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Camden Yards Ball Hawk: 6/9 v. Red Sox – The Adam Jones Incident

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Even though I have been to a few games since the last one I recapped, what happened on Monday against the Red Sox must be addressed immediately.

That will come at the end.

Let’s start where my day started:

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Work. With classes over for the year, I’m now working full time with my dad doing general warehouse work. Since I don’t get off until 5, I don’t make it to the stadium until around 5:30, meaning I miss all of Orioles’ batting practice, and all but a couple minutes of the visiting team’s session.

However, when I got into the stadium on Monday, I saw something I didn’t want to see:

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There were Red Sox on the field and even one in the cage. But they were just doing infield practice, and making it clear they were not going to take batting practice; the basket of baseballs was not anywhere on the field.

In just arriving and not having a ball yet on the day, I did all I could to attempt to snag one.

I stalked Koji Uehara while he threw by the left field foul line:

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I stood in the first few rows on the left field seats as a coach hit fungos to Brock Holt, hoping that one was hit a little too hard.

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I hung out by the wall down the third base line, thinking that maybe one would get past the third baseman taking grounders.

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None of that worked.

Once the Red Sox cleared the field, I went above the bullpens and waited for Orioles’ bullpen coach Dom Chiti to come out and toss up the baseballs left in there from Orioles’ BP.

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Instead, one of the bullpen cops grabbed all the balls and threw them up. He gave one to the lady a few feet to my left, but none to me.

After that, Alex Kopp, Grant Edrington and I went to the concourse behind first base and visited the Chevrolet booth.

Why?

Well, we waited in this line to play a game of trivia:

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The winner gets $10 in “Orioles bucks” that can be used anywhere in the stadium. I usually play with Alex and whoever wins just gives the other person $5. So, essentially, we waited in line for a free $5 bill.

We also got a glimpse of this awesome car:

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When done with that, I waited a little while longer, then claimed my spot in the cross aisle above the Orioles’ dugout.

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Of course, I was waiting for Adam Jones to throw so that maybe he could throw it to me when he’s done like he sometimes does. However, Jones was DHing, so I guess that means he doesn’t have a need to throw.

In that previous photo, you can really see how empty left field was. On this chance-of-rain, no-promotion, Monday night game, I guess a lot of people opted to watch the game at home. Paid attendance that night was less than 20,000.

The decision was pretty easy – I sat in left field:

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P.S.: I hope his last name is actually “Holleywood” and he doesn’t just struggle with spelling proper nouns.

In the first inning, things really got interesting, and we began to enter into what I mentioned briefly to begin this post.

Earlier in the day, Alex sent me a text telling me that Jones was sitting on 149 home runs for his career, meaning the next would be 150, a milestone that he may want back. Why does that matter to us? Well, catching milestone home runs means you probably get to meet the player – always an awesome experience. You also get the chance to trade the ball for some cool stuff that you wouldn’t normally get, like autographed bats.

Alex’s text message seemed to be geared more towards me – even though Jones has hit some home runs to the opposite field, he mainly slugs them into the left field seats. For the most part, Alex and Grant never leave their posts in right field. So, maybe I’ll have the chance to catch Jones’ 150th?

But, in the first inning, Jones threw us a curveball. He knocked a Jake Peavy offering to deep right-center field. The ball barely made it over the wall, landing in what I have commonly referred to as “the gap.” It’s the area during batting practice where I use my ball retriever.

Immediately after the ball landed, I watched Alex lunge for his bag, pull out his retriever and run towards the section that the ball landed in front of.

It was a quick operation by Alex, and it really needed to be, as using ball retrievers during the games are iffy, and you really need to bring the ball up in one attempt. If you do it quick, most people won’t even notice. And if they do, oh well, see ya!

Alex stopped and talked to the ushers at the top of the section after getting the ball. No, they didn’t stop him to tell him he couldn’t use his device, he stopped to let them know that the ball was Jones’ 150th home run and that they should let someone know.

A couple minutes later, I got this text from Grant, who was with Alex: “Tim foot home plate plaza quick.”

I initially had no idea what that meant. As I was preparing to text Grant back, asking what he was talking about, I looked over towards where Grant and Alex were sitting and they were gone. It hit me: they were going to negotiate something for the Jones ball.

I grabbed another Orioles friend of mine, music man Ed Lauer, and we booked it to home plate plaza.

We stood around and waited for someone to show up, assuming that Jeff Lantz, the media relations director for the Orioles and the guy who negotiated with Alex last season when he caught two milestone Chris Davis home runs, would be the one.

While waiting, Alex demonstrated how he got the baseball:

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Then posed with the ball:

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Instead of Lantz, close friend of Jones and presumed assistant known as @PTisFly on Twitter came through the doors of the plaza with a black bat in his hand. He offered the bat to Alex immediately for the baseball, but Alex wanted to slow things down.

You see, when Alex caught the two Davis home runs last season, he really wanted a jersey in exchange, but was denied both times. He was hoping a third time would be the charm, especially since it was a different person on the other side of the negotiation.

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But he was turned down for a jersey and it was explained that they only have limited amounts for the players. Then he asked for a batting helmet instead, the same thing he got for catching Davis’ 40th home run of 2013. PT said he couldn’t do that either.

Seeing he wasn’t getting much more, Alex asked for the usual: meeting Jones after the game, the signed bat, and two autographed (by Jones) 60th anniversary baseballs.

PT was hesitant on one part: meeting Jones after the game.

At that time, Lantz came through on his way to somewhere else. He saw the negotiation and asked PT if he had this one handled.

“He wants to meet him after the game, but I don’t know if Adam will want to,” he said.

“Meet me here after the game, and I’ll take you down there,” said Lantz to Alex without hesitation.

Alex handed the ball to PT, who then gave it to Lantz.

We left home plate plaza and went our separate ways: Alex and Grant to right field and Ed and I to left.

In left, I enjoyed my view for the rest of the game:

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I also enjoyed this little slice of heaven:

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In the 5th inning, Nick Markakis sent a blast onto the flag court in right field. From our seats, Ed and I watched as Alex and Grant took off towards the ball. We waited to see which one, if any, would come up with the ball. Would it be Alex’s second home run of the game, or Grant’s second ever?

After a few moments, both Grant and Alex appeared at the side railing of the flag court, and Grant victoriously held the ball up to us.

After the bottom of the eighth, Ed and I left to meet Alex and Grant at home plate plaza.

Check out Grant and his Markakis home run:

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We watched the top of the ninth from the lobby of home plate plaza, and after the game ended, we waited around for Lantz, watching the elevators:

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After a while, the employees were turning off the lights in the lobby, and there were still no signs of Lantz. We were getting nervous.

Alex decided to call Lantz since he had given him his business card earlier in the day. He answered and said PT was on his way to get us.

Seconds later, the elevator door opens and PT walks out. We follow him into the next elevator and down we went.

We exited into the underbelly of the stadium and followed PT towards the clubhouse.

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We sat on some chairs outside the clubhouse doors as we waited for Jones to come out. The four of us were extremely excited for the experience, and that was increased when we realized Red Sox players were standing all around us. See?

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That’s my once-in-a-lifetime sneaked picture of Dustin Pedroia.

It was not long until the clubhouse doors swung open and Adam Jones walked out.

His face told the story not of a player who just hit his 150th career home run in a shutout win against the defending World Series champions, but of one who was being forced to meet with a fan. He did not want to be there.

He walked up to Alex, handed him him the bat and two balls.

“I heard you were trying to make a hellacious deal,” said Jones.

Alex just laughed, shook his hand, and congratulated him on hitting #150.

“I have to get my ass home,” said Jones as he started to walk away.

You’re telling me there will not be a picture? And you’re not even going to sign the balls, part of the negotiated trade?

I stopped Jones before he walked away and asked him a question. I wanted to know if he recognizes us when he throws us baseballs, which he frequently does.

He said no.

Then Alex asked him for a picture, standard practice on deals like that. Adam obliged. Well, sort of ….

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After the picture, Alex asked him to sign one of the baseballs, which, as I mentioned before, were supposed to be autographed as part of the deal.

Here’s where it gets shocking.

Jones grabbed the ball and said, “Jesus [expletive] Christ, I’m the one who hit the [expletive] home run.”

We laughed.

At first.

I looked at him to see if he was laughing, too. He wasn’t. He was being serious. Amazing. His language was only trumped by his arrogance; both were topped by his utter rudeness.

He signed the ball and walked away, leaving us there shocked. Red Sox outfielder Brock Holt and another player were standing close by. Judging by their faces, they were shocked, too.

How is that a way to treat a fan, let alone one who is doing you a favor? He owned your 150th home run, and you wanted it back.

For Alex (and for me, and I’m sure Ed and Grant) meeting Adam Jones was supposed to be exciting. All four of us are fans of him and his play. Instead of a good memory, we have this awful story about Adam Jones.

Maybe Jones didn’t want to meet Alex, maybe he was mad about the jersey request, maybe he thought Alex was going to sell the bat and the baseballs (he did say something like “this is America …” as he signed the balls). For the record, Alex never has, and does not plan to, sell any of the baseballs or memorabilia that he gets from ball hawking. He is purely a collector, a hobbyist having fun in his free time. And how is it even fair for Jones to assume that he would sell it, anyway?

[Ed. Note: We have no reason to believe that Tim is telling anything but the entire truth here. Perhaps Adam was having a bad day. Maybe he didn’t feel good. Maybe his young child at home was sick. Maybe he felt his original offer of the bat was more than enough. We don’t know. If he’d like to defend himself, we’re more than happy to hear his side of the story. As it stands though, we feel his behavior/language is completely unwarranted and despicable. There is no reason to treat a fan like this. In the age of social media – and with someone right there taking his picture with a phone – it’s not like nobody was ever going to hear about it if you treat folks this way. It’s a shame, really. Not much more to say.]

I knew many unfriendly players were scattered throughout the majors; the same is true with any other sport. But it is disheartening to know that the Orioles’ proclaimed team leader would act so childishly, arrogantly, and rudely when meeting a fan.

Alongside some attitude, Alex received a signed bat and two 60th anniversary baseballs, one of them autographed:

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Season Stats:
25 games
63 balls
– 35 hit
– 12 thrown
– 9 ball retrieved
– 7 found

23 Responses

  1. I like how you think Jones owed you shit. He did not, and the fact that you think he did shows how childish you are. The dude is hooking you up with a signed bat and two balls and you’re freaking out cause he wasn’t all smiles? I’d be pissed too if a bunch of douchebag ballhawkers were trying to play hardball with me over one of my milestones. You also should have been ejected from the park for using a “retriever” but I digress. Just be glad you have gotten so many balls in your life. A lot of us have been going to games for longer than you were alive and have never caught a single ball. Grow the f up.

    1. Reading this article I felt embarrassed for the storyteller. It’s just pathetic. Bunch of d bags running around collecting baseballs like they were 7 years old then go cry about it when a PROFESAIONAL doesn’t want to waste his time haggling over one of his accomplishments with a group of tools smh.

      1. I could not agree more with everyone on here. This is the most selfish thing I’ve ever read on a sports blog. Did the “author” ever consider the fact that Jones was hurt when he was DHing last week? Something about a bum heel? He gets to the ballpark hours before the game, works out, takes BP, plays the game, does a ton of charity work, gives back to so many fans, and at the end of the day, he’s just a regular dude like the rest of of. Chill out, and go back to your little baseball collection.

  2. Dude, you are already lucky enough to have so many home run balls as it is. GIVE THEM TO THE F*KING KIDS.
    You have no need to comment on his mood anyways. Y’all are lucky he even came out of the clubhouse. I would be in a bad mood too if someone in COLLEGE made me stay longer then I had to. He probably would have been in a better mood if he saw a little kid on the other side of those doors.Count your lucky stars and GET OVER YOURSELF. The guy above is right, people go their whole life without catching a ball. Just be happy that you have one.
    Your stupid divice should be illegal aways.

  3. This story is embarrassing. Adam Jones didn’t owe you or your friend anything at all. Your friend requested a lot for a ball that he retrieved with a damn can on a rope. Give me a break. I saw this home run live from the third base line. I watched as a string and a can reached over the wall and retrieved the ball. Our whole section was laughing hysterically. Adam Jones hits a milestone homerun and is told that some grown man wants a bunch of shit in return for his home run and he’s supposed to be cheery when he meets you? What a joke.

  4. Freaking ridiculous. You need to grow the hell up and not be such an arrogant shit. That is all.

  5. Does acting like and writing about being a whiny, petulant child NORMALLY work in your favor? Because it seems like it backfired pretty badly, this time.

  6. Jesus stop being greedy a**hole pricks. Seriously, complaining about the sh*t you get for catching baseballs. You are the worst examples of baseball fans and you add a disgrace to Baltimore, the Orioles, and all fans in general. You entitled little stuck up obnoxious a**holes. Complaining about last day of school and having to work and not get to game until 530? I can only hope you get raped by the real world, but I’m sure your parents will give you everything you need so you never work hard and just continue to b*tch about not getting enough free stuff from professional athletes who do not owe your insignificant worthless a** anything. I hope the real orioles fans recognize you in the stands and proceed to beat your a**. F**k off you and your a**hole friends. Grow the f**k up.

  7. Guys like you are why players don’t want to sign.

    Arrogant, demanding, pouting and stomping your feet like kids if you don’t get what you want. You made fools of yourselves. Good for Jones.

    The ideal outcome would have been for Jones to take the bat and balls back, return to home rum ball to you and be on his way.

    You guys need to do some serious growing up.

  8. You are a turd for a human being. Be a fan first before you let your own personal greed consume you. I and most other fans are disgusted that you even promote the orange and black. Remove our colors. If I were Jones I would have hit you in the face with that signed bat you giant piece of crap!

  9. Allow me to say this: Adam should have handled that situation better. I know he was tired and probably hadn’t really been at home for quite a few days, but still. To be frank, I probably wouldn’t have handled it any better. I’ve worked night shifts. I didn’t want to deal with people afterwards either.

    That said, that does not at all excuse the actions of the writer and his friend. Had they handled themselves in a more humble and professional manner and not gotten greedy, all of this could have been avoided. Ask for the opportunity to give Adam the ball after the game, and nothing else. Anything else you get is a bonus. The kids acted like they were entitled for more, and that’s a very dangerous way of thinking.

  10. If I were Adam Jones I would’ve said keep the f**king ball and stick it up your a**. The way you retrieved that ball is embarrassing and stealing. If you had given it to a kid, that’s one thing, but taking that ball and using it to get tons of autographed memorabilia is a disgrace to baseball. You didn’t even deserve the one autographed bat which is more than enough compensation for a 150th homerun ball even if you had gotten it fairly by catching it in the stands like every other normal fan. Greedy, ungrateful piece of shit

  11. wow, to feel you had the right to negotiate when you didn’t actually CATCH his homerun ball. No, you border line trespassed on the field while the game was in play, taking the ball away from a staff member which would have eventually retrieved it for Adam. Then after this thought an autographed bat wasn’t good enough for the undeserved homerun ball you snatched off the field. You my friend are delirious.

    I’m glad Adam didn’t sugar coat how he felt, and wish he would of said worse. Any other fan would have been more than thankful to receive a bat. I simply hope that Adam now realizes that you and your friends are ball HOGS not hawks, and now be more selective when him and other players throw balls into the stands.

  12. Reading these comments is sad. How dare you people bash these guys for supposedly being bad fans? Wishing violence and injury on someone makes YOU a bad fan and an even worse human being. If you catch an important home run ball, you can do one of two things. You can keep it and tell the player to go screw himself or you can give it back and try to get some cool stuff in exchange. That’s how these situations work. Players are not supposed to be grumpy and break promises. Players make millions of dollars, and THAT’S okay, but GOD FORBID a fan (who has so little money that getting $5 in a trivia contest is a big deal) tries to get an extra piece of autographed memorabilia. Really? The only entitled jerk in this story seems to be Adam Jones himself.

  13. Whereas I don’t necessarily agree with the Hawks haggling with AJ for upgraded merch and then afterwards writing this lengthy over-dramatic article about the experience, I agree with the post above… I am sad that the fans have been bashing the Hawks over this. The O’s need EVERY fan and the firestorm on twitter and FB that erupted over this… bashing the hawks for what they do…. no other way to put it than shameful. These guys catch balls, its their hobby. They are there for EVERY game and being made fun of by jerks who rarely go games I am sure. I have seen them there… its not my thing but I can see why they like it… its fun to be involved at OPACY. I hope the O’s didn’t lose a bunch of dedicated fans over this, but I am sure these guys are having a rough week.
    Oh and the fact that instead of AJ making a positive comment over this, he re-tweeted a nasty comment about entitlement on Twitter. Come on AJ… it takes just as long to be nice to someone as it does to be sh*tty… so I am disappointed in that as well. This whole situation has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

  14. I am not sure why nobody sees the point here. If he was promised 2 autographed balls, an autographed bat, and to meet Jones, sounds like he was not given what he was promised. And if he WAS promised all that, Jones DID owe him that.

Comments are closed.

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