TORONTO -- Danny Jansen feels like he's living in a dream, and he just hopes that nobody wakes him up any time soon. If a whirlwind of a first week in the Major Leagues wasn't enough, now he's sharing the field with one of his boyhood idols.In a moment that
TORONTO -- Danny Jansen feels like he's living in a dream, and he just hopes that nobody wakes him up any time soon. If a whirlwind of a first week in the Major Leagues wasn't enough, now he's sharing the field with one of his boyhood idols.
In a moment that was 14 years in the making, Jansen was reunited with Orioles star outfielder Adam Jones during Monday night's game against the Orioles. There might be a 10-year age gap between these two, but there's also a special bond that dates back to their time together in Appleton, Wis.
Jansen grew up three minutes away from the home ballpark of the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. His parents volunteered to become a host family for the Mariners affiliate, and for 130 games during the 2004 season, they opened their home to the man who would go on to become a five-time All-Star.
"It was amazing. It was a dream inside of a dream," said Jansen, who caught up with Jones before the game and exchanged pleasantries at the plate during an at-bat in the first inning.
"I've always wanted to be a Major League baseball player, but to be on the same field as Adam, it was a dream. I talked to him last night. I texted him and said, 'Man, that was just crazy that we got to do that tonight.' He said, 'I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It was awesome.'"
Jones wasn't the only member of the Timber Rattlers organization who was welcomed into the Jansen family with open arms. The Jansens hosted a large number of players, including former Major League lefty Bobby Livingston, dating back to when Danny was 7 years old.
Jansen and Jones have remained in touch over the years, and their relationship resembles something that you'd normally see from brothers. Toronto's promising prospect even jokes that he tries not to bother the former Gold Glover too much these days because he did enough of that when he was younger. He figures Jones had his fill.
But one of the coolest parts of this relationship for Jansen? It scored him some pretty impressive bragging rights while growing up. Not too many people can drop a name like Jones and call him a personal friend.
"When I was younger, I would tell everybody about that, because he was a superstar in the Major Leagues," Jansen said. "It was really cool, and we were fortunate to have a lot of guys who were awesome people coming through. They treated our family well. We treated them well, and it's a relationship that we're never going to forget."
The close ties to the Timber Rattlers also helped fuel Jansen's love for the sport he now plays for a living. That's a good thing for the Blue Jays, because the club's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has a bright future and is expected to be a cornerstone for this team alongside an emerging core of talent that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
Jansen entered play on Tuesday with hits in each of his first six games. The only other players to do that in Toronto franchise history are outfielder Jesse Barfield (1981) and Ryan Goins (2013), who had hits in each of their first eight.
"It definitely helped make it more passionate, I think. Just to have all of those baseball guys around, you get to see what it's like," Jansen said. "I didn't really think anything of it when I was younger, but now that I've been in the Minor Leagues and know what it's like, it definitely helped fuel that fire for me, I think."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.