Before Bautista was playing everyday and crushing home runs to left field at a record pace this season, there was a small collective that was indebted for all that Jose did: the Bautista Appreciation Society.
For those who have ever wondered where the Bautista Appreciation Society was born, please allow me to provide you with a little BAS background.
It all stemmed from this post on the Tao of Stieb back on July 22nd of 2009. It was following a disappointing 2-1 loss at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.
Seeking a silver lining in the loss, I commented how Jose Bautista had a great arm and could be part of a great defensive outfield core for the Blue Jays.
They may not have realized it at the time, but the very next anonymous commenter chimed in with the phrase that would begin this whole crazy collective:
"Yes. The Bautista Appreciation Society has arrived. He's made some great plays in the outfield this year."Now, with it being the internet and all, it was tough to tell whether or not that person was being sarcastic or serious. I took it as the latter, and eyebleaf himself quickly jumped on board:
"The Bautista Appreciation Society? Where do I sign up for that shit? More importantly, where does Drew sign up for that shit?"From that point onward, the BAS spiraled out of control. I can't quite put my finger on what made me enjoy Jose Bautista as a player, but there was something about him that made Bautista very likable.
I guess in a way, he reminded me of a Dominican John McDonald: an Average Joe with above average defense just looking to get some playing time.
He wasn't a huge offensive threat, yet his defensive versatility to play both third base and the outfield was a big selling point. I think the very first thing that drew me in was his cannon for an arm. He played 84 games in the outfield with the Blue Jays in 2009 and had 11 assists.
As you can tell, I tend to latch onto certain players and claim them as unofficial heroes for this blog (see Scott Richmond), and Jose Bautista just so happens to fall into that category as well.
Whether Jose Bautista hit 50 home runs this season or whether he hit 10 makes no difference. Your favourite players are your favourite players no matter what. You stick with them through thick and thin, and ride high with them when things are going well.
It just so happens for the BAS that this season has been a six-month long roller coaster ride with no signs of stopping. Next season, we'll find out who the true Bautista Appreciation Society members are.
In the meantime, I invite anyone to join the BAS and encourage everyone to enjoy this amazing ride of a season together.
BAS 4 Life, indeed.