While the Orioles tied the Diamondbacks for the worst record in MLB this season at 52-110, the tiebreakers laid out in the last collective bargaining agreement would give Baltimore the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft should those parameters remain the same after the next CBA is agreed upon.
One player who has received a great deal of attention as the possible No. 1 overall selection in next year’s draft has a unique connection to Baltimore. IMG Academy (Florida) outfielder Elijah Green is the son of former Ravens tight end Eric Green.
While the elder Green spent just three seasons in Baltimore (and on teams that went a combined 16-31-1 during the franchise’s first three years), his time here left a major impact on him. So much so that when Elijah was a child, Green took his son to meet Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis and even Buck Showalter at various events after his playing days.
“I didn’t want to leave Baltimore,” Green told PressBox. “I had to be pushed out the door because I loved every bit of my experience in Baltimore. I love Ozzie Newsome, I saw his vision coming.”
The possibility of his son following him to Charm City is particularly interesting to Green.
“That would be great,” he said. “That would be fantastic!”
Elijah has another season of high school baseball to play to try to solidify his status as a top prospect. But he spent a few minutes chatting with me recently about the unique possibility of coming to Baltimore and how he could be baseball’s version of Ray Lewis.
PressBox: Your father told me that you played football for him for six years growing up. What made you choose baseball instead of following in his footsteps?
Elijah Green: I chose baseball because I just had more love for baseball than football. And I just wanted to have my own career. You know, football was always great to me, my dad playing in the NFL and all that, him being my coach. And it was just a great experience for me during those six years of me playing football, but I just had to make the tough decision to quit football and play baseball. Sometimes I miss football, but it just wasn’t my dream. I just knew baseball was my dream.
PB: When you were a kid, did you know how significant of an athlete your father was?
EG: Growing up, not really. But looking back at it now, he was really good.
PB: What was it like for you to be able to meet some significant Baltimore sports figures as a kid?
EG: It was honestly very surreal that I got to meet Ray Lewis and Ozzie Newsome and Buck Showalter at a very young age. My dad knew I had something special in me and he just wanted to bring me around those type of guys so I could get a feeling of what it’s like to be on top.
PB: Did meeting those guys make you feel a unique connection with Baltimore?
EG: I felt a huge connection [with Baltimore]. It felt like these were people who were somewhat my family. My dad playing with Ray Lewis when he was a young age, and then who Ray Lewis ended up being? It was just a great experience for me.
PB: Was Ray Lewis someone you really looked up to as a kid?
EG: Not when I was younger because I really didn’t pay attention to sports in that way. My idol was my dad … and still is my dad. Looking at it now, Ray Lewis’ energy that he brought to the field, him coming out of the tunnel dancing, that’s something I could bring to the table for baseball.
PB: What’s the best advice your father ever gave you about being a high-level athlete?
EG: Always to stay humble and always work hard because you never know who’s watching. I just want to perfect my weaknesses and make my strengths stronger. I just want to be the perfect athlete.
PB: How are you handling the pressure of being the potential No. 1 overall pick?
EG: I try not to think about it because I don’t want to get too big-headed. I’m really a humble guy. I want to keep working on my craft. If they pick me first, that’s cool. I’m just trying to be a better baseball player.
PB: What would the Orioles — or whoever picks you — be getting if they draft you?
EG: Whoever picks me would get a great teammate, a leader, someone who would just go out of their own way for their teammates and just try to pick up other guys, because baseball is a sport [with a lot of failure] and you’re not just always going to be successful every single time you go up to the plate or every time you pitch. But I’m just a great teammate to be around.
PB: What do you want people to know about you away from the diamond?
EG: I’m actually just a great guy outside of baseball. People judge me just as a baseball player, but off the field, I’m just a cool guy, chill, just great vibes all around.
PB: That picture of you and Buck Showalter was really popular among Orioles fans. Does it make you think at all about whether this was sort of meant to be?
EG: I think it’s very ironic. At a young age, I really wasn’t the best at baseball. And now, it’s very ironic because I took a picture with Buck Showalter at a very young age and that’s possibly the team that could take me in the draft.
PB: I know you’ll be excited no matter who takes you, but would it mean something particularly special to you if it was Baltimore?
EG: It’s going to be emotional either way, but playing where my dad played? That’s just going to be a great feeling.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Perfect Game