SARASOTA, Fla. - His time at the World Baseball Classic is over and Adam Jones was back in the Orioles’ clubhouse in Sarasota this morning for the first time in two weeks. Jones said if he is asked to play in the next WBC, he definitely would and he just finished playing in six games that he said were played with a postseason-like intensity.
“Just like it,” Jones said. “Every game in Phoenix and in Miami, all six games felt like Game 1 through 5 last year in the playoffs for us. Every game was unbelievable.
“We didn’t win, so it was disappointing. But it is actually a legit tournament. You see how good baseball is around this world. People really want to beat the U.S. They beat the U.S., that is what their goal is. This tournament proves there is great baseball around the world.”
Jones was asked if he was disappointed that some of the top American players did not play for Team USA.
“No. Everybody that said yes took it very, very seriously. It just didn’t happen,” Jones said.
Jones went 4-for-22 (.182) with a double and four RBIs in the tourney. He also got to play in ballparks in the U.S., but see and hear more fans rooting for the other team.
“They want to beat the U.S. at America’s game,” he said. “We had no home games, which is pretty remarkable. Every game was a road game for us.”
Jones’ two-run double in the eighth inning a week ago against Canada helped save Team USA from what could have been an embarrassing first-round elimination. It turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead and the U.S. advanced to the second round.
“That was pretty cool,” Jones said. “A big hit in a big situation. We played Canada and you know they would have never let that go. (Luis) Ayala put a big sombrero atop my locker today. That is pretty cool, he represents his country (Mexico) even though he is playing in the United States. It is nice to see how prideful players are about their countries.”
So while the WBC semifinals and championship game are set to be played, Team USA won’t be there and now Jones is back with the Birds to get ready for the season.
“I’ve played six straight nine-inning games, so my body feels good,” Jones said. “We’ve got two-plus weeks? I’ve got a little over two weeks. Opening day, I’ll be ready for that for sure.”