The Baltimore Orioles had Adam Jones as their “Birdland hero” for most of the last decade. In using that term I probably mean more the face of the franchise than anything else. And there’s no question that Jones filled that role admirably.
However one year plus into a rebuild, who’s going to be the new “Birdland hero” for the next generation? I suppose it’s kind of set up to be Trey Mancini. And he took steps to solidify that in a sense last year. Being voted Most Valuable Oriole is no joke. But is there or are there others who could also fill that role?
Rio Ruiz comes to mind. While he’s not a high impact player per se, I think he could develop into one. You might also look to Austin Hays. Or even John Means. Mentioning these guys shouldn’t take anything away from Mancini. If anything it compliments him.
Being the face of a franchise for an “era” has a lot to do with being a star player. So that goes without saying. Any of the aforementioned guys will have to be a superstar on the field if they’re going to get that distinction. We all know that Adam Jones was that and then some.
But it’s also about attitude. And again I’ll point back to Jones; the guy’s work ethic and his attitude towards the team, his coaches, and the city was unquestionable. That’s the type of attitude any of the guys I mentioned above will have to adopt if they’re going to be thought of as the face of the franchise, or Birdland’s hero. And again that’s why Trey Mancini’s name comes to mind right away, because he took steps to become the team leader off the field last year. Time will tell.