At the end of the day for Adam Jones, Buck Showalter, the rest of the Baltimore Orioles, and the Orioles’ fans, it was the memories that counted. Certainly not of this forgettable season. But of the past ten or so years. Nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles, and that was on display once again in this afternoon’s series finale.
For the record, the O’s took the series finale with Houston and the season finale, 4-0. Lost in the shuffle of this game’s backstory is the fact that the three Oriole pitchers combined for a one-hitter. This stellar effort was spearheaded by starter Jimmy Yacabonis, who certainly made a strong case to have a shot at a starting rotation spot coming out of spring training next year. Yacabonis’ line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.
Again, the details are unimportant. But the Birds put up their four runs in the fourth inning. And that was all they needed. Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single gave them a 1-0 lead, and he would later score on Tim Beckham‘s RBI-double. Renato Nunez would add an RBI-double of his own, and he would later score on a wild pitch. And as they say, that’s your ballgame!
Well…not quite. Everyone knows the stakes, and they certainly had nothing to do with today’s game. Buck Showalter started the day by putting Adam Jones in center field for one last time, albeit just for the first inning before he went back to right. That meant that Jones would get to lead the team onto the field, potentially for the final time. However when the time came, Jones realized that his teammates had stayed back…
…Jones was the only person on the field, and his teammates stood behind him applauding from the dugout – along with the almost 25K people in attendance. It was a poignant moment; as I said, nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. The Houston dugout stood and applauded along with the Orioles, as did…the umpires. THE UMPIRES were standing at home plate politely clapping for Adam Jones. Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever seen that.
Jones was given a well-deserved standing ovation everytime he came to the plate. The stat book shows that he went 0-for-4, but who among us really cares? Jones on the the day (all quotes courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I appreciate everybody’s support. I just show up to work every day, so I appreciate the people who appreciate it.
Eleven years here, a lot of games, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, so I greatly appreciate it from the fans’ standpoint. My teammates for sending me out there on an island all by myself. I didn’t know that was going to happen. Buck for letting me have an inning in center field, where I started at.
It’s been a cool weekend. Like I said, I’m very appreciative and humbled that people concur. Now the game’s over, the season’s over and the next chapter starts. Time to be a full-time father.
Speaking of Buck, he in theory was the day’s other “honoree.” Needless to say, it’s tough to honor managers the way that the crowd did with Adam Jones. And Buck’s not the type of guy who would want that. According to multiple reports, he met with an ownership representative late last night. It’s unclear what that means, but if his comments are to be believed he himself is unsure of his status for next year even now.
There was one “Buck moment.” He came out to argue a HBP, and a smattering of applause gained some momentum. When asked about it after the game, Showalter stayed true to form:
We won the game. They were happy we won. I’m not going to go there. Thanks. You know how much it means to me.
Needless to say, Buck Showalter will always mean something to the fans here in Baltimore. He managed the Orioles for longer than he managed any other franchise. He also managed Adam Jones for longer than he ever managed any other player. The connection will always be strong.
Buck sent Jones back out for the ninth inning in right field, but before the inning could begin he substituted for him, allowing the fans to pay homage to Jones. The game stopped for about five minutes, while Jones embraced each of his teammates and coaches, while the crowd gave him a final Standing O. Needless to say, it was a moment that nobody (player, coach, fan, or writer) who was there will ever forget.
Let the record state the as miserable as the 2018 season was for the Baltimore Orioles, they won on the last day. But again, today it was the memories that counted more than anything else. Adam Jones and Buck Showalter are forever a part of Baltimore. And Baltimore’s forever a part of them. Does that mean they’re irreplaceable? Absolutely not. They would never suggest that they are. But they, along with the memories of the past 8-10 years are a part of the Baltimore story.
And incidentally, it’s a beautiful story. I’d like to hope and believe that I tell my part of it as well as I can. But while time will go on, today was hard for a lot of people. It was hard in a beautiful kind of way. Yet while time goes on, let us not forget the closing strains of a well-known Boyz II Men song:
And I’ll take with me the memories, to be my sunshine after the rain. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.