Archive for the ‘Blue Jays’ category

The Surprise Visitor: A Baseball Microstory

November 5, 2018

The first stop after a ballgame: The washroom.

It was packed as usual. Young fraternity brothers resting their near-empty cans of beer on top of urinals.

I did what I needed to do, washed and dried my hands and prepared to exit.

Then she walked in.

“Miss,” I said, shocked and concerned. “You’re in the wrong spot.”

She just smirked, pulled her hat down and calmly walked into the only available stall. In unison, all the men stopped talking and watched in disbelief as she locked the door.

She knew exactly what she was doing and didn’t give a damn.

ER

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Short, scribbled, simiring thoughts about Charlie Montoyo

October 30, 2018

When the Blue Jays hired Tim Johnson to manage the team, it seemed like there was nothing but high praise for the new skipper. And then…well….we all know what happened.

Of course, I’m not saying a similar fate will fall upon Charlie Montoyo. I just couldn’t help but think of Tim Johnson whenever I saw rave reviews about some of the potential candidates to manage the Jays in 2019.

Anyway, Charlie Montoyo meets the apparent requirements. Bilingual, comes from a system that uses analytics and has plenty of coaching and managerial experience.

Now we’ll see how that all translates.

But please….understand this:

Do not expect this man to move Heaven and Earth right away. The team is transitioning and the young talent needs to develop. It won’t happen instantaneously. At the very least, kindly give Charlie Montoyo a few years before evaluating his pefromance.

ER

And now, a smorgasbord of thoughts and feelings as it relates to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club

October 1, 2018

Give yourself a pat on the back. You got through a tough season.

  • Actually, I’m not upset about what happened this season. I went in with low expections and got what I expected: a team in transition; positive evolution and negative evolution, but evolution nonetheless.
  • Those first three weeks in April though; that was exciting and fun.
  • Love Gibby, but it was time to move on. His dismissal was unsurprising. Gibby took the Jays as far as he could. But the team is now moving in a different direction and the front office understandably wants someone new to lead said direction.
  • Couldn’t tell you who the new manager will be. I do know this: Some fans will love the new hire, some fans will hate the new hire and some fans will absolutely despise the new hire because anything orchestrated by Mark Shaprio and Russ Atikins will automatically ruin EVERYTHING! Oh, the spicy hot takes. 😉
  • I’m worried about Aaron Sanchez. Injuries have robbed him and us of two seasons. Right now, there’s a large chasm between 2016 Sanchez and 2018 Sanchez. I’m praying he closes that gap in 2019. He’s too good to be plagued with injuries.
  • Teoscar is a curious case. He was exposed defensively, but the kid has a pretty good bat. Here’s hoping he works on his defence during the off-season.
  • I was wrong about Randall Grichuk.
  • Loved what I saw from Rowdy Tellez. However, a small voice in my head is telling me not to get too excited about production from a September call-up. I hope that voice is wrong.
  • It feels like ions since Gift Ngoepe was part of the opening day roster.
  • My favourite moments from the season: 1) The incredible ninth inning comeback against Tampa Bay in September. 2) James Paxton’s no-hitter, despite that happening against the Jays.
  • One other moment that remains prevleant in my mind: Curtis Granderson’s walk-off homerun against Boston in April. This occurred days after the horrific van attack in North York. While Grandy’s blast certainly didn’t cure everything, it allowed us a short reprieve as we grieved.
  • I’m fascinated with the middle infield situation. Many candidates, but only a few spots. It will be one of the top storylines during spring training.
  • Time for some awards! Best hitter: Justin Smoak; Best starter: J.A. Happ; Best reliever: A tie between Seunghwan Oh and Ken Gilles.

Postseason is upon us. Cleveland gets my endorsement only because of the overabundance of former Blue Jays on their roster. Enjoy October baseball!

ER

Take a moment, say your goodbyes

September 24, 2018

Ever watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor In Paradise?

When a contestant is “sent home,” Chris Harrison – the long-time host of the popular reality series – delivers a subtle command:

“Take a moment, say your goodbyes.”

As the Blue Jays prepare for the final week of a tumultuous regular season, perhaps it would be wise for all of us to take a moment and say our goodbyes.

The rebuild is well underway and there’s a strong chance that some familiar faces will not return next year.

By all accounts, John Gibbons will be formally relieved of his duties. Safe to assume the coaching staff will also be dismissed or reassigned.

And it won’t stop there.

Kevin Pillar could be playing for a different team next season. Same could be said about Marcus Stroman, Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak. Maybe some team would be willing to take a flyer on Kendrys Morales or Russell Martin and work something out with the Jays’ front office in regards to those contracts. I like Marco Estrada, but I would be surprised if he’s back next season.

That doesn’t mean such departures will actually occur. But with all the minor league talent that debuted this season, along with the talent we’ll see in 2019 (*cough* Vladdy Jr. *cough*), there isn’t enough space for everyone. Otherwise, the team won’t evolve.

It’s impossible to predict exactly who will stay and who will go. But one could certainly expect fewer pieces remaining from the teams of 2015-16 next year.

So if you’re heading to Skydome, Tropicana Field, the Boston Pizza at Front and John (where a lot of fans hang out, apparently) or watching/listening/following the final matches, take a moment and say your goodbyes.

It’s been one hell of a ride, but it’s now time to rebuild for (hopefully) something greater.

ER

First Round, 22nd Pick

September 17, 2018

Man on the radio,
I’m driving while the city sleeps.
Tell me about the new draft pick.

He’s from Medford and runs with a proverb:
Height doesn’t measure heart.
It gives him a chip on his shoulder and
the meaning of life.
His life.

Man on the radio,
What’s the kid’s story?

Imagine being told you’re too small.
He got angry and
worked to prove everyone wrong,
using a fastball, slider and confidence.

Man on the radio,
what does his future look like?

He will tear his anterior cruciate ligament, but recover faster than anyone else.
He will help his team to the promised land after a 22-year odyssey.
He will earn a degree and several playoff starts.
He will win gold for his country.
He will build a fashion empire and maintain a mansion.
He will have ups and downs.
He will face adversity and a recurring blister.
He will energize the fan base.

You might be turned off by his bravado,
but baseball isn’t fun without character.
His character.

Man on the radio,
How will it all end?

Let the story play out.
Let the story play out.

ER

Josh Donaldson: He brought the rain and it was magical AF

September 3, 2018

Josh Donaldson’s tenure with the Blue Jays was a blessing. The events surrounding his departure really, really, REALLY suck. However, this is not as tragic as some have made it out to be.

Josh Donaldson was not going to finish 2018 in a Jays uniform. I made peace with this notion well before the season started. Unless the team was a legit contender for the second wild card spot, this was it for the Bringer of Rain.

I prayed he would be traded during the off-season. Prayed the Jays would get a king’s ransom in exchange. I get why they waited for the middle of the regular season – contending teams would be increasingly desperate to land Donaldson’s services and therefore, empty their shelevs of young, developing talent.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Josh gingerly walked off the field in May, never to return wearing a Jays uniform; his value drastically fell.

Who’s to blame? Nobody.

Donaldson didn’t intend to miss a significant chunk of the season. Mark Shapiro, Russ Atkins and the rest of front office didn’t anticipate something like this to happen, nor would they want it to happen.

Of course, social media is more than happy to point fingers.

On social media, Shapiro and Atkins have screwed up everything!!!! Some have claimed they have set the team back by decades. Others have filed a non-confidence motion. Heck, if Shapiro and Atkins saved 1000 orphans from a towering inferno, they’d still be villanized.

So let’s take a breath.

The Blue Jays are rebuilding. It has been evident for a while. Whether you like it or not, they are a team in transition. Keeping Josh Donaldson would be counter-productive. A player of his caliber and age – if healthy, obviously – would naturally yield younger, developing talent. It’s not a perfect formula, but it only makes sense to collect several “prospects” in exchange for Donaldson and hope some – if not all – live up to their full potential.

The only mistake Shapiro and Atkins made was not trading Donaldson before the season. An error that defines the concept of hindsight.

Here’s something else to consider: Do you really believe Donaldson wanted to be a Blue Jay after 2018?

Think about it. He’s in his early 30s and about to become a free agent. He wants to win now. He expects to win now. Why would he stay in Toronto and endure a rebuild that doesn’t have a definitive timeline? Donaldson has earned the right to play for whoever he wants; so the Jays might as well get something for him, even if it’s unfortunately not a king’s ransom.

While Donaldson and Atkins have both paid the appropriate amount of lip service post-trade, we may never know what actually happened behind the proverbial closed doors. Maybe there were diagreements. Maybe feelings were hurt.

There will be some who desperately need to know what occurred for their own agendas. But for me….I just don’t give a damn.

When I think about Josh Donaldson, I won’t think about his departure. I’ll think of the man who told the world that this was the “get it done league.”

I’ll think of the man who dove into the first few rows at Tropicana Field to catch a foul ball.

I’ll think of the man who crushed a walk-off home run at the final home game of the 2015 season, sending the crowd into a frenzy; including yours truly from my right field seat in the 200s.

I’ll think of the man who knocked in the tying run in game five of the 2015 ALDS, setting the stage for Jose Bautista’s iconic bat flip.

I’ll think of the man – who I witnessed from my perch in section 525 – dive gracefully across home plate, clinching game three and an ALDS series sweep in 2016.

Damn right his name should be added to the level of excellence. He was the American League’s most valuable player in 2015. The only other Blue Jay who won AL MVP is already on the LOE.

Josh Donaldson was the glue, the missing piece, the magic tonic. He brought the rain and it was MAGICAL! His unfortunate departure will never overshadow his impact.

I really hope things work out for him in Cleveland and of course, with the Blue Jays’ long-term plan. Seeing a popular player get traded is never pleasant.

Just remember: It’s going to be okay.

ER

Hiatus

August 27, 2018

Inspired by Mr. Zwelling’s account of Mr. Axford’s summer of 2017

Going home

to see my children

Going home

because I have been released

Going home

for an extended break

Letting go

as I sit on the couch

distancing myself from exercise,

the life I have experienced,

stress and doubt

I will take my children to a game,

paying for our own tickets

We will sit behind the bullpen

The same bullpen I once sat in

We will eat hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches,

as I disconnect from my competitive spirit

Remarkable

how I have never watched the game,

only participated

My return will be determined at a later time

For now,

I am not a bullpen arm

I am Father, son, partner

ER


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