Welcome to baseball that matters, Jason Bay “Watch.” For all but three games of your pre-Red Sox career you played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, baseball’s version of whatever opened against The Dark Knight. Those years were full of individual accolades and team losses. Now you have your chance to collect the accolades while playing on a team that matters, a team that undoubtedly will win a World Series in the next decade.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I was hoping that Jay Bay would get traded away from my Pirates, in part because I wanted the team to turn over a new leaf and in part because I wanted to see him play for a decent team. The Red Sox were the last team I wanted him to go to, as I’ve been their sworn enemy from the moment Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore celebrated their World Series win so many years ago. Now that Bay’s on the Red Sox, however, I’ve become Boston’s number one fan. That, my friends, is the power of Jason Bay.
Jason Raymond Bay is a rock solid Good Canadian Kid, straight out of Trail, British Columbia. He went to Gonzaga University and was drafted by The Montreal Expos in 2000. His first full season in MLB was with the Buccos in 2004, when he won Rookie of the Year in the National League. He hit .282 with 26 home runs and 82 RBI. The San Diego Padres, who sent him and Ollie Perez to the Pirates in exchange for noted steroid abuser Brian Giles, still think Khalil Greene should have won.
After Bay won the Henry Rowengarter Memorial Trophy in 2004 he managed back-to-back All-Star nods. In 2005 he appeared in the Century 21 Home Run Derby, managing zero home runs. In 2006 he led all National League outfielders in All-Star voting, mostly thanks to the efforts of the city of Pittsburgh and Eddie Vedder. He was the first Pirate to be voted into the All-Star game as a starter since Andy Van Slyke. The next year he hit .247.
Those struggles were due to numerous injuries though, and by 2008 Bay was back and helping the Pirates chase .400 (.400 is the new .500). In his 106 games in the N.L. this year he hit .282 with 22 home runs, good enough to make him one of the most productive outfielders in the majors. Thanks to his poor Home Run Derby showing in 2005 and the ballot stuffing fiasco in 2006, the baseball gods shunned him away from the 2008 All-Star Game.
But that’s all good, because Jason Bay is not about individual achievements. Jason Bay is now about winning championships and bringing glory to the team that employs him. Baseball fans better get used to him being featured in the middle of the Red Sox lineup for at least the next couple years and probably the next ten if he performs like I know he can. Even better, baseball fans can expect hundreds of “that’s just Jay Bay being Jay Bay” sayings from Bostonians going through Manny withdrawal. I don’t think it gets any better than that.
Inside the Numbers
2 top 25 finishes in National League MVP voting
1 Little League World Series appearance
10 home runs in 10 games in 2007
20 or more home runs in five straight seasons