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Former Orioles OF Adam Jones on why athletes have to 'detach' after teams decide to let them go

Former Orioles OF Adam Jones on why athletes have to 'detach' after teams decide to let them go

During the 2018 Major League Baseball offseason, it became clear that Adam Jones' career as an Oriole was coming to an end. A free agent, Baltimore did not express much interest in bringing back the player who had spent 11 successful seasons in Charm City, which left many fans confused and upset.

The feelings didn't stem solely from the fact that Jones was still a serviceable outfielder and a veteran presence, but because he had been a cornerstone of the franchise for over a decade. Jones himself couldn't help but feel shocked by the reality of the situation.

“They made it clear they don’t want me back. I’m like, ‘okay well hey you don’t want me back,'" Jones said on "Trending Thoughts with Torrey Smith," the former Ravens and Terps WR's podcast. "All the work I’ve done there they could give two sh--- about."

However, it didn't take long for Jones, who now resides in Japan as a member of the Orix Buffaloes, to understand the factors that went into the decision. The veteran realizes that baseball is a business, and there's nothing that he can do about that.

"When a business takes its heed, you just sometimes have to take the high road," Jones said. "You might not agree with it but you have to, as an athlete, understand this is what it is and just move on.”

“It’s business, there’s always casualties," he added.

Because of that, Jones is not holding any hard feelings toward the city of Baltimore or the organization. He's come to peace with his time there, the memories made and the split.

That mindset of treating his departure as a clean break allowed Jones to fully move on, and not sit back and miss the Orioles or wonder what could have happened if things ended differently.

“When it comes to the sporting world, sometimes you just have to let go. I think fans sometimes don’t understand that from the athlete’s perspective, which they’re not supposed to," Jones said. "But, when the organization lets you go and their decision is made that we’re not going to bring you back, I think it’s good for the athlete to just detach yourself."

As Jones said, he doesn't expect the fans to fully agree with his way of thinking. Some may take offense to the fact that he doesn't claim to desperately miss the team that was such a big part of his career. However, his point is that as an athlete there is a different perspective.

Fans only see one side of the story sometimes, and while Jones will always have a love for them as they have for him, that relationship doesn't solidify a player's future. At the end of the day, it's in the hands of those who call the shots. More often than not, the decision is influenced by what is best for the team in terms of business and success. 

“People do not understand that facet of it. They just think that you’re going to be here for the rest of your career," Jones said. “The fans don’t write the checks in that instance. They’re not the general manager or the president, or the owner.”

Even though he has moved on, it doesn't mean Jones has completely erased his time in Baltimore. He has no regrets about how things ended and plenty of memories of the good times. He knows he'll always be welcomed back, and that is something he is grateful for.

“That’s extremely humbling because I gave my blood sweat and tears to that city," Jones said. "Eleven years, I grew up there.”

Coming to Baltimore as a young player, the Orioles are the team that transformed Jones into the player and person he is today. While things could have ended differently, that's not where his mind is at right now. Still playing the game he loves, he's only focused on the present.

“It’s always gonna hold a special part to me, but at the same time, I’m never going to forget the business side of it," Jones said. "People hold grudges, athletes hold grudges too. I personally don’t have one, but at the same time, I understand that since I’m still playing I’m trying to give all my energy to where I’m playing.” 

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Cleveland Indians release statement saying team is having discussions in regards to name

Cleveland Indians release statement saying team is having discussions in regards to name

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Amid new pressure sparked by a national movement to correct racial wrongdoings, the Cleveland Indians said they will review their long-debated nickname.

"We are committed to making a positive impact in our community and embrace our responsibility to advance social justice and equality," the team said in a statement Friday night. "Our organization fully recognizes our team name is among the most visible ways in which we connect with the community."

The move mirrors one by the NFL's Washington Redskins, who earlier in the day said they are embarking on a "thorough review" of their name, which has been deemed as offensive by Native American groups for decades.

There have been previous efforts to get the Indians to rename themselves. But following the death George Floyd in Minnesota and other examples of police brutality against Black people in the U.S., there has been a major move nationwide to eradicate racially insensitive material.

RELATED ARTICLE: REDSKINS TO CONDUCT 'THOROUGH REVIEW' OF TEAM NAME

In 2018, the Indians removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from their game jerseys and caps. The grinning, red-faced mascot, however, is still present on merchandise that can be purchased at Progressive Field and other team shops in Northeast Ohio.

"We have had ongoing discussions organizationally on these issues," the Indians said. "The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name."

"While the focus of the baseball world shifts to the excitement of an unprecedented 2020 season, we recognize our unique place in the community and are committed to listening, learning, and acting in the manner that can best unite and inspire our city and all those who support our team," the club said.

The Redskins' decision came in the wake of FedEx, which paid $205 million for naming rights to the team's stadium, and other corporate partners calling for the team to change its nickname.

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Orioles hold first ‘odd, just random, weirdest’ practice of summer camp at Camden Yards

Orioles hold first ‘odd, just random, weirdest’ practice of summer camp at Camden Yards

Wade LeBlanc signed a one-year deal with the Orioles in early February that, if he made the major league roster out of Spring Training, was worth $800,000. He was set to join a crowded rotation with a shot to pitch in the major leagues.

But over the last few months, LeBlanc found another way to pitch -- and other batters to pitch to. 

Instead of pitching to major league hitters in the spring and early summer, he pitched to the seven year olds on his son’s coach-pitch travel team due to the coronavirus pandemic and the delayed major league season.

Now, he’s able to give up that job as the Orioles held their first “summer camp” practice of July at Camden Yards, three weeks from the start date of the 2020 season. But the return to the field wasn’t a normal practice for anyone involved.

“It’s pretty weird to say the least,” LeBlanc said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “Today we went out, stretched, played catch, I threw a bullpen today. Get ready for a sim game in a couple days. Washed my hands before and after I was in the bullpen, which was kind of strange. We did some conditioning, took care of some arm exercises and all that kind of stuff.”

RELATED ARTICLE: SELF-POLICING IN CLUBHOUSES WILL BE KEY FOR MLB SEASON TO WORK

The Orioles, like every team across Major League Baseball, have taken exhaustive measures to ensure the safety of the players in the organization. 

Some of those measures include hand-washing stations scattered across the field, coaches keeping their distance while still giving instruction, and spaced out clubhouses.

For first baseman Chris Davis, one of the biggest adjustments is going to be the act of not sharing the baseball around the infield like he normally does.

“I think probably the weirdest thing for me is going to be throwing the balls out in between innings or even in between just warming guys up and stuff like that,” Davis said. “I think there’s going to be like a recycling ball station on the field where you toss it and they’ll throw it in a bucket. That to me is going to be the hardest or the biggest adjustment, just the attention to detail of not sharing a ball too much.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said everyone, with the exception of Dominican players who had just arrived, reported as scheduled. He declined, however, to say if anyone in the organization tested positive for COVID-19.

“When you’re out on the field, it feels normal,” Hyde said. “It’s definitely different in the clubhouse. It’s different in the coaches’ room. There’s just a lot more protocols that we’ve all bought into to really make this a safe, healthy season, and do everything we can to keep us safe as well as the players and the coaches.” 

As of now, no players or coaches are expected to remove themselves from the Orioles’ roster for the upcoming season. 

Both LeBlanc and Davis said that was never particularly under consideration for either of them. 

“With so many unknowns there’s always going to be some reservations here and there, but outside of that you understand you have a job to do and for the last 13, 14 years this is kind of all I’ve known,” LeBlanc said. “It’s wanting to get back to normal for the most part. Normal as much as possible. It’s something that, as baseball players, we want to get out there and play baseball, so that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

Despite the unprecedented circumstances, the Orioles still have to be focused on the upcoming season. 

For players like Davis, it’s a chance to continue their hot streaks from back in Sarasota, Fla., during Spring Training, games and workouts that seem an eternity ago. 

For younger players on the roster, it’s a chance to earn an opportunity in the majors — despite the shortened season.

“We’re still trying to find out about a lot of guys on our roster,” Hyde said. “I was really encouraged by the momentum we had in camp. I thought we played well, I thought our work days were fantastic. We’ve talked about capturing that momentum again.”

And as Hyde pointed out, the Orioles are in contention from the day they step on the field for the regular season.

“We’re going to be in first place in late July,” Hyde quipped. “That’s really exciting for all of us.”

Through all the excitement, however, exists a new normal that no one on the field has experienced in their baseball careers. 

That includes Davis, a player who in his career has led the league in home runs, won a game as a pitcher, went on an 0-for-54 hitless streak and played a game without fans in the stands. 

Today topped them all.

“This is definitely the most odd, just random, weirdest thing that I’ve ever encountered on the baseball field,” Davis said. “I think it’s going to start to feel more normal the longer we are under all these protocols and guidelines, and that’s kind of my hope, that we develop some sort of routine where this becomes our normal for the time being.”

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