After a 10-year long tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista makes his return after finding a new home with the New York Mets.
When Jose Bautista was brought in by the Atlanta Braves, June 19 was the date many had circled in his calendar as his anticipated return. The former Toronto Blue Jays slugger would get cut by Atlanta and rob what could have been the last time Joey Bats would play at Rogers Centre.
Luckily, the 37-year-old found a new home with the New York Mets and has been able to stick around long enough to get his homecoming. As Tim Healey reported for Newsday, Bautista had many things on his mind as he made his way back to the city he spent 10 years of his career.
“I have some stuff scheduled, to meet up with people who were part of my life when I was there and visit some of the usual spots,” Bautista told Healey this past weekend in Miami. “It’s definitely a place that I hold dear and close to my heart. It’s going to be a fun time.”
There was some doubt about his future after struggling for most of last season but since the move to the Mets, he’s starting to find some success. Bautista is currently batting .250/.418/.476 and is walking at a 21.8 per cent rate as Healey points out.
Over his time with the Blue Jays, Bautista brought them back on the map hitting 288 home runs (second-most in franchise history) and 776 RBI (third-most in franchise history) and one of the most memorable moments in baseball with the bat-flip from the 2015 postseason.
A player with those type of accolades should receive a nice reception from fans with John Gibbons pretty much providing a guarantee that it will happen.
Even when Edwin Encarnacion returned as a member of the Cleveland Indians last season it was an emotional moment at the Rogers Centre.
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Former teammates were asked about Bautista’s return and to no surprise, many are happy for his newfound success.
“He blossomed here as a player so he has a lot of good memories, but the fans remember him driving in 100 runs, hitting 40, 50 homers,” catcher Russell Martin said to the media on Monday. “That’s what they’re going to remember him by — just an all-around good player who played hard and hit the ball a long way a lot of the time.”
“I hope it will be meaningful for us and for him,” Martin added. “I hope he hits a lot of line drives, really hits the ball hard but right at people.”
It might not be the most hyped return in most recent memory, there should be some emotional people when Joey Bats steps up to the plate for the first time.
What are your thoughts on Bautista’s return? What are you expecting from the team? Let us know in the comments below.