The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.
Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?
No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.
Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.
As Jones was raised, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.
As Jones was raised, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.
After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.
"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."
But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.
One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.
"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."
Jones’ comments weren’t received well.
Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.
“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”
No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.
Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”
Yes. It’s better than lying.
Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.
People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.
Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.
But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.
He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.
Plus, it gave him motivation.
Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?
No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.
But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.
Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.
"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."
Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.
"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”
Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.
The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.
Internationally, the sport is on parade.