By Bob Elliott
Edwin Encarnacion was doing his Ed-Wing trot, his third of the afternoon, when the first missile fell from the WestJet Flight Deck and landed on the warning track in centre.
Encarnacion circled the bases after his seventh-inning slam, entered the dugout to high fives and was pushed onto the field by Ezequiel Carrera for a curtain call from the sold out crowd at Rogers Centre.
And then the deluge really began.
No less than 63 hats were picked up by the grounds keepers and security guards. They were taken to the stadium base office, placed inside a clear plastic bag and left at Encarncion’s locker by head grounds keeper Tom Farrell.
“It took a while for fans to catch on as to what was going on -- three homers, same as a hat trick,” said a member of the fastest working grounds crew, who chose not to give his name.
There were red Canada Day Blue Jays caps, Blue Jays logos of all eras, a Bud Light cap and a Minnesota Vikings lid.
Back, back, back: Encarnacion now has 29 homers after a three-run homer (373 feet), a two-run liner (370) and the slam (393) in Saturday’s mugging of the Tigers. Of his first 26 he averaged a distance of 409.1 feet, his longest 471 feet off Minnesota Twins reliever T.R. Graham, according to ESPN Home Run Tracker.
Josh Donaldson has 35 averaging 408.7 feet. His longest carried 469 feet off Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman at the Rogers Centre, like everyone else’s longest.
Jose Bautista has 31 averaging 409.1 feet (445, Cesar Ramos, Los Angeles Angels).
Russell Martin has 16 averaging 402 feet (443, Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves).
Chris Colabello had 13 with an average distance of 404 (442, Aaron Brooks, Oakland A’s).
Justin Smoak has 13 averaging 399 (452, Robbie Ross, Boston Red Sox).
Kevin Pillar has eight with a 383.1 average footage (418, Jonathan Neise, New York Mets).
Devon Travis also has eight with a 401.6 distance (425, Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore).
The Tracker traces No Doubt homers (the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence). The leaders in No Doubters: Encarnacion with 13 followed by Bautista and Donaldson with 11 each.
Scouting report: The Jays pose a threat to visiting advance scouts.
“It’s like they have four No. 3 hitters in their lineup, four guys who could hit third for maybe 20 other teams,” said one scout referring to lead-off man Troy Tulowitzki, Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion.
We still think it would be a good idea to move left fielder Ben Revere into the lead-off spot and move Tulowitzki down in the order.
After going hitless in his first 13 at-bats Revere, with four hits Saturday, is batting .330 this month with a .373 on-base mark.
Tulowitzki has a .208 average with a .331 on-base percentage in August.
Record-breaking walk: Play was not stopped Thursday in Cincinnati when Etobicoke’s own Joey Votto drew a walk facing Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke in the sixth inning. The walk was historic as it was the 718th of Votto’s career moving him past Fredricton’s Matt Stairs into second on the all-time list of Canuck walk leaders according to North Bay stats guru Neil Munro ... Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C. leads with 913 in 1,988 games. Stairs had 717 in 1,895 games and Jack Graney of St. Thomas had 712 in 1,402 appearances, while Votto achieved the mark in 1,076 games.
R.I.P. Mac: The Montreal newspaper world has had plenty of colorful, talented scribes from Tim Burke to Hall of Famer Michael Farber and on to Serge Touchette, J.P. Sarault, Red Fisher, John Robertson, Wayne Parrish and Ted Blackman. Ian MacDonald was there for it all working 50 years in the business before retiring. Mac as he was known and loved by all passed Wednesday night in Pte-Claire, Que. at 87 ... Sympathies are extended to his family. MacDonald won the Jack Graney award from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys in 2009. This year’s winner, Richard Griffin, of the Toronto Star, will be honored before Sunday’s game as part of baseball in Canada Day.
Briefly: Kansas City Royals scout Tim Conroy, who pitched seven years in the majors with the A’s and Cardinals, was at the first two games of the Jays-Tigers series. Conroy will stick with the Jays when Cleveland Indians visit and follow Toronto on its Boston-New York-Atlanta trip. Last time an scout from a team with post-season contender was here in August? Ah, 22 years ago ... Not that anyone would ever consider a re-do on the Donaldson deal, but departed Jays third baseman has surpassed his previous big league highs in homers (13) and RBIs (52) with the A’s. He’s six games from passing his high in games played (125) with the Jays ... Whitby’s David Marcus earned Perfect Game All-America First Team honors this summer. Playing for the Butler BlueSox, the Toronto Mets grad, led the Prospect League in four offensive categories and nearly captured the Triple Crown. He had 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, 18 doubles and a .601 slugging mark.