If you follow me (or almost any other Jays fan) on Twitter, you likely know how I feel about the team’s roster moves yesterday, as my feelings are far from unique.
“Brett Lawrie, yay!” quickly turned into, and @s_findlay put it best, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME JAYS. Travis Snider! What the fucking fuck! Fuck this. #incoherentrage”
But on this day when the Jays begin the career most-highly touted Canadian prospect in probably ever, I think it’s important to talk a little bit about the guy who is, for my money, the most-entertaining Canadian player ever: Matt Stairs.
The retired-from-baseball-just-the-other-day Fredericton native holds MLB records for the most-teams played for and most pinch-hit home runs. He mashed an awe-inspiring playoff tater when he played for the Phillies — a homer which lead to probably the only good quote about getting one’s “ass hammered” (SFW, unless you can’t say “ass” in your office) and also inspired a great T-shirt:
Stairs has even earned love from the stats geeks, with Bill James going so far as to say that, given better circumstances, Stairs could be a Hall of Famer:
“Look at it. Somebody decided he was a second baseman, he tears through the minor leagues, gets to Montreal, the Expos take one look at him and say, ‘He’s no second baseman, get real.’ He bounces around, goes to Japan, doesn’t really get to play until he’s almost 30, then hits 38 homers, slips into a part-time role and hits 15-20 homers every year for 10 years in about 250 at-bats a season. … You put him in the right park, right position early in his career … he’s going to hit a LOT of bombs.”
As if everything above wasn’t enough, Stairs, by all accounts, is a great guy.
And great guys, they don’t forget where they came from. Which makes it too bad that Baseball Canada has ruled Stairs ineligible for the upcoming Canadian Senior Baseball Championship.
It’d just be too good, I guess, to let Stairs finish off the year with the team where it all started for him — the Fredericton Royals. Too good, especially since, of course, the championship is being played in his home province.
Stairs being Stairs, though, he hasn’t ruled out any involvement in the tournament, saying he’s considering a coaching role. That’d be nice for all involved, but it’s too bad that the good people of Miramichi, N.B., won’t get to hear his excellent walk-up music.
UPDATE: Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Time just alerted me to his own post on Matt Stairs. Jaffe takes a look back at the most memorable games in which Stairs has played and the list is, unsurprisingly, pretty long. Worth a read for sure.