Posted tagged ‘playoffs’

Damn! I was selfishly hoping the Blue Jays wouldn’t trade Russell Martin

January 14, 2019

I know that’s ridiculous; possibly idiotic. But part of me was hoping Russell would be kept for the sole purpose of mentoring Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire; similar to the role Curtis Granderson played in 2018.

Of course, that would be a very expensive mentor. Given that Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins are scorching the Earth as part of the rebuilding process, it makes sense to get something in return for Martin. After all, the Jays are paying his salary, despite the trade. I’m sure the front office also doesn’t want a repeat of the Josh Donaldson saga. Martin probably wants to actually play as well.

I have no interest in the numbers. That’s for the insiders, pundits and professional bloggers to crunch. When I think of Russell Martin, the first words that come to mind are confidence and professionalism.

Sitting in the left field seats gave me the opportunity to watch him prepare for a match. I was transfixed by him running from the dugout to the outfield in full catching gear. He’d go through his drills before working with that day’s starter. It’s hard to articulate, but I never had to worry about what was happening behind the plate.

I spent the last few days thinking of my favourite Russell Martin memories. That homerun against the Yankees in late 2015 will probably be his defining moment with the team.

It was Yom Kippur that day. My family and I were breaking our fast at a relative’s house. Normally, we’d sit around the living room chatting. Not this time.

The majority of us gathered in front of the TV. The atmosphere was incredibly tense; but when Russell connected, we all exploded in jubilation! Of course, we weren’t the only ones: “RUSSELL! RUSSELL! RUSSELL! RUSSELL!”

Other moments come to mind:

– The errant throw in game five of the 2015 ALDS that almost flushed a magical season down the toilet; followed by his thanking the heavens for Jose Bautista’s iconic bat flip homerun.

– The hot streak he went on in August 2016 when the rest of the team was struggling.

– Game three of the 2016 ALDS; a first inning dinger, followed by the fielder’s choice that ultimately led to the Donaldson Dash.

Now his career has come full circle as he heads back to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He deserves a chance to play for a contender. Hopefully, he’ll help L.A. finally get over that hump. Having a chance to catch Clayton Kershaw is also a nice bonus.

Maybe it was his connection to Ontario and Quebec. Maybe it was because he’s just a few weeks older than me. Maybe it was using “Courage” as one of his walk-up songs. I’m just thrilled Russell Martin spent four seasons with the Jays. Worth every penny; even the ones that will cover his 2019 season.

ER

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Troy Tulowitzki was the turning point and worth every penny, gosh darn it!

December 11, 2018

So I wasn’t surprised Tulo was released. Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins are forging their own path, even if it means scorched earth and paying a 34-year-old $38 million over the next few seasons to not show up to Dunedin.

Whatever. I’d still pull the trigger on that trade.

Tulo’s arrival midway through 2015 – along with David Price’s arrival a few days later – was the turning point. His mere presence gave the Jays an incredible boost. Before the trade, the team was hanging by a thread. Tulo put on the uniform and that Jays team took off like a rocket!

Not going to get into his numbers or the injuries. I’m perfectly content with the 2015-16 playoff banners and the memories.

If you’re into the whole “what has he done latley” argument, that’s cool. You’re entitled to feel that way. I just prefer to put more heart and emotion into my fandom.

Thank you, Tulo.

ER

Final Thoughts on the 2018 World Series

October 29, 2018

Sometimes, the antagonists win. With that in mind, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox – 2018 World Series Champions.

Bias aside, Boston is more than deserving of this title. During the postseason, they showed everyone why they won 108 regular season games. They were the league’s best from late-March to the present; so it’s only fitting they captured the prize.

Moreover, I am absolutely THRILLED for David Price and Steve Pearce!

Price’s tenure in Boston has been controversial. But after some stellar performances this month, he has slammed the door on all the haters and critics. David Price is a much-deserved world champion and no one can take that away from him. As he told reporters during the post-game news conference, he now holds the trump card.

I always liked Price and this was before he was traded to the Blue Jays in 2015. Watching him bolt from the dugout to celebrate his team’s triumph put a big smile on my face. Fairly certain I wasn’t the only one.

We know what a Steve Pearce hot streak looks like. Seriously, the man couldn’t have picked a better time to go on one. Regardless of what happens next for him, he has achieved folk hero status in Massachusetts.

It was also funny how certain members of Jays Twitter freaked out over Pearce’s MVP performance.

“HOW COULD THEY PAY TO GET RID OF STEVE PEARCE AND GET NOTHING SUBSTANTIAL IN RETURN?!” they shouted.

I guess these particular fans never saw a team rebuild before.

***
Small Housekeeping Note

I’ve joined forces with Jays Journal’s Ari Shaprio and will be contributing items to his website – AriShaprio.ca – in addition to my usual DNJT stuff. Currently, I have two pieces up: A short story called Living The Dream and an article entitled, October Baseball.

ER

David Staright @davidstaright – http://www.unsplash.com

World Series Guess

October 22, 2018

Right about Boston and Los Angeles! Yes, I was patting myself on the back.

Anyway…

Los Angeles over Boston

It’s amazing to think that these two historic organizations have never faced each other in the World Series. That will change Tuesday night.

I want LA to win for two reasons:

1. They’re playing the Red Sox.

2. I’m a sucker for a dramatic storyline. A 92-win team defeating a 108-win team would be a smash hit.

Enjoy the series!

ER

ALCS/NLCS Guesses

October 12, 2018

So….I got every series right except for Houston/Cleveland. Thank you, Cleveland.

Anyway….

Boston over Houston
Los Angeles over Milwaukee

Here’s the thing: I’m a sucker for an underdog story; so I’d love to see the Brewers beat the glamorous Dodgers. However, my gut feeling is that the defending National League champs won’t be stopped.

To be honest, I hope Boston beats Houston only because the thought of Roberto Osuna pitching in the World Series – months after sitting in jail – sickens me.

ER

ALDS/NLDS Guesses

October 4, 2018

Wrong about Oakland, right about Colorado.

Anyway….

ALDS
Cleveland over Houston
Boston over New York

NLDS
Los Angeles over Atlanta
Milwaukee over Colorado

ER

Wild Card Guesses

October 2, 2018

To whom it may concern:

I anticipate a day of glorious triumph for the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics.

Thank you.

ER


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