“J J Hardy”
Ever been to Camden Yards as they are announcing the batters and it is JJ Hardy’s at-bat? The crowd yells “J J Hardy” with respect and appreciation for his performance as our 7-year shortstop! JJ has been a leader, a role model, and mentor. Three gold gloves (2014, 2013, 2012) and silver slugger (2013), he has been a real asset to the Orioles.
Last Sunday the players and the fans gave Hardy several standing ovations at what was perceived as the last home game Hardy will play shortstop for the Orioles. Hardy homered in that game to help give the Orioles he win. Hardy, a very humble and somewhat shy young man, showed his emotions quietly at this game, and had to be somewhat pushed out of the dugout to acknowledge the praises and thanks from the fans.
Currently his fate is unsure. With Hardy’s broken hand this season, the Orioles picked up Tim Beckham, who has the bat and the defensive skills to be the fture short stop for the Orioles. So what could happen to Hardy? Could he stay on the team as the substitute infielder and get rid of Flaherty? Will he just retire an Oriole? Could he coach?
From a Mother’s Perspective, Hardy has been invaluable for the Orioles. His wisdom and his knowledge of the game hopefully will keep him on the Orioles team in some capacity instead of just letting him retire. There aren’t many players who have had such a quiet but powerful impact on the Orioles and it would be wonderful to have JJ around to mentor the new guys and share his skills with up and coming players.
Dan Connolly recently published an article, JJ Unplugged: Emotional Hardy talk career, future, family, depression, fatherhood, hunting, Baltimore, and ‘stalking’ his wife which can be found at baltimorebaseball.com, is a heart-warming interview and a must-read for JJ and Oriole fans. It’s down to earth, just like JJ. The final sentence of the article says it all to me. Hardy said, “I think no matter what happen after this year, I’ll still be an Oriole.” Please Oriole organization, make this happen.