Get to know your Orioles: Adam Jones

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In honor of the upcoming All-Star game it only seemed appropriate to take a look at he face of the franchise. He, once a nomad as a kid, has found a home in Baltimore.

He doesn't walk enough. He swings at too many pitchess in the dirt. People say he is fast, why doesn't he steal more bases? Must he always be blowing those flippin' bubbles? People say a lot of things about Adam Jones. That is, until they look at a stat sheet and realize that he puts up freakish numbers and is the unequivocal leader of the O's. You keep doing you, Adam.

Bio

Name: Adam LaMarque Jones  Number: 10
Born: August 1, 1985 (28 years old) in San Diego, CA
Height: 6'3"  Weight: 225 lbs
Bats: Right  Throws: Right
Drafted: by the Seattle Mariners in the 1st round (37th overall) in 2003
School: Morse High School (San Diego, CA)
Contract: $13 million in 2014 (signed through 2018 with an escalating salary)
Became an Oriole: traded by the Mariners with Tony Butler, Kam Mickolio, George Sherrill and Chris Tillman in exchange for Erik Bedard on February 8, 2008
Walk-up song: "Ballin' Out" by: French Montana
Twitter: @SimplyAJ10

Personal

As a kid, Adam had a different kind of family. His father was not a part of his youth. His mother remarried when he was six. She cared about Adam but wouldn't attend sporting events very often. Instead, he found support from others.

For a while he lived with his best friend, and current Norfolk outfielder, Quinten Berry. They shared a room where they would joke around, play video games, and talk about sports. Baseball was the last game to the party as Adam didn't play little league at all. He preferred football and basketball.

It wasn't until he turned 12 that Jones embraced the sport. His stepfather had taken him to see the San Diego Padres play. And then he couldn't stop talking about it. So, he tried out for the Redwings, a travel team based in San Diego. He was the team's ace, starting shortstop and even gave a try at switch-hitting and was quite good.

One game in high school he decided he would hit left handed the entire time. The first pitch he saw was a bomb over the right field fence for a round-tripper.

Baseball consumed him. For a while, he stayed with his cousin, Adrian Limbrick. Many days he would sit in Adrian's room eating sunflower seeds and watching reruns of Padres games with a baseball and a glove, pounding the ball into the glove over and over again.

The catcher for the Redwings was Jett Ruiz. Adam and Jett became good friends and the Ruiz's unofficially adopted Jones. He lived with them, borrowing Jett's clothes and being gracious of everything they gave him, which was quite a lot.

They helped pay for him to make it to tournaments out of state, bought him baseball gear and paid for his tuxedo, corsage and senior picture at prom. Before he had the help of the Ruiz family, Adam would go around, door-to-door selling candy in the affluent parts of San Diego to afford school lunch.

They were so supportive that when it came time to sign his first professional contract with the Mariners he chose to do so at the Ruiz's home, not his mother's.

Before that, however, Jones was a stalwart in high school. His team played on a decrepit field with tall grass and a backstop six feet behind home plate. Despite this, he managed to hit over .400 and lead the team to a berth in the state semifinals.

He was given the opportunity to transfer to Mission Bay High. It was a magnet school that had a much higher quality athletic department. But they also had a talented shortstop in Matt Bush, who would go on to be selected as number one overall pick by Tampa Bay in 2004.

When contemplating the move he told their coach that he would come play shortstop and Bush would have to go somewhere else on the field. Mission Bay's coach informed him that it would be quite the contrary. That pretty much made Adam's decision for him: he would stay at Morse High.

After Morse, Adam's career in baseball took off with just a few bumps along the way. Many teams wanted him as a pitcher with his 95 mph heat and raw ability. But he wanted to hit, so Seattle made him a shortstop.

Jones was hitting everything in his early years in the minors but his fielding was an issue, amassing 34 errors to just 349 assists. His arm was phenomenal but he couldn't keep the ball in his glove at times.

In addition to this, the Mariners had acquired Yuniesky Betancourt, a player from Cuba who was unspectacular with the wood, but was above average with the leather. Therefore, to allow them to use him sooner, Seattle moved Jones to center field. It would hide his flaws with the glove while showcasing his arm and foot speed.

Jones would then zoom up the ranks, going from Seattle's ninth best prospect in his inaugural 2003 season to their top gem after 2006, the season he debuted in the bigs.

He was called up to replace an injured Jeremy Reed and an ineffective Shin-Soo Choo. Unfortunately, Jones kinda stunk in his brief call up too, only hitting .216  with one home run and eight RBI for the big club.

The 2007 season saw him begin in Triple-A Tacoma to refine his skills. He would do just that, smashing minor league pitching to the tune of .314 over 101 games with 25 home runs. He was ready for the bigs. He returned in August of that year to the MLB for good.

During that off-season's Winter Meetings it was rumored that the Mariners were interested in Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard. He was coming off a year in which he finished tied for fifth in the Cy Young voting. Seattle had an 88-win campaign in 2007 and wanted more pitching to pair with Felix Hernandez. The Orioles needed a center fielder as their incumbent, Corey Patterson, was a free agent.

As we all know, the Orioles committed highway robbery on Seattle and the deal was done a week before spring training. The rest, is history.

The newest piece of news on Jones, besides his All-Star bid, is his engagement that took place back in October. He proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Audie Fugett, while the two were on vacation in Paris.

Audie, the daughter of former Washington Redskin Jean Fugett, is a Baltimore native that played basketball at George Washington University before pursuing a law degree in New York.

The two welcomed their first child, a little boy named Zaniyah Jones, in mid-March. It caused Adam to miss a few days of Spring Training. He's excused, especially with this season he is having.

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