jose bautista retirement

Toronto Blue Jays legend Jose Bautista exploring new passions in retirement

Over his 10 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista always had a way of doing things that few others in the world could do.

Whether it was his 54-home run season in 2010 or his iconic bat flip after his home run to give the Blue Jays the lead in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS, Bautista seemed to have a flair for the drama, whenever the moment required it.

Five years past his last MLB game, the six-time All-Star is finding his passions in the simpler things in life.

Making his home these days in Tampa, Florida, Bautista's found himself keeping busy with golf, mountain and road biking, and even a recreational soccer league.

"Just trying to keep myself busy with as much physical activity as I can," Bautista said in an interview with Daily Hive this week. "Doing stuff that I wasn't able to do a lot before."

Bautista added that he's doing "a little bit of business," though he wouldn't divulge much further on the specifics, hinting that he might have some upcoming ventures to announce in the near future.

While he's kept a watchful eye on the Blue Jays, fatherhood has occupied much of Bautista's time when he's not getting his workouts in.

"[I watch the Jays] as much as my four daughters let me," Bautista said with a laugh.

Bautista was back in Ontario this week for an appearance at a celebrity golf tournament — the Joe Carter Classic — run by a fellow Jays legend in support of the Children's Aid Foundation of Canada.

"Any way that I can help a fellow former athlete contribute to their great cause, I'm gonna try to take that opportunity," Bautista said.

The 2023 Blue Jays currently sit at 45-37, occupying the final Wild Card spot in the American League, but sit just fourth in their division behind the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

"I don't think I'm providing any state secrets here," Bautista chuckled when asked for his advice for this year's roster. "But things will get worked out in September. They have the talent, they have the ingredients, all they had to do is show up and put in a good effort every day and things will work themselves out."

Bautista's 2015 Blue Jays were a prime example of a team that turned things around after an inconsistent start. Through June, the Jays were just 41-38, before eventually having a resurgent second half of the season to finish with 93 wins and the American League East title.

"My experience as a player going through the same ups and downs and long years and, you know, where they are in the standings, it means nothing. They just need to continue to show up every single day and give it their best and try to be as united as possible," he said. "And not look at the standings until August and September because everything can change from now 'til then."

While Bautista played his last game as a Blue Jay in 2017, he played for three National League teams — Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies — in his final MLB season in 2018.

Bautista hinted that he would've liked to end his career in Toronto, but the team declined the 2018 contract option that would've paid him $17 million during what ended up being his last pro season.

At age 36, Bautista had a batting average of .203 with 119 hits, 23 homers, 65 RBIs and 92 runs scored in 157 games in 2017, before the team ultimately decided to cut him loose the following year.

"I definitely enjoyed every single minute [in Toronto]. I love our fans, I love our team, so that will never change," Bautista said.

"It is what it is. You just have to roll with it. Sometimes a lot of those decisions are outside of your control, so you just try [to] put in the work every single day when you have an opportunity and, unfortunately for me, that ended up where my last game was with another organization."

Speaking of change, Bautista's also quite the fan of recent rule changes in the sport that were implemented this season, most notably a pitch clock to speed up the pace of the game.

"I love it. I think the game is headed in a great direction, a lot of the on-field and in-game rule changes have had really been a positive change," Bautista said. "Same thing with Rogers Centre and all the renovations, it looks great on TV."

Bautista hadn't had a chance yet to check out the new-look Rogers Centre in person, but he'll be in attendance on August 12, when the Blue Jays add his No. 19 jersey to the team's Level of Excellence.

"It's an unbelievable honour," Bautista said. "I'm excited to be able to share that with the fans and hopefully we all have a lot of fun that day."

Lead photo by

Toronto Blue Jays

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