Dear Jose Bautista,
I wanted to reach out on behalf of all of us who have watched the Toronto Blue Jays on a regular basis over the past ten seasons.
Back in 2008, you showed up in Toronto as an unknown. Blue Jays fans all across the country had no idea what to expect. You were given every opportunity to turn your career around north of the border, and you capitalized. Before you arrived in Toronto, you had to battle to stay in the league, and this perseverance should be applauded.
Your career path opened up eyes and gave other aspiring Major Leaguers hope. You were the perfect example of how in 4 years, you could be drafted in the 20th round, be exposed and selected in the Rule 5 draft, get waived and picked up, traded twice, but you never gave up hope on your dream.
You struggled in Pittsburgh for roughly four seasons, but someone within the Blue Jays organization saw something in you. Enough to give up Robinson Diaz to acquire you.
I give you props for listening to the hitting instructors when you arrived in Toronto in 2008. They told you that you needed to start your swing earlier and you did. And what came next was an exciting roller coaster. Who knew that ten years later we would be at this point, and I just wanted to point out several things that have occurred and express sincere gratitude.
Thank you for implementing your exaggerated leg kick into your swing. It was the cause for all of your long fly balls and has rubbed off on other stars such as Josh Donaldson, who the team should build around over the next five seasons.
Thank you for all of the home runs, every one of 281 so far. Some more important than others but all were appreciated. Especially the 54 you hit in 2010. You made the long ball contagious that year as the likes of John Buck, Vernon Wells, Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Edwin Encarnacion and Lyle Overbay would all hit over 20 dingers. Somehow with all those round trippers and a pitching staff consisting of Ricky Romero (14-9), Shaun Marcum (13-8), Brett Cecil (15-7), Brandon Morrow (10-7) and Kevin Gregg’s 37 saves, the team still finished 11 games back in the division. Damn Devil Rays. From 2010 onwards you would go on to flex with Eddie on a regular basis over the next eight seasons together. The two of you became the most feared 3-4 hitters in the league. It was always fun to watch.
Thank you for filling in as a lead off hitter when you had no business being the first guy out there. Even though you hardly ever stole bases, you got on base a lot and set the table. You led the league in walks at times and had taken the free pass over 780 times with the Blue Jays, great eye on ya kid.
Jose Bautista draws a walk, keeps walking, and swipes second base 😳🔥 pic.twitter.com/ptZ1KHIrNr
— Every Day Baseball™ (@EvryDayBaseball) August 4, 2017
Thank you for your beef with Darren O’Day. The times you took him yard after being brushed off the plate by his sidearm-poo was legend status. The stare downs, the slow trots, the chirps and the timeliness was all entertaining, so again, thank you.
Thank you for sliding hard into second base in Texas and for showing the world you can take a punch. Odor landed a 1-A shot to your chin, and you didn’t buckle. Maybe it was because Adrian Beltre held you up, or the fact that you can handle yourself. Your teammates including Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson came to your defense which shows how respected you were as a leader in the clubhouse. Something you can hold your head high on when you hang em up.
Today's Blue Jays vs Rangers game… That straight right tho'. Rougned Odor punches Jose Bautista in the face. 👊🏼💥😖 pic.twitter.com/eiAAYxgGh8
— Boxing Fanatik (@BoxingFanatik) May 16, 2016
Thank you for the bat flip. At that time, it was the second most timely hit in the team’s history, and you sent a complete buzz through the country and all across baseball. That playoff game was one of the craziest of all time, and you had a huge part in it. Kudos.
— SportAmerika (@SportAmerika) October 6, 2016
This now leads us to this season.
Thank you for being our last resort in right field. Shatkins misplayed a lot of things during the offseason and thank you for still being around to swoop up. Next time maybe hold off on the 30 million per-year asking price on day one of spring training. No need to make the spring about you, and considering you were once selected in the Rule 5 draft, I guess you could say you have come a long way.
Thank you for showing the kids that you shouldn’t try and show up the other team by trying to gun a guy out at first base from the outfield. Even though you once pulled it off in the 9th inning against the Royals Billy Butler in a one-run game, you hurt your arm against Baltimore that night and have paid the price ever since.
Thank you for being the prime reason the Umps hate the Toronto Blue Jays. Over your tenure with the Blue Birds, you have questioned almost every called-ball and given the Umps a reason to squeeze the team on both sides of the diamond.
Joey Bats, as we come to the end of your time, you can look back and smile. You found yourself in Toronto and made a boatload of money playing the game you love. This season has been rough though. You’re not the most fleet of foot out there in right field anymore and the strike outs have become hard to watch.
In all seriousness, you have become and will remain a Blue Jays icon forever. But, all good things come to an end and after this season your time in Toronto will do exactly that. You deserve a standing ovation your last at-bat at the Dome this season, and we all hope the fans attending will provide you with that moment.
Thank you for all of the lessons and good luck in Boston next season.
The appreciative fan base of the Toronto Blue Jays who are ready for some fresh legs in RF.