This year, Opening Day is on March 29 – just 10 days away!! As always, the Baseball Sociologist counts down the days. This year, with start with #10, Adam Jones, center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles.
Wanna know one of the many cool things about Adam Jones? He is passionate about the city of Baltimore and wants to give back. One of Jones’ favorite charities is the Boys and Girls Club. Jones, a product of the Boys and Girls Club in San Diego, and the Orioles Charitable Foundation have donated thousands of dollars to the Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore. Last November, Jones held his 5th #StayHungry #PurpleTailgate event before a Baltimore Ravens game. The event collected over $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. Earlier in 2017, Jones donated $20,000 to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and provided free admission to children from a local youth program.
Yesterday was our annual trip to the best ballpark for Spring Training: Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The Baltimore Orioles had held their Spring Training games their since 2011, after signing a 30-year agreement to train at the stadium.
There are more pictures to come, but a preview is below.
And so the journey begins – Spring Training here we come! We successfully navigated the parking lot, security, and the line at Starbucks and are waiting impatiently at our gate. We got super cheap flights to Ft. Lauderdale and we have our tickets in hand. The only drawback so far is the swarms of spring breakers at the airport. But even that can’t keep us from our four top teams.
On deck tonight: Mets and the Nats. Tomorrow: Yankees at Orioles. My BBFF (best baseball friend forever) was born in New York. He can’t help it. I, on the other hand, have better taste.
I’ve alluded before to the tension between an Orioles fan and all things New York Yankees. But, I must admit, I’m softening in my old age. I mean, after watching some of the current Yankees grow up in the minors playing against my beloved Baysox, I’ve grown somewhat fond of the Baby Yankees. We’ve seen Austin Romine, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. And now they have Giancarlo. And I do love Tanaka. They are no longer the despised Yankees of my youth. Of course, they did just let go of Danny Espinosa, so they’ll have to make up for that.
So, this week I’ll be sharing some pictures of my adventures in Spring Training.
It really doesn’t get much better than baseball AND a puppy! WBAL-TV in Baltimore held a contest to name the puppy they will help train to become a service dog. Naturally, since they are in Baltimore, the winning name was Camden.
This puppy needs a name & we voted for Camden! @wbaltv11’s Puppy With A Purpose will be trained with America’s VetDogs to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. #TODAYpuppysquad
The headline may have been about how Adam Jones wants a World Series ring, but the real story was his thoughts on giving back to the community:
“My family, my wife, we’ve done so much in Baltimore the last decade. It’s been awesome. If I was to go somewhere else, it’d be different to not be able to affect the same lives in Baltimore that I’ve been able to do the last decade. But I would have to go to another team and hopefully be able to implement myself in that community, also.
It’s important that athletes give back. We are in a unique situation. We can affect a lot of change. A lot of people listen to us, a lot of people respect our opinions on everything. Food, fashion, music, movies. People respect our opinions on a lot of things. And we don’t have a duty, but we have a civil duty (that) if you’re in a position to help, you should help. That’s all I try to do is just give back to the community that’s blessed me.”