Prior to his debut with the Atlanta Braves, Jose Bautista took time out of his busy schedule to praise Canada and his former home, the city of Toronto. The longtime Blue Jays slugger penned a heartfelt letter to the 6ix last week, just before facing off against his old teammates during some spring training action.
"Ok Canada, I'm going to keep this short and sweet," the 37-year-old veteran began. "We teamed up for 10 seasons — and it’s crazy how they flew by. But man, at the same time . . . I also want you to know: Those 10 seasons meant everything to me. Decades in life really don’t get any sweeter.”
The six-time MLB All-Star poured his heart out in an article posted to the Players' Tribune, where he reflected on his ten seasons with the Blue Jays organization. "When you traded for me, back in 2008, I was a part-time player — closer to 30 than 20 — who had already bounced around between four teams in this league," Joey Bats recalled. "But you gave me a chance, a real chance, to come in and prove myself. And that’s one of the things that I will always appreciate about Toronto as a franchise."
Throughout his tenure with Canada's team, Bautista was consistently a shining star in blue and white. The now-iconic third baseman played in 1235 games for the Jays and led them to tons of memorable playoff appearances. Arguably his biggest career achievements occurred in 2010 and 2011, when Jose snagged back-to-back Hank Aaron awards. He also took home three Silver Slugger Awards and two MLB Home Run honours.
Toronto and Bautista parted ways last year, and he eventually signed with the Atlanta Braves for one last shot at the World Series — although the length of this stint remains to be seen. Regardless of his new affiliation, it's very clear that the Blue Jays will forever be his team.
"We might not have won the whole thing," he dishes in his letter, "but it’s like I said: It felt like we put Toronto Baseball back where it belongs. It felt like we sent out this big reminder to the world, after all these years, to not sleep on the Blue Jays — to not sleep on this city. Because this city, man — this city can ball its heart out. And I’ll never forget it."
You can read the entire piece here via the Players' Tribune.