Posted tagged ‘AA’

Rejoice!!! $1 hot dogs are coming to Skydome in 2019 and we shouldn’t be wieners about it

December 17, 2018

Recently, the Blue Jays announced their promotions schedule for the upcoming season. There are shirts, hats, collectibles and theme nights. But there was one promotion that had me relishing in excitement: Loonie Dogs Night

At the first Tuesday home game of every month, fans can purchase hot dogs for the low price of $1. There is one stipulation: You can only buy a maximum of four hot dogs. Not sure how they’ll enforce that, unless there’s a bratwurst version of the AGCO.

Not surprisingly, nobody is doing cartwheels. I’m sure some automatically hate the promotion because it comes from an office led by Mark Shaprio. If AA and Paul Beeston were still here and came up with the idea, there’d probably be a parade in their honour.

But I’m getting off topic.

Honestly, I LOVE the idea for the sheer nostalgia. When I was a kid, the hot dogs at Skydome were 99¢ and footlongs were $1.99. How could anyone not take advantage of that?! To help advertise the prices, the jumbotron would play a video of two hot dogs dancing to a mashup of bagpipes and techno music. It left quite the impression on me. If the marketing team was hoping Loonie Dogs Night would reach certain Xennials on an emotional level, then I guess I’m a real sucker.

Besides, I don’t need to remind you about the exorbitant fees for certain food items at the ball park. To their credit though, the Jays don’t have the most expensive hot dogs in MLB. Still, it does seem ridiculous paying $4-$5 for something that won’t rock your world. We’re talking about hot dogs after all.

Funny enough, I actually won’t be able to take advantage of this promotion. None of the games I plan on attending in 2019 occur on Tuesdays. But I wouldn’t label this as sad irony. I’ll still have my favourite vendor at the corner of Front and John. For $2.50, you get a hot dog that’s bigger than anything sold inside the stadium, grilled with a phenomenal amount of attention and detail. Worth every penny.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself at the first Tuesday home game of the month, have one dog (or four) for me.

ER

I took all my thoughts and feelings about Jose Bautista, put them in a slow cooker and this was the result.

November 3, 2017

For as much as we criticize JP Ricciardi – and it is warranted – the former Blue Jay General Manager does deserve high praise for acquiring two of the biggest impact players in team history: Edwin Encarnacion and the subject of this article, Jose Bautista.

I was there on Sunday, September 24 and said goodbye to Joey Bats. No surprise, it was incredibly hard to hold back tears as he walked off the field, hugging his teammates and saluting the crowd. It was a beautiful send-off.

A lot has been written about his tenure. Lists have been compiled and opinions have been shared. It’s hard to add something to an already large pile. But Bautista had affected many and here’s what his impact meant to me:

One of my earliest memories of him is from June 2009. The Blue Jays were playing the Phillies and Bautista teamed up with Aaron Hill to hit back-to-back homeruns. As I watched him round the bases from my seat in the 500s, I observed the unique occurrence.

“Look at that,” I thought to myself. “Bautista, the backup utility player, hit a homerun. That’s something you don’t see everyday.”

Shortly a year later, Bautista bombs were going off regularly.

To understand the importance of Bautista’s 54-homer campaign in 2010, one needs to remember the mood around Skydome at the time.

Things were looking bleak; very bleak. The team had practically hit rock bottom. Actually, if there was a level below “rock bottom,” the Jays were there.

A frustrating 2009 season ended with three straight losses to Baltimore and reports of a mutiny against Cito Gaston. AA took over general managing duties and in his first offseason, traded franchise icon Roy Halladay to Philadelphia.

The calendar changed to 2010 and “Hustle+Heart” was used to soften the blow of uncertainty. The playoff drought was going to continue with no end in sight. Making matters worse, the team was averaging around 10,000 fans early in the season. The sight of a stadium only 20% full was hollow and made some wonder if this was the beginning of the end.

But then Bautista started to hit homeruns and we all took notice. Suddenly, amongst the scorched ruin, a small, glowing spark emerged. Jose was that small, glowing spark.

Suddenly, the fate of the team wasn’t a concern anymore. There was hope. There was promise; all thanks to that glowing spark. Sure, the Jays were far from a playoff contender; but at least we could turn on the television or go to a game and say, “I can’t wait to see what Jose is going to do tonight.” He brought excitement when things were looking bleak.

2010 was also weird year for me. I guess one could call it a quarter life crisis. Certain doors closed and others opened. Through out it all was the stinging feeling of life not going the way I expected it go. In my head, I was failing at life.

So when I saw that former back-up utility player – whose arrival to the team in 2008 brought an unenthusiastic “meh” from the fan base – become a superstar slugger, I invested every ounce of passion and emotion. I was at the ground floor of something special and unlike other important moments and players of Blue Jay lore, I was not going to take it for granted.

One Friday evening, I was at Skydome for a match between the Jays and Cleveland. The weather was perfect that night. My friend and I sat in the 500s, behind home plate – one of my favourite sports to watch a game.

Midway through the match, the Jays loaded the bases and Jose – already in the midst of his incredible season – came to the plate. There were about 19,000 fans in attendance and excitement began to grow.

“I hope he hits a grand slam,” I thought to myself. “Please, I need this.”

Then he connected for – I believe – his 36th homerun of the season. The crowd erupted! 19,000 fans sounding like 50,000 fans and I was one of them. I wasn’t thinking about my struggles and failures. I was smiling and feeling lucky that I was there and part of the experience. No anger or fear for the rest of the night. Maybe things will be okay.

I am grateful for Joey Bats because he gave me an escape.

From there, it all came together: Edwin’s rise to stardom, the big trades, the arrival of Stroman, Sanchez and Osuna, Donaldson’s MVP season. Yes, there were setbacks; but the prize of two exciting playoff runs was worth the pain.

The batflip will always maintain it’s iconic status in Canadian sports mythology. The image of Bautista sending his bat to another galaxy will sit in the same category as Paul Henderson’s Summit Series goal in 1972, Sydney Crosby’s golden goal and of course, Joe Carter’s World Series winning blast.

This chapter of Blue Jays history began when AA became the General Manager. However, the epicentre of the story revolves around Jose Bautista.

Without Joey Bats, every moment and feeling never occurs. Just imagine what things would look like. All it took was a minor league catcher, an adjustment to his swing and some good fortune.

Evolution caught up to Bautista the past two seasons. So since it’s likely the end, I thank him for everything he did for the team and the city.

If the Blue Jays ultimately win the World Series in the next ten years, Jose Bautista would obviously not get a ring. However, he will have played an integral role in the journey.

All the best, Mr. Bats.

ER

Scribbled Thoughts: The Jumble Edition

January 21, 2016

As usual, my mind is all over the place. Please bare with me.

In the summer of 2012, my friend and I went on a baseball road trip. We visited Cleveland, Pittsburgh and then made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown. I must have taken hundreds of photos inside the Baseball Hall of Fame. This was one of them:

PEDs notice at Baseball Hall of Fame

I don’t know if this sign is still displayed. But given the recent announcement of the 2016 induction class and the subsequent debate about certain players and PED use, I wanted to share it with you.

I have no interest, nor the energy to add my two cents to the topic. It’s a complicated and conflicting mess. But every time I look at this photo, I wonder if the Hall of Fame is/was preparing a path for players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds in case they were ever inducted. It’s a way of saying that players like Clemens and Bonds are Hall of Famers, but given their alleged use of PEDs, one should take their accomplishments with a “grain of salt.”

***

I started having visions of Yoenis Cespedes wearing a Jays uniform last week. They increased after CJ Nitkowski suggested Toronto as a possible destination for the Cuban outfielder on MLB Network Radio.

It seems crazy, but why not flip Dalton Pompey or another young player for some pitching help and then sign Cespedes? Think of the bat and that cannon of an arm.

And yes, I will seek help if the visions continue 😉

***

I caught Dean Blundell and Jon Morosi discussing Josh Donaldson’s arbitration case a couple of days ago. Both felt this “issue” could damage the AL MVP’s relationship with the Blue Jays’ front office, negatively affecting any chances for a possible long-term deal.

They may have a point or they were fear-mongering. Either way, it stressed the hell out of me.

Regardless of the outcome of the arbitration case, Donaldson will earn over $11 million this season, as some articles have noted. That’s a lot more than what I (maybe you too) will bring in this year. So do we really need to make a big deal about this? Isn’t this nothing more than the business of baseball? Will Josh really get pissed about this (I’d like to think not)? Isn’t this more about Donaldson’s agents simply looking out for their client? Would their be the same reaction to this story if AA was still the GM?

Maybe I should stop fanning the flames.

***

I’ve read and listened to a lot of comments about the Blue Jays since game six of the ALCS. Sometimes, I can’t tell if they won the AL East or finished last.

***

There’s something about Aaron Sanchez that caught my attention when he was in town for the Winter Tour. Maybe it was the confidence or the additional 25 pounds. But after watching him, I have this feeling he’s going to blossom this year. Perhaps he’ll surprise us in 2016; the same way Pillar, Osuna and Estrada did in 2015. And just imagine – for a moment – what it will be like if both Sanchez and Marcus Stroman excel to a higher level. Who needs David Price, am I right??? 😉

Meanwhile, I’d love to know what Aaron’s diet was like in the offseason. When I heard about the 25 pounds, I was intrigued and hungry.

ER

Short, Scribbled Thoughts on AA

October 30, 2015

Now that everything has been fleshed out and digested…

My first memory of Alex occurs in the summer of 2009. It was – if memory serves – during a weekend series at Tropicana Field. Alan Ashby had taken a few days off, so Jerry Howarth invited AA to sit in on a couple of broadcasts. The young assistant GM (at the time) sounded confident and wasn’t shy behind the mic. Looking back, this was a primer for what was to come.

When this current chapter of Blue Jays history is written, the starting point – or ground zero – revolves around two individuals: Jose Bautista and Alex Anthopoulos.

AA had a talent for keeping things quiet. That’s what made most of his moves so Earth-shattering. They just popped out of nowhere, giving him that ninja persona as Mr. Wilner once described it. Nobody saw the trade with the Marlins coming; ditto for Josh Donaldson, Tulo and David Price (though I was praying for that trade for a year!). Nobody expected fan favourites like Brett Lawrie to get dealt either.

He wasn’t perfect and there are certainly moves that haven’t/didn’t/aren’t working out as well as we hoped. But in the end, he successfully put together a team that produced a playoff appearance for the first time in over two decades. The 2015 AL East banner will fly from the rafters and AA played a role in making that happen. That’s what makes his departure so shocking.

Based on the information I’ve gathered and heard what was said (and not said), there came a point in the last few weeks when AA decided his ability to do his job became compromised. It’s a sad and upsetting end.

I’m not in the mood for pointing fingers or blaming people. Nevertheless, I’m disappointed with how things turned out yesterday. The timing is terrible and sends a bad message. Yes, a new President coming in tends to lead to changes; but the way things were conducted stings.

So now Mark Shapiro has the task of fixing this little PR mess. People are unhappy right now. Not the best way to start a tenure; though we don’t know what exactly happened and will likely never know.

Of course, if the Jays continue to succeed on the field, all of this becomes a moot point.

ER

image

Episode 56: Flags Fly Forever

September 3, 2015

Several minor league “prospects” were used in order to acquire players such as Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price.

Doug Fox of Clutchlings explains how this affects the Blue Jays and also points out players in the farm system to watch out for.

Episode 56 Direct MP3 Download

RSS Feed

image

Keep your eye on the Berti!

Episode 55: Awesome August

August 20, 2015

The Jays are having one hell of an August! The whole country is excited and eagerly catching “Blue Jays Fever.”

Just before Drew Hutchison was optioned to Buffalo, former Jays blogger Doug Plourd joined DNJT to chat about the team’s performance this month and how Americans are viewing the club’s success.

Episode 55 Direct MP3 Download

RSS Feed

image

Pretty much sums up how everyone is feeling.

Episode 54: Best Week Ever!

August 6, 2015

There’s no need to pinch yourself because it wasn’t a dream. David Price and Troy Tulowitzki are now playing for the Blue Jays.

Joanna Cornish of HumandChuck.com joins DNJT to look back at what has been one of the most exciting non-waiver deadlines in Jays history.

Episode 54 Direct MP3 Download

RSS Feed

Lining up for a big finish!

Lining up for a big finish!


%d bloggers like this: