The Pitcher with No Name

He appeared young and at the top of his game
At least that’s how the film portrayed him
A Cuban all-star with a cannon for an arm

His name is unknown because of a language barrier
But it seems he was family man and it seems he was loved by his teammates

He threw a perfect game and was hoisted to the stars
A sudden deity people would come to see
Studying every move, every action

One night his career came to an end
An apparent upper body injury
As his image disappears, I ask how he met his untimely end

Was it from the injury?
Was it from a car accident?
Was it from the loss of something greater?

An inability to understand Spanish allows for a lack of closure
But I do come to one conclusion:

It was a sad story, but I am grateful to have experienced it

ER

So, you want Charlie Montoyo fired…

What does #JaysTwitter love when things aren’t going well? A prized scapegoat.

And this year’s (dis)honour has been given to Charlie Montoyo.

The screams have been deafening at times: “FIRE HIM! GET RID OF HIM! HE’S RUINING EVERYTHING!”

Now, does Montoyo deserve blame for the Jays’ struggles? Absolutely. Does he deserve all of the blame? Of course not. He didn’t make the bullpen pitch poorly. He didn’t hurt George Springer.

I like the adage of managers getting too much credit for a team’s success and too much blame for the failures. Montoyo certainly receives plenty of the latter and the reason is deeper than bullpen management.

The Jays are in a better place than they were two years ago. However, some fans still resent Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins – the Anti-Shapiro crowd – and there’s a stronger condemnation of Montoyo because he was their hire.

Doesn’t matter if you’re willing to admit it or not. Just ask yourself: Would Montoyo receive the same amount of scrutiny if he was brought on by Alex Anthopoulos?

What’s irritating is the demand for Montoyo’s dismissal is not being followed with a solution. You want action, but haven’t considered a consequence. Want Montoyo fired? Cool! Then what?

Who takes over? Is it Dave Hudgens? John Schneider? Pete Walker? Someone from the minor league system? Someone outside the organization?

Don’t just demand action. Tell me how you would fix the problem. Make a compelling argument. And while you’re at it, let me know how long it will take before parts of the fanbase turn on the replacement.

I have zero interest in arguing about Montoyo with those who want him removed. We are all stubborn creatures after all.

And if you’re going to continue to demand for Montoyo’s removal, at least suggest a replacement. Address the consequence along with the action.

Otherwise, your comments are just noise.

ER

I have a confession to make about Shohei Ohtani

I am not a fan of Shohei Ohtani because he has upstaged Vladdy at times.

I know that’s ridiculous and dumb and selfish. I know Ohtani – just like Vladdy – has produced insane numbers.

But I cannot NOT feel this way.

ER

I don’t want to hear anymore complaints about over-priced beer or people doing the Wave

I know, I know. That’s asking a lot from #JaysTwitter. Therefore, it’s a tongue-in-cheek title.

But seriously, it’s great having the Blue Jays back at SkyDome and on Canadian soil. Despite the delicious escapism, there was no escaping the sad reality of TD Ballpark and Sahlen Field playing substitute.

Very grateful for everything Buffalo, Dunedin, Rochester and Trenton did for my favourite baseball team. Nevertheless, there isn’t a single Jays fan who hasn’t been yearning for the team’s return.

Just the visuals alone will be welcoming.

The open roof, the blue seats and railings, the CN Tower and tall condos peaking in from above, the Flight Deck, the hotel and everything else. May we never take it all for granted again.

For years, I heard complaints about SkyDome. Always wondered if those complaining were unaware of where the Jays use to play and how nasty the weather could get. Seemed like our stadium was loved until something shinier came around.

Of course, it’s not as historic as Fenway or as beautiful as PNC Park. The grass isn’t real and it was conceived and built at the end of an architectural trend.

Doesn’t matter. It’s our home.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have tickets, enjoy, savour and if possible, try not to get too caught up with the team’s inconsistencies.

I know. I know…

ER

Mid-season awards and a ridiculously short review

  • Best Hitter: Vladdy Guerrero Jr.
  • Best Starter: Robbie Ray
  • Best Reliever: Jordan Romano

Do I need to comment on the first half? Do I have to comment on the first half? Should I say something about the second half?

Feel the same way you do:

  • The bullpen needs to improve. Adding Cimber and Richards hopefully helps.
  • Starting rotation is good, though searching for a potential upgrade or two isn’t a bad idea.
  • A defensive upgrade at third base couldn’t hurt.
  • The offence is delightful.

Was really hoping they’d be back at SkyDome in time for the start of the second half. Nevertheless, I’m cool with July 30 or sometime after. One also has to wonder how the situation in New York will affect the Federal Government’s decision.

I just want them home.

ER

A weird (and illegal) thought as the Blue Jays pass the halfway mark

Hear me out…

We just passed the 81-game mark of the regular season. That means we have made it halfway through the current simulcast structure.

Surprisingly, no one has set up and executed a “pirate radio” broadcast of the games. Figured somebody would’ve attempted it without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball and Rogers Baseball Partnership.

And yet, there’s silence. Radio silence. I’m honestly surprised.

Surely there must be an aspiring broadcaster who can load up a vast yacht with expensive radio equipment and sail out to open waters.

At the very least, someone could run a broadcast from their computer and block their location.

I guess we’re all resigned to what we’ve got.

And if the RCMP or FBI are reading this: I am not intending to run an illegal broadcast, nor do I have any knowledge of such an entity. If you have any additional questions, please contact my lawyer…after I hire one.

ER

When your negativity gets the better of you…

“Vaccine passport, please,” the usher requested.

“I’m sorry,” he replied sheepishly. “I’ve been vaccinated, but left my passport at home.”

“That’s not good enough,” the usher replied in a harsh tone. “If you can’t provide proof, then you can’t sit here. There’s plenty of seats available for you between section 504 and section 516. Please go there now.”

Sections 504-516. He hoped he wouldn’t have to sit there, but the rules were strictly enforced. 

The following was an excerpt from my latest short story: Post-Pandemic SkyDome

There’s more to this story and you can find the full version by clicking on this link.

Thank you to Ari Shapiro for publishing it.

ER

Sorry Coach

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
My brain won’t stop overthinking
and it’s impossible for me
to live in the moment
because my mind rejects the notion

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
It’s a war zone outside
Petty problems are being solved
with guns and knives
and I’m scared a bullet is going to find me
one day

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
The pandemic ruined lives
and the hysteria nearly killed me
What’s normal now is painful and lifeless

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
I come from a beautiful country
But it has a glaring flaw
that overshadows everything
and it makes me sick
because it was my fault
and I can’t undo the trauma

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
Microbloggers threaten me to think a certain way or else
Their condescending tone outweighs the message
and fuels my anxiety

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
There’s too much pressure
to be “The Man”
to have a spine
to have gumption
to “tell it like it is”
to be aggressive
to fight back
I don’t want to do any of that
I was never wired that way

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
Because
I’m scared of getting taken advantage of
I’m scared of failing
I’m scared of being made an example of
I’m scared of getting hurt
I’m scared of dying

Sorry Coach
I can’t pitch today
But I might tomorrow

ER

Memo to #JaysTwitter re. Alek Manoah’s debut

Some of you demanded for Alek Manoah to get called up. You got your wish.

If – and I hope it doesn’t happen – he gets rocked by the Yankees or struggles, PLEASE do not jump to conclusions. You wanted this, which means you accept the risk as much as the reward.

That is all. Enjoy the doubleheader.

ER

Returning to SkyDome: A Baseball Microstory

As she walked to the ballpark, her heart started to race. 

Nothing felt similar. She never had to wear a mask at a sporting event or be cognizant of her physical distance. This was the dreaded “new normal.” 

She just wanted to watch the Blue Jays with a cold beer and some popcorn; the way she used to.

Anxiety set in. 

What if it rains and they close the roof? All those germs – COVID or otherwise – floating around. 

She turned and ran.

The wind forced her tears to flow sideways. 

She was never going to watch a live game again.

ER