HASH(0x292cf70)

Blue Jays Bromance: Friendship blossoms between Osuna and Martin

Martin and Osuna plan new post-game celebration

It was a familiar sight for Toronto Blue Jays fans last season: Roberto Osuna on the mound after a victory, knocking on an imaginary door, and catcher Russell Martin opening it with a goofy grin before embracing his closer.

That post-win celebration became a staple for the Toronto battery. But don’t expect to see much of it in 2017.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be creative, we don’t have to keep it the same all the time,” Martin said in a recent interview at Toronto’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla. “Osuna’s already talking about doing other stuff so we’re going to come up with something different.

“We’ll try to keep it a surprise but we’ll be talking about it for sure over the course of spring training.”

Osuna and Martin have become increasingly close over the last couple years as the 22-year-old has established himself as a bona fide major league closer.

The knock-knock routine, which Martin credits as Osuna’s idea, is a product of that relationship.

“He was just like, ‘Hey why don’t we try this,’ and we did it and it was fun,” Martin said. “The last thing you want to do is rub the other team the wrong way but at that point, when you win a game and you’re happy that you won, you just want to celebrate.

“It was just something cool we did, or at least we thought it was cool — I don’t know how cool it actually is — but it’s fun, we like it and that’s what counts.”

Blue Jays fans seem to agree.

One blogger’s website captured GIFs of each time the duo used the knock-knock celebration: 17 over the regular season and playoffs by its count, with the last coming in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against Cleveland, a 5-1 Blue Jays win that prevented an Indians’ sweep.

Martin describes his expression upon opening the imaginary door — that seemingly exaggerated smile — as “completely genuine.”

“That’s the best part about it, we’re not faking it,” he said with a laugh. “It’s funny. It’s like I’m just happy to see him.”

Osuna’s stats would suggest he’s happy to see Martin, too.

With the steady Canadian behind the plate, Osuna has a career 2.26 earned-run average with an opponents’ batting average of .189 through 107 2/3 innings. He had a 3.05 ERA and .197 average against in 20 2/3 innings with Dioner Navarro and a 4.70 ERA with a .258 average in 15 1/3 innings with Josh Thole.

“Russ is one of the best guys in baseball. He means a lot to me on the field and off the field,” Osuna said. “He’s such a professional guy.

“I learn so much from him and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s an unbelievable human being.”

Martin, an 11-year MLB veteran who celebrated his 34th birthday last month, feels the same about Osuna, referring to the right-hander as mature despite his young age.

“You can have a 20-year-old who’s very wise and has been taught a lot of stuff and then you can have a very immature 20-year-old who hasn’t learned much at all,” Martin said. “And with Osuna he’s wiser than his years. He’s very professional in how he prepares, he wants to get better.

“When you’re working with a person like that, whether it’s a younger person or older person, it’s easy to work with.”

While catching Osuna’s first bullpen of the spring during a pitchers-and-catchers workout at Bobby Mattick Training Center last month, Martin could be heard between each pitch shouting compliments and words of encouragement.

Afterwards, he downplayed the significance of his pep talk, saying Osuna’s not the type of guy who needs it.

“He’s got a confidence about him and it’s not a fake confidence kind of thing,” Martin said. “He doesn’t need to tell himself he’s good, he knows he’s good.

“He never makes you feel like he’s above you or anything like that. That’s why everybody likes Osuna.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Okanagan table tennis players thrive at 55+ games

Nine Salmon Arm residents were tough to beat at the games in Kelowna last week

Lakeview Water System users in West Kelowna under water quality advisory

A water quality advisory has been issued for parts of West Kelowna.

Bicycle incident on Daimer Drive in West Kelowna

One man has been taken to hospital

Kikinee Salmon Festival returns to Kelowna for another year

The Kikinee Salmon Festival is taking place this Sunday at Mission Creek Regional Park in Kelowna.

Bulls on parade down Glenmore

A small bull ran into traffic on Glenmore Road in Kelowna earlier this morning

‘It’s almost surreal’: South Okanagan fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Kootnekoff: Wrongful dismissal award against B.C. law firm

A recent case from a Vancouver-based law firm

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

Most Read