|Courtesy of Yahoo|
Take a bow Munenori Kawasaki, you’ve earned it.
He may not have been responsible for the game-winning hit, but had it not been for Munenori Kawasaki’s game-tying home run, the Blue Jays would not even be in the position to celebrate a walk-off win.
It’s kind of funny how Kawasaki has evolved from a player with a cult-like status, to suddenly becoming a fan favourite. I mean, I can’t remember a guy that Blue Jays fans have taken to so quickly than Munenori Kawasaki.
That was no more apparent than in his fourth and final at bat of the game. Over 35,000 fans at the Rogers Centre were on their feet chanting “KA-WA-SA-KI, KA-WA-SA-KI”. Not only that, but even Edwin Encarnacion was cheering for him in the dugout.
That may have been in large part due to the fact that the game-winning run was standing at second base, but even still … the fans were cheering for Munenori Kawasaki like they cheer for Jose Bautista.
And then of course, once Rajai Davis drove in the game-winning run, Munenori Kawasaki leapt from the dugout like a kid whose team just won the Little League World Series.
Look how happy that guy is. Really, you’d be hard-pressed to find a man who enjoys playing the game than Munenori Kawasaki. Not that every other player in the Major Leagues doesn’t love baseball, but you get the sense that Kawasaki really really really loves baseball.
I suspect the main reason why people love Munenori Kawasaki so much is because he plays baseball with pure and unadulterated passion. He plays as though every game may very well be his last, and with Jose Reyes set to rejoin the Blue Jays, that very well be the case.
Losing an All-Star shortstop would be a huge blow to any team, and Munenori Kawasaki’s infectious personality has at least provided a welcome distraction while Reyes makes his journey back to the Blue Jays.
It’s kind of an unfortunate that Kawasaki may be out of a job next week, but it’s a necessary part of the business. However, Munenori doesn’t play with a chip on a shoulder … he plays like every game is a gift.
And how’s this for foreshadowing? Kawasaki obviously isn’t known for his home run hitting prowess, but he did in fact launch a ball out of the yard during batting practice, and the National Post’s John Lott captured this photo immediately afterwards.
|Courtesy of John Lott|
So it’s almost fate that Mune followed up a rare home run in BP with his very first big league home run. And that home run could not have come at a better time.
The legend of Munenori Kawasaki may be coming to a close, but it sure has been one heck of a ride.