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Balbino Fuenmayor Released

This past Thursday saw the Blue Jays announce the outright release of Balbino Fuenmayor. Newsworthy for the Jays as, once again, they have given up on a first base prospect. A worrying theme when you consider how thin they are at the position organizationally. For Canadians fans, this will more than likely produce mixed feelings. Fans of minor league franchises are used to the transient nature of the playing staff. You naturally cheer for the good ones, which, by nature, should mean they get promoted and continue their career at higher levels. Leaving the crowd to choose a new hero. So fans are, in effect, fans of the brand. And it’s not hard to be a fan of the Vancouver Canadians and all the brand can offer.

Fuenmayor looks resplendent in C's black and red, shades, and monogrammed glove

Fuenmayor looks resplendent in C’s black and red, shades, and monogrammed glove

Although some may argue, I think it is pretty easy to say that Fuenmayor has been the most popular player to put on a C’s jersey during the short two year affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays. He is also the leader in games played with 128 and a host of other offensive categories, including home runs with fifteen. Of course, being the leader of a Northwest League team in games played is a double edged sword.

I’ve made no secret in regards to my feelings about Balbino. All you need to do is search his name on yourvancs.com and it’ll come up with numerous articles where I was less than complimentary about his ability as a baseball player. In no way were these personal attacks, I just didn’t think his production (or lack thereof) merited taking at bats away from someone else. After struggling with Lansing through the first month and a half of the season, something I touched on two weeks ago, Jays management decided they had seen enough. This was his fourth kick at the Midwest League can. With no value in seeing what he could do in Vancouver again, the decision was made to release him to seek out other opportunities.

It was the right decision by the Jays, and, all things considered, overdue. Still, despite all that, I don’t take any pleasure in seeing a ballplayer released. This is their livelihood. Balbino was probably even more frustrated than me in his inability to recognize breaking balls away.

I asked the Canadians radio play by play man Rob Fai for his perspective. I figured he’d see things on a more personal level than someone who forms his opinions from the stands and spreadsheets. Rob was kind enough to reply with a very personal response.

I won’t print it verbatim but Fai was quick to point out how respected Balbino was in the clubhouse, the appreciation the C’s coaches had for his work ethic, and the positive nature he brought to the yard every day.

‘He was never pinch-hit for, played respectable defense and was a power threat in the middle of the order playing in a stadium where even the best of power hitters can be humbled’

He even called him a ‘joy to travel with’. Something that must be difficult, considering how long some of those bus trips are.

In summary, Rob expressed his gratitude to Fuenmayor for the big part he played in putting two Northwest League Championship rings on his fingers.

I don’t think there’s much more for me to add to that, other than to wish Fuenmayor good luck. This will be the last time I get to use the my personal nickname for him, let’s hope the Big Bopper Balbino catches on with another club soon.

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