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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