BOSTON -- Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones kept looking back behind him Monday night, glaring into the Fenway Park stands, seeing if anyone would be bold enough to utter the racial slur to his face.
“Cowards,’’ he said. “It’s pathetic.’’
Jones has played as a visiting player for 12 years at Fenway Park, spanning 77 games, and has been subjected to racial epithets in the past.
Yet, this night, was like few others, calling it one of the worst experiences he’s ever endured. He listened to racial taunts in the outfield while also having a bag of peanuts thrown at him in the dugout.
“I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight,’’ Jones said disgustedly. “It was pretty awesome out there. Thanks. Pretty awesome.
“Just part of the job right?’’
Jones has listened to vulgarities and racial taunts before in Boston, just like he has at several other ballparks in his career, but this night was more painful.
“Tonight was one of the worst,’’ Jones said, slowly exhaling, “it’s different. Very unfortunate. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball.
“But it’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m out there trying to make a living for myself and for my family.
“The best thing about myself is that I know how to continue to move on, and still play the game hard. Let people be who they are. Let them show their true colors.’’
Jones, one of just 62 African-Americans on opening-day rosters, also had a bag of peanuts thrown at him in the dugout. He immediately informed security, and the person was caught, and ejected from the ballpark, Red Sox officials confirmed.
“I guess that he was a little disappointed he didn’t get a ball,’’ Jones said. “It’s called a coward.’’
Jones was told there were 59 or 60 people ejected from Fenway Park for various incidents Monday, Red Sox officials believe it was closer to half that total, while awaiting final reports from ballpark security.
“The Red Sox want to publicly apologize to Adam Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred at Fenway Park Monday night," Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said in a statement. "No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night's events is ongoing.”
"This is unacceptable and not who we are as a city." Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told WBUR. "These words and actions have no place in Fenway, Boston or anywhere. We are better than this."
“What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium,’’ Jones said, “they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check.
“That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done.
“At the end of the day, when you throw an object onto the field of play, the player has no idea what it is. What if something hit me right in the eye, and I can’t play baseball anymore. Then what? I just wear it? No.
“Things like that need to be handled a little more properly, in my opinion.’’
The verbal assault towards Jones’ certainly wound up overshadowing the Orioles’ 5-2 victory over the Red Sox in their first game against one another since their ugly incident 10 days ago. The last time they played against each other, April 21 in Baltimore, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw a pitch behind the head of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Barnes was trying to retaliate for Machado’s hard slide two nights earlier that injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia, igniting a firestorm in each city.