August 14, 2008
Jason Bay made the transition long ago from small-town Canadian (Trail, B.C.) boy to big-city ballplayer. Now, he's slipping into the floppy shoes of former Red Sox anti-icon Manny Ramirez, who hits like few others but also performs his own three-ring circus. Bay is lower maintenance than Manny, and he also comes from a low-maintenance town — Pittsburgh — when compared with Boston, which has been on alert since Paul Revere's gut told him the British army was up to something. Between breathless Boston moments, Bay recently talked about the Pirates liquidation, possible Canadian imperialism and what it's like to live in the Paranoia Bay State.
Jason Bay: When they let the Pitt Panthers into the NBA [laughs]. Then, they got a shot.
Q: What was it like, once you got into Massachusetts, having Bill Belichick follow your every move with video cameras?
JB: I thought someone was watching me.
JB: From what I understand, he's doing pretty well. He's going to have to eat a little more to keep some weight on him, though.
Q: Can the Bucs achieve an all-LaRoche infield by 2009?
JB: Heck, yeah. They could use the two of them there and get a couple more for the outfield.
Q: Why are the Red Sox making you live in the Green Monster until you find an apartment?
JB: The easy commute.
Q: How is cell phone reception inside there?
JB: Oh, God [laughs]. I don't know if I want to touch that one. I'll let you know?
Q: How long would it take for you to grow your hair into shoulder-length dreads?
JB: Heh. Considering this [pointing to really short blond hairs on head] is the longest it's been in a few years — forever!
Q: Did Doug Mientkiewicz try to slip you $100 in case you catch the last out of the World Series, so he could get the ball from you?
JB: [Groans]. No, he did give me some advice on coming to Boston, put it that way.
Q: What'd he say — that you can repeat?
JB: He did give the ball back. He still gets worn out everywhere we [went] about giving the ball back. He's like, "I did [give it back]. Read the paper." It is kind of funny, but guys wear him out all the time.
JB: I actually knew that from Dougie. He held onto it and got crucified. Papelbon's dog ate it and everyone cheered.
Q: How excited are your friends and family to finally get a chance to see highlights of your games on SportsCenter?
JB: About as excited as they are to come out to games. Nobody ever wanted to come and visit Pittsburgh. All the sudden, it's a national vacation to come out to Boston. I've already gotten 5,000 requests. I'm sure they'll be pumped they can see some highlights now.
Q: Five-thousand? Are you looking for an assistant?
JB: No, no. That's why I'm married.
Q: When you first learned of the trade, did you spend all night in front of a mirror air hugging so you'd be practiced in the art of the male-on-male embrace — for which the Red Sox are noted experts?
JB: No, but [a hug] did come after a home run, and Papi made me feel pretty small when he gave me one, that's for sure.
Q: On a recent car trip east, I didn't have the necessary ID to cross the border at Niagara Falls. Would you write me a note so the guards let me into your homeland next time?
JB: That might carry some weight, now, sure.
Q: It's been a number of years now; why did you defect, again?
JB: Why did I defect [laughs]. The money was worth more. Not any more. It's been killin' me!
Q: I tried to come up with a "Bay" pun question, such as: "Why aren't you on speaking terms with your uncle, Hudson Bay?" But I don't really like what I got. Can you help me?
JB: Heh. No. I've been hearing that my entire life. Going to the "Bay State," you figure the little innuendos are endless. Heck, in Pittsburgh they were endless. Now that I'm in Massachusetts, I just opened myself up a whole new can right there.
Q: Why won't your government grant permission for the U.S. to start drilling for oil in downtown Vancouver?
JB: Because we want it. They want that money. They want to control it, that's for sure. We're sittin' on a goldmine — just gotta find a way to get it.
Q: Should Puerto Rico become a free agent, do you think Ottawa would move to make it a province/territory?
JB: Heh. By no means do we have the funds. We do not have the payroll for that. We don't have the financial backing. Unless that well comes in.
Q: Really, what does Manitoba add?
JB: Oh, boy. Got to be careful there.
Q: You got people in Manitoba?
Q: At the All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium, they played a recorded version "O' Canada" and had a live version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Why didn't Justin Morneau defend the honour of Canada and lead the ballpark in song?
JB: There were three guys there; we could have had three guys do it. But, you know, Yankee Stadium, with the new place going up, budget cutbacks. If you would have given Morneau more time to warm up, he probably could have done it. Home Run Derby champ, scored the winning run in the game. If he could have sung the anthem, that would have been a great trifecta.