They took over the the downtown core, herded their way down King Street and Blue Jays Way en route to the Rogers Centre, while that all-to-familiar and glorious chant rang through the Toronto sky.
“JOSE JOSE JOSE JOSE, JOSE, JOSE!”
Mets fans. A bunch (all?) of them made their way to the Big Smoke during New York’s two-game set against the Jays last week. Were they showing their appreciation for Jose Bautista’s return home? Were they rubbing in the fact that one of the greatest in Blue Jays history now belongs to them? Whatever their intentions, the orange-laden swarm helped us remember three things about Jose Bautista: We miss the player. We miss the personality. We miss the legend.
His first time back in Toronto since he and the Jays parted ways last fall was a time of celebration, reflection, and appreciation. Fans serenaded the man every time he stepped up to the plate (despite Jose sporting that greasy, greasy Mets tarp). Bautista hung around to sign autographs for hours before and after each day’s batting practice and game. Fans proudly wore their No. 19 jerseys, made signs, and talked amongst each other about the joy Bautista brought to baseball fans in this city for years. Even the man himself nearly teared up at a pre-game presser before Tuesday’s game when talking about the memories that him and the fans have shared over the years.
José teared up a bit talking about the fans and all of a sudden I am in desperate need of tissues. pic.twitter.com/C7u3PmiznE— cat (@cxjays) July 3, 2018
It was the perfect opportunity for player, team and fans to remember the impact Jose had on the organization both on and off the field during his 10-year stint, and also to brainstorm all the different ways Bautista can be brought back to the organization once his playing days come to an end.
There’s many several positions in baseball operations and the media that Joey Bats could really thrive, so let’s figure out how to make this happen, shall we?
Jose Bautista — Major League Manager
You don’t have to look much farther than a couple of AL East clubs to see how hiring a former playing legend into the manager’s role could end up paying dividends. Though it’s pretty tough to get a real read on the actually impact these guys have while boasting a couple of extremely talented rosters, Alex Cora and Aaron Boone have seamlessly stepped into the skipper’s role with the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively, with next to zero managing experience.
Former players who specialize in controlling personalities and pushing the right buttons with the modern athlete have been popping up all over baseball, and there’s no reason to think Bautista couldn’t be one of the next ones.
Jose Bautista — Skills Coach
Bautista is a noted baseball nerd, and over his career has been known as one of the more cerebral and studious players in the game — especially when it comes to his own swing and in recognizing the vulnerable traits of opposing pitchers. He’s a read-and-react guy notorious for making constant adjustments and spending hours upon hours in the film room dissecting his own at-bats and those of his teammates.
Not only does he have the knack to coach himself into maximizing the results yielded every time he steps into the box, but Bautista is a very strong communicator who is known for his ability and willingness to pass on his knowledge to others in the clubhouse. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a hitting or video coach, doesn’t it?
Jose Bautista — Front-Office Mogul
The immense baseball knowledge Joey Bats has amassed over his career wouldn’t only translate well into coaching or managing, but also into a plethora of front office and baseball operations positions. From scouting to management to executive roles, there’s no reason to think that Bautista’s expansive, in-depth awareness of the game as a whole wouldn’t benefit him greatly in that capacity.
Of course, it often takes some of the game’s best executives decades of learning and training on the job before they’re thrusted into big-time, front-office positions with a major league club, but Jose has already own and run various franchises, especially the Texas Rangers, throughout his career — so the experience is actually there.
Jose Bautista — Commentary and Analysis
Without naming names (cough *Tabby* cough *Buck* cough *Zaun* etc etc etc), I can safely say that I and probably every other fan on the planet choose Jose’s sweet, soothing chops on the game call over just about anyone else. From on-camera analysis of pitchers to the way he can break down hitting mechanics, this man was for born for that broadcasting life.
Be it in studio or in the booth, inject that daily, mind-altering Bautista analysis and those baseball-themed anecdote’s directly to my veins, please.