Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Entomologist names newly discovered species of beetle after José Bautista

8 Comments

This past Thursday, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star reported that entomologist Bob Anderson, from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, named a newly discovered species of beetle after former Blue Jays slugger José Bautista. Anderson is a fan of Toronto sports and decided to honor Bautista due to his famous bat flip after hitting a three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Rangers.

The species is known as Sicoedrus bautistai, found in Bautista’s native Dominican Republic. It is a true weevil in the family of beetles known as Curculionidae. There are over 60,000 known species of weevils.

According to Armstrong, Anderson has coined names for two or three hundred species across his 30-year career. Bautista is not the first athlete to serve as the namesake for an insect. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had a species of wasp named after him in 2015, called Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski. Additionally, José Fernández-Triana of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada named a species of parasitoid wasps after legendary Mariners outfielder Ichiro SuzukiDiolcogaster ichiroi.

Bautista, 38, spent the 2018 season in the NL East with the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. He hit a combined .203/.348/.378 in 122 games. His days of being a starter are numbered, but he could serve as a bench bat next season. He likely will have to settle for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Even if Bautista doesn’t have a uniform come spring training, he has a species of beetle named after him and no one can take that away from him.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
Getty Images
2 Comments

Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.