Lack of Blue Jays hustle sparks impassioned plea from Buck Martinez

Sep 28 2022, 10:00 pm

John Schneider isn’t alone in voicing his displeasure with the urgency shown by the Toronto Blue Jays of late. 

Broadcaster — and former Major League Baseball catcher and manager — Buck Martinez also didn’t sugarcoat some of the soft-stepping coming from the Blue Jays of late, either. 

“It’s not just September. It’s every time, every day. How often do we say, ‘wow that guy really hustled!’ Well, that shouldn’t be the exception, that should be the norm. Unfortunately, it’s not the norm nowadays,” Martinez said during Toronto’s 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday. 

“You can’t just say, ‘Well, they’re young.’ No, they’re not young. They’re playing in their third and fourth years in the big leagues now. You have to step up. If you want to be a champion, you have to play like a champion.”

The game featured a lacklustre effort from star slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who jogged out of the batter’s box after launching a shot deep into the outfield. The ball stayed in play, and Guerrero was tossed out by a wide margin trying to gain second base. 

Guerrero’s gallop came one batter after Bo Bichette was also called out at second base after coming off the bag following a safe slide. 

Teoscar Hernandez had a similar effort on a potential round-tripper on Monday. 

“Teoscar’s ball hit off the top of the fence and he thought it was a grand slam and, if they threw the ball to second, he’s out,” Martinez said. “In this game, Teoscar hustled up the line, Matt Chapman hustled up the line, they made it close, bang bang. But it’s not like they do it every single inning of every single game and that’s what you have to do if you want to be a champion.”

The Blue Jays, who fired manager Charlie Montoyo in July, are 87-68 this season and hold the American League’s top wild-card spot with seven games remaining.

“This John Schneider’s 67th game as manager and these are the types of things he’s going to change the culture of. I believe that he’s the right guy to manage this team going forward. He understands that there’s a certain way to play championship baseball. He won in the minor leagues in three different leagues. He understands what it takes to win.

“It’s harder than ever to win in the Major Leagues. You don’t see a lot of repeat winners now. Things are changing from year to year. So you’ll have to set a standard of ‘This is how the Blue Jays are going to play. We’re going to put our trademark on this game and we’re going to do it every single day.'”

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