Before he arrived in Baltimore, Machado received a congratulatory text message from Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.
“I told him to come here, be himself and have fun,” Jones said. “Don't think anything different. Don't play anything different. Game's the same. It's just it matters here.”
By midafternoon, Machado found himself at third base in an empty Camden Yards, working with infield coach DeMarlo Hale. Moments later, he was peppered with questions by the media and admitted he had butterflies.
“I was a little nervous at first, but after that first pitch was thrown, I felt good,” he said.
His first big league hit came in his second at-bat, in the fifth, when Machado laced a ball into the right-center field gap. Machado wheeled around the bases and slid into third headfirst to a round of cheers.
Machado added an infield single in the seventh, running out a slow roller to second baseman Chris Getz. Every time he was involved in a play, whether it was scoring a run or catching a pop-up in foul ground, the announced crowd of 21,226 grew a little louder.
Showalter wouldn't say before the game how much Machado would play — he will initially likely earn most of his starts against left-handed pitching like was the case on Thursday — but the Orioles manager was impressed with Machado's debut.
“I thought Manny did well,” Showalter said. "[He] presented himself well tonight. I’m proud of him. There was a nice calmness about him and a good start. He handled the situation well, all things considered.”
And while the Orioles didn't register a significant spike in walk-up sales for Thursday's game, Machado was on the minds of Orioles fans who attended the game.
“I think the biggest thing is that it's really just them showing that they want to compete and they want to win, and they think Machado, even if he's not ready to be a superstar, he's at least ready to contribute,” said 24-year-old Mike Croteau of Baltimore.
Cindy Kempa of Ocean City remembered watching Machado play last season at Low-A Delmarva.
“I'm thinking he's going to add a spark, add some youth,” said Kempa, 55. “He's the future. He has a good future with the Orioles. I see good things coming down the road.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Connor Letourneau contributed to this article.