Tonight’s game at Camden Yards between the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles is just another game on the schedule for most of the players on each team. But not for Orioles’ All-Star outfielder Adam Jones. For him, it’s almost like his own big league debut.
For the first time Jones will play in a big league game against his best friend – Tigers rookie outfielder Quintin Berry. The two have been friends since they were practically in diapers, and grew up together in San Diego. The pair starred together on their high school baseball team before embarking on their dream to play in the major leagues.
Jones traveled a far more direct path to The Show – going directly into professional baseball out of high school and debuting at the age of 20 with the Seattle Mariners in 2006. Now as an Oriole he’s in his 7th season at the big league level and in his prime. He’s a two-time All-Star, one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, and developing more power as he matures. But rather than focus on his own game, Jones is just as excited for his friend Berry. When the Tigers called Berry up to the majors in May, Jones was almost as ecstatic as Quintin.
“He’s worked hard and he deserves it,” Jones said at the time.
Berry has become somewhat of a cult hero with Detroit fans, using his speed and slap-hitting style to endear himself to Tiger faithful. He comes into the weekend matchup with Jones and the O’s with a .299 average and 12 steals in 12 attempts. After seven seasons in the minor leagues with four different organizations, it seemed as if Berry’s dream of playing at the top level would never be realized. But his perseverance has paid off. Most players who have played nearly 700 games in the minors are forever labeled as minor leaguers, but Berry is trying to earn a lasting role up in The Show with pal Jones.
When Berry comes up the first time against the O’s, Jones will have his work cut out for him. Though he knows Berry as well as anyone, he’s never played against his friend. It might be fitting to see the 27-year old Tiger rookie loft a fly ball into the gap to test the range of his boyhood friend, or maybe he’ll just wink in that direction and drop down a bunt single. Either way, it’ll feel good to be on the same major league field with his best friend.