— By David Driver
LINTHICUM, MARYLAND – Weatherford’s Zach Britton, 26, stood under gate A3 near a Southwest Airlines ticket counter here late Thursday morning.
A pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, Britton greeted passengers as they arrived on a flight from Houston to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Britton, a Weatherford High graduate, noticed a male passenger wearing a Texas A&M baseball hat. “That’s my school!” exclaimed Britton, who had committed to the Aggies before he signed with the Orioles out of high school in 2006.
As part of a “Trading Places” promotion with the Orioles and Southwest, the team’s official airline, Britton and fellow reliever Ryan Webb greeted incoming passengers.
Once the area was clear Britton and Webb got on the intercom to make announcements for pre-boarding procedures for customers headed on a flight to Las Vegas from the same gate A3.
Throughout the day both pitchers posed for photographs and signed autographs for travelers who had no way to know that two Major League pitchers would be in the airport before facing the Washington Nationals that night at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
“I got to see people from where I am from and it was neat to get back to that since I am not in Texas now,” said Britton, standing in the terminal after the “Trading Places” promotion.
Britton noted that Southwest is based at Love Field in Dallas. It was a total coincidence that Britton and Webb were “working” with those passengers who were coming from Houston, according to Dan Landson, Senior Specialist - Culture & Communications with Southwest.
“We got to experience a day in their shoes,” Britton, wearing his No. 53 Orioles jersey and blue jeans, said of Southwest employees. “It was a good opportunity to come and meet the flight crew. We spend so much time in airports anyway. It was nice to see what they do.”