Meet the Jays' unsung hero

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:11 AM ET

With a Major-League size nod to Frank Thomas and his bid for career home run 500 and Dustin McGowan's, incredible outing Sunday, today I'd like to tip the cap to a Blue Jay spark plug.

Today, we talk about John McDonald. I have a great personal story that will give you a glimpse of the individual he is off the field.

Back in 2006, I was fortunate enough to find myself in Dunedin, Fla., for the entire seven weeks of spring training. This being my first long-term stay, my husband wanted to treat me to a condo on Clearwater Beach.

Lovely place, Clearwater Beach, but what a Gong Show when spring break hits. Suffice to say, when the kids descended on the strip, we packed up for higher ground.

There are no off days in baseball, even in spring, so there we were at 9 p.m. on a game day, running box after box up four flights of stairs to our new unit. It was just the two of us, and my husband was cursing the fact that I had, once again, overpacked in a major way.

En route to the truck for another load, I saw a silhouette at our truck grabbing boxes. Were we being robbed? Nope -- au contraire -- the Major League-calibre cavalry had arrived. It was none other than the humble Jays shortstop himself.

The scouting report on "Johnny Mac" has always been his spectacular defence and huge heart making up for his lack of prowess at the plate.

His reputation may just be changing given his clutch play in the first half of the season. One just needs to remember his bases-loaded hit off all-star closer Brian Fuentes in the opener of the Colorado series to appreciate his contribution at the dish of late.

It would have been a vastly different series for the Jays if he doesn't come through with the game-winner.

Ask anyone around this club and he'll tell you John McDonald is one of the good guys in baseball. You'll never see him jog down the line on a routine grounder, because he plays like he's fighting for a job every day.

So focused on his job, this guy wouldn't even accept a thank-you beer that spring night in Florida when our move was complete. He rather shyly shared how he was "hydrating to get ready for tomorrow's game," explaining "it's hot out there in the Florida sun."

In this day and age of big-money guys with egos to match, Johnny Mac feels every single cheer in that big heart.

Jody Vance is a sportscaster with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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