Posted tagged ‘2019’

Happy Holidays! Why do I put up with this “Jays Twitter” crap?

December 22, 2019

2019 was an ugly year for the Blue Jays, but not for what happened on the field.

We knew what to expect from this team. It was a season of development and debuts. There were many losses, with a few good moments sprinkled in.

However, the real ugliness occurred online; specifically, “Jays Twitter.”

Twitter as a whole has become an ugly place. Everyone is viciously fighting for their opinions to dominate the masses. Anyone with a blue checkmark – and it seems like everyone is verified these days – is telling me how to think, how to feel, who I should fight, why I should fight, what happens if I don’t fight and that I’m a horrible person if I think differently or choose to stay silent.

It’s upsetting, stressful and overwhelming. I just can’t give myself to EVERY SINGLE CAUSE. I’m sorry.

I blame America’s toxic political climate for the ugliness I see on social media. Even worse is that this toxicity has seeped into all walks of life, including a sub-group like Jays Twitter.

Truthfully, Jays Twitter really pissed me off this year. It was a land of unnecessary anger, gross impatience and brutal divisiveness. I’ve never expected everyone to get along and sing “Kumbaya,” but it seems there were more temper tantrums than ever before.

My timeline was dominated by the anti-Shapiro crowd and other glass-half-empty types. It was the same non-stop messages:

THE CORPORATE OWNERS ARE CHEAP AND DON’T CARE ABOUT WINNING!

MARK SHAPIRO IS RUINING THE BLUE JAYS!

THE STADIUM IS TRASH!

JAYS NEED TO SPEND BILLIONS ON FREE AGENTS!

RUSS ATKINS IS SHAPIRO’S PUPPET, INCOMPETENT, FULL OF SHIT AND HAS TERRIBLE PUBLIC RELATIONS SKILLS!

FIRE EVERYONE AND BRING BACK THE MAGIC FROM 2015-16!

Nobody wants to embrace the pain. Nobody wants to be patient. Nobody wants to focus on the exciting potential surrounding the young core. Nobody wants to let things to grow organically. Nobody wants to let the story play out. Nobody wants to acknowledge that the window of opportunity closed at the end of 2016. Nobody wants to move on. Nobody constructively criticizes.

Everyone wants immediate satisfaction. Everyone wants the Jays to spend lavishly on free agents. Everyone is looking for the smallest crumb to use against the front office. Everyone wants to run Shapiro out of town. Everyone scoffs at everything Shapiro says. Everyone wants Atkins to serve everything to them on a silver platter, brush their teeth and wipe their asses. Everyone suddenly cares about optics and how a message is delivered. Everyone is mad because they took 2015-16 for granted. Everyone wants to declare failure before failure occurs. Everyone is sarcastic and acts like a total jerk when rendering judgements. Everyone gets upset over things that are out of their control.

I see all the nastiness and it takes so much energy not to lash out. It makes me wonder why I’m still on Twitter and why I keep this blog alive.

Seriously, what’s the fucking point?

I’m just one Jays-themed Twitter account posting in a far over-crowded pool of Jays-themed accounts.

I’ve never earned a single cent from doing DNJT and I’d be shocked if any money came my way. DNJT is a moped driving next to giant SUVs like Jays Journal, Bluebird Banter and Blue Jays Nation; not to mention the mainstream media juggernauts.

I thought about pulling the plug more than ever this year. I don’t need the negativity. I don’t need to waste my time on a glorified hobby.

But I can’t do it.

I can’t pull the trigger.

I can’t kill @thehek or DNJT because I’ve always wanted to be more than just a fan. I can’t pull the trigger because it would sever the last thread to a dream that’s been dead for a long time and I’m too stubborn to acknowledge it.

So, I have to live it.

People will always be upset and vent on Twitter. That’s their prerogative. It was happening well before 2015-16. Besides, I’ve had my moments too.

It reminds me of an episode of Gilmore Girls when Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) – after months of frustration – has this epiphany about his rebellious nephew, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). He realizes that Jess is not going to change his behaviour and any forced attempts to do so are futile. This allows Luke to achieve a sense of calm and peace.

Perhaps that’s the state of mind I should aim for.

Jays Twitter, you are what you are and despite my frustration, I can’t change that. There’s no point in getting angry about something that’s out of my control. I’ll have my opinions; you’ll have yours.

Look, we all want the same thing. Some of us are a little more patient than others. Some of us are a little more optimistic than others. Some of us are assholes. Some of us aren’t.

We can analyze stats and contracts to death. In the end, everything settles on one idea: Things will work out or they won’t.

You have to accept it. I have to accept it.

I guess that’s my cliched New Year’s resolution. Perhaps a “New Decade” resolution.

Speaking of which, I do wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. I really do appreciate it.

2020 will mark the eighth year (and ninth baseball season) of DNJT. You can expect the usual stuff. I’ve also been toying with the idea of rebooting the podcast. However, that will be a long-term project.

Here’s hoping 2020 will be a little better than 2019, on and off the field. After all, spring training is just a few weeks away.

ER

UPDATE: A few hours after I published this post, Hyun-Jin Ryu signed a four-year deal with the Jays. I’m happy! Annoyed with my personal timing, but happy nonetheless. More importantly, Jays Twitter is happy……for now.

Final Thoughts: Don’t bet against the Washington Nationals (née Montreal Expos)

November 3, 2019

Lesson learned: Don’t bet against those Nats.

Allow me to present this cautionary tale…

Milwaukee will win the Wildcard, I thought.
That didn’t happen.

There’s no way Washington will defeat Los Angeles. Heck, the Dodgers are my pick to win the whole thing.
Wrong. Very wrong.

Okay, I’ll buy into the hype. They’ll defeat St. Louis, but it’ll be a battle.
The Cards got anillated.

World Series, baby! It’s been fun, but Houston is a better team. Besides, the Nats haven’t played in a week. That’s usually a disadvantage.
Washington goes up 2-0, defeating Cole and Verlander on the road.

Is this really happening?

Oh, look. Houston just won three straight. They’re heading back to H-Town, one win away from their second championship in three years. Everything makes sense again.
Nope. Nope. Nope.

The Nats’ victory is stark reminder that everything resets in the playoffs. Each round is a clean slate and whatever happened previously goes out the window. Sometimes, the narrative follows though; sometimes, it doesn’t.

I’m thrilled Washington won. They are – technically – the Montreal Expos after all.

It was interesting how Expo fans viewed the World Series. I saw a fair amount of salty feelings. Some Montreal-based organizations divorced themselves from the Nationals by stating the Expos were “paused” in 2004. Respectfully, it’s a little absurd to deny the historical lineage.

Nevertheless, the District of Columbia will fly the banner, Houston got what they deserved and Bryce Harper saw his former teammates reach the promised land without him – his choice, of course.

Congrats to the Nationals, especially to the former Blue Jays on their championship roster/coaching staff:

  • Daniel Hudson
  • Yan Gomes
  • Henry Blanco
  • Javy Guerra
  • Dave Martinez

Aplogies to anyone I missed. Long live Baby Shark!

ER

2019 World Series Guess

October 22, 2019

Got the pennant winners right! Can’t believe Washington steam-rolled St. Louis. I love a dramatic tale and the Nats’ run has been thrilling.

Seven months ago, they said goodbye to Bryce Harper. Now, they’re basking in the glory of a National League pennant and making their first World Series appearance.

Having said that…

Houston over Washington

In my head, the Astros are a better team. They’ve also had less of a break between rounds than the Nationals. Sometimes, that affects the result.

Let’s find out.

ER

ALCS/NLCS Guesses

October 11, 2019

Well…my ALDS picks were correct. My NLDS picks – in comparison – were a complete disaster.

Was hoping the Dodgers would win everything and Russell Martin would get a ring.

Clearly, the narrative has a different outcome.

Anyway…

ALCS: Houston over NYY
NLCS: Washington over St. Louis

ER

2019 LDS Guesses

October 3, 2019

Not going to lie. My wildcard picks BOMBED. Totally embarrassed.

Anyway…

NLDS
LA over Washington
Atlanta over St. Louis

ALDS
NYY over Minnestoa
Houston over Tampa Bay

ER

2019 Wildcard Guesses

October 1, 2019

When it comes to the playoffs, I rely on my gut and personal biases.

Anyway…

It shall be a victorious occasion for Milwaukee and Oakland.

ER

The 2019 Blue Jays: A tale of two chapters

September 29, 2019

See, that wasn’t so bad!

Right???

Okay…when you look at the standings, it was pretty bad. But we knew this season was going to look like Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I embraced the pain; others chose to complain and bang their drums. Either way, I hope we can sit on a porch one day and laugh about the experience as we sip lemonade.

The 2019 season can be split into two chapters: Before Marcus Stroman was traded and after he was dealt.

As the trade deadline approached, there were storm clouds surrounding the team. There had been a couple of bright spots, but there was sense of dread. Stro – the most popular/polarizing player left from 2015-16 – was going to get traded. We knew it, he knew it, the league and his teammates knew it. Stro was dropping passive-aggressive grenades and the anti-Shapiro mob was sharpening their pitchforks.

Then the trade finally happened, followed by the premature trade of Aaron Sanchez. Jays Twitter was a scene of blinding fire, suffocating smoke and vile screaming.

And then…the smoke cleared, the sun came out and Bo Bichette started making history.

Believe me, I am NOT suggesting Stro was poisoning the clubhouse. I love the guy, his character and his brand! However, things felt and looked different once Marcus was sent to the Mets.

The transition was complete. All remaining band-aids had been ripped off. The roster was officially young and developing. Now, we could say it’s “Vladdy’s team” or “Bo’s team.” If one were to consider the rebuild as u-shaped, then on the evening of July 28, 2019 – when Stro was traded and Bichette was called up – the Blue Jays reached the bottom. The steep, uphill climb had begun.

I saw a team full of youthful energy. It was exciting and fun! Bo took off like a bullet train, Vladdy continued his gradual production, Cavan Biggio made history, Danny Jansen was figuring things out and Lourdes Gurriel and Reese McGuire were pleasant surprises. Sure, they went through a tough stretch in late August-early September. However, as Stephen Brunt pointed out a few weeks ago on Prime Time Sports, we were finally seeing some flickers of light.

The final two months of the season provided all kinds of reasons to watch the Jays, despite their record. My favourite moment was Bichette’s walk off home run, capping a dramatic victory over the Yankees.

As we look towards 2020, it’s important to be cautiously optimistic. There might be flickers of light, but they still have a long way to go before a window of opportunity opens. This season, they won 67 games. In 2020, I would be happy if they pick up 10-15 more victories (77-82).

The outfield corner sports are set, as are the infield positions and behind the plate. They need to figure out centrefield and DH over the offseason and during Spring Training. There are options on the current roster, but said options have been inconsistent. Rowdy Tellez’s struggles are also concerning.

However, the main priority needs to be on PITCHING; starting rotation and bullpen. Right now, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thronton will likely be in the rotation, while the other three spots are up for grabs. Jacob Waguespack and Ryan Borucki are “question marks,” while Anthony Kay and T.J. Zeuch need to perform well in Spring Training. Don’t forget about the eventual arrival of Nate Pearson.

Ideally, Ken Giles will anchor the bullpen and I’d like to see Wilmer Font return, along with Ryan Tepera, Sam Gavigilo and Derek Law. After that, who knows?

What really scares me is how Bichette’s concussion will effect him. An injury like that is unpredictable. I’m praying he listens to his body and doesn’t try to overdo it as he prepares for 2020.

Things won’t be outstanding next season, but they (hopefully) won’t be as bad as this year. We’d all love to see a vast improvement. However, we must be patient and let the story play out. This team is still developing and I hope the youngsters build from their positive experiences and teachable moments.

Fingers crossed.

ER

***

Time for some “awards!”

Best Jays Hitter: Vladdy Guerrero Jr.
Best Jays Starter: Marcus Stroman
Best Jays Reliever: Ken Giles

Actually, losing 100 games (or more) would be kind of cool

September 10, 2019

Think about it.

They haven’t lost 100 games or more since 1979. 40 freaking years! That’s about two generations of Blue Jay fans.

You can’t lose 100 games in a single season with any other sport. Can’t do it in hockey, basketball or football.

In a sick and twisted kind of way, it’s an incredible feat. A negative one, but a feat nonetheless.

Sure, it sucks seeing the Jays lose. But years from now, we’ll look back at the 2019 season and laugh. Similar to Chris Jericho, we’ll sit in our palacial estates, enjoying a glass of the bubbly and reminisce fondly about the misfortunes that occurred over 162 games. It will be our own Plan 9; a badge of honour.

So, the bleeding hearts can bleed and anti-Shapiro mob can light their torches. I’m embracing the pain and preparing for something I’ve never experienced as a Jays fan.

Besides – to paraphrase a meme – if you don’t love the Blue Jays at their worst, then you don’t deserve them at their best.

Think about it.

ER

Short, scribbled thoughts about the trades that pissed you all off

August 7, 2019

Yup, last week was nuts. Anyway…

  • Stro’s trade made sense. Would’ve been a waste of his talent to keep him while the Jays are still rebuilding.
  • The deal with Houston is puzzling. Aaron Sanchez was finally starting to build his value back up. If that value continued to rise, he would’ve likely yielded a higher return during the off-season or at next year’s trade deadline. That’s why dealing him now feels premature.
  • The focus should be on pitching. That’s why acquiring Derek Fisher was also puzzling. Russ Atkins really, really, REALLY wanted him and was willing to pay a high price. Poor Fisher is going to be scrutinized to death by this angry fanbase; so here’s hoping he lives up to the potential that Atkins envisions. Reminds me of when AA sent Travis Snider – very popular with fans – to Pittsburgh for Brad Lincoln.
  • I’m glad the small gambles they took on Sogard, Phelps and Hudson yielded/will yeild some younger talent.
  • Of course, it’s very sad to say goodbye to the players that were dealt away. However, I’m thrilled they all get to play for teams making strong playoff pushes, especially Stro, Sanchez and Joe Biagini. They deserve it!
  • Not surprisingly, many fans – aka the anti-Shapiro crowd – were furious with the return the Jays got. Before Anthony Kay, Simeon Woods Richardson and the other acquisitions even reported to their new teams, it seemed like some fans were already labeling them as busts. I understand the anger, but it is absolutely RIDICULOUS to declare these new players as failures before they have a chance to actually fail; if they actually do fail. Honestly, it didn’t matter who the front office got in return. The anti-Shapiro crowd wasn’t going to like it. It was pre-determined.

To be honest, Jays Twitter really pisses me off at times. But that’s for another post….maybe.

ER

Unreal: The Marcus Stroman Era

July 30, 2019

Where to begin?

June 2012: I’m driving home, listening to Jays Talk. It’s the night of the MLB Draft.

Mike Wilner introduces the Jays’ first round pick and proceeds to interview him. This was my introduction to Marcus Stroman; my introduction to Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.

The bravado and confidence instantly hit me. This kid had a chip on his shoulder and a desire to be the greatest pitcher ever. My attention was caught.

I fell in love with his swagger that night. And to this day, I still love it.

There’s certainly a group of fans who loathed that Stro swag. I like to think those individuals represent a segment of Toronto sports fans who expect every single athlete to perform, say little and stay in their lane. Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you expect everyone to follow that example then a) you’re going to be disappointed more often and b) it dulls things up.

Whether you liked him or not, baseball is much cooler with Marcus Stroman. You need a strong personality like his. It enhances the drama and adds flavour to the narrative. Take that out and while the sport maintains a level of fun and excitement, it looks robotic. Even the not-so-subtle jabs he’s thrown at Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins on Twitter have been entertaining.

We should talk about all that “commotion.”

Stro’s greatest asset and his greatest flaw is that he cares a lot. What he specifically cares about is for another article. Make no mistake though; he is PASSIONATE. That passion is beneficial in some areas and causes problems in others. That’s why you won’t see him hanging out with Shapiro and Atkins at a New York City nightclub in the next decade or so.

Similar to a lot of Blue Jay fans, perhaps Stro didn’t want to let go of 2015-16. Can’t blame him at all. It’s hard coming down from that mountain. Some accept and embrace fate. Some do it kicking and screaming. Of course, we’ll never know what actually happened or what was said. Our personal biases will simply fill in the blanks.

When it was evident the Jays needed a rebuild, I hoped Stro would be one of the few players from 2015-16 still on the roster when things turned around. But once the rebuild was in full effect, I made peace with the notion that keeping Stro would hinder the team’s growth.

It’s a classic battle of head vs. heart, with my noggin coming out on top.

I would love it if Stro was signed to a long-term deal. However, my biggest fear is that his best years would be while the team was still rebuilding.

Hate to say it, but it would’ve been counter-productive to keep Stro. If his stock is high, it was worth trying to obtain some younger talent in exchange. It’s similar to what happened with Roy Halladay ten years ago.

We all wanted Doc to stay, but while his productivity was at the top, the Jays as a whole were sliding to the bottom and needed to rebuild. It wasn’t fair to Doc who – at that point – had never tasted postseason action and ultimately requested to be traded. Keeping him would’ve slowed the team’s growth.

It’s great how Stro embraced the city, but he should pitch for a winner. And yes, the team he was traded to is hanging on by a very thin thread. Nevertheless, I certainly wish him the best of luck with the Mets and thank the heavens he’s not wearing Yankee pinstripes.

HDMH will always have a significant place in Toronto. From his debut, to the freak injury, coming back from that injury, being part of the magic that was 2015-16 and being one of the few bright spots during seasons of transition and development. Marcus Stroman’s narrative was simply unreal. He fell in love with the city and the city – at least a good portion of it – fell in love with him.

ER


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