BALTIMORE -- A night removed from being subject to racial slurs and a bag of peanuts being thrown at him, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones received a standing ovation prior to his first-inning at-bat during a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday.Taking a page from
BALTIMORE -- A night removed from being subject to racial slurs and a bag of peanuts being thrown at him, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones received a standing ovation prior to his first-inning at-bat during a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Taking a page from the urging of the Red Sox's Mookie Betts, who joined the crowd in clapping from right field, Boston showed Jones and the rest of the baseball world that they were behind him as a baseball player and, most importantly, a human being.
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"It was much appreciated," Jones said of the sentiment. "[Red Sox starter Chris] Sale, who works extremely fast, took his time and let it relish a little bit. So I appreciate the sentiments."
"I thought it was great by our fans. And I said it before the game: The remarks of one or two should not taint what our fan base is, and that's knowledgeable, and it goes beyond the stat line for an individual player," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I'm sure many people in this ballpark know about Adam Jones' contributions off the field, the type of person he is, and certainly the player and the way he goes about his game on the field. He's an All-Star player. I think it was a great acknowledgment for who he is as a person."
Jones, who received a great deal of support, said that he received texts from numerous players, including Boston's David Price. Jones' willingness to raise the issue was heard around the Majors, as players and managers weighed in on the despicable acts of a few.
Betts took to his Twitter account to back Jones, encouraging fans to cheer on the O's center fielder. And they responded, clapping and slowly getting to their feet in a touching tribute.
"I don't want to be a part of something like that. I don't think anybody does," Betts said of what transpired on Monday. "When we come to the park, we're here to have fun. Heckling is heckling. That's part of the game. But there's a line that doesn't need to be crossed, and that's definitely one of them."
There was extra security at Fenway on Tuesday night, with Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and owner John Henry on Tuesday meeting with Jones to apologize on behalf of the city and organization earlier in the day.
"That was one of the things John Henry and I wanted to make sure -- that Adam knew that we wanted to make sure he felt safe and comfortable, well maybe not comfortable playing at Fenway, but safe," Kennedy said. "And he should not be subject to that despicable behavior."
Jones commended the Red Sox and Major League Baseball for working to get out in front of the issue.
"The racist words and actions directed at Adam Jones at Fenway Park last night are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any of our ballparks," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "My office has been in contact with the Red Sox, and the club has made it clear that they will not tolerate this inexcusable behavior. Our 30 clubs will continue to work with fans and security to provide a family-friendly environment. Any individual who behaves in such offensive fashion will be immediately removed from the ballpark and subject to further action.
"The behavior of these few ignorant individuals does not reflect the millions of great baseball fans who attend our games."
"Like I've said before, I've never been black. So I'm not going to sit here and act like I know," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But I can tell you how it makes me feel. He didn't let me know [when it happened]. I wish he would have let me know. It's not the only place that it happens."
Showalter said he would have considered taking his team off the field had he been alerted, but echoed Jones in his praise for how the Red Sox handled the situation.
"Our guys and the Red Sox, they want to play baseball and they don't want to have these other things creep into it," Showalter said. "There's a lot of things that drive it that I can get into, but it's my personal feelings. The only good thing, if anything, is it brings focus on this. That's about the only good thing."
Jones appreciated all the support from around Major League Baseball, calling the incident "bigger than the game" and reminding the media scrum that there are much bigger issues at hand in the world.
Jones, who encouraged Boston fans to continue to boo him and heckle him without racist remarks, has never been one to shy away from standing up for things. Tuesday was hardly the first time the All-Star has weighed in on touchy topics, as Jones most notably spoke during the 2015 Baltimore riots.
Jones is hoping by speaking up he started a conversation to help spark change.
"Everything is always about a conversation, if you can bring awareness to a situation and light to the situation," Jones said.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.