My favourite byline of 2015: Jeff Blair

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins. (Steven Senne/AP)

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a redemption story; and of all the stories that lent texture to the Toronto Blue Jays wonderful 2015, Ryan Goins‘ rebound in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals was one that stood out for me.

Goins found himself in the middle of a controversy after that Game 2 play in which a ball fell between himself and right-fielder Jose Bautista – after which Bautista didn’t appear to exactly rally around his younger teammate. It became a bigger story – as these things do – because of the off-day between Games 2 and 3, but Goins settled the matter at the plate and on the field. Kevin Pillar said there was no way his teammate and best friend on the team was going to let that play defined his career.

He was right.


Excerpt: Goins finds redemption with 'perfect game' for Blue Jays

You mess up. You stand up. You do the right thing and then you find yourself in the middle of a very public drama involving one of your team’s star players, at a time when all the eyes of the game are on you.

Ryan Goins found redemption Monday night at Rogers Centre, blessed by one of the few sops offered you by this frustrating, failure-filled game. Blessed by tomorrow; blessed by the next game.

“Ryan’s probably my best friend on the team,” Kevin Pillar said following the Toronto Blue Jays‘ 11-8 win over the Kansas City Royals. “He’s been with me a lot in the minors. We came up together. And that play … that’s not how he was going to go down. That’s not how he was going to be remembered.”

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More of Blair's best stories from 2015:

Martin maintains private nature despite shift in Blue Jays clubhouse

Can Babcock be a magnet for marquee players?

NHL should have thrown Maple Leafs a McBone

Breaking down the myths and realities of life after Price for Blue Jays