Kevin Kiermaier quickly making new friends with the Toronto Blue Jays fanbase
By Dave Litman
As if his on-field play hasn't been enough—a .299 average with eight RBI and eight runs, plus spectacular defense in center field—Kevin Kiermaier has found other ways to ingratiate himself with Blue Jays fans as well.
Shortly after legging out his second triple of the season Tuesday night with a head-first slide into third base, Kiermaier gave a young fan seated near the Jays' dugout the thrill of his life, gifting him his "gently-used" batting gloves. Complete with Rogers Centre infield dirt smeared all over them. The TV broadcast caught the fan's reaction, and it is absolutely priceless.
The boy appeared to be in shock, his mouth agape, and he eventually gave the soiled gloves a kiss. As Kiermaier noted after seeing the fan's reaction, who knows which one of them actually got more gratification out of the interaction?
Following his arrival in the dugout after the triple and then scoring a run, Kiermaier could be seen pulling the gloves out of his back pocket, and then immediately walking over to the stands at the end of the dugout and pointing to the young boy as he tossed him the used paraphernalia. Kiermaier noted that anytime his batting gloves have gone through the heat of battle after a slide, he makes it a point to give them to kids in the stands. “I may have made his night, but he really made my night," said the 11-year veteran.
But the Jays' new center fielder wasn't done there. During Wednesday afternoon's game, even though he wasn't in the starting lineup, there was Kiermaier chatting it up with a very young boy seated next to the dugout, making yet another young fan's day.
The irony isn't lost here, as this is the same Kevin Kiermaier who, as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2021, was Public Enemy No. 1 around these parts for swiping Alejandro Kirk’s lineup card during a game when it fell out of his pocket after a play at the plate. Kiermaier refused to give it back, and there was certainly some bad blood, at least between the Toronto fans and the Rays outfielder at the time.
But that's all water under the bridge now, as Kiermaier continues to make new fans—and friends—in Toronto as each day passes in the fledgling 2023 season.