Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones should win the Heart & Hustle Award
Every year, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) selects players from each team that are worthy of the Heart & Hustle Award. The Baltimore Orioles nominee in 2017 is Adam Jones.
The Baltimore Orioles center fielder received this nomination for his love of the game and for being such a positive representative of what it means to be a professional baseball player.
This award might not be the MVP, Rookie of the Year, or the Cy Young, but it is an honor.
What the Heart & Hustle award represents?
What makes it such an honor is that it is the only award that former players have a say. They choose the active players who are nominated from each team. Out of those 30 players, one is selected. The inaugural year of the award was 2005.
"According to MLB.com, the player who is selected for the award “represents a passion for the game of baseball, and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.”"
This is not Jones’s first nomination for this award. In fact, this is the fifth time that the MLBPAA has selected him as the nominee from Birdland. He has been nominated in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Since in inauguration of the award, the other Orioles who have been nominated include:
- 2006 Ramon Hernandez
- 2007 Brian Roberts
- 2008, ’09, Nick Markakis
- 2010 Ty Wigginton
- 2011 Matt Wieters
- 2013 Nate McLouth
At this point, no Orioles player has won the award other than the team nomination, which is in honor on its own.
Jones should win the MLB award
However, Adam Jones should have a good chance of winning the award this time. His reaction to the racial incident at Fenway Park fit the definition of this award. He shared how hurtful racist hate is in an article and video on The Players’ Tribune.
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His experience prompted the MLB to initiate zero tolerance policies regarding racism around the League. Jones and other black players like Mookie Betts, Chris Archer, and Andrew McCutchen joined together to talk about their unique experiences. They spent time talking on TV about encouraging young black children to get involved in baseball, too. His words were a powerful reminder of the racial challenges that men like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays had to overcome to make baseball a game for everyone.
"Richard Justice from MLB.com wrote about Jones and what he means to the game of baseball. He said:“Jones is what we would all like to be in terms of talent and character, in terms of intellect and strength.”"
Those words are a perfect description of Adam Jones. The Orioles and their fans are lucky that he is on the team. His love of the game and his Heart and Hustle should be recognized in 2017 by the MLBPAA.
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The winner of the award will be announced at a charity dinner on November 14. Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is the president of the MLBPAA. Each year, the nominees are selected prior to the All-Star Break.