Continuing their trend of offloading every player on the roster born in the 80’s, the Blue Jays traded Kevin Pillar to the San Francisco Giants. Pillar was tearful in the scrum with the Toronto media for the last time.
Though Pillar was never one of my favourites, there is no denying either his popularity with the fans or the important role he played in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
He was also a bit of an unlikely sex symbol. For someone so unique-looking (the big eyes, the big nose, the profile that looked like it belonged on a Grecian urn), Pillar inspired a hell of a lot of glitter-covered signs proposing marriage held up in the stands.
While Pillar was maddeningly inconsistent at the plate, he did manage to scrape together enough baseball skills to earn himself a starting position. It’s easy to forget that Pillar wasn’t the starting centre fielder when camp broke in 2015, but he became a mainstay in that spot for four seasons.
And the plays in the outfield were insane:
Also, this is just cheeky:
The incident in 2017 where Pillar used a gay slur towards Jason Motte sullied his reputation for some fans and in some circles, it never recovered.
Pillar spoke to Ken Rosenthal a year after the event and spoke about what he’d learned since:
While I understand that, for some, no apology would be enough for some LGBTQ+ fans — which is completely their prerogative— I did appreciate that Pillar was at least willing to ask Billy Bean some questions and speak with a group of gay youth. It seems like he learned something.
Baseball is a strange thing. It’s known for being slow, but time really accelerates. Those 2015 and 2016 contending teams, while less than five years ago, are becoming a distant memory.
The Blue Jays are still searching for new magic.
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