TORONTO – Every time fans with mustaches plastered on the Rogers Center Jumbotron show up, the entire Toronto Blue Jays start nudging Davis Schneider, telling him to look.

The costumes are a loving tribute to Schneider, 24, who has sported the distinctive facial hair since the movie “Top Gun: Maverick” premiered in May 2022. But when Schneider debuted for Toronto with great impact on Aug. 4 . , hitting a home run in his first major league at-bat, Blue Jays fans began wearing their own mustaches in his honor.

That hirsute tribute has not gone unnoticed by Schneider’s teammates.

“I’m not too crazy about them, but they make fun of me a little bit with how many people have mustaches and everything,” Schneider said after batting practice Saturday. “Every time I go out on the field to stretch before the game, George Springer and Daulton Varsho are already here and when I go out and there are fans applauding, with fake mustaches, I just look at Springer, shaking my head and he’s ripping. about”.

Story continues below ad.

The utility man was solid for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons this season, hitting .275 with 31 home runs and 64 RBIs. But since he was called up to the major league club in Toronto, he has excelled at the plate. .

Schneider hit .426 in 14 games in August, collecting six home runs and 14 RBIs with a .526 on-base percentage. He became the first player in MLB history with nine hits and two home runs in his first three games. Coaker Triplett is the only other major league player with nine hits in his first three games, accomplishing the feat for the Chicago Cubs in April 1938.

Related videos

That hot start would be impossible to maintain, but Schneider is still hitting .297 for the Blue Jays with a total of eight home runs, 20 RBIs and an impressive .423 OBP.

Despite the kind teasing he sometimes receives from his teammates, Schneider appreciates all the attention he receives from fans.

Story continues below ad.

“I think it’s great that they support me,” he said on the steps of Toronto’s dugout. “If I hit .100 they wouldn’t do it, but I’m glad they support me.

“It makes me play a little more relaxed just because you see all these fans, cheering my name and everything, it’s really cool to see them when they’re on the Jumbotron.”

His success at the plate has had an immediate impact on the Blue Jays as they fight for a postseason berth.

Schneider’s on-base percentage leads the team and his 2.0 Wins Above Replacement, a statistic that measures a player’s value by figuring out how many wins he’s worth more than a replacement-level player at the same position, is fifth-highest among Toronto hitters.

He said he’s excited to try to make the playoffs for the first time in his professional career.

“I’ve never been to the minor league playoffs,” Schneider said, noting that the Bisons could still make the Triple A playoffs. “There every game is important, but here it’s different. Every game matters. “Every pitch matters.”

Although he’s impressed with Davis Schneider’s hot start, Blue Jays manager John Schneider (no relation) said the young player is still learning.

Story continues below ad.

“I always say development continues in the big leagues, whether it’s Davis Schneider or George Springer,” John Schneider said. “You’re always evolving and the guys who stay are the ones who constantly evolve and adapt.

“So the things he was working on to improve (in Buffalo) he’s doing here too. “That’s all you can really ask for.”

Davis Schneider said the biggest lesson for him has been watching how thoroughly Toronto’s defensive specialists, such as Platinum Glove winners Matt Chapman and Kevin Kiermaier, prepare for each game.

“Everyone focuses on defense, but these guys are different in the way they do things and their knowledge of what they’re trying to do is just extraordinary,” he said. “You can’t really teach what they do because their talent level is crazy, but obviously you can learn from how they prepare and how they go about their business.

“There’s only one Kevin Kiermaier, only one Matt Chapman, but you can still learn a lot from them.”

Toronto held the second wild card spot in the American League entering play Monday, a half-game ahead of the Texas Rangers and 1 1/2 ahead of the Seattle Mariners.

Texas hosted the Boston Red Sox on Monday and Seattle visited the Oakland Athletics.

Story continues below ad.

The Blue Jays had Monday off before traveling to the Bronx to face the New York Yankees in a three-game series. They continue with a three-game series at Tampa Bay starting Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press