Sure, the Home Run Derby story was a good one: hometown participant wins it all, yada yada yada… But let’s talk about the real star of the Home Run Derby:
Now, I can hear you objecting that Adam Jones didn’t even participate, and you are technically correct. However. Jones made two cameos that brought a bigger smile to my face than the heartwarming finish.
Cameo #1 – The Salsa
When Manny Machado took his time out (still sounds weird, but I actually loved the new derby format), he was greeted by his mischievous teammate, who brought him the sponsor-dictated Gatorade, and a familiar surprise:
Classic. It looks like the salsa powered him on to seven home runs. Looks like I need to get my hands on some of that stuff!
Cameo #2 – The Belt
Jones presented the eventual winner, Cincinnati’s own Todd Frazier, with a WWE championship belt. It was a cool moment – one that showed the fraternity and mutual admiration of baseball players, and one that did not pull focus. Jones didn’t insert himself into the moment. He congratulated the winner, handed over the belt, and exited, stage right.
Jones is a fine representative of Baltimore. I hope that when we look back at his career as an Oriole, we remember little moments like this. Sure, he hit homers. Yes, he made sensational plays. But he also made the game more fun, just by being a part of it.
OK, there’s no way I can shoehorn Adam Jones into being the real star of the Home Run Derby. Watching Frazier’s performance was good for the soul. Baseball scored big time.
But Jones still gets points, in my book.