His tweets have slowed a bit as spring training has gotten under way, but Jones enjoys the interaction. He asks for recommendations for everything from barbers to places to stay, occasionally gets into fights with trolling "haters" and recently even issued an open invitation to anyone who wanted to come Jet Ski with him on an off day. (No one showed up; most of his followers were in Baltimore or other places far from Sarasota.)
His delight in getting back to baseball is palpable. "Everyone has basically left the clubhouse but I seem to just stay," he tweeted one day. "Already hit, ran, threw and lifted. Just can't leave."
Jones is eager for the season to start, and playing on a team that should be much more competitive than those of his previous three years here. While he still can come off as a kid — those big pink bubblegum bubbles he blows during games have something to do with that — he arrived at training camp looking much more mature.
"He's starting to come into his man strength," observes teammate Luke Scott. "I think he's going to hit more home runs this year."
For all his successes with the Orioles, particularly in 2009 when he was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, there are those who think Jones hasn't yet lived up to his abilities. As one website for fantasy baseball asks about him: "Solidly above average or a potential superstar?"
Stay tuned for the answer this year, says Mark McLemore, the former Oriole who is a friend and mentor to Jones, having gone to the same high school in San Diego about 20 years earlier.
"Hold on to your seats and watch him," McLemore says. "I expect a big year from him."
McLemore, who does a pre- and post-game Texas Rangers show for a Dallas/Fort Worth TV station, first met "this little skinny kid" in 2003, when Jones was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners. Jones was just 17, so young his mother had to sign his first contract. An English teacher who had taught both athletes called McLemore, asking him to look out for his fellow alum as he made his way in pro ball. They still talk frequently — about the game, but also about what Jones wants McLemore's wife to make him for dinner when the Orioles are in town to play the Rangers.
Jones grew up playing several sports but mostly was interested in basketball and football — still his favorite sport, but one his mother couldn't bear watching him play.
"She didn't want her baby to get hurt — those are her words," he says with an oh-Mom look. "I never thought about baseball as a kid. I thought it was the longest, boring-est game."
Now, he gets his football fix playing the Madden game during the off-season and following the NFL. His favorite team — sorry, Baltimore — is the Indianapolis Colts, having become a Peyton Manning fan when the quarterback was playing for the University of Tennessee.
His mother, Andrea Bradley, still looks out for him. She's been known to respond on her Facebook page and elsewhere online to any perceived attacks on her son, such as when he was detained at the Toronto airport during a road trip.
"I see my child out there, and I remember him from t-ball and all the years in between," Bradley says. "I'm very emotional."
Her protective nature goes back a long way, to when Bradley was raising her kids in a tough neighborhood in southeast San Diego. Bradley said she worked her contacts in the neighborhood, and let it be known that no one should mess with her kids.
Bradley married her husband Kenneth, a Greyhound bus driver, when Adam was 4. She'll travel to see him play several times a season, but not as much as before now that rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments require that she use a scooter. (Adam gave her a new orange-and-black one this Christmas.) This will be the first Opening Day she has missed, but she's hosting a game-watching party at home.
While Jones has friends on the team and throughout baseball — he's pals with O's utility infielder Robert Andino — he remains close to friends from his childhood as well. He sounds proud to note that despite his professional success, he remains a good friend.
"They say I'm still the same [jerk] I've always been," Jones says. "I'm normal — just my job is cool."
Correction: March 25, 2011
An earlier version of this story misstated Oriole's utility infielder Robert Andino's relationship status. He is married.