I don’t own an Adam Jones jersey, autographed baseball, bobblehead, or glossy photo. There is no tangible evidence to be found in my home of my appreciation for the player who brought the charm back to Charm City baseball. Still, the Cap10 leaves Baltimore as my favorite player of the Buckle Up/We Won’t Stop era. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Adam Jones didn’t promote his embrace of the city where he played. He was the antidote to Bryce Harper telling Philly he wants bring a title back to D.C. There was never any confusing what mattered to Jones. His actions spoke. Loudly. Clearly.
AJ didn’t tell us he loved Baltimore; he simply set about making it a better place. Granted, when something needed to be said, he stood up and was counted. His postgame interviews were where cliches went to die. One game at a time? Not hardly, slapdick.
Jones produced waves in 2014 when he told fans at Social Media Night that his favorite place in Baltimore was the airport so he could fly home. One attendee said to WJZ, “I’m taking this thing pretty seriously. No pies for you until you apologize.” Less than a month later, Jones mashed pies into fans’ delirious faces in the most memorable Camden Yards scene since the Ironman took a victory lap.
Orioles fans were starving for a winner in the post-Ironman era. We were starving for a new hero. Adam Jones ensured that we didn’t stay hungry much longer.
He never called himself Mr. Baltimore. By the end, others did.