Archive for the ‘Retro’ category

Retro Blue Jays – Stieb and Whitt Tour EPCOT

November 20, 2019

Posted by Retronario.

Where to begin…where to begin…

I guess I’ll make something up:

It’s the early 80s. A bunch of Disney executives are sitting in a room. They wonder how they can get Canadians to visit the brand-new EPCOT Center.

Someone suggests a celebrity endorsement. Another person suggests using a couple of athletes. Suddenly, the most experienced executive in the room pounds his fist on the table and jumps up.

“Jiminy Cricket, I’ve got it!” he shouts. “Let’s get a couple of Blue Jays and give them a tour of EPCOT. We’ll film the whole thing and air it on Canadian television.”

Everyone agrees and high-fives each other. They spend the rest of the day eating pizza and smoking weed.

A little over the top, but I’m sure that’s how it all came together; except for the weed part.

Anyway…

Dave Stieb and Ernie Whitt, along with Catherine Swing, tour EPCOT Center. The popular Blue Jay battery try in the vain to act natural and recite their lines as if they’re off the cuff. Their performance gets an ‘A’ for effort. Nevertheless, the awkwardness is hilarious!

In addition, there are cameos from Bobby Cox and Fergie Olver.

Could you envision the current team doing something like this? Just imagine…Vladdy and Bo touring the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. 😝

ER

Retro Blue Jays: When 60 wins was the benchmark

July 3, 2019

Posted by Retrontario.

Given the current state of affairs, this might put a smile on your face…or make you angrier.

Whatever.

It’s a City-TV/CityPulse sportscast from September 12, 1980, detailing the Jays’ 7-5 win over Baltimore. It was a significant achievement, marking the first time the team had recorded 60 victories.

Look how much fun Peter Gross was having. He was fully aware the team was in last place at the time and didn’t care. He’s not whining or reminding the viewer how bad things are/were, nor is he begrudgingly talking about the Jays. Don’t hear him shitting on the front office or calling anyone tone deaf either. Maybe he’s being a little sarcastic, but he’s also embracing the pain.

Check out how the highlights are presented. They’re all from one solitary camera, stationed behind home plate at Exhibition Stadium. It’s literally one angle, one point of view. A strong reminder of a time when not every single game was televised.

ER

Retro Blue Jays – The Best and Worst from ’79

November 29, 2018

Posted by xtHabs789

Based on record alone, 1979 was a hideous season for the Blue Jays.

The team managed to win just 53 games, finishing dead last in the AL East; 50.5 games behind division-winner Baltimore. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the ’79 Jays hold the club record for lowest winning percentage (.327) over a 162-game schedule.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Expos were a stark contrast. They finished the ’79 season with a sparkling record of 95-65, narrowly missing the NL East title by two games.

The vast distance between the two Canadian teams was well-illustrated in this report for the CBC program, NEWSMAGAZINE.

It highlights the nuances of baseball; even touches on the volatile political situation in Quebec at the time. Regardless, reporter Mark Philips conveys the excitement at Olympic Stadium and the subdued atmosphere at Exhibition Stadium.

All the Expo clips are positive; players are flashing big grins. There’s even a small part dedicated to the legendary Bill “Spaceman” Lee.

Different appearance with the Blue Jay clips. They’re mostly negative with beleaguered faces, nicely captured by then-Manager Roy Hartsfield trying to find something nice to say about his team. A valiant effort was also made by then-President Peter Bavasi with his message of “selling entertainment; not a win-loss record.”

If anything, this feature reminds us of a time when the Expos were “Canada’s Team,” while the Jays were simply a punchline.

The metaphoric tide was not even close to turning.

ER

Retro Blue Jays – Whitt and Cheek on Community TV

August 10, 2018

Posted by Home Town Cable Network.

I’ve always had a fascination with community/public-access broadcasting. For starters, it’s obviously different than traditional commercial media. This particular format was also one of my first forays into the world of media – Ottawa’s CKCU, early-to-mid 2000s.

It’s hard to explain, but there’s something about the unpolished, raw presentation that seems authentic to me. This is prevalent with the following interviews of former Blue Jay catcher and coach Ernie Whitt and the late Tom Cheek.

Based on the setting, the footage was recorded at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, likely before the 1985 Pearson Cup.

The clips are part of the Home Town Cable Network which, according to its website and Facebook page, serves Northern New York State; with their office located in Champlain, New York.

One of the interviewers – Dick Letourneau – is no Bob Costas and calling Whitt’s team the “Maple Leafs” at the beginning of his interview was far from a smooth start. But he does ask some interesting questions.

For his part, Whitt answers the questions truthfully; though he seemed a little taken aback by Letourneau’s style of interviewing.

Tom Cheek – as he always was – told a great story, threw in a joke and always brought an incredible amount of professionalism. I wonder how many people knew he was a fill-in for Expo games before he came to Toronto.

Despite their rough look, the interviews are unique. They might not shine, but they’re fun to watch.

x

As an aside, Home Town Cable Network’s website has dozens of baseball clips. The majority of which involved the Expos.

ER

Retro Blue Jays – 2002 Time Capsule

June 29, 2018

Posted by Balsamwoods.

Thanks to social media, it’s now hard to recall a time when following the Blue Jays was a lonely experience.

This random item I recently found on YouTube captures that feeling.

It’s home video of the poster’s trip to Toronto, which included in-stadium clips of – based on the footage – the May 27, 2002 match between the Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

The in-game experience has certainly changed at Skydome over the years. This is evident in the video when one sees the original scoreboards, fireworks after homeruns and the bright green AstroTurf. The J-Force dancers have a completely different look, not to mention Ace and Diamond.

The video is also a time capsule and reminds us how little attention was given to the team at the time.

During the late 90s and early 2000s, the Jays were very low on the totem pole of Toronto sports. The Leafs, Raptors and Rock were putting together strong playoff runs from the fancy, new Air Canada Centre.

Showing interest in the Jays was met with disdain. Free tickets or a chance to go to a game were scoffed at.

The team’s overall performance on the field didn’t help either. This was especially the case in 2002. At the time of this particular match, the Jays were 17-30 and Manager Buck Martinez was days away from being fired.

Having said that, don’t treat this video as a cruel reminder. It has some lovely aspects to it as well.

Roy Halladay was the starter that night. Though it wasn’t his best performance, Doc was in the midst of his breakout season. You’ll also see some familiar faces like Carlos Delgado, Raul Mondesi, Nomar Garciapara and Ugueth Urbina. You might even enjoy the two Leaf fans who run on the field and troll the crowd.

[Was “troll” a term used in 2002? Maybe I should’ve gone with “punk’d.”] 😝

ER

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


%d bloggers like this: