Getting his wrist fully rehabbed and strengthened for Opening Day was at the top of the priority list for Jon Jay heading into 2015, but the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has added a few other duties for the season–like chairing the Strikeout Cancer efforts on the team.
“Jason Motte approached me in the offseason and I told him of course, I would love to do that,” shared Jay. “My family’s been struck with cancer and it’s something that’s very close to me. I told him I would love to keep on going what he started here, I’m proud to be part of that.”
The familiar red K cancer shirts will still remain, but Jay has looked into adding a personal touch to represent his Hurricane roots.
“I’m going to try and see if they can mix some orange and green somewhere in there, something for Miami,” smiled Jay, adding “We’ve got a couple things up our sleeves.”
Taking on the expanded charity role is just part of what Jay is growing into this season. Only Jaime Garcia, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright have worn the St. Louis jersey longer than Jon, who made his ML debut in 2010.
“I don’t feel like an old guy, but I definitely feel like I’ve been around have some experience,” said Jay. “It’s great to be in this position–it’s a position you dream of. This is going to be my sixth season now coming up, just being around for a little bit and kind of knowing how things go and being able to play with the great Cardinals players. Being around with the Hall of Famers players that were Cardinals, with Tony La Russa and Mike Matheny all these different things. I feel like I have a lot to share with these guys and I like having that role.”
And similar to the way he was taught in 2010, the veteran is now relating the same message to the younger players around the clubhouse.
“You kind of remind them, it’s all about tradition here,” stated Jay. “There’s a lot of expectations here–good expectations. It started with those guys back then and you want to continue that and I want to be in that group of guys–these guys were Cardinals winners. These guys knew how to play the game the right way. That’s what I aspire to leave as my legacy later on.”
That legacy will continue without part of his version of the “Memphis Mafia”, which has borrowed the name from the Elvis Presley entourage since the Triple A call-ups hail from the same city.
“Yeah, it’s definitely different,” admitted Jay, who no longer has close friends Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, and David Freese as teammates. “But with everything, you adjust. The way I look at it is we had a great ride. Personally, with those friendships I was able to make with those guys, we came up together and kind of battled together. Happy for them in their new baseball chapters of their lives. They’re all in good organizations and they’re going to do great. It doesn’t change how I do everything every day. It just means some of these guys are going to get to know me a little bit more than they already do, but I have plenty of friends here–that’s something about this clubhouse, we all get along. We all hang out. It’s gonna be good.”
Jay has a hit (.300, 3-10) in each of the three games he has played this Spring Training.