BALTIMORE -- Whether he dons the orange and black again is still uncertain. But outfielder Adam Jones wants to play "at least" four or five more years, the newly minted free agent said on Sunday at his annual charity tailgate.Jones, a free agent for the first time in his career,
BALTIMORE -- Whether he dons the orange and black again is still uncertain. But outfielder Adam Jones wants to play "at least" four or five more years, the newly minted free agent said on Sunday at his annual charity tailgate.
Jones, a free agent for the first time in his career, hosted the sixth annual #StayHungry tailgate prior to the Ravens' game against the Raiders, drawing an impressive crowd at the Purple Tailgate lot and raising a new event high of more than $125,000.
The funds will be used by the Living Classroom Foundation, with some of it allotted to the local Boys & Girls Club that Jones and his wife, Audie, have heavily backed during their time in Baltimore.
"The people here appreciated what I've done, on the field first and foremost, and in the community, [and what my wife and I] have been able to accomplish," Jones said over the roar of country duo LOCASH, who took to the main stage for a concert. "[This is] Baltimore helping Baltimore, and it's great. We've got LOCASH here. They've been unbelievable. It's a great cause and it's gotten bigger and bigger because the people in Baltimore have realized what an impact they've had in their own cities and communities.
"Downtown Baltimore has grown a lot, a lot of buildings have been put in and others torn down. There are a lot of improvements going on in the city for the next generation."
The 33-year-old Jones, who was named the Most Valuable Oriole this season, has been lauded for his charitable efforts. He and his wife, together with the Orioles Charitable Foundation, gave $150,000 to six local non-profits in September. A former Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner, Jones has also been the Orioles' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award -- honoring off-the-field contributions -- numerous times.
Last year's event, the first held before a Monday Night Football game, raised more than $100,000 -- doubling the $50,000 netted the previous year. In total, Jones has raised more than $300,000 from the #StayHungry tailgates -- which were organized with BMORE Around Town and included food from local restaurant vendors and a charity auction.
"It's hard to describe," Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini said of Jones' impact on the community. "The fact that he's a free agent and is still doing this for the city of Baltimore speaks volumes about the kind of guy that he is, what the city means to him and what he means to the city. It's incredible."
Mancini was joined by Orioles teammates Donnie Hart and Joey Rickard at the tailgate. Plenty of former players, including Steve Johnson and LJ Hoes, were also in attendance.
But with Jones' status uncertain, will there be a 2019 #StayHungry event?
"That's the million-dollar question. We will address that when we see what the future holds for me personally," Jones said. "It will be hard to turn away, personally. But it has also got to be convenient.
"Nothing is ever a goodbye, I'm always a flight away from anything."
Jones, who said the Orioles have not reached out about retaining him, likened being a free agent at this stage of his career to being in high school.
"It's like [being] the senior that some people want that not everyone [else] wants, as opposed to the sophomore everyone wants," he said.
"I don't have any stress. The Orioles have been good to me financially. I know I have a lot to offer someone else. I have a lot of gas left in the tank and I want to play at least four or five more years. At the end of the day, my boys are old enough to start understanding what's going on with me. They are proud of [their] daddy. It's fun to be able to share what I've been offered with many [people]."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.