ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dante Bichette figured he had seen everything from his son on the baseball diamond.
Then, 10 days ago in Kansas City, Bo Bichette’s major-league career with the Blue Jays started, quickly revealing another level of talent, not only to his father but to the baseball world as a whole.
A day after becoming the first Blue Jay to record 10 extra-base hits in his first nine games, the 21-year-old Bichette extended his hitting streak to start a career to 10 games with a double in the third inning on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Before the Jays and Rays played the series finale on Wednesday afternoon — won 4-3 by the Jays — we caught up with the elder Bichette as he made his way to his seat behind home plate at Tropicana Field, where he watched each of the three games here with his wife Mariana and various family and friends.
“He struggles to surprise me,” Bichette said. “I have seen it since he was three years old.
“But to be honest, this is out there, man. This is not an easy game.”
Bichette Sr., would know, having spent 14 years in a major-league career that ended in 2001. What’s not overly surprising to him is that his son keeps rapping doubles. His kid’s eight-game doubles streak is the longest in the majors this season, and it set a Jays record, breaking the mark of seven games set by Carlos Delgado in 2000.
“That’s what he is — a doubles hitter,” Dante Bichette said. “He’s going to hit some homers, and he might end up hitting a lot of homers, but he is a doubles hitter.
“He has bat speed, and he is line-to-line, so you can’t really defend him. You move him to the right, he is going to beat you to the left.
That should play well in today’s game with all the shifts because everybody is a pull guy, they look for one pitch, one launch angle, he is going to move it around the field.”
Talent and ability aside, for Dante, several reasons have played a factor in his son’s terrific start.
Above all, having fellow rookies Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio break in at the same time can’t be underestimated.
“Being with those guys and coming up with them on a young team, it takes the edge off,” Dante said. “I remember what it was like coming up on a veteran team where I knew everybody’s baseball card (in 1988 with the California Angels). That was different.
“I think it’s one of the cool stories in baseball in a long time because they’re not just coming up … they all have a chance to be really good.”
During the 2013 season, when Dante was the hitting coach with the Colorado Rockies, Bo, then 15, spent the year with him.
“Being in the clubhouse as much as he was, he got to know the guys really well and saw the work ethic and the preparation, and it was much different than he thought,” dad said. “It changed his outlook on the game.”
Now, six years later?
“He is an intense and prepared kid,” Dante said. “He does his homework.”
The Bichettes were planning to head to Toronto to watch their son’s home debut with the Jays, in all likelihood on Thursday when the club opens a four-game series against the New York Yankees.
Dad and mom are looking forward to see what their son does next and what he can accomplish in the long run.
“Offensively, I really think the kid can do everything well,” Dante said.
“How well? I guess we’re going to find out. I don’t think there is a real weakness to the game.
“He is not comfortable yet defensively. The game is going to be a little faster. I think he can be a plus-defender at shortstop, a plus-baserunner and a plus-hitter. So I think the sky is the limit if he works hard and keeps his head straight.
“It has been fun. I’m impressed.”
BO ISN’T READY TO REST JUST YET
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Bo Bichette has no time to rest.
After playing in 10 games in a row, Bichette has no interest in coming out of the Blue Jays lineup as the club kicks off a 10-game homestand on Thursday against the New York Yankees.
“I want to play 162,” Bichette said on Wednesday after the Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays. “That’s going to be my goal every year, is to be in the lineup every single day.
“If I’m in the lineup every day, it means my manager trusts me to go out there and get the job done. That’s the kind of player I want to be, be able to show up every day and help the team in some way. I never want a day off.”
Logic suggests there will be a day off for Bichette at some point.
“For now, he is playing,” Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I don’t know when the day off is going to come.
“He is doing good at the plate but sometimes when you’re not, you need a day off mentally. That’s the one thing about the big leagues, is the grind of it.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019