Blue Jays: Joe Biagini treasures every interaction

TORONTO, ON - MAY 29: Joe Biagini
TORONTO, ON - MAY 29: Joe Biagini /

Joe Biagini, one of Major League Baseball’s most colourful characters, has enchanted Toronto Blue Jays fans with his unique mix of charm, wit, and eccentricity. Still, beneath his comedic and exuberant exterior lies a human being genuinely grateful for all that he has become.

Baseball players have fun, that is no secret. It is also no secret that, for the most part, baseball players are thrilled to meet and interact with adoring fans, whether it be signing autographs, taking pictures, or just fist bumping after a big game.

Blue Jays pitcher Joe Biagini might not be the first player to come to mind when one thinks of a grateful and appreciative athlete. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a genuinely kind, easygoing individual. It’s just that, despite his evidently gentle demeanour, one doesn’t expect him to be one of the more outgoing ones.

Maybe it’s the fact that he hilariously appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and went viral after botching a high-five mid-show. Perhaps it’s the fact that, on the field, he appears just as composed and relaxed as any professional athlete.

But after hearing what Joe Biagini had to say, one thing became abundantly clear: he cherishes every individual interaction with fans and is, above all else, thankful that people want to talk to him, take pictures with him, and support him in playing the game he loves.

“For you, as a player, you do this all the time,” Biagini remarked at the team’s WinterFest event. “You meet somebody and you move on with your day, but for them, they might remember that for the rest of their life.”

Going beyond that, Biagini, who spoke to reporters wearing his jersey and a pair of running shoes inside a press box at Rogers Centre, is simply stunned that he’s in a position to be desired by fans, adding that he still can’t believe that he’s in a position where fans want his attention.

“I don’t know if I always do this perfectly,” he said sheepishly. “But I always try to remind myself just how unbelievable it is to be desired to come here and sign autographs and take pictures with people. I still can’t believe I’m in this position”.

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During his media availability on the second day of WinterFest, Biagini joked endlessly with reporters, complementing a writer’s vest and, at one point, running his hand through the beard of one of the reporters standing beside him.

While he is aware that he might not be as well-known as some of his teammates, namely Russell Martin, who taught him how to make every interaction special, he is appreciative of every bit of love that is thrown his way.

“You have a responsibility to manage an interaction,” he cautioned, dropping a smile in favour of a serious, yet friendly gaze. “You can’t do it all the time, but I try when I have the opportunity”.

While the rest of Major League Baseball may look upon him with a smile and brush him off as just another class clown, anyone who meets him personally will know instantly that he is anything but.

Joe Biagini’s future with the Toronto Blue Jays is uncertain. At 28, he is, surprisingly, one of the oldest players on the active roster and seems poised to at least crack the major league squad in some way, shape or form.

Still, his 2018 season wasn’t great, and those close to the organization believe that it was the constant shifting from reliever to starter and back that messed things up. If you ask Biagini, he’ll tell you that he’s just happy to be here.

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After it’s all said and done, the lanky hurler who jogs out to the mound to Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown, as quirky as he is, is one of the team’s most good-natured individuals. While he may not show his personality on the mound, you’d be hard pressed to find a professional athlete who cares more about every interaction with a fan.