Buffalo Bisons outfielder Dalton Pompey knows a thing or two about Toronto and sought out Auston Matthews Wednesday when the NHL Draft prospects were taking batting practice in Coca-Cola Field prior to the Herd's game against Louisville.
Pompey, remember, is a Mississauga native who was the starting center fielder for the Blue Jays on Opening Day last year. And after bouncing through the minors, he was back in Toronto for the playoffs and was left on third base in the ninth inning of Game Six of the ALCS in Kansas City -- 90 feet shy of scoring a tying run that could have extended the Jays' season.
"I knew it was a big deal when the Leafs got the first pick," said Pompey. "They're in a rebuilding state and the sky's the limit. Hopefully they can bring a championship to Toronto. You saw what happened with the Blue Jays and how the city surrounded us -- and the whole country. I think for the Leafs, it's going to be double that. It's a long time coming and what the fans deserve."
As for what advice he gave Matthews about Toronto, Pompey said to keep things simple.
"I introduced myself to him and told him where I was from. I'm a big hockey fan as well," Pompey said. "It's how you view things. If you view yourself as a savior, that's a lot of pressure. If he goes out and plays how he's capable, I'm sure he'll be just fine."