It's a bittersweet day for Toronto Blue Jays fans. On Tuesday night, Jays manager John Gibbons announced that shortstop Munenori Kawasaki is being sent to the minor league Buffalo Bison to make room for Jose Reyes, the all-star injured earlier this season.
In a few short months, Kawasaki has become both a team and a fan favourite. The 31-year-old Japanese player has become known for his exuberance and overwhelming positivity.
"Between the fans and the guys in here, everybody’s fallen in love with this guy,” pitcher Mark Buehrle told the Toronto Star.
Kawasaki was thankful and emotional in his post-game interview. “I can’t believe it, I absolutely can’t believe the way that I’ve been accepted by the players here, by the fans, this one strange Japanese guy, come here and be accepted the way I have has really been an unbelievable experience,” he told the National Post via an interpreter.
Blue Jays fans on Twitter reacted to Kawasaki's bad news with sadness.
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"Bring him back up, we don't need this much depth in our bullpen and the team chemistry will be ruined!!! Kawasaki come home!!!," one fan tweeted. There was even a #FreeKawasaki hashtag.
Kawasaki will be remembered for his many on-field and off-field antics. After Kawasaki hit a walk-off double to win a game he gave one of the most memorable post-game interviews in recent memory.
He's also known for vocally cheering on his fellow teammates and having some pretty sweet dance moves, too.
But this is probably not the last we'll see of Kawasaki. Jays manager Gibbon has said the shortstop will be back in the majors soon and will be on the top of the list when the Jays roster expands in September. Until then, you'll have to make the trip to Buffalo.