50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 14, Jose Bautista is baseball’s best hitter

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 14, Jose Bautista is baseball’s best hitter

No. 14, Our $60-million man is the best thing to happen to the Jays since Joe Carter
(Image: Riccardo Vecchio) 

Jose Bautista is 195 pounds of flexed calves, sturdy hips, mighty shoulders and cocked wrists. The Blue Jays’ 30-year-old star batter—the team’s best chance of challenging the Yankees and Red Sox—stands serenely at home plate, scrutinizing and calculating the nuance of every pitcher before him. The glove’s position is one of his surest clues: it might be a fastball if the glove is held high, or an off-speed pitch if it’s slightly opened. Once the ball rises from the leather and the delivery begins, Bautista’s body seems to snap like an elastic band. His bat delivers 8,000 pounds of force, sending the ball toward the stands at 170 kilometres an hour. Jays fans have a special relationship with the home run. They saw Roberto Alomar defeat the intimidating Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and Joe Carter conquer the world in 1993. When they watch Bautista swing, they see the promise of glory.