Jones’ Extension is Turning Point in the Franchise’s History

| May 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

For years growing up as a sports fan in Baltimore I got to listen to my dad and grandfather regale me with tales of Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and everyone else that made the Orioles the model franchise in baseball for about three decades.  I have been a lifelong Orioles fan and wished that one day I would be able to see this franchise at the top of Major League Baseball like my dad and grandfather did and also have a player whose name will be synonymous with winning in Baltimore.

I am grateful that I did get to see Cal Ripken play, and he will always be one of my favorite athletes of all time, but there has not been that “hero” for the Orioles since he left. Enter Adam Jones, who yesterday announced that he signed a six-year, 85 million dollar contract extension to stay in Baltimore.

While people reading this might think I am overblowing it given my affection for Adam Jones, I really think that this one of the greatest days in the franchise’s history, certainly the last 20 years.  Young Orioles fans did not get to experience Cal Ripken, going wire to wire in 1997 or any sort of face of the franchise that embodies winning. Now they will get that as I believe the Orioles will be contenders for the next several years with Jones patrolling center field.

Not only just for the reason I just mentioned is the impact of the Jones extension felt, it’s also felt in another huge way: EVERYONE IN THE CITY IS NOW TALKING ABOUT ORIOLES BASEBALL. For the first time in a long time, I see Orioles t-shirts seemingly on everyone who is out and about in the city and everywhere I go there are conversations about the Orioles and people are genuinely interested.

As Baltimoreans, we have civic pride like no other city in the country and we take it personally when our city is disrespected. We have seen players like Mark Teixeira, Vlad Guerrero and Paul Konerko all disrespect the Orioles by refusing to sign with the team and we have even heard some of our own players (Aubrey Huff)  call Baltimore a horse bleep town.  That has all changed. A player who certainly would have been coveted by the Yankees, Red Sox and every other franchise in baseball if he became a free agent showed that he wants to stay in Baltimore.  Let me say that again… HE WANTS TO STAY IN BALTIMORE!!! These words should provide happiness for everyone who supports this team and loves this city.

Over the last fifteen years the Orioles have been the brunt of every joke nationally and Baltimore was viewed as the place where careers died for anyone who signed with the team.  And in all fairness, the Orioles deserved most, if not all, of the criticism and lack of respect that they received, however, nobody is talking about the O’s in a negative light now.

The Orioles franchise might have just turned the corner right before our eyes.  Jones is entering the prime of his career and will be one of the best players in baseball for the next decade. Not only that, but Baltimore is now viewed as a place that players want to play and this should lead to the Orioles landing some major free agents choosing to play in Baltimore.

May 28, 2012 is the day things changed in Baltimore, the day that baseball officially came back in Baltimore and the day the Orioles franchise changed for the better.

Twenty years from now, when we are watching the Orioles retire the number 10 in front of a capacity crowd, we will remember where it started and the date the franchise turned the corner.

It is no understatement to call May 28, 2012 one of the greatest days in the history of Baltimore sports.

Follow me on twitter @mromanell and follow southbmore.com @southbmore1

 

About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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