Sports

José , José , José , José

Blue Jays games will never be the same without us chanting José , José , José , José  whenever you came up to bat.

Our lineup card will never be the same without your presence on the field.

You’ve been a part of this team and this country for the 3328 days since you came on August 21, 2008.

I still remember the times where you struggled constantly at the plate in your first year and a half with us.

You had a good finish to your season in 2009 as a leadoff hitter. Me and my friend Mina thought you would be a good placeholder in the leadoff spot until Anthony Gose was ready for the Show.

Well, weren’t we in for a nice surprise.

In 2010, you picked up where you left off from the previous season. You started to hit a few more home runs here and there. Before we knew it, you were selected to be a part of the All Star Game as a reserve. It was surprising you, Vernon, and John were all selected as All Stars considering we were trying to “tank” that year.  Right after you finished 0-1 in your first All Star Game appearance, that’s when you took the city of Toronto for a ride that we’ll be on for years to come. I thought that 30-40 home runs would be an amazing season from you, considering you have been a journeyman up until this point. No, you decided to smack a few more to bring you final tally to 54 home runs and 124 RBIs. I honestly thought you should have won MVP that year, but Josh Hamilton had other area.

Before 2011, you signed an extension that was immediately questioned by fans and media. I get where they were coming from. What if your 54 home run season was a fluke? What if you were pretty much those one season wonders? Come 2011, you silenced your critics.  Not the 50 home run season we were expecting, but still, 43 home runs and 102 RBIs were still considered among the league leaders in those categories.

From 2012-2013 , you started to become injury prone. I understand. It’s not easy staying healthy in the game of business. You still produced, despite missing some time. You were dying for October baseball. I could sense it in your play. Even in 2014, you were disappointed in front office in not making splashy move to improve the team. for a potential playoff push. Heck at least, you were raking it with Edwin to become the Mash Brothers of the AL East.

 

 

 

 

Enter 2015.

We had an August collapse that killed our playoff hopes for 2014. All we needed was 4 or 5 more wins to even make that dreaded Wild Card game.  Well, at least we didn’t have to face Madison Bumgarner in the World Series that year.

The season was like any other. A .500 team by the All Star break, even with the off-season acquisitions of Marco Estrada, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson. However, Alex Anthopolous and the front office saw something special in this team. You, Edwin, and Josh were tearing opposing pitchers’ hearts with your timely and dominant hitting. But you needed reinforcements for a playoff push. Not just any reinforcements. Enter David Price and Troy Tulowitzki.

And that was the start of #ComeTogether .

You and the Blue Jays took the city of Toronto and all of Canada for one heck of a wild ride.

21 wins 6 losses in August. 18 wins 9 losses in September. 1 win 2 losses in October.

Not only did you separate yourself from the Yankees that year, but you and the team obliterated any team that stood in our way during that historic stretch.

For the first time in 22 seasons, you helped bring the playoffs back to Toronto. What better way to make our mark in baseball than on a playoff date with the Texas Rangers.

I was going to write about that inning, but then I realized that Game 5 deserved its own blog post.

But to sum it all up, you hit the biggest home run since Joe Carter’s walk off home run that sealed the 1993 World Series.

You turned a whole country into a frenzy with just one wing of a bat. It was the perfect pitch and you knew it.

You did it again 9 days later.

However, the clock struck midnight that night. However, you brought an entire country together for that one month and those memories will always be a part of Blue Jays history.

I won’t go into your contract demands you supposedly had after an injury riddled 2016 season. Many people thought you were crazy to ask for it. However, you did deserve to be paid handsomely for every you have done in that first contract extension you signed back in 2011. When you wanted to explore your options in free agency, I was pretty surprised no one wanted someone of your calibre, heck the market for power hitters just wasn’t there in the offseason. Even Edwin didn’t have much of a market when he became a free agent.

However, the Blue Jays finally stepped up and signed you to the one year, prove it contract for this past season. I had high hopes for you but it became evident that you had regressed. You just weren’t the Jose I have grown to love since you came to the Blue Jays. Although I knew that age would hinder your abilities as a player, you just didn’t seem to have the swagger you always had as a player.

After the all-star break, it was clear writing in all Blue Jays fans’ minds that your time in Toronto was going to end this year, especially since we were giving some younger players like Hernandez a bit of a look for next season. However, I am not one of those fans who were going to show you the door like those bandwagoners who wanted you out after your contract demands. You deserved better, considering what you have done for the team and for a country. Although this past season was painful to watch, I still watched every game throughout August and September as it would be the final games I would see you in a Blue Jays uniform.

I wish I was there to see you in your final game in Toronto. I had too much assignments to complete and I couldn’t come home to see your final games that weekend. However, I still watched that game on my laptop.

When you came off the field, I was in tears since I knew this would be the final time that you would be in a Blue Jays uniform in Toronto.

Jose, you have given us so many memories throughout your career in Toronto. You helped redefine baseball in not only the city of Toronto, but all of Canada. I have watched your grow from a typical fringe player to the all-star player you have become. Although your time as a Blue Jay has most likely come to an end, I know whichever team you choose to play for will be lucky to have someone like you. I will definitely root for you to win a World Series before you retire from the game.

I can’t wait to see you tomorrow night when the Mets come to Toronto. I will not boo you. I will applaud for you for everything you have done for us. If you hit a home run off us, well, I’ll leave it at that.

 

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