As the Orioles prepare to play in their first American League Champion Series since 1997, the brass of the franchise extended J.J. Hardy’s contract for an additional three seasons. Might seem odd to extend a players contract on the eve of the ALCS. It happened, and Hardy is thrilled to be able to stay in Baltimore.
“I knew that I liked it here, I knew that I liked playing with all my teammates, the whole coaching staff I enjoy playing for them. I believe that Dan [Duquette] and Buck [Showalter], the Angelos family their all going to continue to make this organization better, bottom line comes down to winning and I think we have a good thing here. “
As far as the ALCS is concerned, the O’s clubhouse is buzzing with excitement, as the players realize the importance of what this means to the franchise and the city of Baltimore. Center-fielder Adam Jones, who was traded from Seattle to Baltimore has batted .281, and has hit 141 home runs in an Oriole uniform since joining the club in 2008. He understands that even though it is his first ALCS, the team has to stick to together as a unit, when asked about how the team keeps their composure during times like this, Jones responded by saying, “We got a job to do and we enjoy doing our job well, I think we enjoy high fiving each other after games as oppose to seeing each other walk around with their heads hanging, its just our mentality.” Jones is just 4-37 In the Playoffs with no HR’s
Being mentality strong will also be vital when it comes to playing on Friday after both teams swept their opponents in the ALDS, having such a long lay off between action can have a negative effect on a team. As far as the players being worried about “rust”. Nine year veteran righter fielder Nick Markakis said, “If anything it’s helping us, well getting a lot more rest and giving ourselves time to recover, and I think its about that time, we are ready to roll, and get this thing started.”
Game 1 of the ALCS will match Chris Tillman against the Royals James Shields both have had stellar postseasons. Weather permitting, game time is set for 8:07 Friday, and for many of the Orioles this is something they have been waiting most of their lives for, a shot at the World Series.