NEW YORK - Yunel Escobar has done some dumb things.
Real rock-head moves:
Like in the spring of 2010 when the Blue Jays shortstop fielded a ground ball with a man on first and flipped the ball behind his back.
Or early this season complaining to an umpire about a hard slide at Camden Yards — even though he completed the double play. So, he low-balled the next runner with a throw and the ball sailed wild past first allowing the Baltimore Orioles to score another run.
The dumbest act came Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre before 21,698 fans who came to see the Boston Red Sox play the Blue Jays.
Escobar, employed by Rogers Communications and who gets paid twice a month by Rogers, appeared in public wearing that new logo everyone likes so much, with an offensive message taped beneath his eyes.
Instead of a chapter and verse from the bible, a la Tim Tebow, Escobar had written in Spanish the phrase “Tu Ere Maricon,” (which translates to "You are a f-----") committing a blatant homophobic slur.
For that, the Jays suspended him three games without pay, costing him $87,209.
“That’s a horrible choice of words,” said a former Jay from Latin America.
“The word ‘maricon’ is a bad word. It is a bad way to call somebody gay.”
We don’t remember the first time we ever heard the word ... maybe the 1980s.
We don’t remember the first time we ever asked someone what the word meant ... maybe the 1990s.
But it was often there in a clubhouse, a culture — it did not matter the city — where pre-game banter can turn into lengthy strings of four-letter words.
It used to be common for Player A to insult Player B in clubhouses when there were only three or four writers around.
In no way am I defending Escobar, but cussing out a teammate was part of a clubhouse’s vernacular, whether watching NCAA highlights, the final of the Masters, playing cards or seeing someone laugh after you stubbed your toe.
Yet we never have heard of someone be so dumb, immature and insulting to mark words in white on black sticky tape, put below each eye ... and wear it onto the field.
On Saturday, we were returning from Duluth, Minn., and were not at the game.
We probably would not have noticed the eye black at all from the 300 level if we had been at the game.
The last time we spoke to Escobar was Sept. 3 to ask him about Dr. Tony Castro, Fidel Castro’s son, being in the Jays’ clubhouse.
Markham season-ticket holder James Greenhalgh (@James_in_TO) posted the photo on Twitter.
“I found out Monday afternoon someone told me about pictures posted on Twitter,” said Escobar, when asked when he found out he was in trouble.
He apologized again and again in his press conference, said he was sorry again and again, with Rivera interpreting the questions to Escobar and Robbie Guerra of the Player’s Association translating Escobar’s answers to English.
“What he did, it’s not a joking matter,” said catcher J.P. Arencibia. “He needs to be educated on what he can say and can’t say.”
It was thought that the Jays would like to deal Escobar this winter and give Adeiny Hechavarria the starting job. Now the Jays have little bargaining power in trade talks.
What would the Jays say in trade talks?
“Hey, do you want our shortstop, a .250 hitter, strong arm, can hit you some home runs, he’s one of our core players, I know he offended a whole bunch of people, but ...”
Escobar, obtained from the Atlanta Braves during the 2010 season, re-joins the Jays in Friday in St. Pete’s when they play the Tampa Bay Rays. He won’t play at the Rogers Centre until Sept. 27 when the Yankees visit.
“I’ve heard the word before in the clubhouse,” said Ricky Romero. “What he did was a big mistake.”
We’ve seen Escobar make a great play behind second, turn around and clap at the scoreboard of his own replay.
Those are the kind of actions other dugouts notice.
More than the 29 other teams noticed his Saturday actions.