Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tigers 4 Jays 1...Yes, a baseball game

So what if they lost, at least a game was played today which saw the Jays fall 4-1 to the Tigers. The Tigers scored early, as Jesse Litsch gave up a pair of runs in both the first and second innings via a Magglio Ordonez 2-run double and Curtis Granderson 2-run home run. Not the best start for Litsch, who is battling for the 5th spot in the rotation with Casey Janssen and Gustavo Chacin. The bullpen managed to shut the Tigers down for the rest of the game with the aforementioned Chacin, David Purcey, Lance Carter, Shawn Camp, Josh Banks & Mike Gosling all pitching scoreless innings. The Jays didn't get their first hit until the 4th when Rod Barajas doubled and later scored when Miguel Cabrera completely botched a routine ground ball. Cabrera also went 0 for 3 at the dish in a less than spectacular but ultimately meaningless debut for the Tigers.

The Jays lineup looked nothing like it will come Opening Day. They only managed 4 hits while leaving 18 runners on base, but at least a game was played today. Which means there are many more games to come. That in itself is bloody amazing.

The Jays play the Tigers again tomorrow, 1:05pm first pitch.

On a totally separate note, the Red Sox dismantled their arch rivals from Boston College in 7 innings, 24-0. Somewhere an Eagle is screaming.

Ghostrunning with the Devil - Season Preview - NL Central

A simple equation for season preview success:
    Uninformed pontificator + hackneyed gimmick - accountability = I'M A GENIUS!
Our gimmick of choice will find us pairing each team with a band/artist from the same area code. The connections will be tenuous at best and derived from my completely arbitrary criteria. Teams are arranged by predicted order of finish, based on nothing approximating math, science or logic.

This week's installment, the National League Central

Chicago Cubs - Kanye West
Hype pays. Just as Kanye manages to back up the whirlwind of talk, bravado, and generally insane behaviour with solid releases and excellent production; this edition of the Chubbies will improve thanks to Japanese imports and Ryan Dempter's expulsion. 100 years and counting. Don't hold your breath.
Cincinnati Reds - 98 Degrees
98 Degrees were huge in Canada but hardly sold any records stateside. The Reds are an equally small fish in a ridiculously small pond, playing in a joke of a ballpark with little regard for the mental anguish it causes their pitching staff. They are a popular darkhorse in a pathetic division, but that isn't enough to get them into the post-season.
Milwaukee Brewers - Violent Femmes
Say what you want about the quality of the Femmes body of work, their b-sides or their back catalog. They are known for one song, and one song only. 2007 was the Brewers' Blister in the Sun. They dashed out of the gate, built a huge lead, then faltered and were exposed. Expecting them to rebound hinges on two stud/kid starters, but even they can't make up for the inclusion of the Jeff Suppans and Dave Bushes of the world.
Houston Astros - The Sword
I should be taking this opportunity to make a dozen obvious steroid jokes or wonder aloud about how this team make up for all the missing "hustle" now that Biggio is gone, but I won't. I will instead take the time to express my excitement over the new Sword record, due for release on April 1st. They aren't even from Houston, but fuck it the Sword rules. Sabbath reincarnate, new record of doomy greatness.
St Louis Cardinals - Son Volt
I really hate alt-country. Spare me your (irony alert) horseshit about the heartland and living off the land. You listened to Slipknot in high school but now -post liberal arts undergrad- Subsistence farmer! Fuck that. The Cardinals are an absolute mess. Whoever would have thought that a team owned and branded by a booze company would be associated with rampant alcoholism? Welcome to heaven Mr. Rolen.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Anti-Flag
Dear Mother of God is this a bad team. And there is no band in the entire world worse than Anti-Flag (though their website is kickass. Plug.) Jason Bay is Canadian blah blah blah. This team playing in this ballpark is an affront to all that is just in the world.
The National League is an utter joke. The Jays would win 100 games in this division. This will suicidally manifest itself in a certain losing interleague record this season. If they miss playoffs because they can't seem to beat AAAA teams, I'll cry.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So what if it's inter-squad

This is what makes Aaron Hill fucking awesome. Down in Dunedin today he was caught looking at strike three on a Casey Janssen pitch that hit the outside corner. Hill was subsequently heard cursing his face off as he strolled back to the dugout. Yes, it's a February inter-squad game, but Aaron Hill doesn't give a shit. Between the lines he's a bulldog and gives you nothing but his best everytime he's out there. That, is what is going to make him an all-star this season.

On a totally seperate note Vernon Wells was evidently hit just below the wrist by a Janssen pitch, though everything appears to be fine there.

I need to find someone to go and play catch with...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Why Do You Even Bother?

Honestly. I'm running out of lines of bullshit to feed you. I'm not even going to take the time to lie anymore.

From now on, instead of holding press scrums or doing proper interviews, I'm going to walk onto the field without pants. That way the choice is yours: you can either kiss my ass or blow me. It's all the same to me. Whatever gets your nipples hard Nancy.

Furthermore, once I've gone back on whatever lie I conjured last week and we have some legitimate news to announce, I'm going to send out one of my kids. Those little peckerheads got the old man's charm, and they've been taught since birth to spit on the swine with the notepads. They'll shake you down too. Last year they scored me Griffin's watch. Fat fuck.

So yeah. I brought in a low risk free agent on a minor league deal. One day they're trying to leverage our mild disinterest into a multi-year deal somewhere else and the next they're polishing my taint for the chance to fetch me coffee. That's just how big my nuts are. I'd say I piss all over them at least once a week.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Feels like 1999

Shannon Stewart is desperate for a big league gig, and evidently the Jays are willing to give him the chance, signing the veteran outfielder to a minor league deal. Stewart, a career .298 hitter is coming off a ho-hum season down in Oakland which saw him hit .290 with 12 HR's and 48 RBI's. He stole 11 bases but really doesn't posess the speed he once did. He really can't field anymore and I'd have a better chance of throwing someone out at home from left field then he would.

Here's the thing. Try to find a spot for him on the big league club come opening day with the way the roster currently looks. The Jays carried 12 pitchers last season, and for whatever reason will most likely again, which means they carry 13 position players. Outside of maybe Marco Scutaro and Matt Stairs he isn't going to take someone elses roster spot. I don't have a problem with this move, I just find it hard to imagine him making the club the way it's looking right now.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The Jays announced yesterday that 144 of their games this season will be broadcast in High Definition. Last season only 80 were available in HD. This expansion of available HD games gives me a boner, and makes me smile every time I think about it. Although the scum Yankees and Red Sox offer all their games in HD, I'll take 144 over 80 any and every day. After all, there simply is nothing in the entire known universe better than sports (especially Baseball) in HD. Even Stephen Hawking agrees.

If you don't have HD, you should probably hang yourself...or think about getting it.

Postcards from the Edge

A few quick dispatches from the interwebs before the weekend takes us away to that special place.

Neate from Out of Left Field does a yeoman's work over at Deadspin today as he was tasked with the Jays season preview. Usually Deadspin season previews turn into a self-pitying festival of tears, but Neate does us all proud by saying "Fuck you, we're just fine" as well as adding a few good digs at Snakeoil Godfrey.

Vernon Wells realized the true value of his multi-year deal with the Jays yesterday. He doesn't have to face Roy Halladay. Halladay provided Vernon with a fecal moustache that left his knees swaying in the breeze. Wells then took the opportunity to try out some material for his upcoming HBO special.
    "He's a fairly decent pitcher," deadpanned Wells. "I think he'll probably have a fairly good year this year. He has a pretty good chance. He has decent stuff and he works fairly hard. He's got a chance in life."
A conservative estimate would put Halladay on or near 30 wins this season. Fuck you Denny McLain.

Ichiro reported to spring training determined to reaffirm his status as the preeminent lyrical gangster on two hemispheres. This week, when asked about the prospect of playing between two corner outfielders with first to third times best clocked by sun dial, Ichiro dropped some science:
    If the other corner outfielders have too much speed and too much ability and try to do too much, it's hard for me.
Ichiro is like a Japanese Clooney.

Prince Fielder decided to get 1000% more awesome by going vegetarian. As someone who has been referred to as a "veggie eatin' queer" more times than I can count, I support Prince's decision. I'm also slightly relieved that the Brewers aren't coming to town this year. It is already hard enough to get a veggie dog at the House that My Text Messages BuiltBought.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heart and Soul

David Eckstein reported to camp today, his face is splashed across all the usual outlets. Seeing his tiny head peering out from beneath his comically oversized helmet reminds of one thing: I hate David Eckstein.

I hated him when he played for the Angels, I hated him when he played for the Cards and I really fucking hate him now. I don't hate him in the "he always kills our team, the spunky bastard" way, I hate the sight of him. I think I may actually hate the idea of him. Partly because I'm lazy and determined to make nothing out of something, but mostly because he's such a little weasel.

Is there a chance he could improve the Jays? Certainly. He could be a serviceable tablesetter at the top of the order. But the aesthetic price that the Jays will pay will be far greater. His stupid oversized jersey, the need to fling his narrow ass across the infield just to one-hop a throw to first, the way he chokes up to the label just to get around on big league heat. I don't care how bad Johnny Mac is with the stick, at least he looks like a ball player.

People are going to harass Wilner with love letters about heart and grit, more than likely the same people that make this journeyman and deadbeat a god in this city. You know who hustles? People that suck. I don't care about heart, I don't care about grit. At this highest level, it's about talent. I pay good money to watch guys do things that the obnoxious guy from my softball league can't. Anyone can run to first after a walk, anyone can learn to bunt. Eckstein has only ever shown me the ability to one thing at a big league level.

Handicapping the horses

Are you a betting man? I'd like to say I am, but sadly I'm really just a sucker who plays proline once a year, blindly believing I have a winning ticket. Which is of course never the case. Here at Ghostrunner on First we want to provide those who enjoy placing the odd wager with some up-to-date and oh so very accurate odds for you to use while placing your bets. They are in no way biased, however the insight for each team more than likely is. I'm not going to go through every team, because who really needs to know the odds on the Nationals to win the World Series. The following are the latest odds on each team winning the 2008 World Series, which in a way provide a clue to the projected strength of divisions. Again, I'm not listing every team, so if you want the entire division odds, google it or some shit.

Boston Red Sox 4-to-1
Not a bad price for the defending champs. I'd call it a safe bet, one lacking in the balls category. In the end, fuck the Red Sox. Josh Beckett is a man.

New York Yankees 6-to-1
If you like the Yankees, that's a tempting price. However, if you like the Yankees you're an idiot.

Toronto Blue Jays 25-to-1
What kind of bullshit is that. Eat my ass Vegas. If I had any sort of scratch to wager on the birds, you can be sure I'd bet the farm at that price.

The Orioles are 200-to-1 however in my opinion should be 2000-to-1

Detroit Tigers 7-to-1
Bullpen or not, I'm all over those odds. Have you seen their fucking lineup?

Cleveland Indians 10-to-1
They proved they could play last season, and while a return to the Post season is a distinct possibility, I don't believe they have what it takes to win it all. But I've been wrong before.

White Sox, Royals and're just wasting your time.

Anaheim Angels 8-to-1
Seattle Mariners 22-to-1
The Angels aren't that much better than the pitching-loaded Mariners. Choose wisely.

The NY Mets 5-to-1
If you want to bet on the kings of collapse, by all means...

Philadelphia Phillies 20-to-1
I believe the Johan Santana trade has created a disparity in the odds here, pretty good price for the Phils if you ask me.

Chicago Cubs 12-to-1
Milwaukee Brewers 25-to-1
I'd consider these co-favorites for the Central, but evidently Vegas disagrees, so fuck them.
Everyone else will be really bad I'm quite sure.

Arizona Diamondbacks 18-to-1
Los Angeles Dodgers 20-to-1
Colorado Rockies 22-to-1
I have no idea why the Rockies aren't favored. No idea at all. All my money would be going Colorado's way far before the D'backs and Dodgers. The Giants, if they aren't, should be 5000-to-1.

Make sure you trust your bookie. Don't stretch yourself too thin. Really in the end, if you're trying to make money by gambling on sports, you have little hope. But here's to your efforts, wins and of course losses.

Ghostrunning with the Devil - Season Preview - NL East

A simple equation for season preview success:
    Uninformed pontificator + hackneyed gimmick - accountability = I'M A GENIUS!
Our gimmick of choice will find us pairing each team with a band/artist from the same area code. The connections will be tenuous at best and derived from my completely arbitrary criteria. Teams are arranged by predicted order of finish, based on nothing approximating math, science or logic.

Up first, the National League East.

New York Mets - The Strokes
The Mets look the part: they've got the expensive clothes, the art school pedigree, and they whole world is their's for the taking. But like Julian, they'll fuck it all up and waste their days chasing the dragon.
Philadelphia Phillies - The Roots
The Roots are the band that everyone really LIKES to like. They look cool, "play instruments", and only minimally scare white people. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are obviously Black Thought and ?uestlove in cleats. The Phils won't win enough games and the Roots won't sell enough records to make it to the next level.
Atlanta Braves - Ludacris
The Atlanta Braves won this division every year for 14 consecutive seasons. They have a built-in national TV deal. Ludacris has sold more than 13 millions albums. He was in the most overrated movie of all time. The Braves had a hard time selling out playoff games at the end of their run. Ludacris placed a sopping wet stamp on his fourth record in the form of an "Austin Powers-inspired song". Ubiquity has its price.
Washington Nationals - Minor Threat
"Make do with what you have, Take what you can get. Pay no mind to us, We're just a minor threat"
The Nationals are the ship of lost souls. Minor Threat are fucking awesome.
Florida Marlins - Cat Power
The old adage "you can't tell the players without a program" surely applies to this bunch of nobodies. These kids will be all over the place, lots of talent but many tears for Hanley Ramirez, the Best Player in the National LeagueTM. Like Cat Power, they'll likely space-out during games, and be noted for their unprofessional and/or "improvisational" style. And Josh Willingham will get drunk before games. He's just that kind of guy.
Feel free to offer your suggestions or tell me that I'm an idiot in the comments. Look for a new division each coming Thursday until the season starts. Send us your roommates/brothers/theguythatworksinthewarehouse's band if you think they should represent the Jays.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Everyone Loves a Linker

Actual (fake) games start next week, and content continues to spew forth from the blogosphere at an unprecedented rate. Some things that caught my eye....I would be remiss if I didn't mention a certain full-time tabloid star, part-time actress who posed in a certain magazine paying homage to a certain dead actress who did the exact same routine 45 years earlier. If I were to link to it, not that I am, it would equal parts life affirming and inappropriate for work and/or a baseball blog.

Love in the time of Hysteria

Times have certainly changed. There is enough analysis, anecdote, and prediction floating around these days to please the most devoted fans and most compulsive of gamblers. A lot of people fill their days reiteration the same facts or sucking the interest out of the quaintest of human interest stories. This competition for freshness lends itself to a certain amount of hyperbole, some understandable and some off the deep end.

Marc Topkin's article surely ranks near the giant slide and swinging rope end of the pool, as he stops just short of comparing the DevilJesus Rays' top three starters to the 1966 Dodgers. While this isn't unique to reporters unaccustomed to seeing actual big league players (Rios pounds BP, Jays to reinforce Windows Restaurant), it is clearly way over the top. Pitching staffs with more than 61 cumulative wins mentioned include the A's of the early 00's and shockingly the early 90's Braves. The Fuck? Tom Glavine is likely to go down as the last 300 game winner while Smoltz has 200 wins and 150 saves. Is that all? Perhaps you could compare Scott Kazmir with Steve Carlton? Matt Garza isn't a number three starter on a bad team, he's Bert Blyleven.

Scott Kazmir can pitch, but he reminds of one guy - AJ Burnett. Same plus stuff, same inefficiencies, same unquenchable thirst for Ks at any costs. James Shields? Meet Shaun Marcum. I'm sure you'll have a lot to talk about.

Purported clubhouse leader and caffeine-enthusiast Troy Percival took the story and ran with it, creating the shirt seen below. This clearly unstable man is being hailed a the saviour of the historically awful Rays pen. Surely his year off combined with a year of mop-up in the anemic NL Central makes him more than qualified to send dozens of people home disappointed every night.

Much like the New York Yankees, this sexy pick is going nowhere. Sure, they'll score some runs. That won't change the culture around the team nor will it retire batters or improve a porous defense. Not even the divinity/health of Rocco will guide this team past anyone but the shameful Orioles.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Glorious Family Day

Indeed it is. In observation of our newest statutory holiday, I am staying home from work, doing absolutely nothing as every honest Canadian Ontarian should. I'm sure some slave driving commercial outlets are making their poor sap employees come in on this holiest of days. Since this is the grandest of holidays I'll keep this short and simply offer updates on two matters on the minds of the entire Jay fan base.

Vernon Wells was quoted as saying his shoulder is "close to 100%" after September surgery ended his worst season in the bigs. The repair of a torn labrum and removal of a cyst were deemed successful, and Wells is optimistic he'll return to the form Jays fans are used to. John Gibbons said his swing seemed "smooth and loose" in the cages. Wells did say he's expected to "feel" something in the shoulder for about a year, but most importantly it will be pain free.

Remember back in December...the Rios for Lincecum trade talks? Well Alex does, and he's happy to be in Florida with the Jays rather than out in the desert with San Fransisco. "I like our team" said Rios, who avoided salary arbitration with the Jays and is signed through this season. Hopefully Rios and the Jays can get something long-term together, though it's not a major concern going into the spring. Rios likes the additions the Jays made during the off-season and is also currently sporting a mohawk, which is badass in it's own right.

The Jays first full squad workout is scheduled for Thursday.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Good times hold sway over wifeless Florida

As I alluded do a few days ago, spring training is the ideal time for men to have the time of their lives. When money > time but time > responsbility - awesome stuff is bound to be the result. Those are some Sabermetrics that I can get behind.

I am sure this video has already made the rounds, but it is so enjoyable and testament to the "fuck I'm bored, let's make the young guy cry" spirit that makes baseball so amazing.

The straight facedness of the ruddy manager, the legitimacy of signing official-looking forms (in triplicate!!!) combined with the absence of the thought: "wait a minute, I can't get traded to Japan." A minor detail that should have set off all manner of bullshit detector, but truly makes this one for the ages.

Video via With Leather who in turn borrowed it from someone else.

God Bless the sports blog circlejerkoflife

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Winds Of Change

The life of a baseball writer is one of endless pain and suffering. Woe unto the man forced to visit Florida midwinter while his pitiless editor demands a season preview at gunpoint. Since the playoffs ended in October, that only leaves 3 1/2 months to take stock of all the trades and movement and bang out something coherent before heading off to the dogtrack. I suppose that since all most season previews are horseshit (watch for ours in the coming weeks, now with 150% more presumption!) these writers don't bother putting any thought into them whatsoever. Case in point, the New York Yankees.

Despising the Yankees is achieved with more ease than being bored in Vancouver; it simply comes with the territory. Discrediting them is more difficult, however. They have made the playoffs every year since 1995, first with a decidedly unglamorous yet wildly successful band of journeymen; then with a big-budget, Michael Bayseball cacophony of hate. They were a force of nature, and it brought us all to tears.

Things are different now. They still write huge checks, and if that goes south they write an even bigger check to compensate. But they come into this spring looking nothing short of vulnerable. Question marks now precede dollar signs when I think of the Yankees. But that doesn't seem to matter to most prognosticators, who just pencil the Yankees into 2nd place and go back to their Warcraft guild, where experience points make them important, not jaded.
Note: nothing about Warcraft is important.

Let's change the setting, just a for a moment. A team (the Iowa Wheatchiefs, let's say) have a lineup that, while potent, features 1 guy under the age of 32. The rotation features two washed up guys, two kids that are complete unknowns, and one "top of the rotation" guy that isn't even considered the ace by the man who signs the paychecks! The team is visibly old and deeply mired in the Witchell Rehunt and associated scandals. Almost all their major contributors have missed time in each of the last few seasons, and they are laughable thin at all positions. They play in the same division as the defending World Series champions, everyones' (well the same people that default the Yankees to 90 wins) darkhorse/sexy pick Tampa, and a Jay team with 4 top line starters and an emergent offense. Do you give this team of hoary bastards 90 wins without a second thought?

Does this seem like a team you can pencil in for 88-90 wins just like that? What kind of confidence does Phil Hughes instill that Dustin McGowan does not? Who the fuck is Ian Kennedy? When in his entire life has Mike Mussina ever won anything? When did Chein-Mein Wang become better than Roy fucking Halladay?

Some of the zzzzzzZiPS projections floating around put the Yankees on or around 93 wins. I call shenanigans. This is it. This is the year it all comes crashing down in the Bronx. I just hope a team with solid pitching, defense and a patient yet explosive offense is around to take advantage.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hungry, Hungry Hippos

Spring has sprung! Let the overreaching predictions and instantly-regrettable choices burst forth like a glacial stream betwixt two imposing mountaintops.

Ryan Dempster, proud owner of two Canadian passports (on his chin and in his travel attaché) has decided that this, the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last World Series triumph, is the year the Cubs win the World Series. The Cumdempster could be plying his unique brand of cardiac-ball from the rotation this season, giving Cub fans an extra 4 and 2/3 innings to curse his name. Tinkers to Evers to Chance to Infinity.

Congratulations Erik Bedard! You've been traded to the Mariners. You get to play with Ichiro in a gigantic pitcher's ballpark. Have a coffee, here's an umbrella. Comfortable yet? I know you've only been here a few days, but guess what? You're our Opening Day starter! Pressure, what do you mean pressure? I know we've got a young stud that was rushed last year, but he's okay. Right? Right???

Hi, I'm Josh Beckett. I'm 27 years old and have two (2) World Series rings. I'm a big game pitcher and a big game hunter. I plow through country starlets and hang out with NASCAR drivers. Murph, Sully, and Seaner would all leave Tina/Brianna in the lurch for one night with me. I'm a pretty big fucking deal, let me tell you. I live big and I eat big. Do something. Don't mess with Texas, and don't bring me a ribrack that weighs less than a Pop Warner football team.

This post's lead photo has nothing to do with baseball or our blog. It is of Namdaemun, a 610 year old gate in Seoul. Sadly, Namdaemun was badly and tragically damaged by a purposely set fire this week. The image is courtesy of Uhh, dick joke?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Unbearable Linkness of Being (lazy)

Instead of piling on the story of Lie Young, take solace in some marginally more interesting stories. This is the end of the beginning.

The Bottom Line

If you go through your entire professional career acting like a complete scumbag jerk fuck, when you fuck up the court of public opinion is going to view you as just that: a scumbag jerk fuck. Don't expect any sympathy now, jackass.

Roger Clemens doesn't "care" about the Hall of fame. He doesn't "care" what everyone else thinks. The only problem with that is that it's a 100% complete lie. All Roger Clemens has ever cared about is his idiot self. Why would someone who doesn't "care" about the Hall or the fans go to such great lengths to prove his innocence.

Brian McNamee is a scumbag that honestly believed the Rog to be his buddy. As previously stated, Roger Clemens is a complete dipshit. Andy Pettitte threw his so-called friend right under the fucking streetcar. Congress is wasting their time, they're wasting my time, and they're not even going about this whole debacle in anything close to the right manner. Not a soul there has any clue about what's gone on, what continues to go on today, and what the future holds for baseball. So to all of them should try fucking off.

Republican this....Democrat that....FUCK IT, let's play some baseball.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Know Your Enemy

Given the glut of information presented by the interwebs, we Jays fans can easily keep tabs on the wheelings and dealings of the vile pink hat producers to the south.

Heavily circulated rag the New York Post is reporting that histrionic wunderkind and gnat-beacon Joba Chamberlain will go the way of the Papelboner and start the season in the bullpen. Much like the easily-amped Boston stopper, Joba displayed unhittable stuff right from the embryonic stages of his Major League career. The team went to great lengths to protect his virginal arm, enacting the "Joba Rules" to prevent notorious slave driver Joe Torre from grinding his tender ligaments into a fine paste.

But much like Red Sox of their closer Papelbon, the Yankees feel he is too valuable in the setup role and will hold off until mid-season before unleashing Joba on unsuspecting interleague opponents. The big-spending Yanks will then be heading into the stretch run with a rotation of kids, and god-willing, a heaping spoonful of poetic justice.

Insert obligatory picture of the gold

My Boy Vernon

It has been well-established that the Jays were hit with a rash of injuries last season to key personnel, as B.J. Ryan, Lyle Overbay, Reed Johnson and Gustavo Chacin all missed extended periods of time. Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Troy Glaus had shorter stints on the DL while Vernon Wells played hurt much of the year. Even recent addition Scott Rolen arrives with some questions, coming off a season that saw him play only 112 games. While these injuries opened the door for young arms to develop and blossom, it wasn't until (too?) late in the season that Jays saw their lineup at full strength.

So, can Toronto contend with the Sox and the Yankees this season? Obviously this depends on many players bouncing back from injury and performing. The most essential cog in the machine is Vernon Wells. Hampered by a shoulder cyst for a substantial chunk of the season, Wells' production was down in all offensive categories. His OPS was down from .899 to .706, SLG dropped from .542 to .402, HR down from 32 to 16 and RBI down from 106 to 80. His numbers were worse across the board, but I'm an optimist so I will chalk it up to playing hurt.

The Jays have a better team in 2008, and in my opinion a better chance of giving the Red Sox and Yankees a serious run, but without a healthy and performing Wells, those chances are greatly diminished. If we get a 2006 performance out of Wells, a 2004 performance out of Rolen and the rotation does it's thing as I know it will, it could be a fun October in Toronto.

When Idiots speak

It has to be 100% official now. Former big league bigot John Rocker says he failed a MLB sanctioned drug test during the 2000 season, after having scoffed at the very notion of doping in Major League Baseball. He also mentioned that Bud Selig was aware of it, along with high level people within the MLB players association. Rocker goes on to indicate that 40 to 50 percent of baseball players are on steroids.

This is a complete 180 for the hate monger who last March indicated that less than 10 percent were likely using, and that the whole issue was being driven by media propaganda. Evidently John Rocker doesn’t have a fucking clue. More importantly absolutely no one else does either. Am I expected to take this idiot hillbilly at his word when he opens his mouth? I sure the fuck hope not, as he’s already proven his IQ keeps him just a shade under from being in Mensa.

Something else I couldn’t give an absolute fuck about either, Debra Clemens allegedly being injected with HGH prior to her posing in the 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. I couldn’t give a shit if she’s a junkie who shoots up the black every fucking day.

I sure hope some of these MLB reporters can start finding stories worthy of being read by me and other BASEBALL fans. This shit is useless.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Greener Pastures

All the talk of scandal and greed, screw jobs and Massholes leaves me cold. Big companies make painful and heartless decisions every day; this one just cut a little closer to the bone. But the scenery is about to greatly improve for baseball fans. Money grubbing and rectal probing will be replaced by palm trees, sun, and guys in strangely-numbered jerseys having the time of their lives.

Baseball and sports in general are great because they offer opportunity to those who would otherwise be without. Brandon League, by all accounts, is not a genius. People of such diminished mental capacity are usually left to sad lives in the Jays ticketing department or supporting the Toronto Maple Leafs. Luckily for young Brandon, he can rush it up to the plate in a serious and sinking way. Which bodes well for his once budding, now question-marked baseball career.

Much was expected of Brandon League in the build-up to the 2007 season. He had been positively lights out at the end of 2006. He threw hard as balls and came complete with the kind of downward movement on his pitches that makes scouts drool. He was penciled in as the set-up guy going into 2007, leaving the Mullet and the Midget to pick up the pieces after the latest Josh Towers debacle or suffer similar indignities.

No scenario for 2007 considered the possibility of Brandon League losing his damn mind. Only in Brandon's pipeline-concussed brain do his reasons for ignoring the advice of the coaching staff lie, but somewhere in there he knows he fucked up. Large. He lost a year to injury and pissed off the Jays brass. He lost a great deal of zip from his fastball and the precious motion that helps separate the Mariano Rivera's from the Mark Wohlers'.

Fast-forward to this spring. Instead of having a predetermined role, he comes to camp fighting for those same 6th inning scraps. A return to form and initial visit to Sounddecisionmakingtown for League would give the Jays an enviable amount of flexibility. The Ginger Gangster could stay in the 'Cuse for a year of seasoning, Handsome Gus and JP's choice Casey Janssen could fight it out for the fifth starter's role. All the while a clutch of talented right handers would be vying for the chance to set up or step in for the rehabbing closer. Brandon League must be a part of the discussion and should play a key role in the Jays bullpen if they expect to repeat the success of last year.

People I'd like to punch

There are just some people in the MLB that need my fist in their face, and these are them:

Milton Bradley - Granted he'd more than likely kill me after I punched him, crazy bastard.
Bronson Arroyo - I don't like the way he looks, he should be punched.
Kenny Rogers - All you need is a camera and some questions....then it's on.
Carl Everett - Needs an ass kicking.
AJ Pierzynski - He's just a clown.
Shea Hillenbrand - I'm not the only one.
Jim Edmonds - Anyone can dog it to make catches look great, screw Jim.
Brett Myers - He beat his wife, and is a complete dick on top of that.
Rafael Furcal - Repeat DUI offender, c'mon Rafael you're better than that. Actually, you aren't.
Gary Sheffield - Slow the bat down scum bag.
CC Sabathia - hahahahahahahahaha, I just want to, and put you're hat on straight idiot.
Juan Pierre - Same reason.
Raul Mondesi - Lloyd's exploits clearly demonstrate that Mondesi needs to be decked.
Roger Clemens & Alex Rodriguez - I have a general hate-on for both of them.

I'm sure there are hundreds more. Many players need to be punched in the mouth by me, I'm quite certain of it. Current Toronto Blue Jays are exempt, as are the former Jays that haven't quite met my criteria for receiving an overhand right.

Alex Rodriguez really is a dick though.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Over, the Under and my Prophecy

So many numbers to go through, so many's fucking awesome wouldn't you say? I could probably make this the longest most drawn out blog in history, but don't want to completely bore everyone who may come across it in their lifetime. I've gone to the trouble of setting what I believe are some interesting over/unders relating to the upcoming MLB season. Sure, you may disagree with my genius but isn't that what makes this game so grand? So here they are, I'd accept your wagers, but am quite confident my broke ass wouldn't be the most prompt in paying out.

Toronto Blue Jays - Wins - 89.5 - Not good enough for the east, Wild card??
Roy Halladay - Wins - 17.5 - I know what I'd be taking here.
Alex Rios - Home Runs - 26.5 - Last years first half showed what he's capable of.
Aaron Hill - RBI's - 84.5 - He's only going to get better.
Scott Rolen - Games Played - 119.5 - Still a question mark durability wise.
B.J. Ryan - saves - 17.5 - Again, another question mark, but we're hopeful.
Gustavo Chacin - Innings Pitched - 102.5 - I'm being generous.
Team Stolen Bases - 60.5 - Check what they had last year.
Scott Downs - Games - 77.5 - Every other day last season.
Team AVG - .2675 - Gotta be better than last season.
Combined wins between Burnett, Marcum & McGowan - 33.5 - It better be over.
Gibby gets tossed from how many games - 8.5 - Light that fire GIBBY.
Times throughout the season JP says, "We like our team" - 235.5 - Enough said.
Jays 2008 attendance - 2,556, 750.5 - Support your fucking team Toronto.

Those are Jays Specific, let's check out some other shit from around the league...

Ichiro Suzuki - AVG - .3505 - Ichiro is fucking sick.
Alex Rodriguez - HR - 42.5 - No way this dick does what he did last year.
Alex Rodriguez - pissing other people off - well over a thousand
Barry Bonds - BB's - 130.5 - Fuck I'd walk him (wherever he's playing)
NY Yankees - Wins - 84.5 - Fuck the Yankees
Prince Fielder - HR's - 53.5 - I figure he hits more.
Ryan Howard - HR's - 55.5 - Big year for Howard
Johan Santana - K's - 260.5 - He's gonna K a ton in AAA ball
Johan Santana - Wins - 19.5 - I say he gets 20
NY Mets - Wins - 93.5 - Sure they choked last year but...
Curtis Granderson - Triples - 19.5 - Man, he hit a bunch last year...??
Magglio Ordonez - Doubles - 51.5 - 54 last season is many.
Jose Reyes - SB's - 79.5 - Could he crack 80? I believe so.
Jimmy Rollins - AB's - 685.5 - I couldn't put it at 700, I just couldn't...
Daniel Cabrera - Losses - 15.5 - Hope for his sake it's better than 2007

AL Playoff teams - Boston, Detroit, Anaheim, TORONTO!!!!
NL Playoff teams - New York, St. Louis, Colorado, Arizona
AL Champion - Detroit
NL Champion - New York
World Series - Detroit

Man is it ever early for this shit, but I just had to do it. I'm sure I'll change my mind
over a thousand times before opening day, but who cares, baseball is fucking awesome.

Aaron Hill will be an all-star in 2008.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Not Ready for Primetime

A few days ago I was frantically alt-tabbing away from doing research on uhh, science, when I stumbled across something that astounded me. In my haste to unsee what will remain forever etched in my mind (terrible, terrible and offensive science), I somehow accidentally learned of a past transaction of which I had no recollection. In the summer of 2001, the Toronto Blue Jays signed free agent outfielder Deion fucking Sanders to a minor-league contract. He played 25 games for Syracuse before being released one month later to the day.

Long known for suits that could bring a pimp to tears and being one of the best cover corners in NFL history, Deion was also a baseball hobbyist. Not baseball hobbyist in the "I play Strat-o-matic because I'm fat/I go to fantasy camp because I'm rich" sense; but in the "I steal 26 bases and record 14 triples in 97 games because the off season is boring" sense. Many Jays fans will also remember Deion being everywhere in the 1992 World Series, when he hit .533, stole 5 bases and (with an assist to Bob Davidson) deprived Devon White his rightful immortality.

Even though it was a few years too late and a clear sign that Gord Ash was good for nothing, the thought of Deion Sanders as a Blue Jay is an intriguing one. It would have been interesting to see what he could have accomplished had he actually pursued a proper baseball career. He was a phenomenally gifted athlete and among the first (for better or for worse) to establish himself as a brand. This entire turn of events likely registered on my radar in 2001 and I'd simply forgotten, but it made my head spin none the less. That kind of thing happens as one approaches the tender age of 8000.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I better get my seat

I don't care who I'm sitting next to come opening day this season, but it seems to me the likelihood of it being some prick Red Sox fan has gone up somewhat.

This farming out of tickets has spawned quite a bit of questioning and anger from some of the more loyal Jay supporters. For good reason too. You can't offer tickets to opposing teams fans before offering them to the local fans who put far more money into ownerships pockets than they do as well as support them on a daily basis. That's fucking retarded. If it's indeed true the Jays were offering up tickets to Red Sox and Tigers fans prior to Jays fans, then that is simply poor.

Just to be clear, April 4th is FUCKING OPENING DAY. Opening day doesn't need to be promoted to opposing fans for fuck sake. Why the shit would Jay management want opposing fans in the stands for a game that will potentially sell out anyway? It did last year. If I hear louder cheering for the Red Sox than the Jays come opening day I'm going to start a riot right there at the game. Some Red Sox fan will get my fist in his mouth. I'm not going to go on, as plenty has been said regarding this debacle.

Consider the ball offically the fuck dropped on this one.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

End of the line for Eric

At least its warm in Tampa Bay. However it is kinda of like playing for a minor league team. Eric Hinske doesn't care though. He's agreed to a minor league contract with the perennial basement dwellers of the American League East. Good for him. Maybe he'll regain the form that saw him win the Rookie of the year with the Jays back in 2002. Then again, maybe he'll continue to fucking suck every time he takes the field, which is my guess. I wouldn't bet a wooden nickel he'll hit above the glowing .204 clip he put up last year. I'll be on the lookout for him in the next couple of year to be the bench coach for the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian league down in Rookie Ball. At least he got that World Series ring busting his ass for the Red Sox last season. Way to go you chump.

I can't wait to watch the Jays play the Rays in Tampa this season and hear that uber-heckling clown cut the shit out of Eric. We could see a repeat of what happened when Brett Favre decided to lose the NFC Championship this season.

Walk Among Us

You fucking people. You come to MY party, your one and only opportunity to mingle with greatness and still you have the audacity to question me, question my manager? If I've selected him to manage this ball club, so he goes not but by the grace of god. His decisions are my decisions. Quickly, let's begin the exhumation of Casey Stengel because a guy who comes to 80% of the games dressed as a blue chair thinks John Gibbons isn't the right man for the job.

Season ticket holders think they can puff up their chests and get in my face? Look buddy, I don't come down to where you work and knock the dick out of your mouth, so back the fuck off. You think a lifetime of servitude at Dewey, Cheatem & Howe LLP somehow makes you a eye-black stained baseballman with a radar gun affected sperm count? Why don't you go start a blog like the rest of those wastes of skin? The world needs your unique and insightful opinion like I need your wife's constant calls and text messages alternately asking why it burns when she pees and if I can take her away from her blow-hard husband and his sad, depressing life.

You need my lies because you cannot comprehend the magnificence, the grandeur of my divine plan. The complexity and the intangibles, the mitigating factors and the gut instincts. It's all miles over your narrow little head Princess.

My job takes finesse. It's hard to speak out of both sides of my mouth while snapping my gum like a vapid cheerleader. I must bring you in with the left hand and beat you down like a ginger stepchild with the right. You'll thank me in the end, once your tiny brain grasps what I've been leading you to this whole time. All of this is for your own good.