Dear Adam Jones: Make your night one for the ages in Baltimore baseball history

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Dear Adam Jones:

You never got a night. Oh, sure you made millions and won games and pied many a-face for victory pleasures on the postgame MASN telly, but the recognition – that moment in the sun – never truly came as a Baltimore Orioles player in uniform five years ago. The one where we well up, think nice thoughts about you and us and the way we were. And in the immortal words of Rex Barney, we say, “Thank youuuuu!”

Most guys in your line of work don’t get to pick their final curtain but I must admit that the Japan thing you got forced into doing looked pretty freaking glorious from where I watched on social media. Just the food alone, dude! Mr. Thanksgiving!!!

Buck believed in his soul that you were a pile diver but – as the kids on the field (and in the stands) will find out next month – it’s not easy winning October playoff games and getting the ring and parade after the World Series. I was here for 1973 and 1974, 1979 and 1983 – and 1996 and 1997. October happens fast and hard – for better or worse.

You were here for that trio of Octobers a decade ago. You know the drill. You did your best and gave your all on behalf of the Baltimore Orioles. You are so deserving of this night, especially given the stakes of the game and the incredible energy in the city for you and this pennant drive.

I remember the night that Andy MacPhail traded for you in the dead of winter and the mess you came into here in Baltimore 15 years ago. After a few more MacFleecings (like the Bedard deal that brought the West Coast man east), you, Buck and the Markakis mob paved the way for your generation to make the Delmon Young moment happen. And all that fun! It’s still the game and roar that all others are measured against for those who never saw Wild Bill Hagy on 33rd Street.

But here’s the thing, Jonesy: you brought this place to life and made everything about Orioles baseball fun for a new generation of fans. Same as my summer of 1979 when Orioles Magic was born and my Pop and I fell in love with the feeling of baseball and community. That’s why the joint is gonna be packed on Friday night to give you retirement love.

You were always all in.

Here’s the inherent problem with guys like Greg Bader and John Angelos banning local people like me from ever knowing people like you – so we don’t compare notes and you never know the truth – I’ve never had a real conversation with you. You played here for a decade and I can only count three times when I’ve ever been in a room with you. I’m guessing you got the same internal memo from the Angelos family that Angela Showalter got: I’m a “bad guy.”

But there is some cameo evidence of our time together. Here’s a gem from the field in Foxborough from January 2013 (that I completely forgot existed because it was so special and raw):

(Man, you even loved the Ravens for real! I saw you running on the field with them in Denver, too!)

You were always in on it! So was I!

But, I’m now old and tired.

And somehow banned and feared and loathed and loved more than ever. (It’s weird. Even you and Buck Showalter’s wife write to me sometimes to say nice things on social media!)

This current team has potential to be the greatest of my lifetime and John Angelos and the family refuses to sign a lease. The stadium was pretty empty earlier in the week for the Cardinals but everyone in black is piling up for you on Friday night at Camden Yards. Other than honoring you, the locals are all saving up some nickels for playoff tickets and October slogan swag! Even I bought some new orange OG gear for next month!

These kids might win the World Series in six weeks – or this thing might end in sadness with lots of hope for the next few seasons. But because I’ve watched the Angelos family run this franchise into the ground (and in some cases, even below the ground) over the last 30 years, I’m not big on “next years.” And, as you experienced in 2012 and 2014 and 2016 – there ain’t no tomorrow; there’s just right here, right now.

This is sweet serendipity for you that your night is this kind of night for the city. (I hope they win!)

I appreciated your kind note last year about my work. I met you one other time at a Ravens game when I had left my wife’s Johns Hopkins Hospital bedside to spend a few hours at the football stadium and saw you at halftime in Steve deCastro’s skybox the week before Christmas 2015. You started early in the tailgate lot that day; I had a wife in a coma. I smiled, you were polite and had no idea who I was.

But the only real “conversation” we ever had lasted about 90 seconds on the field at Citi Field in Queens, New York on July 16, 2013 at the All Star Game. You were playing catch on the 3rd base side and I was out in the media scrum. I think you were shocked to see me on the field with a press pass (something I did to feed my family five days a week from 1986 through 2007, until the Angelos family banned me for speaking truth loudly on my little AM radio station).

You did something no other modern Orioles player ever did – or really had the chance to do.

You asked me about Peter G. Angelos.

Why does the old man hate you so much?” you asked me in the mid motion of playing catch. I chuckled and told you that we probably didn’t have enough time to go through the whole history in the next 90 seconds but I answered you as best I could as you were about to take the field. I told you: “Because I am the only one who is honest.” I was the only one in the local media willing to see the truth and speak it or write it.

Back in July 2013, my wife and I were leaving for Tahiti and Bora Bora the next day for our 10th wedding anniversary trip. I was sitting in a French Polynesian overwater bungalow in Moorea (put that one on your list, bro) staring at the rainbows and mountains and dolphins and decided to write a book for you to answer your question.

You inspired me, Jonesy!

I had just finished writing and delivering “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family and Football,” which a decade later now contains its own amount of purple fiction and factual fairy dust. But I was in the mood to write truth for you in the summer of 2013, just to get it all on the record for anyone who would ask that question.

I assure you that The Peter Principles” is all solid third-person history reading for you to answer all of the reasons I did “Free The Birds” in 2006 and why nights like yours this week matter for our city two decades later. My book even bleeds black and orange, just like the old man always wanted!

Turns out my wife Jenn was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2014 and I had spent six months on the first dozen chapters and put the project down during her fight – and never picked it up except to write the MASN Money For Dummies series as an addendum in 2016.

“The Peter Principles” chronicles August 1993 in the New York City courtroom where Angelos won the team with money he didn’t even have from the bank. It goes through the birth of the Washington Nationals and divvying up the early MASN money of 2006 and the brawl with MLB (which not surprisingly, if you follow the plot, continues unpaid to this day). And The King Peter Wars with his MLB partners, every player who ever signed to play here, agents, Jon Miller and John Lowenstein, Albert Belle, the city, the state, the media, George Steinbrenner and trying to buy the Washington Redskins in the media. He couldn’t understand why Mike Mussina needed to be paid so much because he only pitched every fifth game. Some of the stuff is so outrageous (the Cal Ripken fax mixed up in firing general manager Frank Wren without paying him, the faxes, lots and lots of faxes) that it sounds fictional – but I assure you as a guy who was hosting sports radio every day of my life from January 1991 until the present time, it’s purely factual in its archival batshittery.

You came along in February 2008 and lived it from the inside, shortly after I was locked out (and long before you were “cut out”) so I’m sure you can write your own book on the rest of it. I was always hoping mine was going to have a happy ending.

When people ask me about being banished for 17 years at the age of 39 as a “Baltimore Orioles approved media member” after having a press credential for 21 seasons back to my days at The Baltimore Sun – I tell them that Greg Bader and The Angelos Family freed me up to make other better relationships around Baltimore than the ones I remember there at Camden Yards. Being hounded about speaking and writing truth on a daily basis. Trying to help them sell tickets and enthusiasm and then being pissed on and not having the bill paid as a small, local business trying to give a chance in the local sports media world to guys like Rob Long in Baltimore. And being a hardworking, earnest kid from Dundalk with the last name “Aparicio,” who is only breathing in this red, white and blue country you wore the uniform for because my cousin played the game even better than you did.

Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian know all about all of The Peter Principles and wrote in real time. Ask them to tell you their truths one day, too! Ask Peter Schmuck or John Eisenberg or Jon Miller about some wisdom, too!

Or you can read the book I wrote in your honor, “The Peter Principles,” which chronicles what my eyes saw – and a term paper of all of the best sports reporting of that era from Hall of Fame baseball writers – telling the story from the beginning of the ownership era of Peter G. Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles. I learned a lot, so I’m eternally grateful for that exchange we had ten summers ago in New York.

You have your personal history and contributions to that next “fun” chapter of Orioles baseball here, too, which will be celebrated for what you did on the field beginning in 2008. And, don’t kid yourself: there were stats and big hits and wins and times where you were great on the field. But Friday night is about the kind of fun and joy and passion you brought off the field to all of us that lingered into the stands and into the community.

Let Fancy Clancy Haskett tell you what you mean to him and that moment you shared:

I always liked you from afar because you were willing to speak your own truth:

In 2012, you popped off about attendance after telling Orioles fans in the offseason that they shouldn’t be allowing Yankees fans into the bleachers behind you. (Well, you were a little more harsh than that with Dan Connolly that day, but we all grow up and get older and learn more.)

In 2016, you spoke out about race after a heinous episode in Fenway Park. I can’t imagine. But you were brave and spoke uncomfortable truths even before the election. “It’s a white man’s game” might’ve been an extension of what you asked me about in the summer of 2013 that begat the inspiration for the book.

You even popped off on Twitter about the dysfunctional nature of the Baltimore Orioles on a few occasions.

That would get you a real sit-down and a timeout from JohnA if your name was Kevin Brown!

And this gem moments after the Nick Markakis to Atlanta situation.

The Phillies trade that wasn’t begat an exit you didn’t deserve but one that makes the reality of your well-paid-for services and the commodity of OBP and WAR as a just another Number 10 in the scorecard of Orioles history. You deserved better than that.

As the Orioles circled the drain in the post-Buck exit era of the demise of Chris Davis, if I owned the team I would’ve signed you for a few million bucks just to put your face on The Warehouse wall and try to sell some tickets and some enthusiasm for whatever the next thing was going to be  – but I don’t think they believed you’d like losing 115 more games here for a few more seasons to end your run. I said at the time to Luke Jones on the air: Your face should’ve been on the side of The Warehouse at Camden Yards staring at me. (I lived on the 23rd floor of Harbor Court staring west – I saw all of your faces as the wallpaper of my windows. Buck peering at me around the clock like he had an Eveready battery on his shoulder!)

As baseball decisions go, it was time for you to leave – and explore. You had lost enough here in 2017 and certainly in 2018.

One day, I hope we’ll talk Japan. One day, we might even talk Tony Gwynn, who I knew better than most sportswriters or sports radio dudes from Baltimore. (I have a whole San Diego thing with family you don’t know about.)

We’ve always shared mutual Baltimore friends and neighbors. Jason Pappas always told me what a great guy you were. Luke Jones told me that you used to ask about me, especially when I said something on the radio or wrote something that pissed you off. Your father-in-law has even been in my home drinking coffee and talking about sports and Baltimore. (Tell Jean I said hello and thanks!)

You even realized – on your own, they all do – how insane the “org chart” is in the Angelos family for Orioles baseball. MacPhail. Flanagan. Trembley. Buck. Brady. Duquette. John and Lou. Peter. Mama Angelos. You lived through it all as a young man and you were the only one who ever asked me what happened with “Peter and me.”

This is the part that is so cowardly and anti-community and reality denying about these billion dollar sports franchises owned by owners who hide – and fronted by “brand managers” who seek to destroy anything they cannot control. I never had a problem writing or saying something about you – or any athlete – and coming down to the locker room and discussing it. I’ve always been fair. And honest. And not for sale. And not for rent. This is why WNST is celebrating its 25th Anniversary despite guys like me not knowing guys like you the past 17 years and you being told by “ownership” that I’m a bad human being.

You even saluted me for calling you out on jogging out a ground ball, once! So, maybe I inspired you, too!

For the record: we would’ve agreed on plenty of stuff and gotten along famously (Buck would’ve loved me) but you were groomed to dislike me by The Family. Just like Angela Showalter and everyone else. A shame, but I was always watching and cheering for you and our city.

Adam, you were a real asset to the franchise. The fact that they “pied” you in recent years and that you’re making up is nice. I don’t think they’ll ever make up with the “Aparicio” in me – but my family name is in the Orioles Hall of Fame and in one that matters up in Cooperstown. Even on the wall and outfield on the southside of Chicago. I carry a baseball name wherever I go – for better or worse. I don’t need to be validated by the likes of Greg Bader to be legitimate.

It’s nice to see you around on my timeline – married to a local girl and all – and trying to be a part of lifting what’s left of the modern Orioles of Mike Elias into the new world.

I want to leave you with something I’ve never shared that I hope you will appreciate.

Back in 2008, I wrote to Brooks Robinson (who always loved me and treated me like family, or like the relative of a guy he played next to in 1966 at Memorial Stadium) to try to revive my Nice Guy Awards and get him out for a night. This is what he wrote to me on January 8, 2008 – just 16 months after “Free The Birds.”


Thanks for your email.  I haven’t entered the email age yet so I apologize for the delay in responding.

I want to thank you for your offer to honor me; however, I cannot accept it.  I turned 70 last May and am trying to slow down so I can enjoy time with my family.

As you know, I get approached by over 60 charities throughout the year to serve as Honorary Chairman or to be honored.  Over the past year, I have declined these invitations because my platter is already quite full and I have promised my wife and family that I will not continue to add to it.

I understand what you are trying to do for the sports community.  And while I agree that there is a loss of sports tradition, I am not sure the way to fix that is to continue to rely on players from my generation.   I believe that we need to have the current players step up to the plate and agree to participate in these charitable programs.  You will not be able to continue the tradition – it will die off with my generation – unless you engage the next generation to participate.  

So, while I am once again flattered that you wish to honor me, I hope you understand that it will not be possible.



A month later, you came along…

You were the “current” player he was talking about 15 years ago. So, walk proud! Take the torch and pass it to Adley and Gunnar and these kids!

You always stepped up to the plate, Jonesy. Keep stepping up and knocking it out of the park and into the city and suburbs.

Welcome home. Enjoy your night. It’s a big one! (One of the biggest ever.)



P.S. Let me know how you like “The Peter Principles.” I think you’ll learn a lot. And I know how you like learning stuff.

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