He pumped his fists as the crowd on both sides of the aisle roared. It was David Rubenstein, and the Orioles fans who packed Camden Yards on Friday — especially the fans in the Bird Bath Splash Zone — were here for Rubenstein as much as baseball.

Rubenstein stood at the top of Section 86, having just burst through an orange Orioles banner for his grand reveal. He’s well aware of the moment; he can pull out the pomp when it’s required.

But to know Rubenstein is to know that, as he descended those steps, there was a sort of bemused enjoyment to this all. They’re cheering for me? Really? OK.

He strode down the aisle and took his perch next to Mr. Splash. He grabbed the hose and sprayed the fans of the team he now runs as the control person. For two innings Friday, Rubenstein was a spectacle in the outfield seats, serving as a guest splasher on an already wet and rainy night.

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In doing so, Rubenstein is mastering the Orioles’ public image. He’s a shrewd businessman who realizes the value of connection, of looking someone in the eyes and shaking their hand, and he did it as he walked the concourse and sprayed fans with a hose during Friday’s game.

“I hope that they [the fans] will realize that the new ownership group is trying to be as connected to the fan base as possible and that we want to be connected to the community,” Rubenstein said. “They can also say, ‘Doesn’t this guy have anything else to do?’ But who knows?”

Then he considered the task ahead of him.

“I’ll probably get wet,” Rubenstein said, walking to Section 86. “I should have probably worn a raincoat, maybe.”

Rubenstein is a 74-year-old billionaire from Baltimore whose career has brought him to the most bustling streets of New York City. He’s at the helm of a group that recently purchased the Orioles for $1.725 billion. He owns the doggone Magna Carta.

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And yet he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Example A: On the walk from the B&O Warehouse to the Splash Zone, a fan asked to take a picture with him. Rubenstein lifted the fan’s inflatable flamingo over his head for the selfie.

Example B: He donned a jersey that said “Rubensplash” with an 86 on the back for the section number and sprayed when Jordan Westburg drove an RBI double.

Example C: After a group of rowdy young men corralled Rubenstein for a photo, one of them yelled, “God bless you, sir. I love you.” Rubenstein was unfazed by the debauchery of Camden Yards outfield seats on a Friday night.

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For Jenny Scullin, a resident of Pigtown who wore an Orioles chain as part of her outfit, the presence of Rubenstein is welcome. His antics — a down-for-anything energy — make him an easy figure to rally around.

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“It’s such a nice change compared to what the ownership was before, because I kind of feel like he was up there and not down here with the people,” Scullin said. “I feel like David is like a fan, a real fan. … He’s a normal Baltimore person like us.”

And, for normal Baltimore people, that’s a beautiful thing.

“I think it’s a complete change for the Baltimore Orioles, and I’m really excited for it,” said Kelsey McAllister of Silver Spring. “He’s bringing that to Baltimore and just changing the atmosphere of the Orioles in a positive manner.”

Once he departed, Orioles staff handed out goody bags to those in the Splash Zone that included hats, balls, T-shirts, gift cards and a signed note. But that departure was no routine thing. As he ascended the steps once more, he signed an autograph on his left and posed for a photo on his right. Each stair was a repeat; the fans couldn’t get enough.

It’s hard to write that a 74-year-old who generally wears khakis and sneakers influences an entire city’s style, but consider this: Rubenstein’s classic Orioles hat? It’s sold out at the team store.

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“People in Baltimore take enormous pride in the Orioles,” Rubenstein said. “I mean, so many people have come to me and said I’ve had season tickets for 30 years, 40 years. Just amazing.”

This is a honeymoon period.

Rubenstein is a breath of fresh air for fans who grew weary of the Angelos family’s majority control. There will be bigger questions asked of Rubenstein in the future, however, and before the bright entrance and the waterworks, Scullin previewed them.

“The real test is going to be when we sign the players. Are we going to spend the money to sign the players?” Scullin said. “I think it’s awesome; I think he’s really fun. I think it’ll be a really great booster for all the fans to have an owner who really is like us and cares about us, but what’s going to happen when it comes to re-signing these guys?”

That’s all to come. For now, Rubenstein is the center of attention. He’s shaking hands here and signing autographs there. And he’s so aptly rising to the occasion, hose in hand, a rare front-facing owner met with cheers.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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