Blue Jays Blues: An ode to Munenori Kawasaki


Blue Jays fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki is headed to the Chicago Cubs on a minor league deal, ending an era of bush parties and baseball being fun

Baseball is a made-up game of made-up rules that boys, girls, women and absurdly-paid men play for fun. A sport of trials and troubles, but at its core, a sport with that offers pure, unrivaled joy.

That is the lesson of Munenori Kawasaki.

Today’s news that Kawasaki would be signing in the National League with the Chicago Cubs has brought a sombre reaction from his many Blue Jays fans. Instead of reminiscing about Toronto’s ‘mascot’, however, a lazy term misapplied due to the unfamiliar sight of a gleeful ball player, lets take one last opportunity to appreciate Kawasaki in the bigger picture. Even the ‘baseball’ part.

In three years with the Blue Jays, Kawasaki consistently saw more time than expected while keeping the 25th spot on the major league roster afloat. Across 201 games, Kawasaki produced a triple-slash line of .242 / .326 / .301. Not overwhelming by any means, but with a competent defensive profile and a level of flexibility, Kawasaki was the poster boy for a valuable quad-A player.

Instead of the “bush party” interview or his many memorable television appearances, the moment I’ll remember Kawasaki for most was the walk-off hit against the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a great rarity to see this level of free, raw joy on a professional field.

So, what does this mean to the on-field product of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016? In all honestly, not much. The bat can be replaced. The glove can be replaced. Time marches on at the bottom of Toronto’s roster.

But damnit, Munenori Kawaski mattered.

And we’re all better baseball fans for having known him.