Center fielder Adam Jones continued to make Orioles history Monday.
Jones’ three-run homer off Twins starter Kyle Gibson was his 125th at Camden Yards, setting a ballpark record previously held by Rafael Palmeiro.
It likely won’t be the last milestone for Jones, who continues to climb the Orioles’ franchise leaderboards, toppling some rather impressive names on his way up.
Jones currently ranks seventh in team history in hits (1,497); with 78 more this season, he’d surpass Nick Markakis and Boog Powell to enter the top five. He’s also 16 RBIs shy of Ken Singleton for fifth place. He’ll likely crack the top five in runs scored, needing just 49 more. Plus, Jones already ranks fifth all-time in home runs as an Oriole (230) and has a chance to surpass Brooks Robinson’s 268 during the 2018 season.
“After the season, after my career’s over, I think I’ll probably get a good perspective on the accomplishments that I had during my career,” Jones said. “I just go every day, take it one day at a time. I know that’s so cliche, but that’s really what I do. And I just try to win for that day and let today be for today and tomorrow be for tomorrow.”
Jones, it seems, sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves from Orioles fans, who lament his tendency to chase pitches in the dirt or criticize his less-than-stellar postseason performance. But make no mistake — Jones has already cemented his legacy as one of the club’s all-time greats.
Even beyond his place on the offensive leaderboards, Jones is a four-time Gold Glover, a five-time All-Star and the club’s leader on and off the field. Just witness the way Jones’ Team USA teammates fed off his energy during this year’s World Baseball Classic — that’s the kind of impact Jones has on a clubhouse.
Then there’s Jones’ many charitable efforts in the community, or his willingness to be brutally candid and thoughtful in the media about issues beyond the game, including race relations.
Jones may not be on his way to Cooperstown, but he’s firmly established himself in Orioles’ lore. He’ll be a surefire member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, though his career with the club is far from over.
Grumbling over replay
In the top of the third inning Monday, Twins leadoff man Brian Dozier stroked a double down the left-field line — or so ruled third base umpire Stu Scheurwater.
The Orioles challenged the play, believing video evidence showed that the ball landed foul. MASN replays seemed to confirm the Orioles’ view. However, after a two-and-a-half-minute review, the umpires upheld the call on the field, apparently not seeing indisputable evidence to overturn the ruling.
That sparked plenty of grumbling from Orioles fans, who lashed out against the replay system and criticized the fact that seemingly incorrect calls still slip through. Some argued that replay should be abolished entirely.
Look, I get it. It’s frustrating when, even viewing the play in slow motion from multiple angles, the umpires’ judgment doesn’t match what the fans and media see.
But even having a flawed replay system is much better than having no replay at all. Even if some puzzling calls slip through, the umpires get it right most of the time on review.
If not for review, the Orioles very well might have lost their series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday. In a tie game in the eighth, Darren O’Day struck out Justin Smoak with the bases loaded, but the ball trickled away into foul territory to allow the go-ahead run to score.
The Orioles challenged the call and, sure enough, replay showed that the ball hit Smoak after he swung, making it a dead ball and an instant out. The call was overturned, the Blue Jays’ run came off the board, and the Orioles went on to win the game in extras.
Could the replay system be improved? Certainly. But even in its current form, it’s an integral part of baseball.
The ridiculous win rule
Baseball analysts have long argued that the win statistic for pitchers is inherently flawed. Pitcher wins are so dependent on factors outside their control — such as run support and bullpen performance — that even the most old-school fans are coming to realize that wins don’t measure a pitcher’s performance very well.
Monday’s game provided a prime example. Gibson, the Twins starter, gave a wholly unimpressive performance. He allowed five runs in the second inning and another run in the fourth; all told, he was tagged for six runs and seven hits in five innings of work.
Yet thanks to the Twins’ offensive explosion, including a six-run sixth inning that broke a 6-6 tie, Gibson was credited with the win despite his 10.80 ERA for the night.
Nice work if you can get it.