Retro Blue Jays – Stieb and Whitt Tour EPCOT

Posted November 20, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Blue Jays, Retro

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Posted by Retronario.

Where to begin…where to begin…

I guess I’ll make something up:

It’s the early 80s. A bunch of Disney executives are sitting in a room. They wonder how they can get Canadians to visit the brand-new EPCOT Center.

Someone suggests a celebrity endorsement. Another person suggests using a couple of athletes. Suddenly, the most experienced executive in the room pounds his fist on the table and jumps up.

“Jiminy Cricket, I’ve got it!” he shouts. “Let’s get a couple of Blue Jays and give them a tour of EPCOT. We’ll film the whole thing and air it on Canadian television.”

Everyone agrees and high-fives each other. They spend the rest of the day eating pizza and smoking weed.

A little over the top, but I’m sure that’s how it all came together; except for the weed part.

Anyway…

Dave Stieb and Ernie Whitt, along with Catherine Swing, tour EPCOT Center. The popular Blue Jay battery try in the vain to act natural and recite their lines as if they’re off the cuff. Their performance gets an ‘A’ for effort. Nevertheless, the awkwardness is hilarious!

In addition, there are cameos from Bobby Cox and Fergie Olver.

Could you envision the current team doing something like this? Just imagine…Vladdy and Bo touring the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. 😝

ER

Final Thoughts: Don’t bet against the Washington Nationals (née Montreal Expos)

Posted November 3, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Baseball

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Lesson learned: Don’t bet against those Nats.

Allow me to present this cautionary tale…

Milwaukee will win the Wildcard, I thought.
That didn’t happen.

There’s no way Washington will defeat Los Angeles. Heck, the Dodgers are my pick to win the whole thing.
Wrong. Very wrong.

Okay, I’ll buy into the hype. They’ll defeat St. Louis, but it’ll be a battle.
The Cards got anillated.

World Series, baby! It’s been fun, but Houston is a better team. Besides, the Nats haven’t played in a week. That’s usually a disadvantage.
Washington goes up 2-0, defeating Cole and Verlander on the road.

Is this really happening?

Oh, look. Houston just won three straight. They’re heading back to H-Town, one win away from their second championship in three years. Everything makes sense again.
Nope. Nope. Nope.

The Nats’ victory is stark reminder that everything resets in the playoffs. Each round is a clean slate and whatever happened previously goes out the window. Sometimes, the narrative follows though; sometimes, it doesn’t.

I’m thrilled Washington won. They are – technically – the Montreal Expos after all.

It was interesting how Expo fans viewed the World Series. I saw a fair amount of salty feelings. Some Montreal-based organizations divorced themselves from the Nationals by stating the Expos were “paused” in 2004. Respectfully, it’s a little absurd to deny the historical lineage.

Nevertheless, the District of Columbia will fly the banner, Houston got what they deserved and Bryce Harper saw his former teammates reach the promised land without him – his choice, of course.

Congrats to the Nationals, especially to the former Blue Jays on their championship roster/coaching staff:

  • Daniel Hudson
  • Yan Gomes
  • Henry Blanco
  • Javy Guerra
  • Dave Martinez

Aplogies to anyone I missed. Long live Baby Shark!

ER

2019 World Series Guess

Posted October 22, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Baseball

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Got the pennant winners right! Can’t believe Washington steam-rolled St. Louis. I love a dramatic tale and the Nats’ run has been thrilling.

Seven months ago, they said goodbye to Bryce Harper. Now, they’re basking in the glory of a National League pennant and making their first World Series appearance.

Having said that…

Houston over Washington

In my head, the Astros are a better team. They’ve also had less of a break between rounds than the Nationals. Sometimes, that affects the result.

Let’s find out.

ER

ALCS/NLCS Guesses

Posted October 11, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Baseball

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Well…my ALDS picks were correct. My NLDS picks – in comparison – were a complete disaster.

Was hoping the Dodgers would win everything and Russell Martin would get a ring.

Clearly, the narrative has a different outcome.

Anyway…

ALCS: Houston over NYY
NLCS: Washington over St. Louis

ER

2019 LDS Guesses

Posted October 3, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball

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Not going to lie. My wildcard picks BOMBED. Totally embarrassed.

Anyway…

NLDS
LA over Washington
Atlanta over St. Louis

ALDS
NYY over Minnestoa
Houston over Tampa Bay

ER

2019 Wildcard Guesses

Posted October 1, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball

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When it comes to the playoffs, I rely on my gut and personal biases.

Anyway…

It shall be a victorious occasion for Milwaukee and Oakland.

ER

The 2019 Blue Jays: A tale of two chapters

Posted September 29, 2019 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Blue Jays

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See, that wasn’t so bad!

Right???

Okay…when you look at the standings, it was pretty bad. But we knew this season was going to look like Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I embraced the pain; others chose to complain and bang their drums. Either way, I hope we can sit on a porch one day and laugh about the experience as we sip lemonade.

The 2019 season can be split into two chapters: Before Marcus Stroman was traded and after he was dealt.

As the trade deadline approached, there were storm clouds surrounding the team. There had been a couple of bright spots, but there was sense of dread. Stro – the most popular/polarizing player left from 2015-16 – was going to get traded. We knew it, he knew it, the league and his teammates knew it. Stro was dropping passive-aggressive grenades and the anti-Shapiro mob was sharpening their pitchforks.

Then the trade finally happened, followed by the premature trade of Aaron Sanchez. Jays Twitter was a scene of blinding fire, suffocating smoke and vile screaming.

And then…the smoke cleared, the sun came out and Bo Bichette started making history.

Believe me, I am NOT suggesting Stro was poisoning the clubhouse. I love the guy, his character and his brand! However, things felt and looked different once Marcus was sent to the Mets.

The transition was complete. All remaining band-aids had been ripped off. The roster was officially young and developing. Now, we could say it’s “Vladdy’s team” or “Bo’s team.” If one were to consider the rebuild as u-shaped, then on the evening of July 28, 2019 – when Stro was traded and Bichette was called up – the Blue Jays reached the bottom. The steep, uphill climb had begun.

I saw a team full of youthful energy. It was exciting and fun! Bo took off like a bullet train, Vladdy continued his gradual production, Cavan Biggio made history, Danny Jansen was figuring things out and Lourdes Gurriel and Reese McGuire were pleasant surprises. Sure, they went through a tough stretch in late August-early September. However, as Stephen Brunt pointed out a few weeks ago on Prime Time Sports, we were finally seeing some flickers of light.

The final two months of the season provided all kinds of reasons to watch the Jays, despite their record. My favourite moment was Bichette’s walk off home run, capping a dramatic victory over the Yankees.

As we look towards 2020, it’s important to be cautiously optimistic. There might be flickers of light, but they still have a long way to go before a window of opportunity opens. This season, they won 67 games. In 2020, I would be happy if they pick up 10-15 more victories (77-82).

The outfield corner sports are set, as are the infield positions and behind the plate. They need to figure out centrefield and DH over the offseason and during Spring Training. There are options on the current roster, but said options have been inconsistent. Rowdy Tellez’s struggles are also concerning.

However, the main priority needs to be on PITCHING; starting rotation and bullpen. Right now, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thronton will likely be in the rotation, while the other three spots are up for grabs. Jacob Waguespack and Ryan Borucki are “question marks,” while Anthony Kay and T.J. Zeuch need to perform well in Spring Training. Don’t forget about the eventual arrival of Nate Pearson.

Ideally, Ken Giles will anchor the bullpen and I’d like to see Wilmer Font return, along with Ryan Tepera, Sam Gavigilo and Derek Law. After that, who knows?

What really scares me is how Bichette’s concussion will effect him. An injury like that is unpredictable. I’m praying he listens to his body and doesn’t try to overdo it as he prepares for 2020.

Things won’t be outstanding next season, but they (hopefully) won’t be as bad as this year. We’d all love to see a vast improvement. However, we must be patient and let the story play out. This team is still developing and I hope the youngsters build from their positive experiences and teachable moments.

Fingers crossed.

ER

***

Time for some “awards!”

Best Jays Hitter: Vladdy Guerrero Jr.
Best Jays Starter: Marcus Stroman
Best Jays Reliever: Ken Giles


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