Sports: New Blue Jays reliever Anthony Bass ready to experience home dome feeling

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He wasn’t in the lineup when the Rogers Centre went bat-flip crazy, but Anthony Bass was in the dome to witness the mayhem that day — and remembers it well.

Anthony Bass and the Toronto Blue Jays open up a series against Cleveland on Friday.  © Provided by Toronto Sun Anthony Bass and the Toronto Blue Jays open up a series against Cleveland on Friday.

Now, one of the newest Jays relievers wants to experience the home-team version of the insanity in his second stint with the contending team..

The right-handed reliever was a member of the Texas Rangers taxi squad on that memorable October day in Toronto back in 2015. While Bass wasn’t in the lineup , he watched the game — and the bedlam highlighted by Jose Bautista’s monumental home run — from the visitor’s bullpen.

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“I’d like to be on the other side of that situation and feel the energy of the Rogers Centre and the people getting behind this team,” Bass said in a recent interview. “I’ve heard from the guys that they are getting great crowds right now. It’s very easy to get up and get that adrenaline going whey you have that amount of people pulling for you.

“I’m excited to experience that.”

Though he may not be that pure hit-and-miss reliever that many Jays faithful wanted at the trade deadline, Bass certainly has the potential to be an important arm in the critical moments of the season that await.

In 49 appearances between the Florida Marlins and now the Jays — for whom he has appeared in four games since being dealt on the August 2 deadline — Bass is getting that opportunity.

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With a career-low ERA of 1.49, Bass is pitching better and more consistently than he has at any point since making his big-league debut in 2011 — and it isn’t really all that close.

“I’m throwing more strikes,” Bass said simply, when asked what’s working. “Getting more of my pitches in the strike zone, which is probably the biggest difference. Same velocity, same pitches … just getting ahead of guys and not missing.

“I’m trying to be efficient and so far it has gone well.”

Accordingly — and out of necessity and a touch of familiarity — Jays pitching coach Pete Walker hasn’t hesitated going to Bass. With Tim Mayza on the injury list and options slimmer than many expected they would be post deadline, there’s a good chance Bass will be a regular in key situations, an opportunity he relishes.

“Just to be ready from the sixth inning beyond at any point,” Bass said of how he’s expecting to be used with the Jays. ‘I know (Jays coaches) are big into matchups so they are going to put me in good situations, especially against big righty bats in the lineup.”

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When the Jays begin a three-game series against the Cleveland Guardians on Friday at the Rogers Centre, it will be both familiar and unfamiliar territory for the 34-year-old veteran.

Deep in the memory bank will be back-flip night, an iconic moment of Jays recent history. But in 2020, Bass saw the dome in complete contrast during his first stint with the Jays. The righty was in Toronto for the abbreviated summer training camp — at an empty stadium — before the team shuffled off to Buffalo, it’s temporary home for the 60-game campaign.

“I know with the adrenaline that comes with the crowds we’re going to have, you have to stay in control of yourself and be able to take care of the job at hand,” said Bass, who turned a career corner when he pitched in a personal high 70 games with the Marlins last season. “I’m excited for that challenge.

“Obviously it’s an exciting group of young guys who are hungry to win and it’s fun to be a part of a team that knows how to score runs. I know what this offence is capable of having been here before.”

THREE PUNCHIES!

After his “three punchies” comment became an instant hit during the FOX Sports telecast while mic’d up at last month’s all-star game, Alek Manoah’s representatives saw opportunity to add to the Blue Jays starter’s growing stardom.

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Soon after, his agency trademarked the phrase and intends to use it for future marketing opportunities.

“Whatever we can do to make the game exciting and fun is a good thing,” the big Jays right hander told us. “Obviously that was a really cool moment and a lot of people loved it.”

AROUND THE BASES

It won’t be his first visit to the Rogers Centre, but in the three years since Mississauga native Josh Naylor visited his “home town” park, his career has taken off. As you would expect, then, there will be a large contingent of friends and family of the Cleveland Guardians first baseman at the dome when the AL Central leaders visit for a three-game weekend series against the Jays … The recent 3-5 road trip has cooled bookmakers views of their chances of winning the World Series. Bodog – which had the Jays as low as 12-1 recently, have them listed as the 16-1 seventh choice … Wednesday’s rainout in Baltimore gives Jays interim manager John Schneider an opportunity to shuffle his starting rotation to offer less exposure to the weaker links. Jose Berrios, who was scheduled to get the ball against the Orioles, will pitch Friday’s opener but the rest of the series remains TBD … The Jays will make up Wednesday’s rainout in a Sept. 5 doubleheader back at Camden Yards … Do you score the two losses in Baltimore this week an Orioles weep? If so, it’s the first time the O’s have brought out the brooms against the Jays since 2018.

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NEW YORK – Kevin Gausman looks back at it with bemusement now, the moments when he was first asked to talk about the 2022 Blue Jays season . Expectations, shall we say, were not unlike they are here every season for the folks who reside in Yankee Stadium. So don’t think that coming into the Bronx didn’t mean a little something extra to the Jays, a Big Apple burst of inspiration that surely helped them in a blowout 9-2 win Thursday in the Bronx. “This is what we can do,” manager John Schneider said of the offence, which showed its power for a second consecutive night. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling.

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