Ode to Alomar

A diving stop by Aaron Hill in today’s ballgame — which helped preserve a one-run lead against the D-Rays — was truly reminiscent of a certain popular ex-Blue Jay second baseman, Roberto Alomar. A fan favourite during his five seasons (1991-95) in Toronto, Alomar made countless defensive gems, many of which proved game-saving.

Robertoalomar_1 Alomar was one of the faces of the franchise during the Blue Jays’ ‘glory years’, winning an American League gold glove award each of his five seasons. His average fielding percentage during his tenure in Toronto was .988, a remarkable number for a player with such range.

Apart from defensive statistics, which rarely tell the whole story, Alomar made plays that most second baseman simply give up on. In particular, his head-long dive on balls in the hole between first and second, became one of his trademark plays. Granted, ex-Jay Orlando Hudson possessed great range at second as well, but I’d be surprised if Blue Jay fans ever see another Alomar in these parts.

Easter Sunday baseball at Tropicana Field today features a matchup of aces — Toronto’s Roy Halladay versus Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir … Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, outfielder Reed Johnson connects on a Kazmir fastball for a go-ahead, three-run homer … Following Hill’s diving stop with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth, the Jays’ second baseman joins Gregg Zaun in smacking a pair of RBI-singles, accounting for the 6-3 final and 2-1 series win over the D-Rays … With a record of 3-2, the Jays will travel to Toronto for the home opener against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre tomorrow at 7:07 pm … Will Burnett bounce back?

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