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Paul Beeston, president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Rogers Centre, poses in his 2003 Acura 3.5 RL sedan. (Sarah Dea for The Globe and Mail)
Paul Beeston, president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Rogers Centre, poses in his 2003 Acura 3.5 RL sedan. (Sarah Dea for The Globe and Mail)

My Car

Blue Jays boss on why his car is the best Add to ...

Paul Beeston has a long history with the Toronto Blue Jays.

He was first employed as an accountant with the baseball club in 1976. Later, he worked his way up to president and was instrumental in the Jays' back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993. He left to become president and COO of Major League Baseball in 1997. But now, he's back as the Blue Jays' top guy - president and CEO.

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He's just as loyal to his cars as he is to the Jays.

He drives a 2003 Acura 3.5 RL sedan. "My car is the best," says Beeston. "It's seven years old and runs like a charm. That's what happens when you change the oil every 3,000-5,000 kilometres. I believe that - I learned it from taxi cab drivers in New York."

Maintenance is key for Beeston. "I know nothing. How it works I'm not 100 per cent certain. All I know is that I'm diligent and religious in making sure I take care of it. If you take care of anything it'll last a bit longer.

"From my point of view, it's probably an exaggeration - your memory plays you for a fool sometimes, but it seems to run today as well as it ran when I drove it off the lot back in 2003."

"It says I got good taste. It doesn't define me, but I think you could say that I'm sporty. It's a sporty-looking car. I'm kind of a traditionalist and, more importantly, loyal."

Even though Honda is a sponsor of the Blue Jays, his Acura isn't a free ride; he bought it with his own cash. "I've been driving Honda and Acuras since 1981 when the Blue Jays first did a big deal with Honda.

"I started with little Honda Civics, then went to the Prelude, and then went to Acura and stayed with it ever since.

"I think it's very important to show your loyalty to the people who support you, but at the same time I'm very satisfied with it. I'm one of those individuals who, once I like something, I stick with it.

"I've never comparison shopped so it's like saying I don't eat asparagus. Have you ever tried it? No, but I don't like it. I've never tried another car."

Beeston has one bad habit behind the wheel - he confesses it reluctantly. "I don't even know if I want to tell you this to be quite honest - it's going to come back to haunt me.

"I smoke cigars. I just happen to like it. I smoke cigars in my car. Well, it's my car. It's my friend. It's the only place you can smoke cigars and no one can yell at you.

"It's why I have a particular affection for my cars. I'm in my car at the end of the day and I'm smoking on the way home and I don't have to worry about hanging the cigar out the window - it's just me and my car.

"It's going to be me like in the Wild West where it's the cowboy and his horse - it's me and my car," says Beeston, who was named to the Order of Canada in 1998 and later inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

"If we're going to a meeting, I'll say I'll drive myself. I'll take my car because I want to smoke a cigar. I don't want people complaining. You can't smoke anywhere, but I can smoke in my car because it's my car. I can't smoke in my house, but I can smoke in my car."

"If we ever have our grandchildren or our kids, we always take my wife's car, a Honda Accord. It's all in the family. That's the clean-air car."

So far, Beeston has logged more than 184,000 kilometres on his Acura. "I love driving.

"I would rather drive to Montreal than fly to Montreal. I would rather drive to London than fly to London. Detroit is a no-brainer for me. That's a quick trip - four hours, you're there. I always drive there. But I don't consider those road trips. A road trip to me is if I was taking a drive to Vancouver or P.E.I.," says the 65-year-old.

"When I drive, I've got a mixed bag (of music) from Bobby Taylor to Frank Sinatra to The Boss. The other day I put in Neil Diamond - I'm kind of dating myself. When I go to Cooperstown, I put in Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band because it's rock."

Beeston's first car was a 1960 Volkswagen Beetle he bought for $750 while at the University of Western Ontario a few short years later. "I was in first-year university.

"I always liked that one because in those days it had an extra tank and you'd just have to flip down. I didn't have money to buy a big car. It wasn't a lot, but it was still a great car."

"It was never warm. But you could always pull through the snow.

"They had that great ad back then, how does the guy who drives the plow get to the plow? It had the motor in the back and that weight allowed you to get through any condition that you wanted in snowstorms." He later owned a Pontiac Grand Prix, but dumped it for a Civic.

Beeston is devoted to his car and has no plans for a new one any time soon.

"I keep my cars for a long time. Why wouldn't you?

"To me, it's a good investment. They become your friend. I look at my car as different than just an object. I spend a lot of time in the car. If you could guarantee me another 10 years in my car, I'd be just as happy as anybody could be that owns a car."

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Editor's Note: An earlier online version of this story and the original newspaper version of this story contained incorrect information about Paul Beeston's age and the year he bought his first car. And to clarify, Beeston was inducted in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, not Cooperstown.

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