"I want [Davis] to get it, but he has to hit the most home runs per round to get it. It's just my little token of appreciation. Something cool to have around the clubhouse," Jones said. "We've got ping-pong tables and pool and everything else going on in the clubhouse. So I just sit at my locker and play with my belt."

Davis said he was a little worried about his buddy and the gold, jeweled title belt.

"Somebody's gonna take it, I mean, it's a big, shiny belt," Davis joked. "I'm excited about seeing Jonesy get out there and interact. I know he likes to put on a show."

Davis was by far the most mobbed Oriole during the media scrum — perhaps the most popular of any AL player other than Rivera. He was asked about his nutrition routine and said he eats healthy about 80 percent of the time and not-so-healthy the other 20 percent. Sundays, he said, are often his eat-whatever days.

"Donuts, pancakes. I love breakfast. Chicken fried steak is my favorite meal," he said. "I'm as Southern as it gets."

Davis, the majors' leading home run hitter with 37, didn't get all softballs, though. As expected, he was asked about whether he has taken performance-enhancing drugs, which he again denied. He also addressed his comments last week that he believes the 61 homers hit by the Yankees' Roger Maris is the actual record and not the 73 hit by Barry Bonds in 2001. Davis said if he gets to 61, he'll celebrate it.

"I think I'm going to celebrate anything close to [61]. That's a lot of home runs in a season, the most I've ever hit is 40 [in minors and majors combined]," he said. "I'm sure [Bonds] celebrated 73. That's a lot of home runs. Everybody is different. Everybody believes what they want to believe, and I still believe 61 is the record."

Tillman, who had a steady stream of media members come to him but wasn't as mobbed as the other four Orioles, was thrown into a hot-button issue as well. He was asked how the scandal involving Miami anti-aging clinic Biogenesis and its reported connection to several big league stars will affect the game.

Tillman sidestepped it like a seasoned pro.

"In our clubhouse, we don't really let our focus go to that," Tillman said. "We don't really know a whole lot about it. We just focus on what we need to focus on: Going out and winning ballgames."

That winning ballgames thing was also a main subject of interest during Monday's media session. People stopped by Orioles row to see exactly what has happened with the perennial also-ran that is now 10 games over .500, in contention for its second consecutive playoff berth and has five All-Stars.

Jones told the media contingent that he believes his club is for real. And that Baltimore is embracing baseball again.

"We kind of have a chip on our shoulder. You walk into Camden Yards and [the fans] are a little bit meaner, which I like. Because they have expectations now," Jones said. "As players, that's what you want, to have fans show up in bundles and have that expectation. Right now we've created that and now what we're trying to do is maintain it."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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