Adam Jones is the Baltimore Orioles’ captain. That may well be an unofficial title in a sense, however you know the attributes when you see it. He’s the captain, and thus the leader of this team. While those qualities can manifest themselves in various ways, last night they did so in the form of putting the team on his back and winning the game.
Ubaldo Jimenez was ineffective in his short outing, however the weather may well have played a role in that. The game was played in various spouts of rain, and under the threat thereof for the entire night. There was even a brief 18-minute rain delay late in the game. Jimenez’s line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 3 K.
The Orioles didn’t even have time to blink before they found themselves down 1-0 on a solo homer by Dickerson in the first at-bat of the game. Tampa’s always been a non-traditional team, and there’s nothing that speaks to that more than the DH batting lead off and homering in the first at-bat. The O’s would even the score on Davis’ fielder’s choice-RBI in the last of the third.
Tampa caught a huge break in the fourth inning when Peterson smacked what was ruled a two-RBI double to give them a 3-1 lead. The Orioles challenged, as the ball appeared to have landed foul in right field. However the umpires ruled that ther wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field, and the ruling was upheld. Apparently the mark left by the ball on the foul side of the line wasn’t enough to sway the umpires.
However the Birds evened things up later in the game with back-to-back solo homers by Kim and Schoop. And we played on, in one of the most dismal forecasts known to Major League Baseball. Honestly I was shocked that the game was allowed to continue. However I suppose that the forecast tonight isn’t any better, and the umpires felt that it was worth doing whatever they could to get the game in.
And that brought Jones to the plate in the last of the seventh with a runner on base. He sent a high drive to left, which landed about ten rows up in the grandstand, giving the O’s a 5-3 lead. They would knotch one more on a sac fly-RBI by Schoop in the eighth, and the O’s ended up with a 6-3 victory in game one of three.
Leadership isn’t something that can be learned or acquired. You either have the ability or you don’t. Adam Jones was traded to the Orioles prior to the 2008 season, and literally since day one he’s shown that he was a born leader. That’s not something that should be taken lightly, because he’s been the center piece of the revival the Orioles have seen since 2012.
And I don’t say these things simply because he hit the go-ahead homer last night. That’s a big factor in the here and now, however the fact is that Jones has a lot of clout in the clubhouse. Guys recognize him as the leader of this team. And quite frankly there’s nobody more humble and decent that could hold that title. It’s because of his play on the field, his actions in the community, and the way that he carries himself, that he’s the Orioles’ captain. And that’s true whether it’s an official title or not.
Incidentally, Boston reliever Matt Barnes was suspended four games for his actions on Sunday in throwing a pitch towards Machado’s head. Based on some reactions I’ve seen online, it seems that many fans think that’s too light, and I might tend to agree. I thought he would have gotten between 5-10 games. But that’s the penalty as it stands now. Barnes is appealing this, and of course will be allowed to play while the decision is under appeal.
The series continues this evening at Camden Yards – weather permitting. Wade Miley heads to the bump for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Erasmo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.