Why Jose Bautista is a saving grace for MLB
Baseball is a game of numbers. It’s a game where a bloop single here and a dying quail there might be the difference between a .200 hitter and a .300 hitter.
To the uneducated fans and sports experts alike, the game has been swallowed by the egotistical steroid era that is the 21st century.
In this day and age, every home run, milestone, record and personal achievement is doubted, regurgitating a pill we all thought was forced down by the Mitchell Report and Jose Canseco’s book years ago. But beyond A-Rod, Bonds and all the others, there is a glimmer of hope in this game, and it goes by the name of Jose Bautista.
I don’t need to tell you about his history of being traded, or his prospect years, or the fact that people used to mistake him for Tony Batista.
His story is told almost as much as Josh Hamilton’s, but his impact on the game is underrated. It’s not often you get to see someone like Bautista take the field day in, day out, and I’ll tell you why.
Jose currently leads the bigs in homers (surprise), something he’s done the past two seasons. That’s the statistic most people see outside of Toronto, but if you look closer at the situation, you’ll realise that even if he was a sub-par hitter (which he was in April), he still has an admirable presence to his mannerisms.
Every year the bar is set higher and higher for him. Can he hit more homeruns? Can he finally take Toronto back to post-season glory? Regardless, the only thing he utters to reporters is how he wants to help the club. It’s almost been a roll-of-the-eye answer these days, but the more you watch him play, the more you realize he might actually be telling the truth.
Jose isn’t carrying the Blue Jays on his back, but he is indeed the backbone of a young team that’s currently sitting at the grown-ups table for the first time in what seems like forever. The line-up consists of many young stars, three of which were Minor League All-Stars (Lawrie, Rasmus and Arencibia), but it’s the 31-year-old Bautista who is currently the poster boy in Toronto.
It’s not often that someone of his age begins picking up speed at an impressive rate, but he’s done it, despite his critics poking the needle at him. By his count, he was tested for performance enhancing drugs 16 times last year, and to this day he has yet to show up on the black list.
That means it’s possible to be awesome and not take steroids, take note.
As aforementioned, his bat was non-existent in April, so why didn’t he get benched? Because he’s an all-around great baseball player. You won’t find many guys who run the bases as well as he does, especially guys who can go first to third on a base hit to left field (ask Mike Trout).
On top of that, he also plays gold glove defense in right field every night for the blue birds (he leads all ML outfielders in assists and double plays). From a non-baseball standpoint, he’s just a great guy to be around. You’ll always catch him laughing in the dugout, or picking up his guys; regardless of his own woes.
Jose Bautista will never make it into the HOF, he probably won’t break the home run record, but he is in fact the best thing to happen to baseball right now.
Yes, it took him a while to finally put things together, yes he’s finally the player he knew he could become, but at the end of the day he goes about his business like it’s business as usual.
And although everyone knows who he is, he’s the type of guy Major League Baseball needs right now, a working class outfielder who knows what to do, what to say and how to go about his business; just hit the ball, and run it out.