Frankly, I'm not sure it speaks more to the cult-like reverence John McDonald holds amongst Blue Jay fans or to the respect he's earned within the organization's front office that Johnny Mac heads into camp with nary a peep concerning his undisputed hold on a roster spot.
And again, quite frankly, I'm good with that.
I've always been a bit of a closet Mac fan myself. Never been able to bring myself into really questioning why a career .604 OPS baseball player has been a constant part on a team rife with turnover over the course of the last six seasons, and haven't been able to heap the usual scorn reserved for those who would blindly defend his presence.
I mean.... he's Johnny Mac fer chrissakes!
Love him or hate him - and how could you, really - he's played the cliched role of human highlight reel on a team that's seen more downs than ups during the course of his time as a Blue Jay. And given the circumstances of the club, isn't that exactly what you'd like to see from a reserve middle infielder?
Of course, there have been the "bads" to go with the "goods". Those would be the times when Mac has been miscast as an everyday player. Be it by necessity or poor judgement. And let's not forget the times when McDonald, whose value lies entirely in his ability to play the shit out of shortstop and a little second base...... was drawing at-bats as a left-fielder.
But let's not dwell on those "bads". Let's not punish McDonald for the poor decisions of others. Let's celebrate McDonald, very likely (you'd think?) in his last big-league season, for what he does do and has done: defensive wizardry, a seemingly calming presence and all around good dude. Should some of those qualities ever be taken into account when evaluating baseball players? No, of course not. But we (I?) do anyway.
Hey, we don't punish Yunel for being flashy, do we? This ain't Atlanta.
So here's to you, Johnny Mac, and one more year of highlights. Looking forward to it.