Orioles fans get a chance to keep up with Anderson

Winners of SU2C auction work out with former All-Star

Orioles fans get a chance to keep up with Anderson

SARASOTA, Fla. -- There isn't any sort of comparison around Major League Baseball for Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson. That's what makes a day in Anderson's life so interesting.

Anderson, who has helped overhaul the organization's nutrition and strength and conditioning facility, also has a strong presence in the front office. The hybrid role suits Anderson, who is almost always wearing workout gear, and helps him do everything a little bit better.

"There's no doubt [it helps]," Anderson said of being involved with personnel decisions and training players. "You learn about the athletes better, what makes them tick, what motivates them, what bothers them. You have to know athletes really well. You can't just train a group of athletes. Sometimes you're forced to do that, like in a college setting, where you don't have the luxury of getting to know the athletes individually, what their deficiencies are, what their strengths are. You're training the individual with the long-term goal of the betterment of the group."

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The Orioles' strength and conditioning methods, eschewing most traditional machines in favor of barbells, rings and short, powerful sprints is normal for players who have been in the organization the past six years. But for longtime Orioles fans Chris and Sarah Brandt -- winners of last December's Stand Up To Cancer auction -- the chance to work out with Anderson and the rest of the strength staff was a dream come true.

The couple, who live about a mile from Camden Yards, have attended numerous Orioles games and Sarah is a self-professed big Anderson fan. So when MLB, in conjunction with all 30 clubs, released its annual list of Stand Up To Cancer auction list, Chris snagged the winning bid as a Christmas present for his wife.

After going through a warmup segment with strength coach Joe Hogarty, the Brandts -- who were treated to an exclusive tour of the Orioles Spring Training home -- went through a series with Anderson that included squats, rowing, overhead squats, pull-ups and Bulgarian split squats. They followed that up with a special conditioning session: running sprints outside with the Orioles pitchers. The new additions were greeted warmly by relievers Darren O'Day and Zach Britton, and Chris eagerly moved up to a faster group, running until every last sprint had been done and fist bumping with guys like Miguel Gonzalez and T.J. McFarland.

photo Gallery: The Brandts' day with Anderson

"They were great to work with," Anderson said of the Brandts, who met Manny Machado, Chris Tillman and manager Buck Showalter while in the gym. "They've obviously trained before. She runs 5- and 10Ks. We just focused on technique and posture, the quality of what you do rather than the endurance aspect of it. That's always a better way to attack fitness."

It's a topic Anderson will discuss at length, and did with the Brandts after a push-up tutorial.

"We have a really good staff. Over five or six years, we've developed a system," Anderson said. "Strength coaches know what they're supposed to be doing. They're super-skilled. They love helping players. That's really why we're all in here, to make players better. There's a certain joy and satisfaction we all get in that.

"But it's clearly running more smoothly than it was six years ago, when people first came into this gym and you sort of got a blank stare, because it's designed a little differently than a typical gym would have been. Now it's by design."

The Brandts' experience included lunch with Anderson -- who ensured Sarah's favorite seared ahi tuna was on the menu -- and benefited a great cause. A significant portion of the proceeds from this past year's auction went to three entities: Stand Up To Cancer; Do It For Durrett, in honor of the late Texas Rangers ESPN.com beat reporter Richard Durrett, who passed away unexpectedly last year; and the YouCaring page established for Miami Marlins Sun Sentinel beat reporter Juan C. Rodriguez, who passed away in January from a brain tumor.

"Brady's always been my favorite player. It's also neat that it benefitted a cancer charity," Sarah said. "All around, it's the best present that anyone's gotten me for Christmas."

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Added Chris: "It was awesome. How often do you get to work out with professional athletes? I was probably enjoying [the running] way more than they were."

The Brandts, who also received tickets to an Orioles exhibition game, left the Ed Smith Stadium Complex with a better idea of how to work out and what movements to incorporate into their daily fitness routines.

For Anderson, passing on that knowledge is one of the best parts of his unique role.

"I love it. I think it's nice that I've been put in a position from ownership, with [owner] Peter Angelos and [executive vice president of baseball operations] Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter and obviously the players embracing it, where I can use what I'm good at, what I'm skilled at and help the team perform better in any way possible," Anderson said. "That's really my No. 1 goal all the time, making your team better in any way you can. It's something I get a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction from doing."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.