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Orioles

Hannah Storm examines Adam Jones' connection to Baltimore in ESPN 'Face to Face' segment

When SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm asked Orioles center fielder Adam Jones where he wanted to do the interview for her Face to Face series, he insisted on the Brooklyn O'Malley Boys and Girls Club in South Baltimore.

It was a fitting location for an interview centered on Jones' impact on the city. In 2013, Jones and the Orioles Charitable Foundation donated $75,000 to the facility to renovate the facility's Technology and Learning Center.

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Jones sat down with Storm about six weeks ago to discuss his role in the city after the riots surrounding Freddie Gray's death. The episode, which additionally featured stories of six other sports figures, aired at 7 p.m. Thursday night on ESPN and was the 10th episode of Storm's Face to Face series that started in 2012.

"To speak with compassion and purpose and to speak on behalf of the city, I was very impressed with that type of leadership," Storm said of Jones, who became the first baseball player to be on the show. "I really wanted to feature him because I thought he was an emergent, important voice, particularly in Baltimore. But I thought he was someone that really should be even exposed on a larger level, a national level."

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The four-time Gold Glove winner was outspoken in the days after riots broke out in Baltimore, holding a 15-minute press conference April 29. Jones, who grew up in San Diego, could relate to the youth in Baltimore coping with Gray's death.

"When there is something that I feel passionate about, I don't think there is many people that can hold me back from saying what I want to say if it deems or if it's necessary for me to get my point across," Jones said in his interview with Storm.

Jones, who said he has always been outspoken, provided the voice the city needed from one of its stars. And though he isn't originally from Baltimore, his ability to relate from his upbringing in San Diego allowed him to connect with the city he has made his second home.

"He's very proud of being from San Diego and his roots there, but he does feel 100-percent invested in Baltimore," Storm said in a phone interview Thursday. "He doesn't feel like someone who just happens to be playing in Baltimore. It did feel like his home. It feels like where he is pouring his heart into."

Since Jones came over in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on Feb. 8, 2008, he has emerged as the face of the franchise. Most of that can be attributed to the five-time All-Star's play on the field, but Storm highlighted what she saw from Jones that typically goes under the radar — what fans don't see under the lights at Camden Yards.

It was on display at the Boys and Girls Club.

"You could tell right when he walked in the door everybody there knew who he was," Storm said. "He wasn't just a guy who showed up once in a while. He's a guy that had a real genuine relationship with this place, with these people, with the kids."

Storm had taken notice of Jones' affinity for pieing teammates after wins, so she had the idea of bringing that to the Boys and Girls Club. So, Jones and Storm showed the kids how to pie one another.

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It helped add a bit of relief to a segment on Jones' thoughts about serious issues facing the city. And it showed that Jones is still invested in Baltimore's youth long after his late April press conference in the wake of the riots.

"The whole piece really drives home what he is trying to do and who he cares about," Storm said. "It's the future of Baltimore and the future of some kids who might look pretty bleak from the outside, but who he is trying to build up from the inside-out."

rbaillargeon@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RyanBaillargeon


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