In the MARVEL comics Steve Rogers was Captain America for decades … up until his body would not allow him to do it anymore. So his longtime friend Bucky Barnes took up the shield and continued on as Cap.
In 2013 Mets All-Star David Wright was Captain America. He hit .438 and drove in 10 runs for the USA in the World Baseball Classic. But injury cut short is tournament and he hasn’t donned the Stars and Stripes since. So in 2017 another man has stepped in fill the role of Captain America.
San Diego native Adam Jones is now the unquestioned leader of Team USA.
“I don’t mind it one bit,” said Jones of taking over the mantle as leader of our baseball Avengers. “I’m the leader of the Orioles and I don’t mind being the leader of this team. We have plenty of leaders who are leaders on their respective teams and the beauty of this tournament is you come together with a bunch of great guys. We all have our own niches and things we add to the game. I just add intensity, passion and the guys just feed off me.”
When the U.S. has needed a spark it has been Jones who provided it. In their WBC opener against Colombia Jones helped the Americans avoid what would have been a disastrous loss with a 10th-inning, walkoff single.
In their second round opener against Venezuela it was Jones who ripped a solo home run to tie the game and set up Eric Hosmer’s winning 2-run blast.
“After that swing from Jonesy it just seemed like the energy in the dugout shifted to our side,” said Hosmer. “It really got things sparked up for our club.”
And then there was the greatest grab in WBC history.
Saturday night against the reigning WBC champs from the Dominican Republic, Jones running on a dead sprint to the centerfield wall and grabbing a ball his Orioles teammate Manny Machado had ticketed for the seats. The unbelievably athletic catch and what it meant in that moment … well it’s the stuff that legends are made of.
“I’m still in kind of shock that I even got to that ball,” said Jones. “I mean, off the bat I’m just like, ‘This ball’s hit really far, so just keep going, keep going.’ You know this California air’s going to slow it down and just never quit. That’s just the style I play with. I don’t mind running into a wall or two. I just kept going after the ball.”
Tony Pena, the manager of the Dominican Republic team, said the catch Jones made was a bigger blow to his club than the 2-run missile that Giancarlo Stanton hit off the Western Metal Supply Building that turned out to be the game-winning hit.
You see that’s what superheroes do: they step up in times of need. Much like Captain America, Jones, a Morse High School alum, even has a love for the United States Armed Forces. Both his father and brother served in the military and having success in his home town … a military town ... means even more.
“To do it in San Diego, a military city, representing my brother and my father and countless friends of mine and the United States military … it’s pretty special,” said Jones. “This is not Orioles vs. Padres this is country vs. country right now so to do it for Team USA; I don’t really have the words for it.”
The U.S. is into the WBC semi-finals for just the 2nd time ever. On Tuesday they’ll face Japan, the team that knocked them out of the semi’s in 2009. But back then they didn’t have a superhero on the roster.