NEW YORK — After Adam Jones struck out in the seventh inning Friday night against New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova, Jones took another swing.
This time, it was at his helmet in the tunnel leading out of the clubhouse.
Jones, who entering Saturday had hit just .231 since June 1, made sure he was in an area clear of teammates — and, he thought, of cameras — when he flipped his helmet in the air, slammed it with his bat and then flung his bat at the helmet.
YES Network cameras, however, captured the brief tirade. Jones didn't know it until outfielder Nolan Reimold, who had been in the clubhouse watching the television feed, approached Jones.
“Nice snap,” Reimold said, chiding his buddy.
After the game, Jones heard about it from another, higher power, who wasn't as pleased.
“I got a nice text from my mother saying, ‘I know you are real passionate. I know you care. But stop that [stuff],” Jones said. “I know Mom's paying attention. She loves her son and she knows that sometimes I get a little frustrated, but, hey, it's all part of the game and it happens.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn't have a problem with Jones' show of frustration because Jones tried to do it privately. But it's tough to do anything without a camera watching these days, Jones said.
“I think it was needed. I hadn't performed the way I would like to, so, hey, it's better than me hitting something,” Jones said. “It's bad by the cameras to be all the way down there. I think there's a certain amount of privacy that we should be able to get. Obviously, if I wanted to do it where everybody could see it, I would have done it on the bench. But, hey, a little frustration — I don't think that ever hurt anybody.”
Jones has kicked and tossed his helmet in the past. He said he's on helmet No. 4 or 5 this year.
“And these are the ones you can't even break … supposedly,” he said, laughing. “You can't break these things, you just can dent them. And trust me, I've tried to break them. Tried — you just can dent them.”
He said he's not sure what message people will take from his actions. But he knows what he thinks it means.
“It can be one of two things: Either this guy cares or he's a sore loser. There's always going to be one or two opinions on it,” he said. “But I know the fans of baseball, the fans of mine, they know I care about what I do on the field. It's important to me. If need be, I will do it again.”
Maybe, he said, the release of emotions will help break him out a slump. He was 3-for-16 on the road trip before singling in the first inning Saturday.
“I've been scuffling at the plate it seems like the last month, not in a way I know I can (hit),” said Jones, who finished 2-for-4 in the 5-4 loss. “So I hope that squares me up and just lets me get back on the grind. That's one thing about me … I ain't going to quit. It was needed.”