Jones carries giving spirit into offseason
O's outfielder hosting charity tailgate, to appear at FanFest
SAN DIEGO -- While it's been a relatively slow offseason around baseball so far, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is gearing up for a busy holiday. Jones, who has spent a good chunk of his time in his native San Diego, will be on the East Coast for the Orioles' annual FanFest event Dec. 12, followed by his third-annual #StayHungry Purple Tailgate.
The charity event has raised more than $20,000 for Baltimore's Boys & Girls Club in its first two years, and Jones expects to exceed that number this winter.
"You got to create your own character outside of the game," said Jones, who received the prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award this year for his off-the-field contributions. "I think the fans appreciate it. [The tailgate] coincides with the Ravens season, so the Baltimore fans that are so loyal come out and support. I know the season isn't going the way everyone wanted it to go … but the fan base still comes out to support, they understand the cause [for the tailgate] and they understand it's affecting the city they live in. The thing about Baltimore is they are proud to be from Baltimore, and that's the humbling factor."
Jones has never shied away from his Southern California roots either, and this winter he'll team up with close friend -- and former teammate -- Quintin Berry in bringing a baseball camp to San Diego. The Adam Jones All-Star Camp will run on Dec. 19-20, at $189 per child, but Jones is hoping finances won't be a deterring factor.
"We are creating things where people can sponsor, businesses can sponsor kids," Jones said of the two-day camp, which will also have players' appearances and guest speakers. "This was a situation where I was, where I'm from. 'Who could help me out?' The good thing about it is I got numerous friends who are willing to help out, not just financially, but physically. It's going to be a good camp, to let the kids know of the ups and downs of baseball and the mentality of it."
Jones, who has often talked about how important the Boys & Girls Club was in keeping him on the right path, has been brainstorming with Berry for a while about ways to help San Diego youth.
"We wanted to give back and have a camp, but have something where you can actually help the kids," Jones said. "San Diego is a breeding stock of talent and baseball, and we wanted to create something that can actually get young players better."
As for his tailgate event, Jones -- who has built three new centers for the Baltimore Boys & Girls Club -- is already eyeing a fourth.
"I've got three more years," Jones said of his contract with the Orioles, "need to find three more centers."