The Blue Jays haven’t been the only attraction in the city of Toronto this month. The Toronto International Film Festival recently took over Canada’s largest city, as the film industry’s top talents shared the spotlight with the Blue Jays.
Since baseball players spend so much time in transit, many end up watching lots of movies between big league games. Take Jose Bautista, for example. The silver slugger has come to respect the silver screen as a fan and also by crossing paths with celebrity actors.
Sportsnet caught up with Bautista to get his perspective on the spectacle that has become TIFF:
Sportsnet: What is it like for you to see the city buzzing during TIFF?
Bautista: It’s one of the many reminders that this is a first class city not just in North America or Canada but also in the world. Since I’ve played here you see how people react when they come and see how clean and beautiful it is. With the teams doing well and certainly we are trying to do our part, plus musicians coming out of here all the time and the way the film festival has become such a huge success, you can’t help but notice that every year the prestige of Toronto and even Canada is increasing globally. For me it’s exciting.
In the midst of September baseball do you get a chance to partake in any screenings?
It’s always busy for us during TIFF. I don’t get to watch the movies as much as I’d want to. I do take notes though on what’s being released. I watched (a showing) here at TIFF for a premiere; they invited the team out to it.
What is it like when you cross paths with some of the stars that are here?
Some stars are fans of me and other athletes. And I’m definitely a fan of some of the stars that are here. Entertainers, musicians, and actors I find when I meet them there’s a mutual respect for what each other does for a living. At the end we are all entertainers. We do it through sport. They do it through talent and art. The mutual respect is huge; we give each other credit and admire each other for the right reasons.
As an athlete in Toronto your treatment is the closest to the celebrity attention that movie stars receive. Can you relate to what it’s like for blockbuster movie stars that are currently getting swarmed in the city?
For me it’s overwhelming especially here in Toronto. It’s good attention. It’s great support. It’s great to have people love you, want to follow you and show you that support. It’s something you appreciate (and) you take it for what it is. For athletes it’s temporary. That’s kind of how it goes when you’re active and you’re doing well. And hopefully people always remember you in a positive way. But I think that and hope that it comes to an end when my career is over and I can enjoy some normal time when my baseball career is done.
What is your favourite baseball movie of all-time?
Major League. (Laughs). It’s just hilarious, fun. A twist on baseball. They depict us in ways that we wouldn’t like but it’s a very real comedy and I think us athletes appreciate it and fans do as well.
Who is the actor that no matter what they are in you’re going to the box office to see their latest film?
For me that’s normally Denzel Washington. That’s somebody that you admire the way that he has gone about his career and the way that he handles himself on and off the camera. And the way that he plays different roles is very exciting for me to watch and see how he can transition from part to part and play the good guy and play the bad guy. He does a great job at both. Not a lot of people can get away with that.
You are an animated, at times theatrical player. Would you ever consider acting?
I think it’s out of my comfort zone at least right now but never say never. You never know what twist and turns that might come in the future. I wouldn’t say no to anything right now. I wouldn’t say I have a special place for acting right now. But I’d never say never or turn down an opportunity that will be fun and a challenge. That’s the type of things I like to be associated with.
Post-career if there is ‘Bat Flip: The Jose Bautista biopic’ who is playing you?
Man I don’t know. That’s a hard one. Ideally somebody who has a badass attitude.