Sunday, December 7, 2008

A.J. Burnett - Cornering the Boo Market

A.J. Burnett lives for your scorn. His goofy agent recently announced that the Orioles are among the 6 teams A.J. has shortlisted as possible free agent destinations and the Braves jumping out as front runners by reportedly offering a guaranteed fifth year. The shortlist includes all the non-Ray teams of the AL East plus Atlanta and Philadelphia; all teams that regularly show their faces in Toronto. So tan up your leathery lungs, the chance to boo is yours!

A.J. the Oriole is the best and most benign option. The "rivalry" between the Orioles and Jays would have to improve to be nonexistent. Burnett could take the mound on a lazy Sunday afternoon with less than 30 000 in attendance, all of which are ready and willing to unleash a full throated maelstrom of hate. The hate is mostly undeserved, but let me help you focus your anger into a concentrated beam of millionaire-taunting, girlfriend-embarrassing, toy cop-baiting anger.

Opening Salvo

It is important to lay groundwork early in the game, letting A.J.'s sensitive soul know what he's in for. It can be tough to get into the groove before you've determined what kind of section you've stolen seats from and before you've established a good tipping precedent with the kingcan guy. The ever-popular "you suck" is too bland, he's going to get carpet bombed with those from the uninitiated. "You suck" and the like are no different than general booing: a noise used to express disapproval. You've got to be able to cut through the din with some biting commentary.

You could go two ways: ignore the obvious shortcoming of a pitcher's won/loss record as a measure of his value and give Burnett a good "you're just a .500 pitcher" Griffing. You may just win over your section, but you don't want to go out like that. Consider wowing your sectionmates with some FIP, some strand rated goodness or even a little VORP. Discount the fact that A.J. was the only Jays pitcher to have a FIP higher than his ERA. Marvel at A.J. Burnett's incredibly high Value Over Replacement Puma. Don't be afraid to loudly recall the time you caught him in the bullpen, adding to his pitcher abuse points without a batterymate (SUBTLE WINK.) It's considered bad form to get your signals crossed and announce your prediction for his gamescore tonight as fag.

Staying Strong

Remember this is an A.J. Burnett start, so it is going one of two ways. He's either going to utterly dominate and shut down the Jays (with this offense? Easier said than done LOL!) or he's going to defecate all over the sheets in the most spectacular manner possible. Should hammer of doom and live fastball Burnett show up, making the Jays look positively Denboian, you must prepare yourself for doing the right thing: a complete about face. You should show him the proper respect and offer him earnest, standing applause. Three wacky years of occasionally brilliant but never dull entertainment has to be worth that much. Stand and salute a spotty warrior with a success record similar to Sex Panther.

Should A.J. feel slighted by the umpire and hatefuck a few fastballs down broadway, leading to the Jays dinking and dunking their way to crooked number, prepare yourself for a true delight: the derisive ovation. Think Patrick Roy's last game as a Hab or what a savvier ACC crowd would do if the Raptors managed a fast break basket. Nothing beats a smirking standing O, often earning a finger to the crowd.

Value Added Nuance and/or Desperation

As the innings roll by, you may be running out of ammo. After a few beers have lubricated the proceedings, I advise pulling a Josh Beckett and starting in on AJ's wife.

You see how easy it is?

Make something up, run it out there and you've got his attention. You could always dip into the L'Homme Du Sports playbook and drop some Boogie Nights on him. Rollergirl, limo rides; the heavy lifting is already done here. Don't be afraid to go low and encourage AJ to opt out of your balls. It doesn't make any sense, but you'll entertain at least one drunken frat boy within earshot.

It is our duty as Torontonians to both uphold our fierce pride and hilarious inferiority complex. Tell him sucked when he was here while trying to distract from the way he broke your heart by leaving.


  1. I'm going to print this out and take it with me when I go to A.J.'s return game in Toronto.

    Oh, and "Denboian," damn. What a beauty.

  2. I recommending printing out the recently edited and nearly legible version of this post.

  3. When I was in town last season to catch the Braves series, I advance-googled some rental property location info in Richmond (home of Braves AAA affiliate). I may have informed Brent Lillibridge (from about 20 rows up) that I was the owner of such rental property and would be happy to rent him some space (I figured the level of detail would catch his attention). Anyway, he sucked shit for the duration of the series, so I'm calling it a success.

    Of course, AJ has no chance of being sent down, so I should just shut the fuck up already.

  4. Ack, that is some incredible foresight. Just brilliant heckle-age.

  5. Oh A.J.

    Lloyd, I just got your comment and that Raul story was HILARIOUS. Well done.


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