By Bob Elliott
David Price threw 67% of his pitches for strikes in his debut Monday afternoon.
And on Thursday afternoon he was roughly the same hitting the target 66% of the time.
What is Price doing throwing strikes on a Thursday when he should be resting before his Saturday start at the small band box in the Bronx against the New York Yankees?
Price was throwing for a good cause.
Outside the Rogers Centre between Gate 10 and 11 sat Jose Bautista on a platform above a dunk tank.
Price stood “10-to-15” feet away.
His first pitch missed the lever that would have dunked Bautista. “Two feet low,” said Price.
His second hit the lever but did not have enough force to set off the release mechanism. “Didn’t throw hard enough, I was bummed,” said Price.
And on the third toss Price hit the target and the spring action devise worked.
Ker plunk ...
Glub, glub, glub ...
Down went Bautista as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge into a tub of ice water filled by Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez.
Major League Baseball is donating $100,000 for ALS research this August and next August and every August until a cure for the disease which affects 100,000 Canadians is found.
Hopefully, there isn’t an Ice Bucket Challenge next August.
Besides Bautista getting wet, Ryan Goins slowly dumped a bucket of ice water on actress Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber) and comedian Jerry Dee dumped a bucket on a grade schooler.
The vid was shown in the fourth inning after the Atlanta Braves had challenged the Blue Jays. Price challenged the Detroit Tigers to go next with the challenge to fight the disease which claimed the lives of Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter.
After the Jays finished batting practice five people wearing Bautista jerseys posed with pictures, received autographs and talked ball with Bautista in the dugout.
Brock MacAlpine a Woodstock resident, bid on the right to come into the third base dugout at a silent auction at Bautista’s charity golf tournament last year. He brought his wife Kelly and children Rebecca, 22, Jessie, 19 and John, 16.
Fans chant “2-Low” when Troy Tulowitzki leads off and scream “MVP, MVP” when No. 2 Josh Donaldson comes up and with Bautista ... no chant.
There was a lot of applause when he hit his run-scoring double Thursday, although not as much as when he hit his grand slam on Wednesday.
Fans like the MacAlpine family haven’t forgotten the two-time major-league home run champ.
“When the Blue Jays phoned they asked what kind of jerseys we wanted,” MacAlpine said. “This was after all the trades. “I thought about David Price and Tulowitzki. We stuck with Jose. What are you going to do with a Price jersey next year? I mean I hope we resign him, but it’s going to be tough.
“Jose has made a commitment to play in the city.”
MacAlpine was in the dugout because he went to Bautista’s golf tournament last year as a guest of a pal from Domino’s Pizza.
“It was the second I’d ever gone to,” said MacAlpine, who attended an event run by Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I really didn’t know what to expect.
“Bautista was very giving of his time, did his best make everyone welcome. We saw this caravan of golf carts come up and thought ‘Oh Bautista is playing through.’ He got out of the cart and asked if we had time to have our picture taken with him.”
After the round golfers returned to the club house for diner and at each table was a signed group photo taken while on the course.
“I looked at every pictures at our table, it was not a stamped on signature. Jose has signed each and every picture, he must have signed 150 pictures looking around the room,” said MacAlpine. “Jose spoke about his charity and made everyone there feel welcome.”
The Bautista event was a more enjoyful experience than the Kadri tourney which advertised a number of players would be there.
“They weren’t,” MacAlpine said. “Kadri was available for pictures for maybe 40 minutes.
“Jose Bautista is not like a lot of athletes who sometimes get full of themselves.”
This year’s tourney, the third annual, goes Monday at Eagles Nest with proceeds going to Bautista’s non-profit foundation, the Bautista Family Education Fund (BautistaFund.org) and Jays Care.
Bautista is trying to help more players from outside the U.S. grasp that college in the United States is a viable option to turning pro at 16, and the value of an education. Just as he attended Chipola College earning a bachelor’s degree in business.
Basically Bautista, is carrying on the work of California businessman Don Odermann, who started the Latin Athletes Education Fund which enabled Bautista to reach Chipola.
A total of 27 students, including one Canadian are in the program. Infielder Yan Carlo Rivera is a freshman at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.
The Bautista Family Education is a good cause.
Ditto for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Now go get dunked.