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Sunday Blue Notes

Thoughts on Ventura, Arencibia, Bautista and Red Jerseys

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Every now and then, it seems like the Blue Jays plan their winter by when I am going to be away for a few days. I think it is a conspiracy of some sort.

Off the top, I just want to say I’m so sorry to hear about Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte. Ventura wasn’t always my favorite player, but he seemed to have fun. This is a really nice story about him playing with some kids the day after the Royals lost game 7 of the 2014 world series. I’m a fan of anyone that shows kindness to kids.

It seems like tragedies are happening more and more frequently in baseball. The first one, that I remember in my time as a baseball fan, was the murder of Lyman Bostock. It was so sad, a young player, just coming into his own. Then a year later Thurman Munson crashed his plane. Roberto Clemente was before my time.

Lately it seems to be happening every few months.

Ventura was far too young, just 25. It looked like he was on his way to an excellent career. When one of your up to age 25 comps is Roy Halladay, you are doing pretty good.

If there is a lesson, and my parents would try to turn everything into a lesson, it is try to enjoy the moments you have, you never know when it will end.

J.P. Arencibia announced his retirement. He never became the player that we (and he) expected. Likely we (and again he) didn’t handle it as well as we might have. I didn’t know he was dealing with depression, but he talks about it with Mike Cormack of Sportsnet. I can imagine that, if your dream of playing in the MLB didn’t turn out the way you hoped, it would be easy to fall into depression.

JP seemed like a good guy. When the Jays winter tour came to Calgary, a few years ago, there was a day at the downtown YMCA, where the players were playing with some young kids. And the media was invited. I was able to talk to the other Jays, but JP was having such a good time with the kids, that he couldn’t (and I didn’t want him to) tear himself away from them. He did talk to me, for a few moments, on the way out. But the kids were all wanting to say goodbye to him and I didn’t want to get in the way.

I like what he said about Jose Bautista:

“Jose Bautista, sometimes in the media, and with other teams, comes across as having a different personality, or he’s not a great dude, but I’ve never been around a guy who’s a bigger student of the game or wants to make the guys around him better. Me and him still talk and we talked the day before yesterday (Jan. 17).

“He was a guy I loved being around and playing with. Every team I went to (after Toronto), I stuck up for him and said this guy is one of the best teammates you could have.

“He used to go into the media room and show guys pitchers’ tendencies, helping out the younger guys. He would bring guys down to Florida to train with him. There are a lot of things this guy would do behind the scenes that people don’t realize how far he would extend himself to try and make his team better. Bringing down a Ryan Goins. Bringing down a Stroman and all these guys. He wanted to make Toronto better and he wanted to win.”

I’m glad that for every time I hear someone who has never met the guy or has never been in a locker room tell me that Bautista is not a leader (or better yet is a cancer) that there are stories like this, from the guys that actually played with him.

The new red jerseys came out. I’m not a fashion critic, so I’m ok with them. They look much the same as the ‘old’ red jerseys, other than the raised threads on the Maple Leaf.

I guess my only complaint is that it seems like they will be wearing them too often. It is something that a little would go a long way. I think every Sunday is too much. Add in the other times they will wear them and I think it will be too much of the red.

I didn’t hear about Jose Bautista’s attendance clause until yesterday, though Jon Heyman had it days ago:

Jose needs Trump to count attendance. Jays haven’t had 3.5 million since the World Series years, but our attendance numbers have been jumping up the past few years. Never know.