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Jahmai Jones soaks in first homer, beer shower following special Mother’s Day moment

TAMPA – As reporters filed into Aaron Boone’s office, blaring music, raucous screams and boisterous chants could be heard behind a closed door.

The Yankees usually celebrate when they win, which they did with a 10-6 victory over the Rays on Sunday. Yet this party sounded different.

“They’re excited for Jam Jones,” explained Boone, genuinely touched.

Jam, a.k.a. Jahmai Jones, hasn’t played much this year. He had logged just one start, six plate appearances and 20 innings in the field before batting ninth and playing left on Sunday with Alex Verdugo getting a day off.

Boone said he’s “unfairly” pinned the utility man to the bench, but not because of his bat.

“This guy can hit,” Boone insisted before the game. “He can pop the ball. I haven’t really given him a lot opportunities yet, but I like the way he swings the bat.”

As if he were following a script, Jones homered on the second pitch he saw from Rays starter Tyler Alexander. The solo homer, the first of Jones’ career, just cleared the left field wall at 383 feet, though it traveled at 109.5 mph.

“[Bench coach Brad] Ausmus, right before, goes, ‘He’s going deep today. I don’t know if it’s this at-bat, but he’s going deep,’” Boone recalled. “And bam!”

Boone added that teammates “love” the hard-working Jones. That certainly showed after the home run.

As the utility man circled the bases, Yankees pitchers could be seen cheering for him in the bullpen before more teammates mobbed the ecstatic 26-year-old in the dugout. Then came the postgame beer shower, the smell of which still lingered as reporters talked to the effervescent Jones.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Everything you could imagine and more. Everybody rallying around you.”

Jones added that he traded a bat and some batting gloves for his home run ball.

“I’m okay with that,” he said. “I’ll trade a lot more than that.”

Any player would say that after hitting the first home run of their career, but Jones launched his on Mother’s Day. That made the moment all the more emotional.

“It’s a special one,” said Jones, who debuted in 2020, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2022, and was claimed by the Yankees in the spring. “Obviously, getting to be in the lineup with the Yankees is special in itself, but doing it on Mother’s Days is something I’ll never forget. My mom means a lot to me, and we’ve been through a lot together. To do it on this day, I can’t really put it into words.”

When asked what he could share about his and his mom’s journey, Jones said that his father, Andre, died of a brain aneurism before the ballplayer began his freshman year of high school.

A former linebacker, Andre played college football at Notre Dame and spent time with the Steelers and Lions before his abrupt death in 2011.

“It was kind of sudden,” Jones said. “Just woke up one morning and had to put him in a hospital.”

Not even 14 and left without a father, Jones and his five siblings leaned heavily on their mom, Michele, at home in Georgia.

“Going through that, she had to take a lot of different things on to keep everything as normal as it could be,” Jones said. “Without her, I wouldn’t be here, for sure.”

Jones said that he already had a text waiting from his mom when he got back to the Yankees’ locker room, and he couldn’t wait to call her after the game. She, too, felt it was special that her son hit his first home run on Mother’s Day.

So did Jones’ teammates, who were eager to rage with him after the game.

“All the guys were excited for him,” said Jose Trevino, who homered twice on Sunday. “Every day he comes in, handles his business. He grinds every single day to just be ready for that one moment.”

Added Gleyber Torres, whose three-run homer gave the Yankees some breathing room after a bullpen implosion: “There’s nothing better than to hit your first homer, especially on Mother’s Day.

“It’s beautiful. That’s the beautiful part of playing baseball.”

Meanwhile, Boone said that Jones “works his tail off,” stays “prepared for anything” and never complains about his playing time.

“He brings the same energy to the field every single day,” Boone said. “You go through a long season, you don’t want energy suckers. You want people that give energy each and every day, and he does that. He’s accepted his role. He works hard. He’s ready at any moment for any situation, and it’s exciting to be able to get him in there today and have him deliver like he did. I know the boys appreciate that.”

The feeling is mutual, as Jones raved about the support he’s received from “every single person” in the Yankees’ locker room.

“I’ve had multiple conversations with everybody about different things, and the culmination of that just speaks to the culture that’s in here,” Jones said. “It’s something that’s special and something that I think is going to really pay dividends down the stretch.”

A second-round pick of the Angels in 2015, Jones has had a hard time living up to his draft status. But he’s managed to stick around with the Yankees after limited stints with the Angels, Orioles and Brewers.

Multiple injuries to the Yankees’ infield depth have made that possible, but playing time has still been scarce. Still, Jones has embraced his role while remaining wide-eyed and positive, his default attitude after experiencing hardship as a teen.

“It’s kind of hard to have a bad day. I love it, man. I love baseball. I love being a part of this team. We’re winning, and that’s all that matters,” Jones said. “As long as the team’s winning, you’re never going to not see me smiling.”


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