Saturday was a big day for the Baltimore Orioles organization. Catcher Adley Rutschman, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, the organization’s top overall prospect and one of MLB’s top prospects, made his big league debut.

While the Orioles entered Saturday’s game in last place in the American League East, already 13.5 games behind the first-place New York Yankees, there was genuine excitement among their fans. When Baltimore took the field for the bottom of the first inning, Rutschman was given a hero’s welcome.

He seemed genuinely moved by the reaction.

It’s easy to understand the reaction from the Baltimore fans. The Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 2016,top-rated when they went 89-73 and lost in the American League Wild Card Game. Baltimore has also lost at least 108 games in each of the last three full seasons and went 25-35 in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. So, there hasn’t been much for the fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to cheer for in a while.

But it wasn’t just the fans at the park who were moved by the moment. Rutschman’s reaction drew a strong reaction from several baseball fans watching.

While the 2022 season is still in its early stages, Rutschman had played at three different levels of Minor League Baseball. After sustaining an injury, he had a rehab assignment with the Aberdeen IronBirds, the high-A affiliate of the Orioles. Rutschman then played three games for the Double-A Bowie Baysox and 12 more with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. After sitting out Friday’s game, Rutschman was told that he was going to the Major Leagues.

All told, he hit .309/.427/.515 at the Minor League level before getting called up to the big leagues.

[Roch Kubatko, Orioles on MASN, Baltimore Orioles]

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