“He probably sees what I’m doing in California,” Jones said.
“No,” Showalter said, laughing, “I’m glad I don’t.”
Hardy won for the first time, and he didn’t expect it.
“It means a lot to me for one thing,” he said. “It’s definitely an award I always hoped to get. I never really expected to do it. I’m surprised and honored at the same time.
“I always hoped, but I never expected it. It’s definitely an award in the past that I’ve seen a lot of shortstops get who are real flashy and catch the eye of a lot of people. I don’t look at myself that way. I kind of look at myself as consistent and steady and never felt like people noticed - really until Buck would always talk about it. And I think that’s a big part of me getting noticed.”
“I had no choice,” Showalter replied. “He’s making two or three plays every night. And it was so invaluable. I happen to think J.J.’s substance is his style. I consider him a very stylish - I don’t know that ‘flashy’ is the word - but he can do things other people can’t do.
“I see the work they put in every day during batting practice. They make it easy to talk about. To me, it’s glaring how good they are at what they do and how hard it is to do what they do every night. I know we really appreciate it in the dugout.”
So why did Hardy finally get the recognition that has eluded him?
“I think the team playing better,” Showalter said. “I thought J.J. should have won the Gold Glove last year. And I’m not going to say he had a better year last year, but he had another great year defensively this year, as did Matt and Adam. But I think it’s the club doing better.
“J.J. Hardy is a championship shortstop, Matt Wieters is a championship catcher, Adam Jones is a championship center fielder. It’s an honor to watch them play every night. We as a coaching staff realize how hard it is to do what they do and the standard they hold themselves to. I was so proud to watch how they played the game defensively. It’s not always something you can quantify with stats. You have to eyeball it every night.”
Showalter noted that Nick Markakis, who won a Gold Glove in right field last year, would have received the same honor this season if he had stayed healthy.
“Once you win one of these things, all of a sudden people are aware of how good you are and how hard you worked at being good,” Showalter said. “It’s hard to unseat the champion. You have to beat the heck out of him. Nick didn’t get unseated. A fastball hit him in the thumb, and that’s why he didn’t win it. That’s how he got unseated.
“To play the number of games these three played and to maintain that level of defensive skill and contribute every night, regardless of what they did with the bat, it’s something I made a lot of notes on mentally and physically. And any time you want to go over that notebook, it’s a full notebook on the impact these guys made on the club defensively.”
Wieters won a Gold Glove for the second consecutive year. Jones also won in 2009.
“To have three in the same year win a Gold Glove is pretty special,” Wieters said. “There are only nine positions, so that’s a pretty good percentage.”
Jones’ first Gold Glove came as an outfielder, not specifically a center fielder. Rawlings didn’t separate the three positions in 2009.
“First of all, I want to say congratulations to my fellow teammates,” Jones said. “Right up the middle, we’re strong and it showed most of the year. We played our tails off, played a lot of games and made a lot of plays to put our team in good situations.
“How it goes individually for outfielders now is pretty cool. Normally, it was two center fielders and Ichiro (Suzuki) for the last decade. That’s how its been. Changing the rules is pretty cool.
“To have your peers and coaches tell you, ‘I appreciate the way you play the game,’ is one of the best compliments you can get besides winning.”
Jones appreciates the second Gold Glove more, saying “this one is earned because the team won.”
“All 52 guys in our uniforms this year, we played hard every day,” he said. “It was somebody new who came up big. All those guys made me better. It’s an individual award, but it’s a team award. We made each other better and it’s appreciated.”