St Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay has trouble getting respect from Cardinals fans and the larger baseball world, but he doesn’t let that bother him. He just goes about his business, being himself, and lets his history and stats speak for themselves.
Jay became the regular center fielder when five-tool player Colby Rasmus was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 27, 2011 for relief pitching that helped the Cardinals to their World Series title. The trade was a genius move by general manager John Mozeliak, but Jay’s role in the story has largely gone unnoticed.
On Aug. 24 of that year, Jay began what became the longest flawless-game streak by an NL center fielder. The streak encompassed the 2011 and 2012 postseasons, and finally ended on July 30 of this year. Jay wasn’t much of an offensive factor in the 2011 postseason, but in the pivotal World Series Game 6 he got a key hit in the bottom of the 10th inning that led to an important run.
Cardinals fans just can’t seem to take Jay seriously. They pine for top prospect Oscar Taveras to come up and take charge of center field, even though early on he seems to be injury prone. Jay just doesn’t fit the mold of the ideal center fielder. He looks kind of dumpy, to be honest, but he’s durable. He spent about a month on the disabled list last year after he ran into the wall, but has few injury issues otherwise. He plays without fear, gets a good jump on fly balls, and takes his role as commander of the outfield to heart.
Few might know it, but Jay leads the Cardinals in stolen bases with 10. Some people just can’t get past his official picture, with his goofy grin and ears sticking out a mile. He became probably the first major leaguer to ever use an advertising jingle as his walk-up song in a home game at bat this year.
Keeping doing what you’re doing, Jon Jay! Some Cardinals fans seriously love it.
Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Google.