Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Ghostrunners Reflect

In the name of tying the whole season together, I posed questions to the other GROFmen, asking for their impressions of the Jays season. My probing interrogation of their innermost thoughts went as follows:
  • Personal highlight of 2008?
  • Biggest letdown of 2008?
  • JP stays - yay or nay?
  • Enduring image of 2008?
These emails bounced around before Paul Beeston was announced as interim President, so let's bare that in mind totally disregard that non-factor in JP's return.

Personal Highlight

Popcorn, Peanuts, PateJesse Barfield of Broken Dreams - My personal highlight is indeed personal, which is to say of no conceivable interest to anyone but your boy Jesse BoBD himself, and it came late in the season, on Sunday, August 24, at gate 14, at the northwestern corner of Rogers Centre. My companion for the afternoon, something of a high-cuisine dilettante and in any case possessed of a burning scorn w/r/t to in-game concession prices, had brought with her an ACE French baguette and a small selection of canned pate terrines (rabbit, salmon, wild boar etc.) and assured me -- with a casual confidence akin to that of one who does not merely hope bit rather EXPECTS that the philandering, midnight-oil-burning traffic cop will tear up the speeding ticket in favour of a lascivious warning -- assured me that recently amended stadium policy would see those tin-bound continental treats pass through compulsory security pat-downs without major incident or even so much as polite inquiry. To Jesse's calculatedly downplayed astonishment, the old girl was right. And so it was that, not 10 minutes later, I was dipping crusty white bread into cans of compressed fatty game meats, on the first-base-line side of the 500 level. You might roll your eyes at such an uptown affectation as our self-consciously ironic snacking, but you weren't there to try the rabbit. Liberte, egalite, fraternite.

The Reverend - The play of several newcomers that made the future seem just a bit brighter. Namely, Adam Lind, Joe Inglett, Travis Snider and Jesse Carlson. These newcomers impressed me and gave me some hope that we may not be as far off as some people think. The other highlight was Opening Day. Seeing the Jays play the Sox in front of a packed house made it feel like 1992 or '93 again (save the dumbasses fighting in the 500 level). That combined with Lloyd's complete lack of regard for the legal alcohol limit made for a pretty funny evening.

Lloyd the Barber - Aside from Rocco's glorious return, my personal highlight of 2008 was the boundless excellence of Harry LeRoy Halladay. The return of his strikeout prowess only sealed my belief that he is the greatest Blue Jay. Beating the Yankees five times, completing games and pitching shutouts. Here's hoping he remains a Blue Jay now and forever.

Biggest Letdown

Jesse BOBD - In light of what I've said above, I'm tempted to go with off-brand honky Jed Lowrie's sending of Brandon League's Brandon-League-in-2007-esque offering into the right field bullpen in the 11th inning of that same 8/24/08 game. I'm going to switch it up, though, and say that I was legitimately let down that Cito, Leyva and Tenace couldn't 1989 it and get this team in, or at least objectively close to, the playoffs. I part company with my esteemed Lloyd on a few issues, and one of them is the amount of credit due to Cito et al for the team's second half. I categorically refuse at this juncture to back up what I'm saying with anything empirical, inspired, out-of-the-box, or even lucid. I love a man, and he happens to manage the team we write about. My resignation will be on the blogosphere prefect's desk Monday morning. (emphasis mine)

The Reverend - The Jays complete and total inability to put runs up for the majority of the season, letting down their incredible staff. That's enough was poor. The other letdown were again all the injuries to key players: Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum, Vernon Wells, Scott Rolen, Aaron Hill, Shannon Stewart, BJ Ryan and Jeremy Accardo to name a few. If they could have stayed just a bit healthier this season could have ended much differently.

Lloyd - The biggest letdown of the season was watching David Eckstein gleefully skip towards the left side of the infield. An offseason mistake that was only compounded by his spot on the bench; a late admission that he was wasn't the answer to a question nobody asked.

The Fate of the Boss

Jesse - Oh hell yes. For the sake of my favourite running GROF gag, let this continue to be JP's team for millenia to come. JP's head, floating in a jar full of whatever preservative/cryonic fluid is supposed to be in such jars on Futurama, being interviewed by sideline-reporting femborgs on the eve of the SpaceJays 4009 campaign -- and Lloyd the Barber LXXIX is lurking in the wings so that he might pitch-perfectly lampoon it the next day.

The Rev - JP has made some moves that could be seen as bad, but after some thought some becomes almost none. He's made some moves that appeared to be great at the outset, but proved poor because of either the play of the player or an injury. I don't think he can necessarily be blamed for everything that's gone wrong over the past seven years. He's had 7 years without really sniffing the post-season. No longer can we tell fans, "well we playin the AL East and are competing with the Sox and Yankees every year." (See the Tampa Bay Rays) I think it's maybe time to give someone else a shot at getting us to the next level. I'm not sure it's the right move, I just don't think it's a bad one either.

Lloyd Riccardi - What would the alternative be? What could the alternative do? What moves could be rationally second guessed with better choices to support? What would Pat Gillick do? His team is in the World Series yes, but the ENTIRE CORE OF THE TEAM was already in place. His contribution? Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, Brad Lidge. One impact player, one guy in right place at right time, one role guy. That team was good before, just like this one is good now. If anything, try and get Ed Wade on the phone.

Enduring Image of 2008?

Jesse Barfield - For better or worse, it's Scott Downs lying prone on the Fenway Park grass after eating shit in the heat of lunging towards that triflin' little dribbler. Yes, denizens of the internet peanut-gallery cognoscenti, you're correct to mention that we were never in the pennant race. But you're wrong to go on to tell me that, ipso facto, the Downs pratfall didn't matter. Hogwash. Look -- we were never in it; we are never in it. The most we can hope for is to be strung along as late into September as Euclidean arithmetic allows; and all that pudgy, reliable southpaw had to do to extend the lie for one more at-bat was get to Ellsbury's girl hit and make the out. You want to crush my dreams, as Aaron Boone did to many a Sully on that crisp autumn eve five years ago, with a towering extra-inning shot to left? Be my guest. Don't do it with softball shit. Just don't. I can't handle it.

The Rev - The Jays hitting into a double play after the lead-off man gets on.

LtB - Scott Rolen making another ridiculous scoop-and-throw on the run, getting the runner by a good three steps while grimacing in the kind of agony that says "I hope my kids don't see me like this."

Silent Contributor El Leal's personal highlight of the year was the text message I sent him while sprinting down Blue Jays Way at 7:04PM on Opening Day: "So I'm shitfaced."Here's to happy returns in 2009! Free Manny!


  1. Great review guys, I'd have to agree that the image of Scott Downs sprawled out on the grass on the infield of Fenway Park was the enduring image of 2008.

    That image and the one of that muffin-topped bitch who streaked on opening day.

  2. Thank you sir. I drank too much on Opening Day, my images are all quite fuzzy

  3. One suspects that in a few weeks time many will cite the AJ hat tip as the enduring image of 2008.

    For me though, it was seeing the 3 butt-faced wannabe Massholettes from SW Ontario sitting behind us go from obnoxious to forlorn as the Jays laid boots to the Bosox in the second game of the season. Before first pitch my buddy was gently teasing them about being "poorly attired" in Bosox shirts and hats, but he was met with a look of total incomprehension. "Bad clothes", he said, "bad clothes."


  4. I got liquored on Home Opening Day too - it was awesome. I can't wait for this year, we all have to be there for it!

  5. The AJ hat tip after the good outing? Or after the bad one?
    I say both...

  6. Kevin Mensch, having swung himself right out of the batter's box, re-enters the batter's box by pushing the opposing catcher out of the way. Not a friendly tap, but an outright shove.
    It was a fleeting moment in another loss just after Gibbons got fired, but it was a rare spark of life on an otherwise moribund team and it made me wonder if the team had decided to stop being doormats.

    Hey - when are you gonna review MLB2K8?

  7. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the Greg Zaun 13th inning game-winning grand slam trot, fist pump and the helmet toss down the third baseline

    It had the vibe of those subway ads that show the guy who finally got his erectile dysfunction cured. After going 0 for August and losing his starting position, it was probably the first time in a while that Zauner and the missus had something that couldn't be called sympathy sex

  8. I'm going to review MLB2K8 next week, sorry I've been dragging my feet on it.

    Book reviews coming soon too!


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