Stuck in a slump? Have no fear, the bat whisperer is here

September 17th, 2023

It wasn’t quite Pedro Cerrano levels of bat superstition, but Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen was able to awaken teammate George Springer’s dormant bat on Sunday afternoon – and he didn’t even need any cigars or rum.

Mired in an 0-for-19 drought stretching back to Wednesday, Springer was looking for any signs of life before he came to bat in the eighth inning against Red Sox reliever Nick Robertson. Jansen, who is on the injured list with a fractured right middle finger, still managed to make an impact by giving Springer’s bat a closeup pep talk, one it sorely needed.

With the Blue Jays center fielder sitting beside him in the dugout, helmet on his head, Jansen whispered some sweet nothings directly into the barrel of the bat, his lips nearly pressed against it.

Blue Jays play-by-play man Dan Shulman provided the loose translation from afar: “He’s saying, ‘Do me a favor: Get a hit.’”

Whatever it was exactly that Jansen said, we may never know, but the baseball gods (Jobu or otherwise) provided. On the first pitch of his at-bat against Robertson, Springer banged a single up the middle off a 96.7 mph fastball. Slump officially over.

When he reached first base, Springer made his appreciation known, throwing a “Breakfast Club”-style fist up in the air and looking straight into his dugout with a childlike grin on his face. And Jansen wasn’t afraid to take some credit, letting starter Chris Bassitt know that he’d had a little chat with Springer’s lumber.

It’s safe to say any other slumping Blue Jays will be seeking counsel from the bat whisperer in the future.