A 3-game series at Yankee Stadium began with what will go down as one of the most infamous errors of Adam Jones‘ young career and the toughest loss of the young season for the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles then soothed some of their fans and proved the sun always comes up tomorrow by winning Saturday, on a weird weekend in which the games started at 7:10 Friday night, 4:10 Saturday, with the rubber match at 8:05 tonight.
The split of the first two games divided most of Orioledom into two camps. One blames it a least partly (but incorrectly) on his bubble-blowing habit. This camp says Jones plays with a nonchalance that is difficult to look kindly upon and catches up to him in embarrassing ways once in a while. Another camp says that he’s human, and that at least he immediately takes responsibility for the error, which leaders do, and which he did.
The forgiving camp seems to hold sway considering the season is only 11 games old, even though the tough-love camp remembers Jones’ other fly ball misadventure, and failure to hustle on the basepaths, were only last Sunday. The forgiving camp says, “Yeah, but he took responsibility for that, too.” In addition to which, there’s always another chance tomorrow, players always say you just have to put today behind you, and the Orioles won the next night. That mentality is how they scored 5 runs in the 9th on Wednesday, courtesy of home runs by Chris Davis and Manny Machado, and went on to win games 2 and 3 in Boston after dropping the first one last Monday.
And in fairness, let’s not forget a little thing called running into a triple play in the eighth inning of Friday’s frigid, rainy loss, and that other people, including wunderkind Machado, also are capable of mistakes.
It may always go this way for Jones. All he has to do to fuel more forgiveness is to eliminate the hiccups in his game and be more consistent. This season already has revealed an approach to hitting on his part that has produced a higher average. His longball game should come around. He has six multi-hit games, and he and Davis were slugging .792 as a pair going into Saturday’s win.
A careful observer couldn’t help but notice that on the first fly ball hit to him Saturday night, the Yankee Stadium crowd had its hopes up, then groaned in disappointment that he caught it. Enough other things went right, behind Jason Hammel and three home runs, to result in a win that restored equilibrium to the Oriole universe for another 24 hours.
Tonight’s affair is the ESPN Sunday Night game, a stage on which mistakes and heroics are both magnified.
Even though it’s only April 14.