Nick Markakis got the attention of Orioles fans when he told USA Today this about his departure from the Orioles. “Don’t believe a word they say. It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. It’s all B.S.”

That’s powerful stuff from a respected guy who never popped off in his nine years with the Orioles. The only time Nick Markakis spoke up came several years ago when he showed big time leadership and politely urged owner Peter Angelos to fix a broken franchise. Some guys are running their mouth constantly and you’re never surprised at their rants from one day to the next but Nick Markakis. Wow!

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This is the ultimate team guy, never the “me” guy, the guy who bought a full page newspaper ad to say thank you to Baltimore for his years here. The Georgia native going home to play for the Braves who says he and his family still planned to make their home in the Baltimore area. There were better players, but to a man those in the Orioles clubhouse would tell you there wasn’t a better teammate than Nick Markakis. And if you don’t believe them go ask Buck Showalter what he thinks about “Nicky” the player and person.

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I wasn’t surprised Thursday when Markakis issued an apology in an interview with MASN Sports Roch Kubatko. Here’s what he had to say about the USA today story. “It’s not directed at the Orioles or any players or personnel in the organization. It’s just something that came out of my mouth. Sometimes, you say things and you look back and ask, ‘Was that the smartest thing?’ No, but when you keep hearing things and people don’t know what happened, it gets to you. You brush it under and move on. There’s nothing I can do now. I apologized for what I said.”

Apology accepted Nick; you’ve always traveled the high road. I didn’t like the look of your name attached to the original story, that’s never been who you are. Here’s my best guess at what happened. At some point Dan Duquette decided a 4 year/ $40 something million deal wasn’t in the club’s best interest. How negotiations and communication were handled may have been clumsy on the Orioles end but there’s never an easy exit when you’re showing a proud and long-time loyal player the door.

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I think the Orioles made the right baseball move; I also think Nick Markakis is one of my favorite Baltimore athletes over the last decade. He gave this town everything he had for nine years, good teams and several bad. All-time only 6 Orioles have more hits than Nick Markakis. He’ll be in the Orioles Hall of Fame and deserves a standing ovation when he returns to Camden Yards with the Braves in late July, and that’s no B.S.