They always say that kids are the most honest with their opinions, and my one-year-old son is no different. He hasn’t even touched a bat yet, but he knows a good field when he sees one. He’ll just be running around the bases … and then the second I turn my head, there he is eating the infield dirt. Haha. Most of the time I can stop him before he does it, but there’s a few times he gets by me.
I just take that as a sign that he’s already making Rogers Centre his home.
Choosing Toronto was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make in my career. My family and I felt good about it from the start — so after I got off the phone with Mark and Ross during my free agency, I didn’t need more convincing. I called my agent and told him, “This is the place.”
Toronto was always the one road trip my wife and I would circle on the schedule, just because of how much we enjoy being here. And getting to be here full-time over the last year has only given us a greater level of appreciation. It’s hard to explain, but we’ve already fallen in love with this city, which of course is a big credit to the organization for everything they’ve done to make us feel comfortable. We loved the energy last September so much that we bought a home in the 6 this off-season. We’ve also been working with SAY to help them expand their efforts for children who stutter in Canada. And the biggest thing that’s helped me connect, I think, has been the support I’ve gotten from the fans. You guys have made me feel like I’m a part of this from the very beginning.
Especially after last year, it’s going to feel great to start this season on our home field.
I can’t even tell you how much I’m itching to get out there tonight.
Everything just feels right about this team. We’re loaded with young talent: We got Vladdy, we got Bo, we got Lourdes, Teo, Cav, Berrios … I could keep going. It’s funny, I’m only 32, but when I started playing for the Jays, that’s really the first time I was ever considered the “old guy.” (Life comes at you fast.) I was actually just telling Vladdy how I’m almost 10 years older than him, which is crazy to write. It’s been so cool watching these guys, and knowing what they have in front of them — because I’ve been in their shoes before. And as the “old guy” (ha) I just get to sit back now and help them whenever I can.
But honestly, something I think those guys might not understand yet is how much they’ve also helped me. They just bring this energy and understanding to the game that is amazing to be around. They make it fun to go to work. It’s like my guy Lourdes always says: “There’s no point in me being sad … I get to do what I love every single day and enjoy it.”
And with that kind of approach, I feel like we have a chance to be pretty special.
But we’re also not getting ahead of ourselves. Just look at what happened last year. It was hard missing the playoffs on that Devers homer. To be so close and then to come up short, it hurt. But I also think it forced us to look at ourselves and be accountable. It forced each of us to go into the off-season saying, I didn’t do enough. We don’t want to be saying that again.
This year, we want to do more.
A lot more.
Enough talking though — I know you’re all itching for this season to start, just as much as I’m itching to take that field tonight. It’s going to be my first Opening Day in Rogers Centre, and I don’t exactly know what to expect. But I know it’s going to feel really good.
I’ll see you guys in a few hours. We’re ready. Let’s go!!!