Posted tagged ‘blue jays’

Hate to admit it, but I’ve made peace with the 2017 Blue Jays

July 13, 2017

The consensus was unanimous: The four remaining series before the all-star break would give a strong indication of whether the Blue Jays would be buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline.

Baltimore came in and the Jays made Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez look like Cy Young and Walter Johnson.

The Red Sox were next and they steamrolled their way to a three-game sweep.

So the Jays flew to New York and took two out of three from the Yankees. A pleasant surprise to say the least.

Finally, it was time to face Houston. While splitting a four-game series against the best team in MLB is certainly a positive, it was the weirdest split I have ever seen. Two wins that featured strong pitching and clutch swings. Two losses where they were completely out-classed and out-matched by the Astros.

So what does it all mean?

The pessimists feel the window of opportunity has closed and it’s time to “blow it up.” The optimists feel they still have a fighting chance. They will also point to the trade deadline of 2015, when the team was hovering around the .500 mark before AA acquired Tulo and David Price.

I find myself in the middle of these conflicting opinions; and while I choose not to fully commit to one side, I have reached a more comforting consensus:

I have made peace with the 2017 Blue Jays.

Making peace means that I accept the high probability that they won’t make the playoffs. It also means that I accept that there will likely be some form of re-tooling or rebuilding and key pieces from the 2015 and 2016 playoff runs could be traded.

Making peace is my way of softening the blow. It allows me to be disappointed, but not overly upset. If the Jays flounder their way to the end of the regular season, I will still be able to enjoy the matches.

I guess one could call it self-preservation. It is definitely not the right way of handling things; nor is it the wrong way. It’s just my way.

Of course, I hope I’m wrong and the Jays go an incredible run in the second half. But if that doesn’t happen – and a strong argument could be made that things will not get better – then I’m ready for it without any anger or frustration.

Just remember: Nothing is truly guaranteed.

ER

Homerun DNA

July 6, 2017

Russell Martin faces the reporters
wearing his uniform and exhaustion

He answers a question about his game-tying homerun,
which bounced in a fortunate way
and a blast from Morales that nearly landed where baseballs rarley go.

The present scribes already know the answer;
yet the veteran catcher reluctantly responds

“It’s kind of our DNA. We love the longball.”

Invisible prophecies advise winning teams to perform “small ball”
because one cannot simply rely on a homerun

The prophecies reign true
But primal nature
craves for a mighty swing that yeilds a majestic flight
and a precious souvenir to the adoring public

Manufactured runs lead to victories
But homeruns create fables and memories.

ER

A short note about Roberto Osuna

June 27, 2017

It was a tough weekend, n’est-ce pas?

When I found out Roberto Osuna was dealing with anxiety, it was like getting hit by a sack of bricks. Afterall, he’s only 22-years-old.

I enthusiastically applaud Osuna for speaking out. That took an incredible amount of strength and could not have been an easy decision to make. 

It was great to see him pitch the final frame of Sunday’s victory; and like you, I wish him only the very best. His health is far more important than wins/losses and whether he’s available out of the bullpen or not.

ER


40 in 40: UNIQUELYEST (sic) Blue Jays

June 15, 2017

The folks at Sportsnet recently invited us to submit a list of the 40 greatest Blue Jays from the past 40 seasons. Like you, I will sit down in front of a computer and spend many agonizing hours putting together a list. I’m very excited for the vicious internal debates I intend to have with myself.

But first…

I recently created a list of the most unique players to ever wear a Jays uniform. Remarkably, I managed to come up with 40 names.

So what criteria did I use when creating the 40 “uniquelyest” Blue Jays?

I essentially followed three rules:

Rule #1 – A player would not be considered if he was already on the 60-player shortlist that was put together by Sportsnet.

Rule #2 – Stats be damned.

Rule #3 – Go nuts.

These are Blue Jays who are memorable for reasons other than being an all-star, a slugger, an ace or unstoppable reliever. They’re on my list because they were “blue collar” players, had famous dispositions or had one or a few “15 minutes of fame” moments. Heck, some made the list for simply having great hair, awesome facial and bodily features or just a cool name. I’ve even included some that became infamous.

By no means is this list perfect. In fact, it’s really a toss up after the top three. Almost all of the players on this list are from the early 90s and up. That’s simply because I wasn’t alive in the 70s and wore diapers in the 80s. I also doubt this list would ever lead to a documentary by Fadoo Productions.

Anyway, here are the 40 uniquelyest Blue Jays in team history! Questions and/or clarifications? You know where to find me. Feel free to make your own list.

  1. John McDonald
  2. Munenori Kawasaki
  3. Doug Ault
  4. Joe Biagini
  5. Jeff Frye
  6. Brandon Morrow
  7. A.J. Burnett
  8. R.A. Dickey
  9. Reed Johnson
  10. Frank Catalanotto
  11. Marco Scutaro
  12. Steve Delabar
  13. Jason Grilli
  14. Travis Snider
  15. Charlie O’Brien
  16. Matt Stairs
  17. Joe Inglett
  18. Mike McCoy
  19. Shea Hillenbrand
  20. J.P. Arencibia
  21. Sal Fasano
  22. Brett Lawrie
  23. Rick Bosetti
  24. Dustin McGowan
  25. Colby Rasmus
  26. Gustavo Chacin
  27. Gregg Zaun
  28. Scott Downs
  29. Craig Grebeck
  30. Rob Butler
  31. Marc Rzepczynski
  32. Willie Canate
  33. John-Ford Griffin
  34. B.J. Ryan
  35. Brian Tallet
  36. Russ Adams
  37. Jon Rauch
  38. Brandon League
  39. Marty Jenzen
  40. Mauro Gazzo

ER

The Awful Performance

June 8, 2017

The cruelest expressions in baseball
involve only three words:
Cut him loose
Low levage situations
Designated for assignment

Horrors of an awful performance
swim freely in the mind
Poisoning your confidence
Drowning the best moments
of a long career
to a point where you even wonder if they actually happened

Personal venom that doesn’t even leave room
for columnists who declare your time is up
and fans with the uncanny ability of kicking you when you’re already hurt

It’s already out there;
so why bother searching for it?

Reporters want to showcase your pain because it will make their jobs eaiser
Your pain writes itself, they think to themselves
They have the headline all set:
40-year-old washed up reliever embarresses himself

But today
you are not opening that window for them
Today
you choose to disconnect from the present
Today
your pain shall remain internal

Players continue to mingle
while post-game meals are consumed
To you, it is just meaningless noise
The body might be in the clubhouse
but the soul is not there

Somewhere
amongst the drakness and silence
is the reason why you still put on a uniform

It still exists

Somewhere

Retro Blue Jays – Baseball and the Public Broadcaster

June 1, 2017

Posted by Pat French.

I don’t know who Pat French is, but I’m very glad this person created a YouTube account. It’s filled with dozens of retro Canadian sports clips; a portion of which come from CBC broadcasts. If you want to see old baseball promos, black-and-white clips from Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts or even an advertisement for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, make sure to spend some time on Pat’s account.

A previous “retro” post highlighted a couple of clips involving the CBC’s French language service, Radio-Canada. On the English side, the Mother Corp and the Blue Jays have crossed paths at various times. As a kid, I knew CBC was the network to turn to on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons for Speedy Muffler Blue Jays Baseball. Of course, during the NHL playoffs, that schedule was modified.

The public broadcaster aired games at three different points in Blue Jay history: Late 70s/early 80s, early 90s to early 2000s and a handful of games from 2008-2009. Here are some clips from those periods.

From 1977 – Explaining the role of the Third Base Coach.

Also from 1977 – Not sure who the pitcher and catcher are (could be Alan Ashby behind the plate). However, the hitter is the unmistakable Rusty Staub.

From 1978 – Ensuring both Canadian teams get equal screen time.

From 1992 – A pre-game intro featuring Ken Daniels (before he started doing play-by-play for the Detroit Red Wings), the legendary Don Chevrier and former Blue Jay Tommy Hutton. I always loved the opening graphic and theme song.

From 1994 – Can’t promote an upcoming broadcast without a smiling Joe Carter.

From 2000 – Ironically, no one in Quebec was apparently able to watch this Jays/Expos match.

From 2008 – When broadcasting in HD was still a novelty.

ER

Great. Just what the Blue Jays’ online community needs: Another article about the wave

May 22, 2017

I have never had any interest in posting an article about the wave. It was always a topic I would file under “much ado about nothing;” a label that also went to items such as the types of beer being offered at Skydome and the debatable quality of Buck Martinez. In fact, the only time DNJT has done anything related to the great wave debate was an early 2012 podcast episode.

Nevertheless, it does seem like it’s a prerequisite for Blue Jay bloggers and writers to post something about the wave. So in the case of DNJT, the cliché of “better late than never” applies.

Over the past years, there have been passionate statements about the wave. Examples can be found here, here and here.

I am neither pro-wave or anti-wave. There’s a time and place for it; and being at a baseball game should be a fun experience. It doesn’t usually bother me. 

But at a recent match I attended, I made an exception.

It was Friday, April 28. Despite leading 3-1 at one point, the Blue Jays wound up losing 7-4 to Tampa Bay, thanks to an ugly bullpen implosion.

For those who were unaware, it also happened to be “Drunk Idiot Night” at the ballpark. Anyone who pre-drank and showed up tanked was apparently given a ticket in the section my buddy and I were sitting in.

In all seriousness, it was some company’s staff social. Not the worst I’ve witnessed in 20+ years of going to games, but one can never expect proper baseball viewing etiquette to be followed.

Of course, there was the alpha male of the group, who felt it was necessary to scream about everything.

“Where’s my beer?!!!”
“I’m getting some food!!!!”
“You kids are the future!!!!”

If that wasn’t enough, he also turned out to be that fan who shouts at players, not to encourage them, but rather to put attention on him. Not​ surprisingly, he also left before the match ended.

Sure enough, several attempts were also made to get a wave going from my section. Alpha male led the way.

The worst attempt involved a inebriated spectator sitting right behind me. 

To set the scene, I was sitting in a double digit row. This spectator already had a few failed attempts under their hat. Then there was tap on my shoulder.

Spectator: “Hey. We’re doing the wave. You need to tell the people in front of you.”
Me: “You’re doing it wrong. If you want to start a wave, you need to go down to the first row, so everyone can see you. You might want to count down from five instead of 1-2-3.”
Spectator: “No! We are doing it here and you need to tell the people in front of you. Look! They’re on their phones!”
Me: “Don’t worry about about them. You just start and we’ll help.”
Spectator: “1-2-3…”

Yes, it was that kind of ridiculous; and suddenly, I was hating the wave for the very first time.

I hated the countdowns. I hated the visual that always captivated me. I hated the “woooo.” I hated that I still participated, albeit with very little enthusiasm. I hated that alpha male was relentless with his pursuit of getting the wave going. The guy actually went up to a nearby usher and demanded that this usher somehow communicate to the fans sitting below to help alpha male with his next attempt. Clearly, it just wasn’t enough for alpha male to be loud, obnoxious, drunk and the life of the pathetic-ass party.

Maybe this is about more than just the wave. Maybe this is really about my personality. Maybe I was letting the results on the field affect my mood and reaction to the activity in my section. After all, the bombs hit by Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison and Derek Norris that night left me feeling dejected and numb.

The great wave debate could last until this planet is sucked into a black hole. Fans can cry and moan as long as they want. The wave is not going anywhere. Fans will do it when a match is out of reach and some will do it at pivotal moments. For the record, I prefer the former over the ladder.

It’s pointless and selfish of me to give instructions about how and when to do the wave. Human beings are going to be human beings. So instead, I’ll leave this word of advice:

If you’re going to do the wave, do it right.

ER



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