Reports are moseying around that Jason Bay is about to hang up his spikes. The only distinct memory I have of Jason Bay is that he once participated in the Home Run Derby. I only know even this much to be true because that particular year they had made the Derby based not on league affiliation, but on nationality, and I'm fairly sure he was the only Canadian hitter in the Majors at that point (I am probably wrong). At this point he was on the Pirates, where he almost for sure won Rookie of the Year a short while prior. He was pretty good in the Black and Yellow; though never reaching the ranks of the elite, he hit a fair number of home runs (over 30 a couple times) and had a decent-if-boring all around game. There was something about Bay that spoke pretty good in monotone, and he was just about as forgettable as all of those Pittsburgh teams.
Why I remember Jason Bay is because he was the piece the Red Sox received in exchange for shipping MannyBManny to Hollywood. This was a weird trade, because Ramirez is one of the greatest hitters to ever live, while you may not remember Bay even played for the Red Sox. (I happen to be one of fourteen people to own a Jason Bay Red Sox jersey tee, so I have less of a chance of forgetting.) It just so happens that Manny was on his crazy pills after winning it all twice in four years, and it's hard to watch over a toddler for a decade without him ever growing up. Thus, Bay stepped in to two eminently forgettable years in left field, personifying the Sox as good-but-not-great. In his only full season in Fenway, he would finish seventh in MVP voting, his highest finish of his career.
Then, someone did something stupid. It was someone in the Mets' front office, though whether it was Omar Minaya or Dan Duquette or anyone else is beyond recollection or relevance. I can't tell you how much or how long Bay signed for, but it was too much for a never-great outfielder starting the downside of his career by moving into a pitching park. Maybe three years and fifty million, or something to that effect, maybe there was a fourth year tacked on for shits. What I do know is that Bay got hurt, and he didn't hit as well, and David Wright had a bad year, and the Mets sucked, and everyone became cranky. Somehow, Bay played last year in Seattle, though I challenge anyone to recall how he got there or how below average he was.
A couple people see Bay's retirement as a symbol of change, but I can't even figure out what anyone would do differently. A 22nd round pick turned into a player who represented Team Canada at a Home Run Derby, was traded for a batshit insane Manny Ramirez, and earned a just-about-big contract. He will be remembered in the cities of Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York only by occasional appearances in the back of someone's closet. If it means anything, I got his player tee at Goodwill. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.