Posted tagged ‘regular season’

Summing up the Blue Jays’ “regular” season with three haiku poems

September 28, 2020

Many injuries.
Unfortunate losing streak.
Got a playoff spot.

Hard-working bullpen
saved their backsides many times
but it took a toll

And there were moments
where potential was witnessed
with a bright future

***

Time to hand out the “awards.”

Best hitter: Teoscar Hernandez

Best starter: Hyun Jin Ryu

Best reliever: Anthony Bass

***

One other item:

It has been a very unique season. It has featured a new, expanded playoff format, which I personally love and hope will continue.

Yes, they only played a third of what they would usually play. Nevertheless and circumstances aside, it is playoff baseball and the Jays are part of it.

Regardless of how far they go, make sure to savour it and do not take it for granted.

ER

Jays Journaling: Halfway through what’s usually a third of the season

September 2, 2020

The last thing you need is another mid-season review. So, I’ll save you the trouble by using point form notes.

You’re welcome.

Things I’ve liked

– The powder blue uniforms in action. They can wear them every day for the rest of the season. I won’t stop them.

– The gaiter face coverings that go from the neck up. Stylish and safe!

– Sahlen Field’s transformation into a near-replica of Skydome. Kudos to those who made that happen.

– Jordan Romano and most of the bullpen arms.

– Teoscar Hernandez and Randall Grichuk putting up great numbers at the plate. Can’t forget about what Bo Bichette was doing before getting hurt.

Things I haven’t liked

– Injuries to Bichette, Ken Giles and Nate Pearson. Trent Thornton’s elbow is worrying me, as is Matt Shoemaker’s shoulder. You can add Romano’s finger to the list.

– Players touching or not wearing their masks properly. I know it’s silly, but I cringe when Charlie Montoyo touches his face covering or Pete Walker pulls his mask away from his face to say something. Saw Ryan Borucki do something similar and Vladdy once wore a mask below his nose. There are possibly a lot of school-age kids watching right now; so, it would be nice if the Jays set an example when it comes to proper mask etiquette.

– Fake crowd noise. Don’t know if it makes a difference for the players, but it feels like an insult to my intelligence.

– People declaring Vladdy and Pearson busts. This was happening earlier in the season. Still, is nobody patient anymore? The same goes for those demanding Montoyo be fired. Chill out.

– Games postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. A bubble setup is clearly a safer way to operate. I pray reports of MLB using a bubble or two for the playoffs are true. Also hope the participating teams are sequestered in warm climates. Don’t like seeing players freeze their butts off.

Things I’m on the fence with

– Seven-inning doubleheaders. I know it’s standard practice in the minors. Truthfully, I’m simply accustomed to day-night doubleheaders.

– Starting with a runner on second during extra innings. I know I shouldn’t like it, but it’s comforting knowing the match will conclude sooner than a typical extra-inning affair with its unpredictability.

– 6:37 pm starts. Figured it would lead to earlier finishes; like 9:00-9:15 pm. Ironically, it seems these start times have yielded the longest games; closer to 3-3.5 hour matches

One other item and it’s an important one

I applaud and fully support all athletes and teams that chose to protest the heinous shooting of Jacob Blake.

Sports do not matter. Jacob Blake matters. Jacob Blake’s family matters, especially his children. Black lives matter. Victims matter. Racism is a horrific disease.

The final word goes to former Jays reliever LaTroy Hawkins.

ER

Jays Journaling: Arizona? Sure, whatever

April 16, 2020

The madness continues.

Friday, April 10 was supposed to be my first attended game of the season.

It was supposed to be against the Royals. I was supposed to watch Vladdy, Bo and – likely – Chase Anderson. I was also supposed to eat a matzah sandwich, while wishing I could visit my favourite hot dog vendor at Front and John.

But it didn’t happen. Instead, my baseball fix currently comes from “classic” and “rewind” matches on Sportsnet. It fills the void, but only temporarily.

Again, COVID-19 can go fuck itself.

A family member recently brought up an important point: Even when this is all over, it will be a while before life fully returns to normal. We have to remember that.

It would be foolish to think that we could go from physical distancing and isolation one day and then pack Skydome the next. There’s no way the province and city would allow that.

So, we have to make peace with the possibility that even when/if baseball returns, fans won’t be allowed inside ballparks for the entire season.

And I’m okay with that.

I’d rather have baseball played in empty stadiums than nothing at all.

The Jays might not even play any games in Toronto. They might be in Arizona for the entire modified 2020 season.

And I’m okay with that too.

I’d rather see big leaguers play in empty minor league facilities (and Chase Field) than nothing at all.

This Arizona plan is certainly unique. But it’s also problematic, not to mention the ambitious mid-May start.

But we are living in unprecedented times; so, it’s worth a shot.

However – and I can’t stress this enough – I don’t want this to happen if it compromises player and personnel health.

Safety is paramount and if the curve is not flattened in Arizona, then no one should step on the field.

I badly need baseball, but not at the expense of anyone’s well-being. It is my hope that the state’s health department will work with MLB and not be afraid to stand up to the league if there’s any kind of threat.

It’s been over a month since baseball and everything else stopped. It stings and the pain feels worse every day. Eventually, this will pass. The problem is we don’t know when.

Therefore, I have to be patient, even though it’s messing with my sanity.

ER

Screw the glass-half-empty crowd! I’m actually looking forward to the 2019 Blue Jays

March 27, 2019

Happy Opening Day!

Despite the current state of affairs, the start of the regular season is exciting. Things are fresh, the canvass is blank and the typical clichés are being prepped.

I’m not afraid of a losing season. I’m not afraid of low attendance numbers. I’m not afraid of the pain. Been there, done all that.

The Jays are what they are. If you rather watch something else, that’s fine. You can view 2019 as a lost season. I’m viewing it as a season of development.

Regardless of the final outcome, my goal is to look at the positive aspects.

Worst case scenario: They lose 90-100 games. That only means they get early dibs on the undrafted pool in 2020. Raw, young talent is never a guarantee, but nothing in life is. Besides, the Houston Astros lost 100+ games three seasons in a row. A few years after that, they won the World Series.

Best case scenario (and my preferred outcome): The 2019 team performs to a level similar to the 2010/2011 clubs.

Remember how fun those teams were?

You had Jose Bautista turning into a superstar slugger and all these young players with potential, who also loved to interact with fans on social media.

The 2010-11 Jays were far from a playoff contender and played sub .500 baseball; but they gave us hope and an incentive to tune in or purchase a ticket. That’s how I hope fans will ultimately view the 2019 team and beyond.

I would also like to see the following:

  1. Vladdy gets called up – when ready – and puts up strong numbers…..obviously.
  2. Youngsters like Jansen, Borucki, Gurriel and Hernandez, continue to show improvements. Not asking for Murderers’ Row; just want to see growth and development.
  3. Veterans like Smoak and Morales have productive outputs, making them valuable as the trade deadline approaches.

Think of it this way:

Imagine going to watch a movie with friends. The film you’re about to see is a generic, mass produced Hollywood story. It’s clearly not going to win an Oscar and won’t make any kind of must-see list. So you go in with very low expectations.

Then you watch the movie and despite its flaws, it was actually entertaining!

It happened to me when I watched Hostage and Sahara.

So as ridiculous as this will sound, the best way to deal with the 2019 Jays is to have low expectations.

Expect to them lose 162 games. Expect them to get blown out every match. Expect them to be worse than the Bad News Bears.

By setting the bar low and taping pillows all over your body, any amount of victories will be happily welcomed. You might even find yourself saying “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

Hey…I’m just trying to help. You can complain about the pain or embrace it. The choice is yours.

ER

And now, a smorgasbord of thoughts and feelings as it relates to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club

October 1, 2018

Give yourself a pat on the back. You got through a tough season.

  • Actually, I’m not upset about what happened this season. I went in with low expections and got what I expected: a team in transition; positive evolution and negative evolution, but evolution nonetheless.
  • Those first three weeks in April though; that was exciting and fun.
  • Love Gibby, but it was time to move on. His dismissal was unsurprising. Gibby took the Jays as far as he could. But the team is now moving in a different direction and the front office understandably wants someone new to lead said direction.
  • Couldn’t tell you who the new manager will be. I do know this: Some fans will love the new hire, some fans will hate the new hire and some fans will absolutely despise the new hire because anything orchestrated by Mark Shaprio and Russ Atikins will automatically ruin EVERYTHING! Oh, the spicy hot takes. 😉
  • I’m worried about Aaron Sanchez. Injuries have robbed him and us of two seasons. Right now, there’s a large chasm between 2016 Sanchez and 2018 Sanchez. I’m praying he closes that gap in 2019. He’s too good to be plagued with injuries.
  • Teoscar is a curious case. He was exposed defensively, but the kid has a pretty good bat. Here’s hoping he works on his defence during the off-season.
  • I was wrong about Randall Grichuk.
  • Loved what I saw from Rowdy Tellez. However, a small voice in my head is telling me not to get too excited about production from a September call-up. I hope that voice is wrong.
  • It feels like ions since Gift Ngoepe was part of the opening day roster.
  • My favourite moments from the season: 1) The incredible ninth inning comeback against Tampa Bay in September. 2) James Paxton’s no-hitter, despite that happening against the Jays.
  • One other moment that remains prevleant in my mind: Curtis Granderson’s walk-off homerun against Boston in April. This occurred days after the horrific van attack in North York. While Grandy’s blast certainly didn’t cure everything, it allowed us a short reprieve as we grieved.
  • I’m fascinated with the middle infield situation. Many candidates, but only a few spots. It will be one of the top storylines during spring training.
  • Time for some awards! Best hitter: Justin Smoak; Best starter: J.A. Happ; Best reliever: A tie between Seunghwan Oh and Ken Gilles.

Postseason is upon us. Cleveland gets my endorsement only because of the overabundance of former Blue Jays on their roster. Enjoy October baseball!

ER

Take a moment, say your goodbyes

September 24, 2018

Ever watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor In Paradise?

When a contestant is “sent home,” Chris Harrison – the long-time host of the popular reality series – delivers a subtle command:

“Take a moment, say your goodbyes.”

As the Blue Jays prepare for the final week of a tumultuous regular season, perhaps it would be wise for all of us to take a moment and say our goodbyes.

The rebuild is well underway and there’s a strong chance that some familiar faces will not return next year.

By all accounts, John Gibbons will be formally relieved of his duties. Safe to assume the coaching staff will also be dismissed or reassigned.

And it won’t stop there.

Kevin Pillar could be playing for a different team next season. Same could be said about Marcus Stroman, Yangervis Solarte and Justin Smoak. Maybe some team would be willing to take a flyer on Kendrys Morales or Russell Martin and work something out with the Jays’ front office in regards to those contracts. I like Marco Estrada, but I would be surprised if he’s back next season.

That doesn’t mean such departures will actually occur. But with all the minor league talent that debuted this season, along with the talent we’ll see in 2019 (*cough* Vladdy Jr. *cough*), there isn’t enough space for everyone. Otherwise, the team won’t evolve.

It’s impossible to predict exactly who will stay and who will go. But one could certainly expect fewer pieces remaining from the teams of 2015-16 next year.

So if you’re heading to Skydome, Tropicana Field, the Boston Pizza at Front and John (where a lot of fans hang out, apparently) or watching/listening/following the final matches, take a moment and say your goodbyes.

It’s been one hell of a ride, but it’s now time to rebuild for (hopefully) something greater.

ER

Rock Bottom (?)

May 21, 2018

Fragile Blue Jays
lost four matches to Oakland
in painful fashion.

ER

Ironically, I share a similar opinion as Cathall Kelly. But I choose to be more respectful and less fatalistic.

March 29, 2018

Rest assured, this is not a critique of Mr. Kelly’s recent torpedo at the Blue Jays. These are just my thoughts for Opening Day. They’re pleasant, but not glowing.

Anyway……Hello regular season.

Whenever someone asks me how the Blue Jays will fare, I always like to give two opinions. 2018 is no exception:

Subjectively, they’ll finish 162-0 and capture the World Series title.

Objectively, if a number of factors work out on the positive side and they’re not heavily effected by injuries, they could compete for the second wild card spot. Otherwise, don’t make any plans for postseason baseball.

We can crunch numbers and analyze everything to death. But nothing is 100% certain, especially for on-field performance. So like everyone else – whether they like to admit it or not – I prefer to go with my gut.

And my gut says….there’s likely going to be a dip.

I sense a transition process between the current 25-man roster and the sexy, young minor league talent everyone is excited about. It won’t be a linear transition, but one that’s u-shaped instead. Couldn’t tell you how long it will last. Maybe a few seasons, maybe more than that. But it’s going to likely happen.

Ideally, I’d prefer if the transition began now. However, Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins feel they can put it off for the year.

It’s not a terrible decision. Teams could pay more at the non-waiver trade deadline. And if the Jays are clearly not a contender by the end of July, my hope is that they would get a nice return for Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and a king’s ransom for Josh Donaldson.

Therein lies one of the major storylines of 2018: What’s going to happen with the Bringer of Rain?

I love Donaldson and very grateful for what he’s done on the field. However, I would be SHOCKED if he signs a long-term deal with the Jays.

If there’s actually a dip or any form of rebuilding, it wouldn’t make sense to keep him. It also wouldn’t make sense for Donaldson wanting to stay if the next few seasons are going to be lean, with a lot of unknowns thrown in as well. Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of 2018 and he’s earned the right to field offers and seek out the best deal. It pains me to type this, but I just don’t see that happening with him and the Jays.

In fact, the only players on the current roster that should remain with the club through any kind of transition is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Devon Travis. That’s not a gurantee either.

So let the Yankees and Red Sox have their fun, if it turns out that way. The Blue Jays are cultivating for the future and if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette actually live up to their hype, combined with consistent production from Alford, Urena, Hernandez, Borucki, etc., then we are in for a treat. Heck, look at what rebuilding has done for the Astros.

Of course, I could be completely off the mark. If the Jays actually make the playoffs in 2018, I will happily admit that I jumped to conclusion.

It could happen. Part of me hopes it does.

ER

Summing up the 2017 Blue Jays with a haiku poem I wrote at 4am

October 1, 2017

Things did not go well
because there were plenty of
inconsistencies

ER



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