Growing up one of the only ways for me to follow and keep up with my favourite players was by collecting baseball cards. There was nothing better than getting a new package of O-Pee-Chee or Upper Deck baseball cards. The excitement of seeing who would be amongst the players in each pack and maybe even getting a hologram card if I was lucky. Hoping that it would have one of my favourites – Tony Fernandez, Kelly Gruber and maybe even the great Ernie Whitt. And then dealing with the disappointment of finding the pack was filled with utility infielders for the Cleveland Indians.
With Social Media fans now have a new way to interact and get to know their favourite players. With every post fans can get behind the scenes insight into what the players go through on a day-to-day basis. With that in mind, here are six Blue Jays I’m excited to be following heading into the 2016 season.
Kevin Pillar, CF
Kevin Pillar earned his spot as the center fielder last season early in the 2015 season. After bouncing back and forth between the minors over the last two seasons, he won the job as the everyday center fielder. On the field he made a name for himself with highlight reel catches and won a place in the hearts of Jays fans across the country. As his popularity has grown on the field, it has grown off as well on social media. He has become one of the most open players in these channels sharing his thoughts and insight with his fans.
Hang in there my Canadian friends.. The best part of the year is almost here..We will bring the FL ☀️ north soon ✌🏼️ https://t.co/Q8bh1iuKQ5
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) March 5, 2016
Aaron Sanchez, P
Instagram – @a_sanch41
Twitter – @a_sanch41
As one of the youngest players on the roster, Aaron Sanchez has gravitated to social media to share his journey with his fans. This offseason he made it very clear that he had set a goal to return to the starting rotation. Over the winter he has shared video, pictures and updates showing his workout regime as he tries to win a spot in the rotation. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on him especially over the next few weeks to see if his hard work (and 20 pounds of muscle) pays off.
Jose Bautista, RF
There are a lot of reasons to watch Jose Bautista this year, on and off the field. As mentioned a few times on this blog Jose is in the last year of his contract with the Jays which has brought all kinds of attention to him and the team. Bautista’s social media gives great insight into his mindset and has become an outlet to respond to the haters – especially cranky and out of touch Hall of Famers. While he is super intense between the lines, on social media we get to see the other side of Jose – connecting with fans, teammates and his drive that has made him one of the top players in the league.
“If you ain’t got no haters you ain’t poppin’…” Rico Richie
— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) March 11, 2016
Ryan Goins, SS / 2B
Ryan Goins is one of the best defenders in the game. The Jays have been lucky to have on the roster – especially last year when he had to feel multiple times up the middle when called on to fill in for Jose Reyes, Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki. He had some big moments on the field and got himself into the conversation for a Gold Glove. What becomes clear from his Instagram is that his teammates love this guy. His feed on Instagram and Twitter are filled with chirps and inside jokes from his teammates.
— Ryan Goins (@rgoins17) January 20, 2016
Josh Donaldson, 3B
After his MVP season in 2015, Donaldson’s social media has been a great way to see how the award can change a player’s life. Not to mention he has one of the coolest Twitter handles out there. This offseason his feed has featured pictures of him with Justin Timberlake, making threats to light up former teammate David Price and kicking around the house dressed up like super hero (or as I call it a typical Saturday night). His confidence and sense of humour comes through on Social which in just one season has helped to make him one of the most popular athletes in Toronto.
Marcus Stroman, P
It was just over a year ago that Marcus Stroman’s 2015 season reportedly came to an end. The problem was that no one told Marcus that. With a single tweet that simply said “The return shall be legendary” he set the stage for a comeback no one saw coming. Throughout last season fans got to see as he worked his way back to return as a dominant pitcher for the Jays in the regular season and through the playoffs. On Social Media we get insight to his confidence and positivity (and ever changing hair styles). At 25 years old he has been anointed the ace of the staff which is a lot of pressure, but if social media is any indication he looks forward to the opportunity to show exactly what he can do.
The return shall be legendary.
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 12, 2015
Honourable mentions to Chris Colabello, Roberto Osuna and Drew Storen. This list definitely could have been longer.
Do you think I’ve missed someone? How does my list stack up to who you follow? And share your favourite Blue Jays social media moment with me.