Jays fans can't forget or forgive Rios
By MIKE THOMAS, Special to QMI Agency
|Former Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios leans in from the White Sox bench during the fifth inning of Thursday's game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Alex Rios hasnít played in the Blue Jays outfield for over two years now but judging by crowd reaction itís clear Toronto fans havenít forgotten him.
In his previous returns to the Rogers Centre, Rios has been constantly greeted with jeers from the Toronto faithful. Fans were disappointed by his lacklustre play before being shipped out of town in 2009.
Things took a turn for the worse between Rios and Jays fans when he questioned the dedication and support of Toronto baseball fans. He expected another harsh welcome Thursday night as the White Sox opened a four-game series against the Jays.
ďIím expecting the same as last year,Ē said Rios before the game. ďA lot of boos and stuff like that, but itís part of the game and you have to deal with that.Ē
Hitting a lowly .206 going into the series Rios hopes a return visit north of the border can ignite his season the way it did on opening night a year ago. The Chicago centre fielder had a bounce back season in 2010, driving in a career high 88 runs to go along with 21 homers and 34 stolen bases.
Since being traded from Toronto for practically nothing, Rios has played well against his former club, hitting .382 versus the Jays last season.
Despite the fan treatment, Rios said he likes coming back to his old ballpark.
ďItís always nice to come back here and get all the good memories you have of the people and the town,Ē said Rios. ďIt would be nice to turn it around here.Ē
Despite several changes to the roster since Riosí departure, he was happily welcomed onto the field before the game by several former teammates. Among those were second baseman Aaron Hill and the man who took over Riosí spot in the lineup, Jose Bautista.
Another reason he isnít exactly missed here.