After the smoke has cleared and the rumors have finally come to fruition, Adam Jones is now the starting Centerfielder for the Baltimore Orioles. He wants to be here, he seems happy to get the opportunity, but what about the fanbase. I see alot of people around town and throughtout the message boards with open arms for Mr. Jones. But does that include everybody?
My point falls in line with the theme of February for the United States. My hope is Adam Jones could provide the foundation to change the perception of baseball in the Charm City. The new target audience plays basketball and football and calls Carmelo Anthony or Ray Lewis the sports figures in the area. A small amout play within the city, even less watch a game from Camden Yards. Could Jones be a stepping stone for a time of change.
Throughout the '50's, '60's, '70's players such as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron were on the tip of every tounge for baseball fans in the United States, black or white. Today can you name over ten that make an impact in MLB. Dontrell Willis, Ryan Howard, a few up and comers such as the Upton Brothers. The Orioles last major player was Albert Belle and what a great role model to follow. Here is where Adam Jones steps in towards the entire city. He has star appeal from all accounts, so if he perfroms the fanbase will embrace him as if he had come up through the system. What else does he bring?
He comes from a rough, and I mean West Baltimore type rough, neighborhood. He, whether he wants to acknowledge or not, has alot on his shoulders. He, being a black male from the "ghetto", is someone that young black children can look up to in the city of Baltimore. He can make kids intrested in the game. Jones has the ability to change lives. How many kids have been thwarted from a life of crime to play football in the city since 1997. I imagine quite a few. Now the man is not going to cure cancer, but what he can do is get kids off the street. Maybe want to play baseball, join a team. Maybe he along with the Orioles could do a much better job of making it a point to extend thier hands towards the city in whole. The team is not going to win any attendence prize, so it will not hurt the bottom line. It might instill future avenues. Johnny Basketball might see Jones play and say "I could do that too..." Adam Jones certainly can do alot more for Baltimore than he might realize.