PR plans inspire USA's Jones in final win

PR plans inspire USA's Jones in final win

As if Adam Jones needed any extra motivation. As the leader of Team USA on its run to the 2017 World Baseball Classic gold, Jones took center stage with some huge plays during the tournament.

Still, before the United States' 8-0 win over Puerto Rico in Wednesday night's championship game at Dodger Stadium, Jones and his teammates got some bulletin-board material, courtesy of rumors that Puerto Rico already had a celebration planned.

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"Should I tell the truth? Well, before the game, we got a note that there were some championship shirts made, and we didn't make them," Jones said during the postgame ceremony. "And a flight. That didn't sit well with us. And a parade. That didn't sit well with us. So we did what we had to do."

As it turned out, Puerto Rico had the flight and parade scheduled whether it won or lost, according to a report from ESPN, so it doesn't appear as though the team was celebrating too soon.

And Puerto Rico's performance in the tournament was worthy of a celebration. The team didn't lose until the final, entering Wednesday's game on a 7-0 run that included a win over the U.S. and the Dominican Republic team that had beaten Puerto Rico in the 2013 Classic championship game.

Adam Jones gestures to jersey

But in the end, it was Team USA taking home its first World Baseball Classic title, and Jones was not only the heart of the team, but one of its most valuable players.

"I couldn't be prouder. I could not be prouder," Jones said. "Everyone that wanted to play is playing, and we brought it home for the United States."

Must C: Jones walks it off

Jones' first big moment at WBC '17 came in the first round, when he lined a 10th-inning walk-off hit against an upset-hungry Colombia team. His most memorable play of the tournament was a spectacular catch over the center-field wall to rob a home run from Dominican star -- and Jones' Orioles teammate -- Manny Machado, a game-changing play in Team USA's win over the defending Classic champs that sent the U.S. to the championship round.

Must C: Jones brings back homer

Then in the semifinals, Jones brought home the game-winning run against two-time Classic champion Japan with an RBI groundout in the eighth inning.

Kinsler doubles, Jones delivers

Finally, after one last win Wednesday, he could sit back and drink it all in.

"We tip our hats to Team Puerto Rico and everyone else in the tournament, but we did something special," Jones said. "I'm just happy to be part of it."

David Adler is a reporter for based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.