Father and Son: A Baseball Microstory

Posted June 11, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball, Baseball Microstories

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“So this is what retirement feels like?” I asked.

“This is it,” my father replied. “What do you think?”

I gave the question some thought.

“Honestly,” I said. “I still have the urge to put on the uniform and grab my glove and bat. The feelings I had out there haven’t gone away yet.”

“Good,” my father said smiling. “It’s normal to feel that way. That urge will always exist. My advice: Don’t try to disconnect from it. It’ll drive you crazy. Just embrace it.”

Such wise words that guided me out from darkness.

I was going to be alright.

ER

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The Blue Jays were awful in May…..and we all need to hug it out.

Posted June 3, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Blue Jays

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It’s going to be okay.

Things have been bleak since they swept the Royals in April. The rotation is struggling, the bullpen has fallen apart, the lineup is underperforming and injuries are affecting their peformance.

But it’s going to be okay.

At best, this team could’ve contended for the second wild card spot. For that to happen, many factors would’ve had to work in their favour. Currently, that’s not happening and – barring a miracle; they do occur – it will likely stay that way.

But it’s going to be okay.

Since it’ll likely stay this way, there will probably be changes. Big changes that will be tough to accept. Fan favourites are going to be traded.

But it’s going to be okay.

We are witnessing evolution in real time. The Blue Jays are a team in transition; and it’s a transition that is u-shaped.

There’s a lot of excitement for the young talent developing in the minors. Many fans want Vladimir Guerrero Jr. called up yesterday. It’ll happen eventually; (try to) be patient.

Meanwhile, there will be more aggravation, long losing streaks and low attendance. It’s going to suck.

But it’s going to be okay.

As a wise – yet deranged – fictional character once said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Don’t fret because the Blue Jays are in a steep nosedive. Hang in there.

If all that young minor league talent lives up to its full potential, the rewards will be endless. They will develop and blossom. However, it will take an undefined amount of time. Again – and I can’t stress this enough – (try to) be patient.

If it doesn’t happen, at least you took the risk. If it does, pat yourself on the back for making the investment. You could’ve walked away, like some fans; but you didn’t.

May was awful an month.

But it’s going to be okay.

ER

Rock Bottom (?)

Posted May 21, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball Poetry Project, Blue Jays

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Fragile Blue Jays
lost four matches to Oakland
in painful fashion.

ER

No Confidence: A Baseball Microstory

Posted May 10, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball, Baseball Microstories

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Those fucking nerves tear my stomach apart.

What did Dr. Garcia say? Take several breaths? Remember, it’s just baseball; not life-or-death?

I’ve solicited advice. Yet every time….every damn time the manager calls on me, I want to disappear.

Use to be the best closer in baseball. Simply unstoppable. Then I made a fatal mistake: Threw one bad pitch and fucked up the World Series. Since then, my confidence has been estranged.

It is life-or-death. The stadium is full of demons and they’re all watching me.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have a heart attack before I reach the mound.

ER

31 items I reflected on and scribbled down (metaphorically, of course).

Posted May 3, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Blue Jays

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Yes, this post was inspired by Elliot Friedman’s 31 Thoughts. Mr. Friedman, if you or the legal team at Rogers is reading this, please don’t sue me. 😓

  1. Hell of a start for the Blue Jays. Given my low expectations for the season, it has been a pleasant surprise so far. April 2017 was like a meal at some sketchy diner that results in food poisoning. April 2018 felt like a meal at a sketchy diner that turns out to be the best kept secret in the city.
  2. Of course, things haven’t been great since they swept the Royals. Regardless, finishing April with a winning record is still a decent achievement when compared to 2017.
  3. Yes, it is early. And yes, I vividly remember the great run the 2009 Jays were on before everything nosedived in late May. I suggest we just enjoy what they’re doing now and deal with whatever happens when it happens.
  4. Yangervis Solarte has some power!!! Was not expecting that.
  5. Yangervis Solarte can dance!!! Was not expecting that.
  6. Not surprised with Randal Grichuk’s poor start. Wasn’t blow away with his St. Louis numbers. Maybe the slump is partially due to getting accustomed to a new team, division and stadium. Maybe it’s not. Fingers crossed he turns it around soon.
  7. Teoscar doesn’t want to go back to Buffalo. Fans don’t want to him sent back to Buffalo. In fact, if the Jays do option him back to the Bisons, it wouldn’t shock me if a giant roadblock is suddenly erected somewhere along on the QEW.
  8. Good to see the Humboldt Broncos’ logo displayed on the backstop a few weeks ago.
  9. I enjoyed hearing Josh Thole on the radio broadcasts. He wasn’t polished, but a part of me liked that. I’m still irritated about the way certain fans treated him.
  10. I like the bullpen. I like it a lot.
  11. John Axford was shaky at first, but has straightened out nicely. Very pleased to see this.
  12. Luke Maile came up with some big swings in April. Every time it occurred, I thought of this 2017 tweet from Andy Arias.
  13. If I was in the stands, I would’ve happily joined in on the standing ovation for Ryan Goins. Come @ me. I dare you.
  14. My friend and I had tickets for Monday, April 16. As you know, the match was cancelled due to falling ice. As annoying as it was – I was already en route when the game was formally cancelled – it was the right decision. A huge amount of gratitude to the stadium personnel who worked feverishly to try to get the game in, especially to the staff that went on the roof.
  15. The doubleheader on April 17 was the third such occurence in Skydome history. I was aware of the first one that took place in 1989. However, I have no recollection of the one in 2001 – October 5 against Cleveland, according to Baseball -Reference.com. It’s strange because I was at the final home game of 2001, which took place a couple of days later. Given that all this took place three weeks after 9/11, baseball was the last thing on everyone’s mind at the time.
  16. Overall, the rotation has been so-so. But they have given the team a chance to win, which is what any of us would want. With that in mind….
  17. No, I’m not worried about Stro. He’ll figure it out.
  18. No, I’m not worried about Devon. He’ll also figure it out.
  19. You know things aren’t terrible when you don’t see a lot of “Bring up Vladdy and Bo” tweets. Of course….it is early 😝
  20. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone complain about the wave yet.
  21. The Braves visit Toronto, June 19-20. Wouldn’t shock me if those games are sold out.
  22. Coming up with 31 talking points is hard. How does Friedman do this all the time?
  23. The weather sucked.
  24. Games on Facebook: Meh.
  25. Five-minute condensed games on Facebook: 👍👍👍
  26. I like Skydome’s new “value” menu.
  27. Recently, Mike Wilner posted a photo of a mantra Curtis Granderson wrote inside his hat: “Don’t think. Have fun.” Two simple sentences, four words. One profound point made.
  28. Speaking of Granderson….can I add my name to the list of fans who are grateful he’s on the team?
  29. Shoutout to my favourite hot dog vendor: Ted’s Gourmet, at the corner of Front and John.
  30. Wishing the very best to Danny Farquhar. Speedy and successful recovery.
  31. #TorontoStrong #HumboldtStrong

ER

Real Pain: A Baseball Microstory

Posted April 16, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Baseball, Baseball Microstories

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The room was spacious, but he felt trapped.

Such was the case when one attends a baseball game, attempts to catch a foul ball, misses, falls onto unforgiving concrete and is taken to a nearby hospital.

Stitches were needed and there were likely a few dental surgeries in his future. Calling himself a mess was generous. Worst of all, he missed the rest of the game.

And as he stared at the ceiling, contemplating his painful predicament, the doctor walked in and announced the final score.

Despite the cuts, bruises and broken teeth, news of his team’s defeat hurt more.

ER

Ironically, I share a similar opinion as Cathall Kelly. But I choose to be more respectful and less fatalistic.

Posted March 29, 2018 by The Hek
Categories: Articles, Blue Jays

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Rest assured, this is not a critique of Mr. Kelly’s recent torpedo at the Blue Jays. These are just my thoughts for Opening Day. They’re pleasant, but not glowing.

Anyway……Hello regular season.

Whenever someone asks me how the Blue Jays will fare, I always like to give two opinions. 2018 is no exception:

Subjectively, they’ll finish 162-0 and capture the World Series title.

Objectively, if a number of factors work out on the positive side and they’re not heavily effected by injuries, they could compete for the second wild card spot. Otherwise, don’t make any plans for postseason baseball.

We can crunch numbers and analyze everything to death. But nothing is 100% certain, especially for on-field performance. So like everyone else – whether they like to admit it or not – I prefer to go with my gut.

And my gut says….there’s likely going to be a dip.

I sense a transition process between the current 25-man roster and the sexy, young minor league talent everyone is excited about. It won’t be a linear transition, but one that’s u-shaped instead. Couldn’t tell you how long it will last. Maybe a few seasons, maybe more than that. But it’s going to likely happen.

Ideally, I’d prefer if the transition began now. However, Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins feel they can put it off for the year.

It’s not a terrible decision. Teams could pay more at the non-waiver trade deadline. And if the Jays are clearly not a contender by the end of July, my hope is that they would get a nice return for Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and a king’s ransom for Josh Donaldson.

Therein lies one of the major storylines of 2018: What’s going to happen with the Bringer of Rain?

I love Donaldson and very grateful for what he’s done on the field. However, I would be SHOCKED if he signs a long-term deal with the Jays.

If there’s actually a dip or any form of rebuilding, it wouldn’t make sense to keep him. It also wouldn’t make sense for Donaldson wanting to stay if the next few seasons are going to be lean, with a lot of unknowns thrown in as well. Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of 2018 and he’s earned the right to field offers and seek out the best deal. It pains me to type this, but I just don’t see that happening with him and the Jays.

In fact, the only players on the current roster that should remain with the club through any kind of transition is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Devon Travis. That’s not a gurantee either.

So let the Yankees and Red Sox have their fun, if it turns out that way. The Blue Jays are cultivating for the future and if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette actually live up to their hype, combined with consistent production from Alford, Urena, Hernandez, Borucki, etc., then we are in for a treat. Heck, look at what rebuilding has done for the Astros.

Of course, I could be completely off the mark. If the Jays actually make the playoffs in 2018, I will happily admit that I jumped to conclusion.

It could happen. Part of me hopes it does.

ER


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