I’ve actually known about this for a while, but I’ve been dragging my feet on just what to say about it. I’ve decided you need to know since you’ll find out eventually and I’d rather it come from me than some other blog which will probably highlight my small career sample, average right-handed-ness, and otherwise inconsequential impact on a program of up and coming talent. If you’re a fan of the idea of me being a Toronto Blue Jay, the following wont be easy for either of us: I won’t be coming back to the Toronto Blue Jays organization this coming season.
First, I want you to know it wasn’t my decision. The Jays elected to go a different route and that is well with in their right. Second, I’m not mad at them for their decision, and there is no bad blood. The Jays are a fabulous organization, and I enjoyed my time with them immensely. Now, before you bat that comment aside as the traditional athlete obligatory jargon about how to segue gracefully, make no mistake— I loved being a Blue Jay.
The Jays gave me a chance after I effectively shot myself in the foot with the Padres in my big league debut. They brought me to my first big league camp. They told me I had potential in one of the toughest leagues in the game after coming from one of the (supposed) weakest. In short, they believed in me and it showed even when I was injured. Since I got hurt in the off-season, the Jays could have dumped my contract and saddled me with the medical bills and no big league pay check for a year of rehab, but they didn’t. That shows class, and in a game where human beings are turned into commodities, they treated me like a person and I’ll never forget it.
Another thing I’d like to address is the fine citizen’s of Toronto and Canada in general. I’ve never enjoyed baseball so much as I did when I played it abroad. Yes, I know that Hockey is the National Pastime of Canada, not baseball. And I will confess there were nights I wished TSN would give the Jays, the nation’s only baseball team for crying out loud, a little more airtime instead of rehashing goals by guys who name I can’t pronounce. But, hey, I liked the differences. I liked the culture. I liked the uniqueness and opinions and viewpoints that are underplayed, even missing from US turf. I actually liked reading Canadian’s opinions on American behavior, even when we earned every possible ire for running the world’s banking system into the crapper.
The city was progressive, clean, and beautiful; a great place to be if you’re a player who writes books. I do hope I’m around long enough to write a book about my experience with your team, Toronto (that earthquake you just felt was the collective shaking of your past and present players seized in terror of what I might say). Fear not, you have some incredibly humble and respectable men on your club, many of them I’m proud to call friend.
I’ll miss you, Toronto, but I’m confident we’ll meet again. If not on the baseball field, then at a book signing. Or, at the very least, on the pages of one of the many great Blue Jay blog sites that routinely crank out conjecture on your birds. I owe the media in Toronto a lot, professional and amateur alike. To the crew that covers the Jays in the clubhouse, and the crew that covers them on the net, may I say I would never have been baseball’s third player/author to reach the best seller’s list without you— you were instrumental in one of my proudest achievement. Thank you.
One last point before I go. I’m not a big name, and I’ll never consider my departure from Toronto on par with some of the truly great players you’ve lost. That’s vanity, not to mention arrogant. But, I’ve come into my own in baseball during the Social Networking days of our civilization. Social Networking has changed how we relate as a people. A decade ago, players didn’t have blogs, or Twitter, or Facebook access for fans. Because of these personal connection venues, we’ve had a chance to connect and I feel you deserve a personal farewell. Please don’t think I’m doing any of this goodbye stuff because I think I’m great. On the contrary, I’m doing it because I think YOU ARE great. I wanted to thank you for all you’ve given me in my time with the Blue Jays. I’d also like to say that, thanks to these new tools, you don’t have to say goodbye at all. I’ll always be here in my digital incarnation, anxious to hear from you, even if I’m not wearing Blue Jay Blue this next go around.
Okay, Blue Jay. Thanks for everything, and best of luck this year. I’ll miss you. Oh, and let’s play ball.