By: Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- You could hardly blame Adam Lind for putting up a little bit of a guard when a Toronto reporter approached him for an interview here.
After all, social media and some mainstream Blue Jays' media had taken him to task in his last couple of years in a Toronto uniform for slacking off in the production department, compared to his early years with the franchise.
"When you play baseball, people have the right. There were stories written,'' said Lind, who is a member of the Washington Nationals. And his statement about criticism stopped there.
Lind slammed 35 homers, drove in 114 runs in 2009 and was given a multi-year contract extension April 3, 2010 but his numbers were never the same after that. Over the course of time, Lind was played on outright waivers, optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas and taken off the 40-man roster. Yet, he remained Jays' property until November, 2014 when he was traded to the Brewers.
"I was a streaky hitter,'' Lind said when he was asked why he thought his numbers went into decline. "I was probably the streakiest hitter they ever saw.''
Lind spent eight-plus seasons with the Jays and enjoyed his time in Toronto. He broke into a smile when he mentioned meeting Lakeyshia Bertie of Scarborough, Ont. at a downtown restaurant in 2007.
"I met my wife there and two of my kids were born there,'' Lind was saying. "If I was still there, my third child would have been born at Mount Sinai Hospital. I thank Toronto for what they did for me. It was my home for quite a while.
"Unfortunately, they went to the playoffs twice after I left. They've been very successful since I left. When I go up there to visit with my wife and kids, some people say thanks and wish I was still there. But I don't work there anymore.''
Interesting way to put it. Instead of saying, "I don't play there anymore,'' he said, "I don't work there anymore.''
There was no hesitation on Lind's part when he was queried about the highlight of his Blue Jays' career.
"Opening Day in 2009 because it was my first Opening Day in the starting lineup,'' he said. "I hit a homer and drove in six runs.''
NOTES: Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he loves Montreal and Canada after visiting there numerous times over the years as a player and manager. He even visits the Vancouver area once a year to visit a close friend Alan Lindy of Montreal, who now lives in Whistler, B.C. "Alan has a cabin 400 km. north of Whistler in the remote wilderness and he told me the other day that a big bear came and tore down his cabin,'' Baker said.
Former long-time Expos trainer Ron McClain of Indianapolis is in the area on what he calls his annual West Palm Beach "spring-training vacation'' where he spends a lot of time in Jupiter, spring-training home of the Marlins, who employ a lot of ex-Expos' personnel. McClain made a note of mentioning that he was catching up with Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Tim Wallach, Brian Schneider, a lot of front-office folks, equipment manager John Silverman and trainer Mike Kozak.
And talking of former Expos' brass, we ran into former scouting director Gary (Boomer) Hughes, who took time to say that his grandson Hayden King has accepted a $60,000 baseball scholarship to attend the University of San Francisco. He's a southpaw and a first baseman/designated hitter. Hughes is also fairly close with former Expos second baseman Delino DeShields so Hughes let it out that DeShields' hoops daughter Diamond will be the first pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
Red Sox manager and former Blue Jays skipper John Farrell was quick to point out that Jose Bautista was the best player he managed with the Jays.
"Special person, special player,'' Farrell told this writer. "Edwin didn't quite have the number of good seasons Jose had. I like the way Jose went about every play on the field. He was an emotional leader and a leader by production.''