We spend the month of March on Clearwater Beach, where former Toronto Blue Jays slugger José Bautista is rumored to own one of the two penthouse suites atop the Mandalay Bay Beach Club’s twin buildings – a stone’s throw from the Jays’ spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida. Ballplayers who make big bucks usually indulge in those kind of luxuries, but apparently Mr. Bautista couldn’t enjoy the view from way up there last year. That is, if you believe a recent on-air report from baseball pundit Peter Gammons.
“Bautista finally took advice from friends and went and had his eyes checked. And the vision is just what his friends thought: really bad,” Gammons said on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight. “So, now he’s getting used to his glasses — probably contacts.”
But baseball media outlets lit up with incredulity over this. Take tipofthetower.com, for example, which wrote: “This was met with some suspicion from people both inside and out of the Toronto Blue Jays organisation. They — like most teams — test the vision of all their players, before, during and after the season. In short, if something was up with Bautista’s vision, surely the Blue Jays would have picked up on it during last year? Again, we hate to say he’s becoming desperate, but something doesn’t quite add up here.”
Nor was the Toronto Sun impressed:
“Toronto general manager Ross Atkins was taken aback by what Gammons reported. ‘We do tests for vision,’ Atkins told Postmedia. “We test vision with all our players and we’re doing everything to stay at the forefront of that research.”
And a similarly disbelieving sentiment from bluejaysnation.com and Dr. Simpson:
So this turns out to be rather intriguing. Bautista and his agent seem to be posturing for a contract from a club willing to gamble that this elite athlete had a vision problem that went undetected. What if the report turns out to be correct? That would not reflect well on the club’s protocols for determining each player’s visual competency before the season. It would be fascinating to learn who José saw, what he was told about his vision, and what he was prescribed.