Archive for the ‘Articles’ category

An ugly reality, but it is what it is

August 20, 2018

Struggling with writer’s block lately. So….some random thoughts:

  • Several times this season, I’ve found myself saying, “Oh, yeah. I forgot about Tulo.”
  • Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez have both missed a signficant amount of time. If this was 2015-16, we’d freak out. Today, such a fact is met with a shrug. It is what it is.
  • Really? Just six games for Jose Urena?
  • I like Ryan Borucki because he models himself after Mark Buehrle. The kid starts his windup as soon as he gets the sign. He’s going to be a treat (hopefully).
  • There (probably) isn’t a single Jays fan who actually thinks Gibby will be back for 2019.
  • Remember, the Blue Jays are a team in transition. That means – if I can borrow the expression – things will get worse before it gets better. Hang in there. It’s going to be okay.

    And now…..back to my battle with writer’s block.

    ER

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    Re. The Roberto Osuna Trade

    August 2, 2018

    It had to be done.

    Roberto Osuna allegedly committed a heinous act, which is still a matter before the courts. We don’t know the facts; but whatever happened justified a 75 game suspension. We haven’t heard from Osuna since charges were laid agaisnt him. All we know is that he’s appears to be remorseful about circumstances and intends to plead not guilty, according to his lawyer.

    Guilty or not, his reputation is tarnished.

    There was no way the Blue Jays could allow him to pitch for their team. It would’ve been grossly disrespectful to a savvy fan base, victims of abuse and the alleged victim in this case.

    It would’ve also been grossly hypocritical for the team’s parental owner, especially after the broadcasting wing fired Gregg Zaun – and rightfully so – for his inappropriate actions.

    As many have pointed out, this wasn’t a baseball trade. It was about doing the right thing. The path to get here may have been questionable, but the end result was the right action. In the grand scheme of things, what Houston sent in exchange for Osuna is irrelevant.

    It’s a sad ending. It’s a disappointing ending. It’s an awful ending.

    ER

    Short, scribbled thoughts about J.A. Happ

    July 17, 2018

    I’m thrilled Mr. Happ is representing the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game. In a season that’s been on a steep decline since late April, there have been very few positive story arcs. J.A. Happ is one of those arcs.

    As he prepares to stand with the game’s best at Nationals Park, I’ve been reminiscing about his two tenures with the Jays.

    I’ve been thinking about the attempt to put him in the bullpen when he first arrived in 2012. Happ put his foot down and argued he was a starter. Ultimately, he was not wrong.

    I’ve been thinking about that scary night at Tropicana Field when a line drive struck the side of his head. He recovered, thank goodness.

    I’ve been thinking about how some freaked out when he came back to the team as a free agent. Getting Happ instead of resigning David Price was an outrage to certain fans.

    I’ve been thinking about Happ’s 20 wins in 2016. Yes, that stat is no longer a sexy accomplishment. However, that 2016 team would not have succeeded without the triple threat of Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada.

    I’ve been thinking about milk in a bag. 😁😁😁

    The first chapter was noteworthy and the second one – quite successful – will likely conclude before the end of the month. There might even be a third chapter.

    Regardless, I sincerely hope he makes a positive contribution wherever he winds up. Fingers are crossed for a World Series ring.

    ER

    I can’t believe they swept the Washington Nationals: An open letter to anyone who gives a damn

    June 18, 2018

    To Whom It May Concern:

    The Blue Jays hosted the Washington Nationals this past weekend. My buddy and I attended Friday’s opening match and I was very excited. Last time I saw the Nats in a live setting, they were known as the Montreal Expos. Additionally, it was my first opportunity to see Bryce Harper and Juan Soto in the flesh.

    However, I was also very pessimistic about the series.

    We know what the Jays are and we know what the Nats are. We also knew the Jays would face two starters with ERAs under 3.00 and one under 4.00.

    It looked to be another dreadful series in a season that has been on a steep decline for several weeks. My hope was that they wouldn’t get swept at the very least. Avoiding Washington’s brooms would be akin to winning.

    But in the end, the Jays turned out to be the sweepers instead of the sweepees. They won all three games against Washington, leaving me flabbergasted.

    Please accept this notice as my apology for allowing my negativity to get the best of me. Once again, baseball has reminded me that what appears on paper doesn’t always translate on the field.

    Of course, sweeping the Nats doesn’t change anything. However, it does give us something to smile about.

    ER

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

    June 3, 2018

    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

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

    May 3, 2018

    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. πŸ˜“

    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: πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
    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

    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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