Posted tagged ‘definitely not jaystalk’

Retro Blue Jays – Le Lanceur, Jack Morris

December 28, 2017

Posted by ICI Radio-Canada Ontario.

Here are two archived clips about the 1992 Blue Jays from the CBC’s French language service.

The first clip is a season-in-review, while the second one is a news report on game three of the 1992 World Series.

Game three was incredibly significant, as it marked the first time the World Series was played outside the United States. It was also the first match after the Canadian flag was infamously hung upside down during game two’s pregame ceremonies.


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The search that yielded the two videos was inspired by Jack Morris being elected to the Hall of Fame and Matt English’s real-time Twitter account of the ’93 Jays. But as I watched and reflected on the clips, I was also reminded of a memory from 25 years ago.

New Year’s Eve 1992 was spent in Montreal. Nine-year-old me found out that RDS – the French equivalent of TSN – was airing a condensed version of game six. So while everyone was partying, my butt was in front of the TV and didn’t move until Mike Timlin fielded Otis Nixon’s bunt and tossed it over to Joe Carter.

BTW….I hope you had a great holiday season. All the best in 2018! 

ER

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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

Short, scribbled final thoughts about the 2017 World Series

November 2, 2017

Mazel Tov to the Houston Astros! Finally – after 56 seaons – a World Series parade will be held in their city.

Granted, it doesn’t even compare to when the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year-old drought. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less significant. This championship not only belongs to the 2017 team, but also to the countless players who wore an Astros uniform in the past. Today, I’m thinking about Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman (my childhood/era) and many others . My hope is that they are enjoying this moment as much as Verlander, Altuve, Springer, Keuchel and the rest of the current roster.

Not too long ago, things were bleak for the Astros. They were one of the worst teams and very beatable; unless – it seemed – they hosted the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. But all that misery and pain allowed them to draft and cultivate young talent with tons of potential. As luck would have it, all that young talent achieved its potential and developed into the best team in baseball. The Astros redefined the meaning of a blue print and have reset the example of building a winning ball team.

At the end of every World Series, I always like to search the winning team’s roster for former Blue Jay players and coaches. This year, an extra congrats goes to Francisco Liriano; traded to Houston back in July for Teoscar Hernandez and Nori Aoki. Liriano started the season getting blown out by Tampa Bay, but ended things on a much more positive note.

Despite playing for the losing side, a tip of cap also goes to Brandon Morrow. It was wonderful seeing him healthy again and making a significant impact for the Dodgers. Here’s hoping he continues to build from a mostly successful 2017 performance.

ER

World Series Prediction/Guess

October 24, 2017

My desire for a Cubs-Astros World Series unravelled last week. Wasn’t surprised Los Angeles won the National League Pennant. What was shocking was how the Dodgers captured the title: Victory by technical knockout. 

Houston showed us the true meaning of home field advantage. The Yankees didn’t stand a chance playing three games with the magical pinstripes and four with their dull, grey road uniforms. 

So we have an old-school NL West matchup for the World Series. Good fortune will fall upon the Houston Astros and it will occur in six games. 

I’m sure you have seen the 2014 Sports Illustrated cover that declared Houston would be victorious in 2017. Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about the Astros for TheGoodPoint.com. At the time, fans of the team were furious. On top of poor performances on the field, there was a significant contingent of fans unhappy that Houston was moving to the American League. It was also the Astros’ 50th anniversary. 

Amazing how things can change 😉

Enjoy the World Series!

ER


ALCS/NLCS Guesses

October 13, 2017

All my American League guesses were wrong. However, all my National League guesses were correct. 

As someone who was born and raised under AL rules, I’m perplexed by this outcome. 

Anyway…

Houston over New York in six games.
Chicago over Los Angeles in seven games
.

ER

ALDS/NLDS Guesses

October 5, 2017

So I was right about Arizona, but wrong about Minnesota. The two matches definitely put the WILD in WILD Card. Thrilling for hitters; cruel to starting pitchers.

Anyway…

Boston over Houston in 5
Cleveland over New York in 5
Chicago over Washington in 4
Los Angeles over Arizona in 5

ER


Wild Card Guesses

October 3, 2017

As I have said before, predicting is just a fancy way of taking a guess. With that in mind…

TRIUMPH shall fall upon the (club)houses of the Minnesota Twins and Arizona Diamondbacks! 

ER



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