Bo Bichette is setting professional tone amongst revamped Blue Jays’ clubhouse
Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
By Thomas Hall8 months ago
There is a fine line between fun and professional. And shortstop Bo Bichette is among those determined to ensure the Toronto Blue Jays remain on the correct path amid their championship aspirations.
Following the off-season departures of Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., it became clear Toronto’s front office wanted to shake up the clubhouse’s atmosphere, opting for a more been-there-done-that type of attitude. And they have done just that, bringing in veterans like Brandon Belt, a two-time World Series champion, and Kevin Kiermaier.
The goal wasn’t to remove all forms of enjoyment or prevent anyone from having fun but locating the perfect balance of silliness and professionalism – a feat Bichette feels management has accomplished.
“It’s a very professional atmosphere but it’s also loose, which is a good combination,” Bichette told the Toronto Sun’s Rob Longley. “Winning a championship is really hard, so there needs to be a level of professionalism and that means looking to your left and to your right and seeing that the other guys feel the same way.”
Bichette felt that message was often lost throughout the team last season, which added to his frustration of enduring a disappointing 2022 performance, that is, until he exploded down the stretch, hitting .406/.444/.662 with seven home runs and a 217 wRC+ over his final 32 games. Still, he believed a change was needed to help put this franchise over the top.
One of those will be putting away the Blue Jays’ celebratory home run jacket, first introduced during the 2021 campaign. The 25-year-old admitted it likely didn’t play a factor in the club’s inconsistent results, though he did roll his eyes when it was brought out with the game already out of reach.
“I don’t think (the home run jacket) had anything to do with how good or bad we did, but I just think it’s good to be consistent,” Bichette said. “It’s tough to put that thing on when you’re losing by six runs or whatever.
“I think it’s just over.”
Nothing lasts forever, as they say. The home run jacket was meaningful and fun while it lasted, but as Bichette explained, Toronto needs to emphasize celebrating more than just round-trippers moving forward. Players will still be excited when they hit balls over the outfield wall. They will have to vary their emotions depending on the situation, though.
If it ultimately results in a World Series title, it will all be worth it by November.
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