Adam Jones and Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias sat at the front of the press conference. Jones would soon put on his No. 10 jersey after officially signing a contract that allows him to retire as an Oriole.
At the event attended by his wife Audie and two sons and others close to him, Jones talked about a special day for him with a pregame ceremony still to come tonight.
“Glad this day has finally come,” Jones said.
“Baltimore is a special part in my heart. I still consistently watch the Orioles games, even when in Japan. I adopted this city. My wife is from here, my kids were born here.
“We put our stamp here. The Boys and Girls clubs, the YMCA and with various other groups. It was more with the people of Baltimore. So many here know me, and not just from baseball.
“This is my second home. My kids get to see this and see how their lives have been shaped based on rocking the Black and Orange. I am forever grateful.”
Jones spent 11 of his 14 major league seasons with the Orioles, batting .279/.319/.459 with 305 doubles, 27 triples, 263 home runs, and 866 RBIs in 1,613 games. He was chosen to five All-Star teams and won four Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger Award.
During his tenure in Baltimore, the Orioles ended a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons and made the playoffs in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Said Elias: “This is a big honor for me personally to be a part of this. It’s very evident to me the importance of his tenure with this franchise, the impact he made on this city.
“To have Adam be cemented as one of those guys that is part of the special family around here in a formal way is a really big deal for us. It’s perfect that he is here tonight. It’s going to be a great crowd, great atmosphere and a great celebration of someone who was the face of the last great era of Orioles baseball. Now I am very confident saying we’re into another one.”
“My final time putting on a jersey will be here,” said Jones. “I’m forever grateful for what Baltimore has taught me. And I’m just glad I will always be welcomed in this city. People here appreciated the way I carried myself, played the game and gave back.”
Jones was asked about how tonight’s game sold out, of course in large part because of fans who want to see him and the pregame ceremony.
“It’s huge,” he said. “My brother-in-law frequents the stadium all the time and sends me pictures of people still wearing No. 10 jerseys. Even on the road. The 10 is still a strong number here. People respect what I’ve done."
Jones threw some props to the current Orioles.
“You’re gonna hate this, but this team reminds of the ’14 Royals," he said. "I hate saying that. But they are athletic, they put in the ball in play. By putting the ball in play, and making contact with speed and athleticism, they extend innings. Hitting almost .290 with men in scoring position. It’s easy to dog it down the line, but every night I watch guys from one to nine play the game hard.
“I read some quotes from Cedric (Mullins), (Anthony) Santander and (Austin) Hays, and those were really awesome. Obviously, we didn’t have the most time together. But the time we did have together I tried to make sure I let them know how to manage this major league life, how to manage playing in Baltimore and being a major leaguer,” Jones said, adding he tried to be like their big brother.