Never let it be said or argued that Michael Phelps doesn’t spread his love around to more than just the Ravens when it comes to Baltimore sports teams. On Thursday, the 27-year-old Olympic champion and die-hard Baltimore sports fan (and close personal friend of Ray Lewis), showed up at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. to participate in batting practice with Orioles players before an intrasquad game.
The Baltimore Sun’s Orioles Insider reports Phelps was in town to film a new episode of the Golf Channel reality show The Haney Project (although it should be noted that Phelps does not need any help with his putting, if this video is any indication)
Phelps was provided with his own custom Baltimore Orioles jersey adorned with the No. 18 (in reference to the number of Olympics gold medals the swimmer has won) and took a couple of rounds in the cage. Phelps, despite telling manager Buck Showalter he hadn’t played baseball since he was a little kid, reportedly still managed to spray a few liners into the outfield.
Not too shabby. Here’s what Michael Phelps had to say about his turn in the cage (via Orioles Insider):
“It’s my first time taking BP, so it was a cool experience, being able to do that with these guys and especially after a remarkable season and hopefully they have a good one coming up,” Phelps said. “These guys are just normal guys, they are funny guys, they are just out here having fun and I enjoyed being around them.
“Everyone was sitting here saying what I should be doing so I just tried to listen to all of them a little bit. I wanted to hit one out, but we caught a couple that were close.”
It looks like a grand time was had by one and all, but the most pressing question likely on everybody’s minds that isn’t mentioned: Where was Phelps’ new gal pal, model Sarah Herndon? It would have been nice to see her take a few batting practice swings. At the very least, it would have served as a preemptive strike against the nightmare fuel contained in the photo below, which apparently documents how some Orioles clubhouse guy wearing only a Speedo challenged Michael Phelps to a race.
Hoo boy, that ain’t right, no matter how you slice it. (shudders)