By: Stache Staff

Jason Bay is a gladiator

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In case you missed it on Friday night, Jason Bay dove after a long fly ball hit by Jay Bruce and ended up careening into the left field wall after missing the catch by inches. The crash impacted Bay’s neck and head and the left fielder left the game with his second concussion in two years. Bruce ended up with an inside-the-park home run.

As Bay began his slow walk off the field, some horrible people booed him, perhaps because they were upset that Bay wasn’t living up to the four-year/$66 million contract he signed prior to the 2010 season. The message was clear: “We approve of hard work and dedication, unless you’re making a ton of money, in which case, go away.”

Free speech is free speech, but it feels strange for fans to disapprove of a guy who so recklessly throws himself at every baseball hit in his direction. The Mets as a whole are at a disadvantage in the talent department, but trying to do something spectacular anyway. That pretty much describes Jason Bay, who despite not being very talented defensively, is capable of the spectacular catch, like the one he made in Atlanta earlier this season.

When you see a guy who goes all out as often as Bay does, the proper reaction would seem to be, “Wow, here’s a guy who really busts his butt and puts the team’s goals ahead of himself.” Instead, all fans can see is the generous contract that Omar Minaya offered Bay in a desperate attempt to avoid a rebuilding year.

Even on the play that may turn out to be Bay’s last of the 2012 season, he had the wherewithal to run down the ball and hit the cutoff man, even after nearly knocking himself out. Bay is a guy who is determined to leave everything he has on the field every day. Even though he hasn’t been very productive with the bat throughout his tenure with New York, he’s been a model of how a professional baseball player should conduct himself.

I’ll never understand why fans dislike Jason Bay. To hate him for his contract is to hate capitalism and to hate him for his effort on the field is to hate baseball. However, Bay perseveres through it all, and it’s for that reason that I’m confident we’ll see him in a Mets uniform again.

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