Domenic Vadala: In assuming responsibility for error, Jones sets an example

We all saw the three-run error committed by Adam Jones in Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium. I hesitate to say that it cost the Orioles the game, given that there are so many other aspects to any game than just one play, but I digress. Afterward, Jones did something that should make people stand up and take notice: He took accountability. There were several comments that came out of Jones, however the gist of all of them were, “My bad.”

It goes without saying that accepting accountability for your mistakes doesn’t necessarily make up for the mistake itself; it’s whether or not you make amends for that mistake and don’t make it again. In Jones’ case, I promise that over the course of the season, he’ll more than atone for that error. However the whole act of someone - anyone - taking accountability like that is something that’s noteworthy. My parents always taught me to own up to my mistakes as a kid. As Buck Showalter often says, we’re dealing with human beings. None of us is perfect, and no matter how hard we try, we’re going to make mistakes.

Jones is no exception. However, of late, I’ve noticed that the trend seems to be for people to invent excuses as to why the mistake was made. Jones rejects that kind of attitude. It would have been so easy to say that it was cold, the ground was wet or anything else. (And I’m not even going to get into the whole discussion about the bubble gum.) The sad thing is that some people in today’s society probably would have bought that. Jones simply stood up in the clubhouse and told reporters that he blew it.

That’s refreshing to hear, especially an athlete. Leaders in our society don’t cower and hide behind excuses. It’s something we see far too often these days, and it’s starting to seep into the sports world. A few years ago, DeAngelo Hall of the Washinton Redskins was burned on a key play of a game against the Dallas Cowboys. As a Redskins fan - and thus a Cowboy-hater - that pained me. What pained me worse was Hall saying after the game that he thought he had help behind him which was why he played so loose on the wideout. Translated, he was trying to say, “It’s not my fault.”

First off, let’s say he’s 100 percent correct and he was supposed to have help behind him. He’s hanging his safety out to dry publicly. On the other hand, if he truly wasn’t supposed to have help behind him, he’s just admitted that he got the wrong defensive play call. Which is worse? Regardless of which is true, Hall tried to cover his own behind and could have opened himself up to other questions. He’s the guy that got burned on the coverage, and he should have owned up to it.

In offices around America we see workers feeding their supervisors lines such as, “I left that project on my co-worker’s desk and he was supposed to turn it in,” or, “My dog ate that project.” Jones doesn’t buy into that kind of thing. He stands up and says, “Yeah, I screwed up today. Hopefully, I do better tomorrow.” People are free to harp on the fact that it should have never happened, and Jones would probably agree with them. However, the way that he handled the aftermath is something that parents should use as a teaching point with their kids.

In fairness, there’s a difference between an excuse and the reason why something happened. Toronto outfielder Rajai Davis saying that the ballboy impeded him from catching a foul pop last week isn’t making an excuse, it’s the truth. You’d be hard pressed to argue that a player should have to attest to what happened or take accountability in a situation like that.
Being a leader has a lot of benefits and it comes with a lot of accolades. However, it also comes with taking accountability, and Jones is a guy who gets that. Again, it goes without saying that you have to move on and learn from a mistake. But simply owning up to it puts you in a much more favorable light than finding something or someone else to blame for it having happened. Incidentally, this has very little to do with baseball and everything to do with life.

Domenic Vadala blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and his opinions appear here as part of’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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