The former face of the Baltimore Orioles got off to a slow start in his first game in Japan.
In the first game of the 2020 NPB season, Jones batted fourth and went 0-3 with a strike out. The team lost its first game against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. But, in the second game, Jones made up for lost time going 2-3 with a walk and a double. He batted fifth in the June 20 game against the Golden Eagles. He has yet to score a run or earn an RBI, but that day will soon arrive.
Sadly, Jones’ effort did not help the team get the win. But, after the 9-1 loss on Friday, the 2-1 loss in the Kyocera Dome did hurt quite as much.
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The Buffaloes are a relatively new team, formed in 2005 after the NPB had a realignment. Prior to being the Buffaloes, the team was known as the Hankyu Braves, then the Orix Blue Wave. The Braves began playing ball in 1936.
In its early days, the team executives worked hard to attract players from the Negro League in the US, making it fitting that Jones is a member of the team with all of his work to expand baseball for Black Americans.
In its current iteration, the Buffaloes have struggled to reach the top of the NPB. Their best season was in 2008 when they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
Several other former MLB players are on the Buffaloes. They include
- Outfielder Steven Moya from the Detroit Tigers
- Pitcher Brandon Dickson from the St. Louis Cardinals
- Pitcher Tyler Higgins from the Marlins, Mariners, and Padres
The podcasters from Locked on Orioles shared this video of Jones:
It sure is nice to see a familiar face, and he looks like he’s been lifting while making that cool $8 million. He’s got to feel good not having to deal with the 2020 MLB mess, as he’s doing what he loves while he watches the MLBPA and the owners duke it out from afar.