J.A. Happ opens up, Justin Smoak’s new contract has fans scratching their heads and the rotation has much to debate about.
Ian Hunter – aka The Blue Jay Hunter – stops by to discuss these things and more.
Joey Bats will not be traded
So calm the f**k down
Despite a rough start and a few bumps, the Blue Jays have performed well after 81-plus games.
A few days before Marco Estrada was placed on the 15-day DL, Jenn Smith of BP Toronto looked back at the first half of the regular season.
And remember: #VoteCaptainCanada
Posted by rskhtv.
Tomorrow is our nation’s birthday, which means RED will be the dominant colour at the BLUE Jays game.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending five Canada Day games; six after tomorrow. Out of all these matches, one truly stands out:
July 1, 1997
Blue Jays 1
Sadly, this would be the only time Canada’s teams would meet on Canada Day. It was hot and Skydome was packed. When the match concluded and the post-game fireworks began, I had one thought: Who the hell is Jeff Juden and how dare he out-pitches the Rocket?!
I was obsessed with Roger Clemens during his two seasons with the Jays; similar to my fascination with Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey. And remember, this was well before his alleged steroid use was brought to the surface. So I was understandably excited to watch Rocket Roger for the first time live on that faithful day.
But Mr. Juden upstaged Clemens and his performance 19 years ago is still remembered.
Here’s Rob Sinclair’s report on the match.
Here’s what I also remember about the match:
– It started at 2pm. The original start time was 1pm, but was pushed back so the Jays could honour military personnel and first responders with an hour-long ceremony.
– BJ Birdy and Youppi were working together. The two mascots came into my section (500s LF) and led a Canada Day-themed cheer.
– Joe Carter struck out four times and fans were pissed.
– The final out was a deep fly ball that was caught on the warning track.
– The previous match on June 30/97 marked the first time the teams played a regular season contest. The pitching match up was Pat Hentgen vs. Pedro Martinez. The next day during a pre-game ceremony, Cito Gaston and Felipe Alou presented both starters’ uniforms to a representative from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
– It was a sell out, which had become a rarity for the Jays. It also felt like a 50/50 split between Blue Jay and Expo fans.
I love watching walkoff homeruns; unless – of course – it is against the Blue Jays.
The hero rounds the bases and prepares for the welcoming party waiting for him at home plate.
The hero flings his helmet into the air, while he receives a shower of Gatorade and pats on the back in varying degrees from his teammates. Uniforms might get torn, but the happiness outweighs the ripped garments.
Some might say it’s over the top, disrespectful and violates the very core of sportsmanship. But I disagree. It’s pure, raw drama. It’s what makes baseball beautiful and adds to its artistry.
To date, I have witnessed three walkoff homeruns in person:
1) June 15, 2003 – Reed Johnson, against the Chicago Cubs.
2) September 27, 2015 – Josh Donaldson against Tampa Bay.
3) June 10, 2016 – Edwin Encarnacion against Baltimore.
Leading up to Edwin’s walkoff, I was sitting in my Skydome seat with a goal in mind.
The match was reaching a point where it was clear the Jays would need to win in their final at bat; either the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings.
I started thinking of how Adele called out a fan at a recent concert for recording her performance. She was mad because the fan was more concerned about capturing the moment than enjoying it.
That’s a struggle I’ve experienced multiple times in my life. I’d take a picture of something and a voice would ask if I cared more about taking the photo than appreciating what I was looking at.
So as the match approached its conclusion, I made the decision to focus on what was happening than capturing it on my phone.
My decision paid off.
Edwin came to plate and sent the ball over the right field wall. When he hit that homerun, I wasn’t thinking about anything else because I was living in the moment and enjoying every minute of it.
Everything that normally bothered me wasn’t bothering me. The constant noise in my head was silent. There were no fears or insecurities. 100% of my focus was on the man “walking the parrot” as the crowd was in complete ecstasy.
So thank you, Edwin. Thank you for helping me live in the moment.