It was announced yesterday that Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles will be starting for the American League All-Star team in next Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Jones will replace Kansas City’s Alex Gordon in the starting lineup; Gordon of course injured his groin this week and is expected to be shelved for at up to eight weeks. Jones was automatically selected because he received the most amount of votes on the player ballot – which is not voted on by fans. And yes, that means Kansas City fans had no say in the matter.
Photo: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
There’s little doubt that Jones is deserving of the honor, as he’s been consistent both at the plate and in the field throughout the first half. Jones isn’t the only Oriole who made news this week with regard to the All-Star Game, incidentally – Manny Machado will also be participating in the home run derby on Monday night. That’s something that obviously is going to be somewhat controversial, as that has sometimes led to poor second halves on the part of sluggers. However Orioles fans should be proud to have Jones in the starting lineup, and Machado in the home run derby – both representing Baltimore.
For his part, Jones was honored by the selection (quote courtesy of Paul Hagen, MLB.com):
"I’m truly humbled that the players selected me. I think it’s humbling because I just go out and play every day. I don’t play for accolades except the [World Series] ring, and it’s humbling that the players around the league see that I play every day and I play hard every day, and they see what I mean to this team and what the team means to me. … I just do it for my teammates and the name across my chest, so it’s humbling that the players around the league, they see that."
Jones is a guy that’s well loved in Baltimore, but at times he’s also been criticized by many fans when he’s made mistakes at times in games. Now granted those mistakes have gotten fewer and much further in between as time has gone on, however under no circumstances can Jones’ attitude ever be questioned. He’s someone who “gets it” – and he gets it big time at that. There’s little doubt that he’ll represent the city of Baltimore and Orioles fans well.
Incidentally, the love/hate relationship that some fans have had with Jones over time is a bit surprising to me. When he first came to Baltimore, he was definitely a bit raw. But his talent and potential was evident immediately. On a much smaller scale, I would compare it to the relationship that some Philadelphia Eagles fans had with quarterback Donovan McNabb. (Again, on a much smaller scale; there were times when McNabb was flat out treated like garbage.) Sure he’d make mistakes here and there, and when he did it was pretty public. However all the guy did was win!
On a different note, the Orioles are hoping that having the second half of Wednesday (effectively an early flight home), all of yesterday, and the first half of today off will cure them of their recent hitting woes. The most recent road trip saw the Orioles go 1-5, which isn’t what you want. However one advantage they do have is that this weekend’s opponent – the Washington Nationals – haven’t played since Tuesday night due to a rainout on Wednesday. Time off during the season is always welcome – but you don’t want too much time off.
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Washington comes to town tonight for a three-game weekend set at Camden Yards, which means that we’ll be playing by American League rules. Both teams have been fairly coy about their starters for the weekend, although tonight it appears that the Orioles will be starting Chris Tillman. As of this moment that’s not set in stone, however that’s the way Buck Showalter appears to be leaning.
Washington has announced that Gio Gonzalez will be starting for them tonight, however the starters on both sides for the remainder of the weekend haven’t yet been announced. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the O’s send a starter out to the bullpen this weekend for additional support given that they have four starters on the roster right now (with Kevin Gausman down in Norfolk) and only three games before the break. Nevertheless, game time tonight is set for just after 7 PM.