It was early May, I had returned home from my sophomore year at college about a week prior and was already getting bored with all the free time. Being close to Citi Field, I called up a buddy of mine in the morning and suggested we go and see the Mets game that night, because my beloved Yankees were out of town on a long road trip and I was craving to go to a ball game.
After browsing the various ticket websites, we found a pair of cheap field level tickets that suited our poor, college student lifestyle. The Mets were playing the Orioles that night, and this was back in the beginning of the 2015 season before the wheels began to fall off for Baltimore. The Mets were still hot from that incredible April they had, and the Orioles were competing in the AL East, so we were going to see a great game.
After buying the tickets, I remembered that Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones had followed me on Twitter. (For those unaware, I run @BaseballQuotes1 on Twitter, which has a sizable following including a number of MLB players, so here is a plug to follow me if you don’t already) I would get updates every now and again when Adam favorited one of the quotes I’d posted. I had always been a fan of Adam’s, and admired the way he played the game, and all the fun he brought to that Orioles team. He is one of those rare baseball players who are extremely talented, and play the game the right way.
So I decided to message him, simply saying I was going to be at the game and had hoped to meet him if he had a free minute. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a response. He was a world-class athlete preparing to go do his job, I doubted he would have the time to read it or ever respond.
About an hour later, I felt my phone go off in my pocket and just assumed it was another spam email or MLB At Bat notification. I was shocked to see it was from Twitter, and even more surprised to see a message from Jones himself. He said it would be cool to meet me and shake my hand, and thanked me for posting the quotes on twitter. He said he loves all of them and that people will never understand just how much they mean.
Now this truly shocked me. Adam Jones, the All Star, Gold Glove winning young superstar from the Baltimore Orioles wanted to meet me. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had those butterflies you get in your stomach right before you do something really nerve-wracking, except that instead of doing something nerve-wracking, at that moment I was in my kitchen eating lunch and typing on my cellphone.
After a few more messages, we had organized when and where we were going to meet during batting practice. The only problem was how he was going to tell me apart from the thousands of other fans that would be crowding Citi Field. He told me that when I saw him run out onto the field, to call him by his “alter ego,” which I guess few people called him and for his sake I won’t share. I have a rather loud voice that carries in stadiums, so that wasn’t going to be an issue.
My buddy and I rushed to the stadium to get there for batting practice. Gates for Citi Field normally open around two and a half hours before game time, so we got there and got in the stadium around that time. We saw the end of the Mets batting practice, and then the O’s hopped onto the field. I tried to move closer to the dugout to make it easier for Adam, but Citi Field security pushed me away because I did not have a ticket in that section. It was understandable on their part, just doing their job.
When he came out of the dugout to warm up, he jogged slowly and looked toward the crowd down the left field line. I stood up on a seat and shouted his nickname, much to the delight of his teammates. A few of the Orioles began to crack up when I said it, indicating an inside joke that I guess I became a part of. Jones pointed right at me, smiled, and continued his jog to center field to begin his pregame routine.
Once he got done with all his warm-ups, he waved for my friend and I to come down behind the dugout. Again, security gave me a hard time, but Jones yelled at them to let me through. After getting through, I finally got to meet him. I told him how much of a fan I was, and thanked him for taking the time out to talk with me. He said not to worry about it, and thanked me again for all I do on Twitter. He asked where I got the quotes from and all that jazz, and we talked baseball for a few minutes before he had to go back to the dugout to get ready for the game.
I never got to shake his hand unfortunately because of the way the dugout is set up, but he did ask for the ball in my hand that I had just caught in batting practice (thanks for ripping one foul Travis Snider). He signed it, and even added his signature hash tag #StayHungry. He was very nice, and a sincere and genuine guy, confirming everything I had thought about him.
Now this whole ordeal was one of the coolest of my entire life. After chatting with him, I had random fans ask who I was and how I knew Adam Jones. After tweeting out a picture of the ball, I even had someone at the game find me and say hello and that they loved my account. My buddy was extremely jealous, but thought it was equally cool.
Adam Jones not only became my new favorite player during this ordeal, but he also became a new friend. As cool as this was, it was a little overwhelming for a kid with a Twitter account. So to Adam, if you end up reading this, you are the man and made another fan for life. Thanks, and #StayHungry