CORAL GABLES, Fla. — In his third Major League season, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay (@jonjayU) hit .305 with four homers and 40 RBIs.
He has won a World Series and has made countless web gems.
The 27-year-old outfielder took time after the University of Miami preseason baseball banquet last week to talk about this season’s hairdo, name rally animals and ask for fans to trace his ancestry.
Q: What’s been the feedback on the afro?
JJ: I’m not sure. It’s more towards bringing it back. The fans have been great and they’re showing support for the ‘fro.
Q: Did they ever name the Rally Squirrel?
JJ: No, they never named the Rally Squirrel.
Q: What would you have named it?
JJ: I was all about Torty Craig, so I wasn’t really a big fan of the squirrel.
Q: You weren’t going to name him something Miami-esque?!
JJ: I can’t name the squirrel. Maybe we’ll name him Little Skippy just ‘cause he was skipping.
Q: What was it like playing in the World Series?
JJ: It’s surreal and crazy. I really understand how fortunate I was to do that. Leading up to that, I always say moments in my life had led up to that. Playing high school in Miami at Columbus — it’s a well-known school — and we’re kind of like the St. Louis Cardinals of Miami. Playing for a team like that and winning a state championship helped me. And coming to UM, being able to play in front of great crowds and playing in the College World Series – I think all those things helped me to play in the World Series.
But that being said, the World Series is the biggest stage because you’re in the MLB, you’re in the league. To be able to do that, especially at such a young age in my career, is surreal.
Q: When it was all happening, what was that ‘Welcome to the World Series’ moment when it dawned on you?
JJ: I don’t know. Everything is just so… craziness. The media attention’s huge, everything’s huge. I think the biggest thing for me — I remember after Game 6 Daniel Descalso, whose my best friend on the team, and myself, we got to go on the set of MLB Network. That was kinda cool. That was one of those moments where I sit back and look at the history of the game. How we were able to get interviewed there after the game in our street clothes just hanging out and having fun. That’s just a cool moment for me.
Q: What’s it like being named after a guy who was the first Chief Justice?
JJ: It’s great, it’s awesome. Just the irony of it. The irony of it all where I’ve been so successful so far in my career and being related to the first Chief Justice…
Q: Are you related?
JJ: Not that I’m related, but being named — having that irony is amazing.
Q: So how do you, a guy from Miami at least part Hispanic…
JJ: I’m full Cuban. Maybe our ancestors did… Maybe someone out there can do the research and get back to me. Maybe one of the fans should go out there and really do research and try to see if we’re connected.
Q: Busch Stadium has one of the best views in baseball. What’s maybe one of the other ones you’ve seen along the way?
JJ: All these parks are surreal to me. Just growing up in Miami going to Dolphins Stadium. When I go to a new stadium it’s surreal to me. I tell my friends and family you need to travel and see these ballparks because every ballpark’s unique in its own way, and they’re all beautiful stadiums.
Q: Last question: Favorite milkshake at the U [at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field]?
JJ: Oh man, vanilla. I’m a big vanilla guy. Or the Nester special, which is half-and-half. That was a big one for me.