I feel bad for Jason Bay.
No, I'm not crazy. Yes, I have seen his stats before the Mets and with the Mets. Yes, he is being handed $21 million dollars to get as far away from New York City as possible.
So why do I feel bad for a player that signed a four-year, $66 million contract and got injured every year? Why do I feel bad when Bay had 36 home runs in Boston in 2009 and only 32 TOTAL hits in 2012? Why do I feel bad for him when he strikes out more than he gets on base?
Because if you know anything at all about baseball, you know that Bay doesn't deserve this fate.
For those of you saying he wasn't worth the money, of course he wasn't. There are few players in the MLB that justify a salary like that, let alone a guy that compiled 26 home runs over three years.
But think about it.
You're Jason Bay coming off a 2009 campaign with 36 home runs and 119 runs batted in, and someone offers you $66 million.
I dare you to tell me you wouldn't take it.
The guy was a great hitter and great teammate and the Mets overpaid for him. Your boss offers you a raise you don't necessarily deserve, are you going to turn it down?
Bay was bearing a weight on his shoulders that Chuck Norris couldn't hold up.
With all the problems the Mets had going into 2010, did they really think that signing Bay would fix everything? Oh, and by the way, enjoy Citi Field, where crushed balls barely reach the warning track.
Bay may not have been much of a hitter in New York, but no one could question his character.
Whether he smoked a ball in the gap or hit a dribbler back to the mound, he ran the same speed to first base every time. In an era where stars are benched for their lack of hustle, there was Bay booking it to first base even though he would be out by five steps.
Now you want to say how Bay was always hurt?
He got hurt trying to win games for the Mets. He concussed himself making an unbelievable play at the wall and went to the disabled list after diving for a line drive. He didn't break his wrist moving furniture.
And you're not going to find more of a class act in all of baseball than Bay.
Anyone that watched the Mets knew that Bay wasn't content with struggling and collecting a paycheck. Every time he didn't come through in a big moment, you could see in his eyes that he was genuinely disappointed in himself and that it killed him inside to not live up to the hype that surrounded him. When the Mets struggled, Bay blamed himself.
If Bay went 0-for-4, he'd still talk to the media. Hiding from reporters was never even an option for him.
With all of the injuries to the center fielders the team had, Bay was willing to move to an unfamiliar position in order to help the team. Next time you're struggling with a problem, volunteer to do something even more difficult.
Then you can understand Jason Bay.
So yes, there is no argument that Bay is the worst signing in the history of the New York Mets, but that's no reason not to tip your hat to him. Bay will be back in the Majors again for much more than the talent he has on the field.
He's a great teammate, a great role model and is selfless in a game clouded with selfishness.
Some things you can't put a price on.
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