Archive for March 2018

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

March 29, 2018

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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Finally! I found a Pearson Cup game!

March 23, 2018

I’ve always had a fascination with the Pearson Cup; the mid-season exhibition match between the Blue Jays and Montreal Expos that took place from 1978 to 1986 and revived for the teams’ regular season series in 2003 and 2004.

Before interleague play and not including whatever took place during spring training, this was the only time the Jays and Expos would go toe-to-toe.

Being born in the early 80s, I never had a chance to experience the Pearson Cup’s original concept. I’m actually surprised there’s never been much chatter about the games. Odd since it seemed like a great opportunity for fans of both teams to embrace the rivalry.

I was overjoyed recently when I discovered one of the Pearson Cup games on YouTube. It’s the French language broadcast of the 1982 match from Exhibition Stadium.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend watching it before a certain league office realizes there wasn’t any expressed written consent. 😝

[Posted by Mart Lat]

ER

Retro Blue Jays – Dunedin of the 80s (and 2012)

March 8, 2018

Posted by PeterGross144, Pat French and AllBlueJays (via MLB).

I’ve never attended spring training in Dunedin and I’m jealous of anyone who has. Sure, I’ve watched spring training games in person – 2000; a double header between the Jays and Cleveland at Skydome. But despite the installed palm tree behind the outfield wall and a few players jogging on the warning track, it just wasn’t the same.

Spring training in Dunedin is one of the few things that hasn’t changed since 1977. The Jays have reinvented their identity multiple times, there have been thousands of players who have worn the uniform and the front office has undergone a few transformations. But every spring, despite the state of the team, our focus has always turned towards Dunedin.

Even the word “Dunedin” conjures up all those fuzzy, cliched feelings associated with spring training: The near-arrival of warm weather, optimism and a fresh start.

So in that spirit, here are a few videos where Dunedin and spring training are featured prominently.

The first two are from long-time broadcaster Peter Gross from his days with City TV.

I first saw this years ago on Big League Stew. Gross uses a Michael Jackson classic to preview the 1984 Blue Jays. Can you spot Buck Martinez?

Then Gross does a feature on Dave Stieb. The ladies in this video might’ve been impressed, but Tony Kubek and Joey McLaughlin definitely weren’t.

Had to include this TSN promo. Where else can you find Kelly Gruber admiring a pre-season dinger?

Finally, one of my favourites: J.P. Arencibia and Ricky Romero take us on a tour of the Jays’ spring training complex in 2012. I bet you’ll smile seeing young Eric Thames; maybe John Farrell too(?).

[Just a link for the last one. The ability to embed the video was disabled.]

ER


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