After what was likely his final game as an Oriole, outfielder Adam Jones talked about the unique experience of taking the field today on his own. He was in the lineup in center field and charged out for the national anthem. His teammates stayed behind so Jones could take in cheers that came both from fans and teammates alike.
“That was weird because I’m never on the field all by myself,” Jones said. “Kind of weird but very appreciative of my teammates for acknowledging my hard work and dedication to the game.”
And also from the 24,916 fans here today and the thousands that cheered him over 11 years in Baltimore, but especially during this final series with Houston, which ended today with the Orioles’ one-hit, 4-0 victory.
“I appreciate everybody’s support,” said Jones. “I just show up to work every day and appreciate the people that appreciate it. Lot of games and blood, sweat and tears, and I greatly appreciate it from the fans’ standpoint.
“These people here do not care about excuses. They’re hard-nosed people and hard-nosed citizens and they want you to show up to work as they do and don’t make excuses. When you come out and play the game hard, run down the line and play the game right, they appreciate that.
“And my teammates for sending me out there on the island all by myself. I didn’t know that was going to happen. Buck (Showalter) for letting me get an inning in center field, where I started at. It’s been a cool weekend. Very appreciative and humbled that people care. So now the game and season is over. The next chapter starts. Time to be a full-time father.”
But don’t be fooled by that last comment. Jones is not leaving baseball and has said many times he still has more in the tank. That was more likely about what is directly ahead of him over the next few months.
The last of many standing ovations for Jones today came as the top of the ninth was about to start. Joey Rickard ran to right field and Jones ran off the field at Oriole Park - possibly for the final time wearing orange and black.
“Cool. Let me tip my hat and show appreciation to the crowd,” Jones said. “I saw David Wright do it last night and seen a lot of players do it throughout their career.
“People appreciate when you show up to work and don’t make excuses and you show up and play hard. We shall see what happens. I’m going into this really excited because never been flirted with, so I want to see if I can get flirted with a little bit,” he said of his pending free agency.
Jones indicated he’s ready to embrace free agency.
“Whatever makes my family happy. These decisions aren’t mine anymore,” he said. “Whatever makes my family happy. It’s going to be fun. Cool to sit down and first off get away from baseball and the game. Three days after the World Series is when other teams can start engaging, so let’s see what happens when November rolls around.”
When Jones was traded to Baltimore before the 2008 season, he joined a team in the midst of a long run of losing. He was a big part of the group that turned that around and led the team to the most wins in the American League from 2012-2016. It is among the team accomplishments of which he is proudest.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “They use the word rebuild around here this year and I haven’t heard that word since, obviously, me, because I was the rebuild. Myself and (Chris) Tillman, (Nick) Markakis and a lot of other guys. It’s all cool and you just have to take it all in. It’s been a great run here and hopefully go somewhere and see what the next chapter of my career has for me.
“It has gone by quickly. What is the saying? When you are having fun, things go quickly. But cool things. I’ve been in the same locker for 11 years. Hopefully, I will do it somewhere else and hopefully a team appreciates what I bring to the table.”