Big Lead Sports Bar



Earlier this morning, I agreed to write a post introducing Jason Bay to the Red Sox blog Center Field. And since I never really gave Beaker his official send-off, consider this the belated edition. Enjoy him, Red Sox Nation.
How do I describe Jason Bay in just a few short paragraphs? Well, there's times when you love him, and times when you love him just a little less. He's not the kind of guy that ever would inspire any of the hatred directed at, let's say, the player who he was traded for.

My best synopsis of what you're getting out of Bay could be taken from my 2008 Pirates preview for Deadspin, entitled, 16 Reasons Why the Pirates Streak Won't End in 2008:

5. Jason Bay is not happy

Jason Bay usually makes about as much noise as your average mime. Never before have I seen a player so inappropriately thrust into a leadership role. So you can imagine my surprise when the muted one finally opened his mouth to reveal that he was disappointed with the Pirates' offseason inactivity.

Fantastic. I'm glad that Bay feels comfortable enough to speak his mind. Unfortunately, the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year chose a time when he's coming off his most disappointing year as a Pirate, as his numbers fell from 35/109/.286 in 2006 to 21/84/.247 in 2007. As previously mentioned, he's turned the called strike three into an art form, which the city has dually noted.

His impeccable timing has already irked the new front office, who preferred that Bay aired his grievances with them rather than through the media. It's good to see that one of our star players is starting off on such a good foot with his new bosses.

He's obviously bitter over the dead-end trade with Cleveland, but that's for two obvious reasons:

1. All he was worth was Cliff Lee, which is a major shot to anyone's ego, and

2. He's still stuck in Pittsburgh, at least until he pulls a Raul Mondesi and concocts an extortion plot to get his release.
Looking back on it, I guess Cliff Lee wouldn't have been such a bad return on that proposed deal, considering he's 14-2 with a 2.58 ERA on a 47-60 team. Of course, when the deal was proposed, Lee was coming off of a 2007 in which he went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA, and I'm guessing that wouldn't have gone over with us long-suffering Pirate fans.

As I alluded to earlier, Bay never came across to fans as a vocal leader-type. He was more of a laid-back personality, which can be good at times and bad at times. He developed quite a rep in these parts for a sphincter that seemed to tighten in the rare clutch situation, so I hope he can hold up to the microscope of Boston (much like the microscope that Pittsburgh puts their football players under). The difference is that he's not the #1 guy in Boston with the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. I always thought that Bay would be best-suited as a 2nd or 3rd offensive option, and I think he can thrive in this role with the Sox.

What I'll most miss about Bay, however, is his presence in my annual Pittsburgh Pirates: The Movie posts. After three editions, Beaker is going to be out of work!

No comments: