Posted tagged ‘2020’

Jays Journaling (Could I could get sued for that title?)

March 23, 2020

I miss baseball.

I miss it so much.

COVID-19 can go fuck itself.

One of the worst things about the Coronavirus is that the items we use for escape have been shutdown. It’s messed up, but we have to move forward. We have no choice.

Anyway, I’ve got a few things swimming around my head. Some of it was written before the shit hit the fan. So please bear with the mish, the mash and the combined mish-mash.

***

So this is baseball amidst a global pandemic.

It was inevitable once the NBA suspended play. I patiently waited for the other sports to follow. Now we are stuck in a hideous holding pattern.

It’s terrible, but it is the right course of action. It would’ve been incredibly selfish and foolish if MLB chose to defy the other leagues and proceeded accordingly.

Not worried about how the schedule will be restructured. That will work itself out. Maybe we’ll experience a World Series in December (not likely).

I am thinking about the part-staff that work at the games: Ushers, security, food and beverage, hype crews, ticket takers, box office staff, etc. Very pleased to see the Jays working with the MLSE clubs to create a fund for those affected. Don’t forget about those working in restaurants and bars around Skydome. And don’t forget about your hot dog vendors either. When this storm clears, I hope prosperity can return.

***

You might’ve heard that Jose Bautista was supposed to be playing for the Dominican Republic at an upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament. From all accounts, he would’ve been at first base. However, it appeared he was also trying to reinvent himself as a two-way player.

That’s right! Joey Bats is/was attempting to become a pitcher and I think that’s BRILLIANT!

I’m sure many scoffed and rolled their eyes at the notion. But to paraphrase Talk Talk, “It’s his life. Don’t you forget.”

So what if he’s turning 40 this fall? So what if the analytics aren’t in his favour? So what if evolution caught up to him on the offensive side?

If Joey Bats wants to pitch, I’m all for it. If he still has that passion, a desire to compete and his body can handle it, then who are we to say no?

It’s silly to expect him to be a Max Scherzer or Mariano Rivera. But I certainly hope he finds success with this endeavour; whether that’s in the majors, indy ball or any league outside of North America.

Besides, transitioning to a pitcher gave Anthony Gose another shot.

***

Could we dial back on the Reese McGuire parking lot jokes?

It’s getting ridiculous.

The kid did something very stupid and (hopefully) feels awful about it.

If there’s one thing our society excels at it’s kicking someone when they’re down. I’m as guilty of it as you are.

I’m not saying we should ignore what allegedly happened, but it would be better to simply acknowledge the situation and let the legal process run its course. There could be a mental health or addiction issue at play.

I realize this request will be in vain, but I figured I’d make it anyway.

***

The cheating scandal involving the Houston Astros is detrimental. Personally, I would’ve stripped them of the 2017 World Series title. Alas, the Commissioner did not feel that was necessary.

What occurred at Minute Maid Park was horrible. However, in a twisted kind of way, it was also a good thing.

A story is more intriguing when there’s a villain.

And the Astros are THE villains of the season. Wherever they go, there will be hype and interest. Such excitement will lead to increased ticket sales and more eyeballs watching the TV.

Remember when A.J. Burnett returned as a New York Yankee in 2009 and faced Roy Halladay? Skydome was nearly packed and the atmosphere appeared to be electric.

All because Burnett was a villain who left the Jays to play for the evil empire.

Why else are we – as Jays fans – obsessed with the Yankees and Red Sox? It’s because they’re villains and we want to witness them fail.

Now Houston’s been added to that mix.

It would not surprise if the Jays’ home series against the Astros – whenever it happens – will be one of the most attended. It’s the best chance for fans to jeer the villains.

And just imagine if Houston embraces the villain-role. Just imagine if they reach the World Series. The ratings and ticket sales will take off like a rocket.

Ca-ching 💰💰💰

***

Officially rooting for Patrick Murphy.

I hope you read Arden Zwelling’s article about the young hurler. The poor kid has had an injury setback and a metaphoric breaking ball thrown at him.

Love to see Murphy overcome all these obstacles and find success at the big league level.

Alejandro Kirk has also piqued my interest. Of course, it’s likely we won’t see him at Skydome any time soon.

Nevertheless, he was gaining a lot of traction and attention. Then again, I am a sucker for unique characters.

***

Please be patient with Nate Pearson. The worst thing we can do is set over-the-top expectations.

I’m begging you.

ER

Spring Training Haikus: Now spanning two decades (sort of)

February 10, 2020

strarting rotation
has some new faces and arms
allowing for depth

important question:
who is the centre fielder?
maybe teoscar?

many options at
the designated hitter
spot to consider

giles shall anchor
the bullpen, along with a
cast of characters

the young stars arrive
with higher expectations
and a stronger bond

ER

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.

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


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