John Gibbons: A Letter To Shohei Ohtani

Dear Shohei,

It’s your future skip writing to tell ya that if ya choose to play in Toronto, you will be happier than a boardinghouse pup. This city is as fine as cream gravy and as long as I got a biscuit, I promise ya, Shohei, ya got half.

Here’s the thing, ol’ Gibbers understands that lately things in your world have probably been noisier than a restless mule in a tin barn. And I’d bet all the bacon in the world, that you’re feeling like that restless mule ready to make the biggest honkin’ decision of your life.

So let me cut to the goddamn chase here Shohei, I understand that your handy as shirt pockets agent sent a good ol’ fashion memo requesting a letter of some sort from all the clubs because ya must be as confused as a blind squirrel in a pigpen.

Now, ol’ Gibbers can explain it to ya, but I can’t understand it for ya, so let me take the time to be as honest as maple syrup poured all over pancakes. And what I’m about to tell ya, you can take to the darn tootin’ bank of facts.

Ya see, Shohei, ol’ Gibbers isn’t going to give ya a bunch of hooey and formal blah blah blahs to try to influence you to play for the damn Blue Jays, I’m gonna tell it how it is, so I’m gonna give you the bacon without the sizzle, just the good ol’ fashion truth.


So these are things ya need some kind of explaining for, well here’s what ol’ Gibbers has to say:

An evaluation of Shohei’s talent as a pitcher and/or a hitter.

You’re damn good.

Player development, medical, training and player performance philosophies and capabilities.

It’s damn good.

Major League, Minor League, and Spring Training facilities.

They’re damn good.

Resources for Shohei’s cultural assimilation.

Ask Atkins.

A detailed plan for integrating Shohei into the organization.

Ask Atkins.

Why the city and franchise are a desirable place to play.

They’re both damn good.

Relevant marketplace characteristics.

Ask Atkins.


The truth is Shohei, you’re gonna be getting a whole lot of professional jargon hurled your way and it’s all gonna probably sound the same.

But as a Texan who calls Toronto his second home, I don’t know why you’d want to go anywhere else. All of us know that you’re a three-jump baseball cowboy that can ride the rough string, but remember there’s a big difference between the ox and the whiffletree - just ask the ol' whiffletree.

And speaking from my own personal experience, Toronto has everything that you need. After a game, ya can swagger your way down to ‘Sweet Jesus’ to get some ice cream a couple blocks north of our baseball barn. And Lord have mercy on us all, it's better than my wife's apple pie. And I love my wife's apple pie.

And if you’re bored on a Sunday evening, I can take ya over to Trinity Bellwoods Park and we can look for the Albino squirrel together. It’s a goddamn fun thing ol’ Gibbers enjoys to do - still haven't seen it though.

Now, this ain’t my first rodeo, Shohei, and I know that you have a couple teams in mind that you’d like to play for, but you should consider jumpin’ on our wagon because it’s heading into the damn sunset of glory and there is no slack in our organizations rope. That's the high and inside truth.

And here's the most important thing this ol' skip can think of: if ya like bacon, you’ll love Toronto. This city has the bacon of all bacon, 'bacon-bacon', and it comes with all the sizzle that any person needs. And on top of the fact that the best bacon I’ve ever had is Canadian, I can pour the best damn maple syrup on it too. The sap in the trees in the north, is better than any on this earth. And ol’ Gibbers would love to treat you to this plate of heaven that makes the nonbelievers, believe. Maple syrup and bacon, Shohei. m a p l e s y r u p a n d b a c o n. Okay, this ol' skip is getting hungry, so it's time to make my final pitch here, Shohei ...

So I guess my general advice to ya is this: pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered - take what you will with that ol' Texas sayin'. But remember this when making your decision, ol’ Gibbers loves the sound of the sizzle, and Toronto sizzles better than any country diner on a Saturday morning. Toronto is the bacon, Shohei. The bacon.

So I hope that this ol’ letter finds you well, and remember this: livin’ in a country that has no Trump is a reason to shoot out the lights and hallelujah the land too. So I say put the ol’ lil’ pot in the big pot and put an end to all the noise these ol’ hens are making and come play for the greatest organization and city in all of baseball.

You can read all the rest of the formal letters you’re about to receive, but this one here is the goddamn truth and doesn’t sound like a lawyer or robot typed it.


The greatest skip in Blue Jays history, John Gibbons

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