NEW YORK – Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, whose postgame comments Tuesday about fans who run onto the field during games sparked national headlines, said Wednesday that he doesn’t regret that he said players should be able to “kick them with our metal spikes,” and police should “tase the living [heck] out of them.”
A day after making the remarks, Jones said he meant no harm by his comments, but he still stood by his words. Jones’ comments were being reviewed by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, an MLB spokesperson told The Baltimore Sun.
“My comments weren’t malicious or anything like that,” Jones said. “It’s just my opinion. I’m pretty sure other people have spoken their opinion and gotten nothing. … The players feel like it’s something you don't say, and I said it.”
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Jones said he received several messages from fellow players throughout baseball for his statements. His postgame interview was the subject of national television and radio shows on Wednesday morning.
“Oh yeah, my phone has been blowing up,” Jones said. “It’s been awesome, with everyone. Friends around the league. Like, ‘Dude, that’s awesome.’ You guys are making a big deal out of it because you have to. I know your overhead is making you come to me, so I get it.”
Still, Jones didn’t apologize for the comments, which came after two fans ran onto the field from the stands along the third-base line at Yankee Stadium in the eighth inning of the Orioles’ 14-5 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Both trespassers were taken down by police and security, and Jones yelled some “choice words” at them as they were escorted off the field through a gate in center field.
“[I’m] not sorry,” Jones said. “No, people say sorry they don't mean it. I’m not going to say it if I don't mean it. Obviously, I don't want to inflict any pain on people, but if you put us in harm’s way, got to protect myself.”
The three-time American League All-Star and three-time Gold Glove center fielder doesn’t shy away from expressing his opinion. And it’s not the first time he’s been vocal about player security during games. Last season, after posting on Twitter that a banana was thrown at him — which is considered a racist action — from the stands at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Jones said he was more concerned about his safety on the field than anything racially-motivated.
Jones said he doesn’t mind being outspoken on the issue.
“I don’t care,” Jones said. “I’m going to speak my mind. I’m going to tell you the truth. I’m not going to lie to you. What am I going to lie to you about? I’m just wasting my time. If it’s something concerning my teammates, or the safety of my family, I’ll cuss anybody out of it. I don’t care.”
Asked what realistic penalties he believes should be imposed on offenders, Jones said jail time and fines in the range of $20,000 would make fans think twice before running onto the field.
“You can’t stop them from happening because you would have to put up barriers, and that would obstruct the fans,” Jones said. “The only thing you can do is make examples of them. Give them real jail time. Fine the [heck] out of them. Twenty-grand. Nobody wants to be fined twenty-grand. I don't care who you are. The world’s richest man. So, you are going to have to do something.
“Obviously, the safety of players is utmost important to me, and I know Major League Baseball feels that way,” Jones said. “This is a $9 billion industry. You are not going to let someone come on the field and damage your investment. Just looking at it from a business model. So, it is what it is.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter supported Jones’ opinion and wondered why fans often cheer when fans run onto the field.
“Adam's entitled to his opinion, and [it is] one a lot of people might agree with, but I think you've got to take it for what it's worth. … He's a very smart young man,” Showalter said. “It just kind of hit me sitting on the top step listening to people cheering as they ran onto the field. What does that really say? I'm sitting there on the top step, thinking, 'Why are they cheering?' What would happen if everybody booed them? Think it would have changed anything? That's what hit me. They're all cheering.”
Instead, Showalter made light of the fact that both trespassers were tackled by a group of security officials face-first into the Yankee Stadium infield.
“They didn't exactly sugar coat it out there,” Showalter deadpanned. “I wonder how those two guys felt the infield was. They thought it was properly soft?”
Hardy hopes to return Friday
Shortstop J.J. Hardy wasn’t in the starting lineup Wednesday for the fifth time in his past six games because of back spasms, but he said he hopes to start Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards following the team’s off day Thursday.
“[It is] much better now than at any point yesterday,” Hardy said Wednesday. “Pretty excited about it. I feel like tomorrow I'll be able to go to the field, run around, do some stuff and really test it out, and hopefully be ready to go [Friday].”
Hardy said before Wednesday’s game that he felt healthy enough to be available off the bench.
“Yeah, if needed,” he said. “I could have done it yesterday. If needed, I could do it today. Ideally, I'd like to be able to run around and test it out tomorrow, and see how it reacts, and be good to go when we get back.”
Hardy said the priority is to make sure the injury doesn’t force him to miss extended time, so he’s taking it slow.
“I don't want it to spasm up again and make me miss more time,” he said. “I'm hoping when I get back from this, I'll be able to play the rest of the games from here on out. I definitely don't want to have a setback with this.”
Around the horn
Left-hander Johan Santana is scheduled to throw a batting practice session to hitters on Saturday in Sarasota, Fla. … Right-hander Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches Wednesday, all fastballs, in Sarasota. He plans to work his changeup and breaking ball into his routine soon. … The Orioles signed left-hander Anthony Vasquez, who pitched seven games for the Seattle Mariners in 2011. Vasquez, 27, who will likely report to Double-A Bowie, was 1-6 with an 8.90 ERA in seven starts with Seattle, allowing 13 homers in 291/3 innings. In 2013, Vasquez was 2-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 15 starts between the Single-A and Double-A levels.