TORONTO — Jose Bautista will return to the scene of some of his biggest moments in baseball Tuesday night when the New York Mets visit the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Mets and Blue Jays will play a two-game interleague series at the Rogers Centre Brandon Saad Jersey
, where Bautista starred for the better part of nine years.
The Mets will start right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.47 ERA) against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada (4-7, 4.53) in the series opener.
While the Blue Jays (39-45) were losing 3-2 in 10 innings on Monday afternoon to the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre, the Mets (33-48) had the day off. It gave Bautista a chance to renew acquaintances in Toronto.
“I have some stuff scheduled, to meet up with people who were part of my life when I was there and visit some of the usual spots,” Bautista told reporters in Miami, where the Mets played last weekend. “It’s definitely a place that I hold dear and close to my heart. It’s going to be a fun time.”
Bautista twice led the American League in home runs with the Blue Jays, hitting 54 in 2010 and 43 in 2011. His most famous home run came in 2015 at the Rogers Centre, a three-run blast with an iconic bat flip that won the American League Division Series in the fifth and deciding game against the Texas Rangers.
He played 1,235 regular-season games for the Blue Jays from 2008 to 2017, hitting 288 homers (second only to Carlos Delgado’s 336) with 776 RBIs (third on the team’s career list).
Bautista also had an influence on his teammates.
“He was a huge help in my development,” Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar said. “There was a time in my first full year when I went from left to center and I was making some plays and I kind of earned his respect and he metaphorically gave me the keys (to the outfield) and told me to go get anything I could. And my voice became the voice in the outfield. That was pretty special to me.”
When the Blue Jays did not pick up the option on his contract for this season Brent Seabrook Jersey Kids
, he became a free agent. He did not have a team until the Atlanta Braves signed him on April 18. After a minor-league stint, he struggled with the Braves for 12 games and was released May 20. The Mets signed him May 22.
In 36 games with the Mets, the 37-year-old is batting .250/.418/476 with three homers and 13 RBIs. In his past 14 games, he is hitting .300/.462/.650 with three homers and 10 RBIs.
“I’m not surprised by what he’s doing,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “He probably just needed some at-bats to get going and now we’re seeing the byproduct of him being ready. I’ve always known he’s a really good hitter. He keeps himself in really good shape. He’s probably in the best shape of anybody on our team and is (the oldest player on the team). Great approach, great patience, still has bat speed.”
“Not having a spring training, wanting to swing the bat and some other things might’ve played into me not (reaching base) as much in Atlanta,” Bautista said.
Bautista always has been a versatile player. He played mostly right field with the Blue Jays but also manned third base and occasionally first base. He has played 12 games in left field for the Mets, 10 in right field, two at third base and one at second base.
This will be the second series between the teams. They split two games on May 15-16 at Citi Field.
Wheeler was the losing pitcher on May 16, a 12-1 Blue Jays victory Youth Corey Crawford Jersey
, in his only career outing against Toronto. He allowed six runs, seven hits and three walks and struck out seven in four innings.
Estrada is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in seven career games (two starts) against the Mets. He struggled earlier in the season but is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his past five starts.
Al Michaels has a similar level of anticipation heading into his 10th Super Bowl broadcast as he had the first time he worked the biggest stage on television 30 years ago.
Michaels is set to join Pat Summerall as the only play-by-play announcers to call at least 10 Super Bowls when he works next weekend’s game in Minneapolis between New England and Philadelphia.
”It’s every bit as exciting and even more so in a way,” Michaels said in a phone interview. ”As you get older and you get the opportunities to do these events, you probably savor it more.
”When I look at guys like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, as they get older, I think they begin to appreciate and savor the opportunities more because you’re closer to the end than you are to the beginning and you never know how many more you have left.”
The 73-year-old Michaels is in no hurry to give up the microphone on NBC’s ”Sunday Night Football” broadcast, which is on target to be television’s highest-rated show for a record seventh straight year, passing the mark set by ”American Idol.”
With a comfort level with his broadcast team led by executive producer Fred Gaudelli, director Drew Esocoff and analyst Cris Collinsworth, Michaels is having as much fun as he ever had since becoming the lead announcer for ABC’s ”Monday Night Football” in 1986.
Michaels points to advice from former Buffalo coach Marv Levy about never considering retirement. He could be in position to stay long enough to match Summerall’s record of 11 Super Bowl play-by-play broadcasts.
”If you think about retiring, you’ve already retired,” Michaels said. ”That rings in my ears. I have a great amount of passion for what I do. I love what I do. I work with the greatest people I’ve ever worked with in this business top to bottom. I still get excited going to the games. I love walking into a stadium. I love sports.”
It’s been a remarkable career for Michaels Adam Henrique Jersey
, who has called eight World Series, including the Earthquake Series in 1989; nine Olympics, including the ”Miracle on Ice” in 1980; and now is preparing for his 10th Super Bowl.
He still remains at the top of his game in his sixth decade of work.
”Working with Al has been a professional highlight and all-out blast,” said Gaudelli, who will work his sixth Super Bowl with Michaels next week.
”I’ve been watching sports all my life and in my opinion no one can capture the moment quite like Al can. It’s never rehearsed or predetermined – he sees it, calls it and somehow the words are perfect. He never ceases to amaze me.”
Michaels’ first Super Bowl came following the 1987 season when Doug Williams led Washington to a 42-10 victory. Several of his others have included some of the most dramatic finishes in Super Bowl history, from Scott Norwood’s missed field goal for Buffalo in 1991, to Mike Jones’ tackle of Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line on the final play to preserve St. Louis’ title in 2000, to Eli Manning’s second comeback drive to beat Tom Brady six years ago.
But two stand out the most. The first was in 2009, when Pittsburgh’s James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a score on the final play of the first half, and then Santonio Holmes caught the winning TD for the Steelers in the final minute of a comeback win over Arizona.
Then in the most-watched television event in U.S. history three years ago, the Patriots won their fourth title when Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass from Russell Wilson at the goal line when it looked as if the Seahawks were poised to score the go-ahead TD in the closing seconds.
Those are the moments no broadcaster can ever prepare for Womens Andrew Cogliano Jersey
, and only the most accomplished can handle as adroitly as Michaels has over the years.
”John Madden once had a great line. We prepare like crazy. We prepare for any eventuality. But you get to the booth, and as John would say, all of a sudden a game breaks out,” Michaels said.
”The game has to come to you. You can’t go to the game. We have a million things we can talk about, but if you start talking about them and they’re not germane to the game, the listener will find that cacophonous. You have to blend what you know with what’s going on in the game.”
One aspect Michaels didn’t have to deal with for most of his career but has risen up this season has been social justice protests during the national anthem. He realizes it’s a delicate balance for an announcer because many fans will be offended by networks showing or talking about the protests, while others will be equally as upset if they are ignored.
While no Eagles or Patriots are currently protesting, Michaels is prepared for any scenario.
”We’re there to report what happens,” he said. ”If there is something that does take place, you have to cover it. You don’t have to editorialize about it. You report here is what happened and you don’t lecture people on this is bad or this is good. People tune in to watch the game and we’ll bring them the game.”