New Jay a breath of fresh air

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:51 AM ET

Blue Jay John McDonald not only has competition for his position at short, but he just might have a fight on his hands to keep his reputation as "nicest guy on the team" thanks to the arrival of David Eckstein.

After meeting Eckstein and his lovely wife, Ashley, I found it hard to believe these two spent even one day in the big-league spotlight -- they are more like your favourite neighbours from down the block.

Eager to sign autographs and shake the hands of fans, the 2006 World Series MVP shows no signs of being jaded.

Ashley and David are quick to share their fairy-tale story of how they met and married, in Eckstein's hometown of Sanford, Fla., just outside of Orlando. Ashley, who was born in Kentucky, but grew up in Orlando, even had a Cinderella-esque wedding reception at Disney World.

Mr. and Mrs. Eckstein beam when they talk about how lucky they are to have joined the Jays and how great it is to be spending their spring this close to home.

Of course, while with the Angels, Eckstein's springs were cactus not grapefruit league.

Ashley, an established actress, hopes to keep her career going in Hollywood North. She actually shot a movie in our fair city a few years back.

"It was 'The Brady Bunch at the White House,'" she said with a laugh. "Can you believe we were filming a movie all about the White House in Canada?"

Her husband finished her sentence, "She loved the chocolate, she went to St. Lawrence Market every day for a special kind..." -- cue the cuteness.

John or David: The Jays are stocked with talented infielders who are good people to boot. But, next month, when the games that count begin, there will be no Mr. Nice Guy at short.

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


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