Posted tagged ‘pitching’

Short, scribbled thoughts about J.A. Happ

July 17, 2018

I’m thrilled Mr. Happ is representing the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game. In a season that’s been on a steep decline since late April, there have been very few positive story arcs. J.A. Happ is one of those arcs.

As he prepares to stand with the game’s best at Nationals Park, I’ve been reminiscing about his two tenures with the Jays.

I’ve been thinking about the attempt to put him in the bullpen when he first arrived in 2012. Happ put his foot down and argued he was a starter. Ultimately, he was not wrong.

I’ve been thinking about that scary night at Tropicana Field when a line drive struck the side of his head. He recovered, thank goodness.

I’ve been thinking about how some freaked out when he came back to the team as a free agent. Getting Happ instead of resigning David Price was an outrage to certain fans.

I’ve been thinking about Happ’s 20 wins in 2016. Yes, that stat is no longer a sexy accomplishment. However, that 2016 team would not have succeeded without the triple threat of Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada.

I’ve been thinking about milk in a bag. 😁😁😁

The first chapter was noteworthy and the second one – quite successful – will likely conclude before the end of the month. There might even be a third chapter.

Regardless, I sincerely hope he makes a positive contribution wherever he winds up. Fingers are crossed for a World Series ring.

ER

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The Blue Jays were awful in May…..and we all need to hug it out.

June 3, 2018

It’s going to be okay.

Things have been bleak since they swept the Royals in April. The rotation is struggling, the bullpen has fallen apart, the lineup is underperforming and injuries are affecting their peformance.

But it’s going to be okay.

At best, this team could’ve contended for the second wild card spot. For that to happen, many factors would’ve had to work in their favour. Currently, that’s not happening and – barring a miracle; they do occur – it will likely stay that way.

But it’s going to be okay.

Since it’ll likely stay this way, there will probably be changes. Big changes that will be tough to accept. Fan favourites are going to be traded.

But it’s going to be okay.

We are witnessing evolution in real time. The Blue Jays are a team in transition; and it’s a transition that is u-shaped.

There’s a lot of excitement for the young talent developing in the minors. Many fans want Vladimir Guerrero Jr. called up yesterday. It’ll happen eventually; (try to) be patient.

Meanwhile, there will be more aggravation, long losing streaks and low attendance. It’s going to suck.

But it’s going to be okay.

As a wise – yet deranged – fictional character once said, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Don’t fret because the Blue Jays are in a steep nosedive. Hang in there.

If all that young minor league talent lives up to its full potential, the rewards will be endless. They will develop and blossom. However, it will take an undefined amount of time. Again – and I can’t stress this enough – (try to) be patient.

If it doesn’t happen, at least you took the risk. If it does, pat yourself on the back for making the investment. You could’ve walked away, like some fans; but you didn’t.

May was awful an month.

But it’s going to be okay.

ER

No Confidence: A Baseball Microstory

May 10, 2018

Those fucking nerves tear my stomach apart.

What did Dr. Garcia say? Take several breaths? Remember, it’s just baseball; not life-or-death?

I’ve solicited advice. Yet every time….every damn time the manager calls on me, I want to disappear.

Use to be the best closer in baseball. Simply unstoppable. Then I made a fatal mistake: Threw one bad pitch and fucked up the World Series. Since then, my confidence has been estranged.

It is life-or-death. The stadium is full of demons and they’re all watching me.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have a heart attack before I reach the mound.

ER

31 items I reflected on and scribbled down (metaphorically, of course).

May 3, 2018

Yes, this post was inspired by Elliot Friedman’s 31 Thoughts. Mr. Friedman, if you or the legal team at Rogers is reading this, please don’t sue me. πŸ˜“

  1. Hell of a start for the Blue Jays. Given my low expectations for the season, it has been a pleasant surprise so far. April 2017 was like a meal at some sketchy diner that results in food poisoning. April 2018 felt like a meal at a sketchy diner that turns out to be the best kept secret in the city.
  2. Of course, things haven’t been great since they swept the Royals. Regardless, finishing April with a winning record is still a decent achievement when compared to 2017.
  3. Yes, it is early. And yes, I vividly remember the great run the 2009 Jays were on before everything nosedived in late May. I suggest we just enjoy what they’re doing now and deal with whatever happens when it happens.
  4. Yangervis Solarte has some power!!! Was not expecting that.
  5. Yangervis Solarte can dance!!! Was not expecting that.
  6. Not surprised with Randal Grichuk’s poor start. Wasn’t blow away with his St. Louis numbers. Maybe the slump is partially due to getting accustomed to a new team, division and stadium. Maybe it’s not. Fingers crossed he turns it around soon.
  7. Teoscar doesn’t want to go back to Buffalo. Fans don’t want to him sent back to Buffalo. In fact, if the Jays do option him back to the Bisons, it wouldn’t shock me if a giant roadblock is suddenly erected somewhere along on the QEW.
  8. Good to see the Humboldt Broncos’ logo displayed on the backstop a few weeks ago.
  9. I enjoyed hearing Josh Thole on the radio broadcasts. He wasn’t polished, but a part of me liked that. I’m still irritated about the way certain fans treated him.
  10. I like the bullpen. I like it a lot.
  11. John Axford was shaky at first, but has straightened out nicely. Very pleased to see this.
  12. Luke Maile came up with some big swings in April. Every time it occurred, I thought of this 2017 tweet from Andy Arias.
  13. If I was in the stands, I would’ve happily joined in on the standing ovation for Ryan Goins. Come @ me. I dare you.
  14. My friend and I had tickets for Monday, April 16. As you know, the match was cancelled due to falling ice. As annoying as it was – I was already en route when the game was formally cancelled – it was the right decision. A huge amount of gratitude to the stadium personnel who worked feverishly to try to get the game in, especially to the staff that went on the roof.
  15. The doubleheader on April 17 was the third such occurence in Skydome history. I was aware of the first one that took place in 1989. However, I have no recollection of the one in 2001 – October 5 against Cleveland, according to Baseball -Reference.com. It’s strange because I was at the final home game of 2001, which took place a couple of days later. Given that all this took place three weeks after 9/11, baseball was the last thing on everyone’s mind at the time.
  16. Overall, the rotation has been so-so. But they have given the team a chance to win, which is what any of us would want. With that in mind….
  17. No, I’m not worried about Stro. He’ll figure it out.
  18. No, I’m not worried about Devon. He’ll also figure it out.
  19. You know things aren’t terrible when you don’t see a lot of “Bring up Vladdy and Bo” tweets. Of course….it is early 😝
  20. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone complain about the wave yet.
  21. The Braves visit Toronto, June 19-20. Wouldn’t shock me if those games are sold out.
  22. Coming up with 31 talking points is hard. How does Friedman do this all the time?
  23. The weather sucked.
  24. Games on Facebook: Meh.
  25. Five-minute condensed games on Facebook: πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
  26. I like Skydome’s new “value” menu.
  27. Recently, Mike Wilner posted a photo of a mantra Curtis Granderson wrote inside his hat: “Don’t think. Have fun.” Two simple sentences, four words. One profound point made.
  28. Speaking of Granderson….can I add my name to the list of fans who are grateful he’s on the team?
  29. Shoutout to my favourite hot dog vendor: Ted’s Gourmet, at the corner of Front and John.
  30. Wishing the very best to Danny Farquhar. Speedy and successful recovery.
  31. #TorontoStrong #HumboldtStrong

ER

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

Roy Halladay: The Professional’s Professional

November 13, 2017

A wife lost her husband, two boys lost their father and we all lost an incredible role model and pitcher.

Obviously, this is a difficult article to write. Like you, I am still numb and devastated. Forget for a moment that he was a major league pitcher. We are grieving for a man who was only 40 years old; taken away so suddenly and horrifically. Painfully, we are reminded that life is not fair.

Roy Halladay was a Toronto Blue Jay. During a period of futility, he was one of the few bright spots. The Jays struggled in the standings, attendance fell and they had become an afterthought to some. It was a tough time, but at least we had Roy Halladay.

A lot of wonderful articles have been written about Doc’s impact. For me, I am reminded of anΒ interview former U.S. President George W. Bush gave to Politico.com in 2008.

Bush – the one-time owner of the Texas Rangers – was asked about putting together a team if he were to hypothetically return to the sport and every player was available. The President’s number one choice for a pitcher: Roy Halladay.

The most powerful person on the planet (at the time) and the leader of the free world wanted our guy to be his ace hurler. That said something.

Halladay was a professional’s professional, with an inspiring rise to greatness. He started his big league career with a bang, fell apart and was sent down to A-ball. But he overcame the glaring setback with a hard work ethic and a flawless mentality.

As someone who chronically overthinks, I am envious of that “next pitch” mindset. The ability to block out the past, ignore any worry about the future and just focus on the moment at hand is hard to achieve. Roy Halladay achieved it and that’s why he was one of the best and will one day (hopefully) have a plaque in Cooperstown.

We must take as much time as we need to grieve. One day, the sadness we are all feeling right now will be replaced with happy memories. Until then, I join those on social media and call on the Blue Jays to retire Doc’s uniform number and add his name to the Level of Excellence.

More importantly, let’s remember that he was a son, a husband, a father, a teammate and a fan favourite. From all accounts, he was also an incredible human being. It was an honour to watch him apply his craft every five days.

May his memory be a blessing.

ER

Can we PLEASE stop dissecting Roberto Osuna’s struggles?

September 7, 2017

Trying to figure out why Roberto Osuna has struggled carries no benefit whatsoever. 

Barring a biblical comeback, the Blue Jays are not making the playoffs. Therefore, everything from now until the end of the regular season is a moot point. So why bother making a big deal about the blown saves? 

I am not an expert, nor do I have access to the clubhouse. Maybe he’s tired and that would be completely understandable. He’s done more the past three seasons then some players have done in an entire career. He warrants a chance to figure things out and clearly deserves a break once the season finishes. Don’t forget that the Jays have played an additional month in back-to-back seasons. That’s a lot of extra baseball. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean to ignore the issue. But to worry about it now when everything is fait accompli is pointless. If the struggles continue into the 2018 season, than we can start having discussions. 

So until then, kindly cool it. You’re only wasting oxygen. Shit happens and we all go through slumps. 

Seriously, just leave the poor guy alone.

ER


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