Posted tagged ‘hitting’

Spring Training Haikus! A February tradition (at least in my head) since 2016

February 14, 2018

This could be the last
spring training for Donaldson
in fair Dunedin

The middle infield
is giving me great concern
due to its poor health

Pray for the finger
on Aaron Sanchez to be
blister free and safe

Joe Biagini
Should remain in the bullpen
where he’s suitable

Fifth starter auditions
shall take place in Dunedin.
Where’s Brett Anderson?

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

Understanding the Blue Jays’ poor April performance with a little helping of fake news and alternative facts

May 1, 2017

Things ended nicely with two wins and a series victory over Tampa Bay. However, nothing can eclipse the ugly performance the Blue Jays gave in April. So pardon me as I take a page out of the Trump administration’s playbook:

The offence did not struggle. They simply conserved thier power and talent, allowing the confidence of the opposing pitchers to remain intact. 

The bullpen did not have moments of implosion. They simply wanted to remind the world about the importance of being charitable. That deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Yes, several players are currently on the DL. But this allows the Jays’ training staff to find groundbreaking ways of aiding the recovery process. 

Of course, here’s what really happened: 

Here’s hoping for a better result in May. 

ER

Short, scribbled thoughts about the fugly start to the regular season

April 17, 2017

Wish I could tell you it will get better. But the truth is I can’t. There are few guarantees in baseball, so I can only hope for the best and be positive.

The Blue Jays will either figure it out or they won’t.

You can push as many panic buttons as possible. You can demand they fire Gibby. You can beg for Rowdy Tellez to be called up. You can curse Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins for all entirety. You can refuse to purchase tickets. Just understand one thing: We have no control over the fate of the team. Like it or not, we have to let the process work itself out and show some – here’s a word you might not like – patience.

Gregg Zaun sometimes criticizes certain fans for wanting instant gratification. It’s a theory I subscribe to as well. We live in a society that values anything quick and aggressive, while discarding items that are slow and can’t instantly capture attention. Baseball clashes with this kind of society; in the game itself and with the length of the season. The adage of the regular season being a marathon and not a sprint certainly applies to the Jays’ situation.

The consensus couldn’t be clearer: There’s nothing fun about how this season has gone so far, especially after Sunday’s 11-4 dumpster fire loss to Baltimore. Greater concern is Aaron Sanchez’s blister problem and J.A. Happ’s elbow; issues that are incredibly alarming. Can’t forget the nightmarish offensive production either. So as much as it sucks – and it really does suck – there is nothing we can do, but to simply let things breathe. It might be painful, but it’s the right course of action.

If that won’t work for you, consider this: If the worst thing in your life is a 2-10 baseball team, then you have a pretty good life.

ER


Episode 78 [Season Finale]: Highs, Lows and a Postseason Appearance

October 23, 2016

This year marked the 40th anniversary season of Blue Jays baseball, which turned out to be more than just a historic milestone.

Brendan Panikkar of BaseballHotCorner.com looks back at the 2016 Jays and what the off-season could entail.

Episode 78 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

***Thanks for listening to the fifth season of DNJT! Enjoy the World Series and the off-season.***

Playoff Edition 6 (aka Episode 77)

October 16, 2016

After a thrilling ALDS sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Blue Jays find themselves down 2-0 to the Cleveland Indians.

Jenn Smith of BP Toronto and Today’s Knuckleball discusses the first two games of the American League Championship Series.

Episode 77 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

Episode 72: Crunch Time

August 18, 2016

August has been a busy month for the Blue Jays.

April Whitzman shares her thoughts on several topics surrounding the team.

Episode 72 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

Getting ready for the final….stretch.


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