care of themselves.
You don't see guys play at that level that long who don't take nutrition and their offseasons seriously. So I was fortunate to be around guys like that early on and realize what it took to play at that level. If you look at most successful players, I'm sure you'd find that to be the case.
Brian Roberts remains a valuable second baseman for the Orioles, despite offseason trade rumors for the past three years. A two-time All-Star, Roberts batted .296 in '08 and placed second in the AL with 51 doubles, fourth in the league with 40 stolen bases and eighth in the league with a .378 on-base percentage.