A.J. Burnett is back and on the hill for the Yankees in tonight’s series opener at Rogers Centre. I don’t like the guy. I do, however, have a pretty funny story about him from the time I spent guarding his vehicles back in the day.
In 2007, I used to do security in the Jays players’ parking lot after games. At one point that season, Burnett got some throwback convertible. The lot was indoors and he’d park it with the top down, and after games he’d ask me if it was raining outside so he knew whether or not to flip it back up. Anyway, one night it was, so he went to put the top up — not exactly an easy task, since it was an old car and the roof was manual. He started struggling to no avail with it, and before long Roy Halladay (of eventual perfect game fame), whose spot was beside Burnett’s, came down to help. After having little success, the pitchers were joined by Vernon Wells, and then by Josh Towers, who contributed about as much to Mission: Top Up as he did to the team every time he took the mound that season. So here I was, witnessing four baseball players worth about $300 million struggling to get the roof on a car. Any wonder the Jays haven’t made the playoffs since 1993?
My time in the parking lot had its share of awkward moments, many involving Burnett. I mentioned he’d sometimes ask if it was raining, but that was really only after he picked up that convertible. Prior to that, it would always be a guessing game — is he gonna acknowledge me tonight or walk right by me? Most nights he’d walk right by. And then there was the time there was a used condom on the ground right beside his parking spot for about a month. I wasn’t about to pick that up.
Anyway, he’s back in town tonight, and I’m crossing my fingers it turns out about as well as his last visit did. It’s supposed to rain, too, so he better come prepared.