A Swing and a Belt, Episode 6: Kevin Pillar and Mark Shapiro


Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar is no stranger to diving catches. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Dan is joined by a couple of Blue Jays: centre-fielder Kevin Pillar, who discusses going from a 32nd-round pick to a Gold Glove candidate; and team president and CEO Mark Shapiro, who talks about building a franchise from the ground up and why he took the top job in Toronto.

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The show opens with Dan and Mark Shapiro sitting down for a wide-ranging discussion about his life before his family got into baseball and when Hall of Famers first started showing up at his family’s house.
6:47 Being a football player in high school and Shapiro’s NFL dreams, going to Princeton as a “wide body” lineman and his first MLB front-office job.
13:00 How his story in baseball couldn’t happen the same way today because of the nature of MLB franchises in 2018.
15:24 Shapiro talks about parking cars, saying sorry, spelling and raising his family in Toronto.


22:55 Dan and Kevin Pillar discuss his perseverance en route to the majors.
25:08 Former star pitcher Mark Gubicza reminisces about Pillar’s athletic feats in high school as a three-sport star.
27:10 Heading to California State, Dominguez Hills where he majored in math and business and set a Div. II record as a junior with a 54-game hitting streak, but still went undrafted before another star season as a senior and waiting (and waiting) to hear his name called in the 2011 MLB Draft.
32:42 Kenny Graham, the hitting coach with the Bluefield and Lansing Blue Jays when Pillar started his pro career, joins the podcast to discuss those first seasons. And Pillar talks about “being bitter” about being passed over in the draft for so long and how that fueled him.
35:07 With Pillar’s rise through the minors complete, he made a name for himself in Toronto with amazing catches in the outfield, earning the nickname Superman.
40:30 Ben Shulman chats with Blue Jays PA announcer Tim Langton about nerves doing the job, his relationship with Jays players, where he got his start, his favourite names to announce and more.

Episode 6: Sitting With Superman, And His Boss
May 10 2018

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