Sunday, August 31, 2008

Breathless Update during a Workless Weekend

Holy Shit! The Jays staged a wild comeback against the Yankees, with Jose Bautista serving as the catalyst! Will wonders never cease?
  • Travis Snider hasn't looked too bad in his two big league games. A few adventures in left on Friday night, I will freely chalk them up to a lack of familiarity with the ballpark. He did a good job cutting off Abreu's drive to the gap, but didn't show the strongest arm. His throw on the jumping catch near the wall was stronger, but too late. At the plate, he hasn't been trying to pull everything, taking pitches away from him to the center and left (his opposite) fields. The Mockingbird breaks down his first game here.
  • Brandon League is hilariously awesome. Striking out Alex Rodriquez, Jason Giambi and Xavier Nady en route to picking up his first win of the year last night.
  • As the Reverend noted below: Rocco is a hero, and somebody just stuck their dick inside the storybook. From the looks of it, last night's Rays/O's game was the game of the year. Real Rocco and Greek Rocco exchanging heroics, the good guy coming out on top. Sweet.
  • 2 for 1 Shrimp Night at Walkoff Walk! Too much fun.
The Jays look to sending out the righties-only brigade today, with Snider and Overbay both on the bench. Andy Pettitte's move is so good, I fear Snider might have been picked off of home.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Happy Barber

As Lloyd spends his weekend WOW'ing and I spend it working; I though it was appropriate that I pay homage to his one true love.

We'll talk soon...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Long Weekend Enjoyment

Sit back, enjoy a refreshing beverage, and let Travis Snider's growing pains take you into fall. Perhaps some Whiffleball is in your future. That is the kind of future I can only dream about. Another dream of mine is finishing ahead of the Yankees, which this weekend will go a long way in deciding. Carl Pavano versus future Yankee AJ Burnett! John Parrish v. Darrel Rasner, a match up worthy of Yankee Stadium's venerable history. It brings a tear to my eye.

If you do find yourself online this weekend, come by Walkoff Walk, where I will be plying my trade once again. Labour on my brothers!

Stairs Trade Update: ESPN is reporting that the Jays will receive pitcher Fabio Castro from the Phillies. It appears that Castro is left-handed and terrible.

The Power of Freedom

Emancipated from credibility and objectivity, I am free to say sending Matt Stairs to the Phillies (H/T to the true-to-form Drunk Jays Fans) is likely a good move for the club, as an non-hitting DH holds no real purpose. And I can also state plainly that bringing up Travis Snider now seems like too much, too soon for a 20 year old hitter that started the season in A ball. But, um, HOLY SHIT, they called up Travis Snider!! The potential for this to be outstandingly awesome is off the charts. It will surely end in tears this year, but at least it will be fun!

There are still so many questions! Who hits where? Does he play every day? Does he want to go for nachos? Does that mean Buck Coates gets to be a September call-up? Is he really going to play his first big league game at Yankee Stadium?? Bonercity, USA.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Anger Runeth Over

After my fruitless live blog, I was rewarded with the angry and misinformed calling JP full of venom. Three people talking on air doesn't exactly make for great radio, but Wilner & Co. cutting people off is always fun. Coming off a tough loss, JP begins by morosely going over the last few games. Then Wilner and JP go over the trade of Robinson DiaHOLY SHIT, THERE IS A ZOMBIEBABY ON MY TV!!! That Canadian girl just shot the zombie baby!!!!11!! ZOMBIE BABIES EVERYWHERE!!

First Nervous Caller: Umm, uhh, what about AJ Burnett.

JP the Salesman: We don't know what he'll do. But if he doesn't lose his mind, we aren't likely to pursue him as a free agent.

Every sensible bloggers father, perhaps even JP's own flesh and blood: Richard Griffin is a fucking chump. You do a bang up job, this team isn't so bad. Good work JP!

JP Continues the Hard Sell: Well thanks fella, we really think we're doing a good job, we like our team. I don't read the paper because Griffin doesn't believe any of the things he writes. Ask the other teams about our organization and they'll tell youOH MAN, HUMANS V. ZOMBIE ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN. MARSELLUS WALLACE JUST SHOT A ZOMBIE IN THE EYEnderachieved this season. (he's been talking for 90 seconds uninterrupted at this point, but makes a good point about not being trapped under too many bad contracts.) Wilner chimes in with a gooZOMBIES IN THE SEWERS! SAVE THE DOG! RUN MOTHERFUCKnd thanks for tuning into JP's book club.

Toronto's Angriest Man: I've talked a lot of shit on your JP, but now I get to say it to your face! This is great! So many bad trades, so much money tied up in Frank Thomas, Shannon Stewart and Scott Rolen! You gave AJ Burnett the first ever opt-out clause for a pitcher, Troy Glaus>>>Scott Rolen. Plus, you're too uncouth (!) and arrogant to get good free agents.

JP will defend himself once the ranting subsides: We weren't the only ones to give out a glorified player-option to a pitcher, and Troy Glaus wanteOMG ZOMBIE TRUCKS! SHOOT THE PROPANE TANK AND KILL THE ZOMBIESlaus was deeply embroiled in an HGH scandal, and had a crappy year last year. And wanted out. Plus Scott Rolen is awesome. And Frank Thomas sucked this year, which is why we cut him. It had nothing to do with the HUGE OPTION for next year that we didn't want to pay. And he's barely played for the A's.

Man with Quiroz-coloured glasses: We've been giving away our top catching prospects for bums! I could throw a fastball past Bautista! I just said "givin'em the shaft" on the radio! Weeee!

JP, Stifling Laughter: Hrm. Guillermo Quiroz current sports an OPS+ of 44. That is higher than both his years with the Blue Jays. Kevin Cash, he of the sub .300 On Base and OPS+ of 65. Not supremely terrible. We must have made a mistake. Or we gave him two shots to "make a statement" and he OPS+ 42 one year (in 181 ABs) and -2 the year before (in 106 ABs.) NEGATIVE TWO!!! In a similar number of at bats, his OPS+ is 80 points lower than Kevin Mench; and he's terrible!

The Babblingest Brook In the World: Without any exaggeration, this poor bastard went on for two full minutes without really saying a single thing. It was a trainwreck. I can't even think of any jokes, it just sounded like this. He managed to mumble something about pitching.

JP Draft Good! Our pitching is pretty great. We've got Halladay, Marcum, Burnett (riiiight), Litsch, Purcey, Cecil, Romero LIKE GEORGE ROMERO, WHO'S MOVIE FEATURES PEOPLE RUNNING FOR BOATS! GET TO THE BOATS BEFORE THE ZOMBIES DO!!'ve got a bunch of kids that have really moved through the system. Yay!

Obligitory Canadian Zealot: Rich Harden is fucking great! Get him! I blame Sportsnet for this. Watching the West Coast version of Connected, they only show highlights of BC guys, and refer to their hometown constantly. Get a life, who cares?

JP the Couthless: Not happening. He's still under contract. Though he really and truly is awesome. And cute!

Replay Guy: Replay?

JP: Sure. Don't slow the game down. Where do you draw the line?

Very Polite Young Man: Fuck the players, bring us a winner!

Super Defensive JP: I know I'm ignoring your question here, but seriously, believe in me! My trades are good, despite the fact that the players haven't worked out.

Cito's BFF: How did Cito fall into your lap? Why didn't he get any other jobs? 60 games in, it is still slightly disturbing to me that Cito Gaston is the Blue Jays Manager in 2008. I think I forget from time to time. It defies all logic, and yet it seems to be working! Inasmuch as changing the manager can work. The hitters not being terrible works in his favor.

Honest, Vulnerable JP: That is a good question, I think I heard about him getting a few job offers befoOH NO, THE MAIN WHITE GUY HAS A ZOMBIE BITE! HE'S TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM. THE MOVIE IS OVER, THEY'RE SAFE ON A BOAT. WAIT, WHAT IS IN THAT COOLER? ZOMG!!!! ZOMBIE HEAD!!!! We really like what Cito's done for us.

Bongzilla: Catchers? Gregg Zaun is gritty!

JP the Draftmaster: The next guy's name is JP! He can't miss!

Sylvester Stallone in Lock Up: Cito; Locked Up? I heard he was locked up. Is he locked up? Lock it up!


The last guy sends JP a big, wet kiss and Wilner tries to get September call-up names out of the GM. He isn't biting, but ZOMBIES DO!

When Love and love Collide

David Purcey only pitches on 6 days rest. Tough work if you can get it. This large lefty makes his third consecutive Wednesday outing, this week against the Rays. Meaning we are fortunate enough to witness Rocco as the Rays DH! God bless you David Purcey, you and your genetic shortcomings! This not-so momentous occasion calls for me to half-assedly live blog this non-event! Rocco's at-bats anyway. I'm stuck at work, and can't think of anything better to do. I'm still going to do my highly original Wednesday's with JP gonzo-journoterrorist styled takedown tomorrow, but this will tide me over.

Check back around 7!

7:16: I made it home, fuck work! The TTC didn't let me down, as I sped home at a top speed of 71 km/h, allowing me to wander in my door in time to see Alex Rios almost kill two outfielders. En route, I enjoyed the soothing sounds of Fucked Up's Hidden World. I slept on this record for far too long, but don't you make the same mistake!

7:21: The Jays take the field, Rocco is hitting clean up as the gods intended. Ball-throwin' machine David Purcey K's Akinori to start the game. I'm going to glog this for as long as I can. The old lady will be home soon, and she will surely ruin my fun enrich my life in numerous ways.

7:23: Tabby throws the mad curse down on Overbay. Pena on, Rocco up. He gets a nice ovation from the dozens of Rays fans on hand, leading into a solid ROC-CO chant that quickly dies. David Purcey rings Rocco up with a nice pitch on the corner. Jamie Campbell is spared having to expand on Rocco's injuries; something that may have cost him his life. Inning over.

7:28: Adam Lind interrupts the Matt Garza slurp-job with a base hit up the middle. Overbay comes to the plate and the audio/video go to shit on my TV. I'll have Campbell's head for this.

7:31: Smallball can lick my small balls. Bouncer up the middle ruins a perfectly pointless hit-and-run. 2 out for Canucking Stairs. He goes down on strikes, Matt Garza smirks away.

7:40: Willy Aybar singles and Jamie Campbell informs us that Ben Zobrist is the Rays version of Russ Adams. Benny then strikes out in a very Russ Adams-y fashion. Shawn Riggans steps up, and Jamie Campbell casually mentions that he and Chone Figgans are mortal enemies from their time on Krypton. That's why he's there and I'm here. Riggans disobeys Lex Luthor, trying to emulate Figgans with a swinging bunt. The catcher can't leg it out. Purcey picks up his fourth strikeout, sending the other Italian outfielder back to the bench.

7:49: Rod Barajas goes down and strikes, continuing his not-really-that-good season. He has Jays fans (and announcers) drinking the Scutaro-juice somehow. Guy that would kill for a .300 OBP Johnny Mac goes down quickly, followed by a Joe Inglett double to the corner. Joe Inglett is 2-2, and worming his way into the scrappy guy-shaped hole in Toronto's heart. Those fucking cowbells make the empty building (of a first place team) 1000x tougher to take. Just over 13000 took in last night's contest. Florida sucks.

7:56: Scutaro works a walk, the people dressed as blue seats don't agree. Alex Rios is hot, Garza needs a talking to. The leather-lunged guy that hated Hinske was the only thing resembling soul in this dump, he is missed. Alex Rios swings at ball four with the count 3-0. Sigh. Inning over.

8:01: Jamie Campbell stumps for his waste of time blog. "Do you think AJ will opt out?" Not sure Jamie, but I'm sure your Rogers press release will offer some edgy insight. Bartlet strikes out, as does Iwamura. Purcey has 6 already, mostly be getting ahead. Awesome to see. Upton pops out, the blue chairs offer their mild indifference.

8:07: Vernon Wells pops out quickly, while Jamie Campbell continues to express his love for Matt Garza. It's understandable, kid can bring it and has fared well against the Jays this season. By my count, he's faced them 26 times, allowing -6 runs. Wow, he actually has an ERA of 0.39 against the Jays. Lind grounds out but Lyle Overbay goes the other way and stretches a double into a single. Rusty Zobrist hustles up to keep Lyle on first. HOORAY! Our first Reed Johnson reference of the day. Fuck. Matt Stairs shows the sad face as he weakly pops up to Reedy Zobrist. Inning over, Rocco due up!

8:14: Carlos Pena hits one to the moon, and the leather-lunged jerk makes himself heard. 1-0 Rays. Rocco strikes out again, and I question my purpose in life. DAVID PURCEY IS MADE OF MAGIC, AND JUST STRUCK OUT THE SIDE. Jesus.

8:23: Sportsnet highlights the Rays history of ineptitude. The blue chairs shout in agreement. Rod Barajas strikes out again, and John MacDonald breaks his bat tapping the plate, causing Pat Tabler and Jamie Campbell to guffaw with gusto. Chone Riggans takes one in the manplaces, after Matt Garza shook him off. Let that be a lesson to you Riggans. Johnny Mac goes down in a somewhat feeble manner. Jamie Campbell hates success, informing the public that Joe Inglett is halfway to the cycle. A retiree in Brandon, Manitoba just had a heart attack. "We're going to win a million bucks Millie!" Inglett strikes out. My snark may be obscuring the fact that this is an old-fashioned pitcher's duel. Highly enjoyable.

8:35: David Purcey is on fire, mowing down the Rays once more. He picked up his 10th K in the process. My timing is impeccable.

8:45: The Jays go in order once again, as Matt Garza has found his groove. My attention is taken from the game because Cosmo Kramer is a profit. Iwarmura bunts for a single, and Upton moves him up. Pena flies to centre, and Akinora aggressively moves to third. Rocco steps to the plate, with redemption on his mind.

9:23: This is setting up as an epic failure for me. Wived away from the computer, Rocco picking up three strikeouts and the Jays might end up losing. Fuck. Matt Garza is out of the game now, having walked two men on. Jamie Campbell forgot that Matt Stairs is out of the game, but I won't hold it against him.

9:25: Motherfucker. The din of 12000 cowbells is too much for Adam Lind. Aussie Balfour climbs the ladder on him. My failure continues.

9:28: Matt Garza was talking to his hat, a mantra from which he gains strength I assume. Why is it okay on the baseball field, but in real life that makes you a crazy person? A weird squibber that Jason Bartlett beats out sums up my night, nay my life. Akinori Iwamura smashes one back at Purcey, which almost kills him. Purcey (my mother's maiden name, incidentally) knocks it down and makes the play. Cito leaves Purcey in to face Upton with 2 out. This is a noteworthy at bat. Upton lines out to Lind in left, retiring the side and further soiling Purcey's sweat-soaked pants.

9:35: Converted closer Dan Wheeler checks into the game and Gabe Gross is in for defense. Campbell praises Purcey, who was lights fucking out tonight. Overbay swears like a trucker, having jussst missed his pitch. One down, Jose Bautista has a chance to contribute to a winning team in a big spot. He promptly strikes out on the same pitch that got him all weekend. This sucks. I need no more cowbell!

9:41: FUCKING SHIT. YOU AREN'T ROCCO, HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT CATCH?!? Barajas clubs one deep to left, but Justin Ruggiano makes an incredible catch to end the game. What a hose job. A great, brisk game that ends with the bluest of balls. I'm going to hatefuck JP and Wilner's callers tonight.

Thanks for stopping by, I am a failure in every way. I'll have to do this again sometime, when the old lady is far, far away. I joke, she's good people. Far too good for the likes of me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rays Hope Deal with the Devil Holds up One More Night

As I've admitted in so many words, the Rays are for real. They've turned their bullpen completely around, making it one of the best in baseball. They only have one real offensive weak spot (shortstop) but who doesn't? Their manager seems to have his shit together, and they always win at home. All that I get. But what I will not accept, what does not make sense, is their dominance over Roy Halladay. An ERA over 5? More walks allowed than any other team? Madness. The free-swinging Rays should be no match for the big-swinging dick of Halladay. They should be waving at his pitches, meekly grounding out time and time again. But no. They've beat him up, time and again. The Doc's been so good this year, even his most traditional foes have learned what always happens in the end when you face Halladay.

It appears defensive instrument of God Scott Rolen may return to fight the good fight at the Juicehole. Rolen and Rocco on the same field, with Roy starting? Pack all my things, I'm off to heaven.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

That Ended Poorly

Poorly indeed. One misplaced Brandon League "slider" and the Jays drop two of three at home to the Sox. Scratch that: the eye-high fastball that emergent scumbag Dustin Pedroia coaxed over the left field fence was much more painful and impactful. More painful still was the low-and-away target that Barajas provided, the one Burnett missed by a good three feet. I don't even think eye-high does it justice. I think it was actually inside his eye socket. Either way, this was a hell of a game, one that the Jays will rue dropping for hours to come.

Much has been made (Jerry & Alan went on and on, and Wilner mentioned it also) of AJ Burnett's reluctance to come out of the game. Which is total horseshit. I'm going to be guilty of accusing AJ of something I would laud Halladay for, but freaking out because you're coming out of a tied game doesn't scream "gamer" to me, it screams "I want the W." AJ was bailed out by the Jays offence three starts in a row (before his gem against the Yankees) and today was no different. Burnett "kept his team in the game," but he also "bisected the plate with a fastball that Coco Crisp hit a long way." Would he have kicked up a fuss if he was ahead? What about behind? Having thrown 109 pitches, with the best bullpen in baseball behind him, how could he have felt that it was in the best interests of the team to send him out there for the 8th? It simply wasn't a very professional move. These rhetorical questions belie my continuing belief that AJ Burnett is awesome, but getting pissed off about taking a ND is just bad form.

Who isn't in bad form, you may ask? ROCCO BALDELLI'S FORM IS ANYTHING BUT BAD. Rocco hit his first home run since May 2007 on Friday, then smashed another bomb Sunday. He added a double from the clean-up spot, upping his OPS to .934. He's even looked downright spry on the base paths. Rocco has been serving as the right handed half of a DH platoon, meaning David Purcey is facing certain death, and will have a good seat for Rocco's first home AB since his return.

A comment on the DRaysBay regarding Rocco's contract status got me thinking curious things today. The Rays declined the club option they held for next year, meaning Rocco is an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT. Of course I'd like to see Rocco on the Jays, but I also think he'd be a great fit if the Jays don't sign a big bat. He's obviously a vastly superior defender to Adam Lind, and while Lind is well beyond needing insurance, they could split time at DH/LF with Matt Stairs spelling both men as the part-time DH. A one year deal for Rocco to show the league he's healthy and allow Travis Snider a full season at Syracuse for seasoning. Everybody wins! Of course, I am pretty confident that Rocco will give the Rays a discount for standing by him and supporting him through his odyssey. But then again, he's a baseball player! They don't give a shit about that!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Saturday Shit Show

Forty Four thousand plus watched the Jays demoralize the Wild Car-leading Red Sox on a humid Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Vernon Wells is a fucking demon, looking for the first five hit game of his career while making Jason Bay hate coming to the plate. Wells tracked down everything Bay tried to put into play, while sending two out of play himself. Fuck you Murph. The Jays have 16 hits and 11 runs through seven and are looking to continue the madness into the eighth. There must be something in the water in Syracuse as Jesse Litsch has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings since his recall. Let's hope this outburst continues into tomorrow's affair.

In other news which may seem odd to some, Shaun Marcum was optioned to AAA Syracuse before today's game. The team hopes he can sort out the control issues he's been experiencing since coming off the DL. They feel he has time to sort it all out and still be a key part of any potential playoff push. John Parrish was recalled and will make Marcum's next scheduled start. I found this somewhat surprising, though anyone can see that he hasn't been as effective since coming off the DL...though he hasn't been awful.

In Beijing - South Korea blazes to the gold going UNDEFEATED for the entire Olympics. That's fucked up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Biting

Nope. No matter how many times the Jays storm the castle against Prince Ponson. No matter where they rank in ERA (first), runs allowed (first, the only team under 500), or bullpen ERA (first again).

No matter how much better the offence has been (appreciably), no matter where that offence is coming from (MAC!), no matter how banged up the Red Sox are (scabby), no matter how much disarray the Yankees are in (dizzying). I will not get involved in any LAYOFFS! talk for for three more weeks. I am promising this to myself more than anyone else on Earth.

  • I'm sure that everyone has seen the LOLJays site. Humorous as it is, the poor guy seems to have run out of either material or time. I propose he start doing LOLswingz. Pictures of Major League batters feebly waving at Roy Halladay's nasty, unhittable shit. Poor Johnny Damon had a good series, yet was made to look so bad by both Burnett and Halladay. So there you go Harold, bring the lulz.
  • Will Rain of The Southpaw does more excellent work, this time crunching prospective payroll numbers for next year.
  • Billy Beane has decided that left-handed shitballers are the new fat walking guys
  • Obviously it is dependent on the Mets' club option, but I am all for breaking the bank for Carlos Delgado.
Enjoy the Jason Bay Canadorgy, I'm WoWing this weekend, stop buy and up the mirth.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Halladay on the hill, I still hate the Yankees

As we move closer and closer to September, it would seem the Jays still have aspirations of a playoff berth. If the Doc tosses a game anything like his last start tonight, we should have a chance to gain a little bit of ground on the Sox. Fuck, Roy Halladay would throw a complete game every single time he took the mound if you'd let him. 100 pitches, 200 pitches....he doesn't give a fuck. If he doesn't pitch at least seven innings tonight, I'll more than likely eat my hat. Chances are good as Halladay is 12-5 vs. the Yanks with a solid 2.88 ERA in his career.

Seeing the Yankees in town reminds me just how much I fucking hate them. What I'd actually enjoy seeing tonight would be Alex Rodriguez tearing his Achilles tendon, Sidney Ponson taking a line drive to the grill via the bat of Johnny Mac, Johnny Damon dropping a dozen more easy fly balls and see Jason Giambi's mustache spontaneously combusting, also causing his uniform to catch fire.

Roy Halladay is 44-19 in his career following a Jays loss, so I'm pretty sure the tipster would advise that the smart money is on the Jays. Either that or he'd suggest something retarded, like how since the Mets beat the Braves last night, they'll probably win again just because, so it's a smart bet too.

Purcey, Purcey Me

A distinct sense of inevitability hung over tonight's game. David Purcey has made great strides of late, but remains a little wild and overly reliant on his fastball (so says the smart kid, and those that steal from the smart kid.) That does not sound like recipe for success against the Yankees, scuffling or otherwise. Another shocking turn of events saw the Jays struggle against a junkballing lefty. Crafty weasel Andy Pettite was excellent, throwing strikes and getting the Jays off-balance. The numbers against finesse pitchers speak for themselves, as do the left/right splits. This past off-season's Quest for Balance came up a little short.

Wednesdays with JP: The Vagina Monologues

The team is playing well, but obviously not perfect. Whatever will the angry, the entitled and the troll-like have to complain about? JP's even in the studio! So much more immediate, I predict that much more bitching out. Before the callers, JP mentions Tony Coligniaro, and I am reminded of my favorite Farrelly brothers joke of all time.

Alert caller whom I believe to be this guy: AJ's out yes? Bring in somebody equally awesome.

JP the diplomat: Hmmm, awesome free agents aren't free. Have you seen Ben Sheets? He IS AJ Burnett. Maybe better, maybe more injury prone. Pitchers on the free agent market often end in tears. And tears.

Wayne bleeds maple syrup: I like Canada JP, why do you hate it so?

JP the Xenophobe: Really? This is a question? Name me another player on the team. Stubby doesn't count. It must be that I hate Canada and everything about it. I wish ill upon you and your family, and often wipe my ass with your flag. I've been working in cahoots with Davey Johnson for years now, culminating with this two week Olympic baseball tournament of which you watched MAYBE three innings.

Think about your dead-end job Wayne. Imagine that every single thing you did was scrutinized under a microscope. By tens of thousands of people. With a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Where you are hired to be fired. Do you think you'd give a shit about Baseball Canada? Do you think that if had a chance to help your company or the tiny, insignificant company down the street, the one with the offices above a bowling alley and below another bowling alley, that you'd do it? Of course not. Because you are obviously employed another company, and must do your job to the best of your ability at all times. When you aren't blogging at work that is.

Lizardman: Instant replay?

JP: Can't talk, watching BoSox.

Farmer Jim: Remember how baseball worked 15 years ago? I do! I know we have the best pitching in baseball, but is there any way you could acquire a player who's name I recognize? I like guys that I'm already sure I like.

Lloyd from Southie: Watch the game and fuck off. Greg Maddux is a 1000.

Nervous man: Any chance I could make a redundant point and have you repeat it back to me?

Cocky Man: Yeah sure. Alex Rios is good, and we like him when he's good. He totally wasn't benched the other night. It was his day-off. Just like when you got suspended for smoking weed in high school, but you told your parents they were fumigating the school.

Guy who watched his first game of the year tonight: How come Eckstein and Johnny Mac keep playing all time?(!) They're both terrific defenders(!!) but neither can hit.(!!!) Why not bring up a kid to play second base? Joe Inglett didn't get the start against a tough lefty tonight, so I assume he died or I conjured him amidst an opium daze.

JP, our once and future King: Wilner, shoot me now. Let's do it Mikey, murder/suicide pact. We'll ride golden steeds to Heaven, and you can be my consigliary for all eternity.

Angry Old Man: Grrrr, season over! Olympics important! Grrr!

Man of Diminishing Patience: Yeah, it sucked. But you should SEE how these big leaguers live. Scott Richmond stole sooooo much Gatorade from the clubhouse, he'll never be thirsty again. He took a whole gym bag full of gum, too! Dude is set for life.

Anxious Young Lady: How is Jeremy Accardo, health wise? Does it burn when he pees? What about bumps, does he see any bumps or lesions? Is there any way I could get his number? The one he gave me is just some dry-cleaner in Reseda. Do you think he likes me?

Greg Behrendt: Uhh, he might be back in a few weeks, but I'm just his roommate, ya know? I don't really keep tabs on him, I just know that he pays the rent and somebody collects his mail.

Classic Canadian Inferiority Complex: Why doesn't anyone love us? If they don't talk about us on the TV, does that mean that we really are out of the race?


Oblivious Steve: The Red Sox traded Manny, but not to us. What gives? I like Manny.

JP ♥ Scott Boras: Have you ever given your sworn enemy the keys to your house? Ever let him fuck your wife? I'll look into getting him in the offseason, but I have to stretch out a bit before I deal with Boras. He doesn't usually take off his watch.

Jilted Young Lady: Get Alex Rios the fuck out of town. I don't like getting texts at 4:30am saying "LOL JUICED. M8K OUT?" Make him leave. Please

Lloyd the Misogynist: We'd trade him if the deal was right, but I'd trade my own mother for a ring. But I don't want to hurt his little feelings, so he's a Jay 4ev's. Ed. Note: I should apologize. Both female callers had solid, intelligent questions tonight. I'm a prick.

Winterpegger: This team sucks. Make it better.


Misguided Guy that ignored the previous caller: Moon and stars, chop chop. And a guy named Rod.

Prince of Lies: We like Rod Barajas, we gonna keep him. (You are shit outta luck Rod, he's going to run you out of town on a rail.) JP then made me drop my head in disappointment It's cold and tax-y in Canada. Ball players like it hot and soul food-y. We're fucked.

Bitter scumbag that is quickly cut off: I went to a game and the Jays had the AUDACITY to lose. There wasn't a single triple play, grand slam, perfect game or simulated sex act on the mound. What a ripoff. Gimme my money back.

Incredulous JP: Holy shit, don't listen to him. YOU GET NOTHING.

Burgess Meredith in Grumpy Old Men (calls back to back): Next year could be my last, give me hope to go on. And speed the game up for the love of God. Each pitch brings me closer to death.

Keith Law can eat it: I'm good at drafting. Stay Cold brah.

The last call barely counted, and this is already longer than Burgess Meredith's ballsack, so I'll wrap it up. I will again apologize to DJF as I feel like a shameless thief, and I will apologize to women everywhere for marginalizing them as sports fans.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fed Considers Interest Rate Cut to Combat Burnett Inflation

With the United States plunging deeper into recession, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated today that he would consider cutting interest rates to combat inflationary factor AJ Burnett. The mercurial starter picked up his 16 win of the season last night, a new career high. Many leading economists see Burnett's 2008 performance as a "contract year mirage" and similar to the subprime mortgage crisis.

Many teams stand to be at risk for payment default, as AJ's career peripheral numbers are at career worsts, yet his won-loss record is at a career high. "It is a bull market for pitching right now, and this guy is pumping his value to unseen heights. Some deep pocketed owner is going to fall into the same trap as the mid-level banks. The promise of endless interest payments and 13 strikeout performances one day, elbow strains and Chapter 11 the next."

Noted baseball mind Alan Greenspan had this to say on the matter
Junk bonds have undone many an investor, and not-quite blue chipper Burnett is poised to break hearts. Top economic minds recognize a pitcher being bailed out by his offence, but there is always some cowboy drunk on the sexy risk involved, ready to ignore fiduciary restraint.
Free agent-to-be Ben Sheets refused to comment on Burnett's emergence, stating a market correction was inevitable.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Earl Weaver, Renaissance Man

If you haven't seen this clip, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's hardly safe for work, but do you honestly care? You're reading a blog on company time, they can track that shit. Quitting your job passive-aggressively isn't very becoming.

Jesse whispered tale of this legend before a recent softball trouncing, but I didn't believe I'd ever hear it. But teh internets came through once again.
Hat tip to Jonah Keri once again for the link.

Note Earl's crude yet prescient explanation of quoteMoneyballunquote baseball philosophy: outs are valuable, why throw them away on the base paths. When they hit it over the fence, they can't fuck it up.


The two best teams in baseball hooked up in Tampa last night. Total paid attendance 15 896. Bush. Fucking. League. Hurricanes notwithstanding, they still drew only 17049 last time they hosted on a Monday night. They are going to tarp 7500 hundred seats should they (when they? What planet do we now live on?) make the playoffs. Mostly because they wouldn't sell them, but it could also be a slick season ticket sales tactic. Either way, it is more proof that non-NFL professional sports don't belong in Florida.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Know Your Enemy: White Tar Edition

Adam Lind having popped the clutch on the Blue Jays bandwagon, this week's series against the Bronx Bombers is being billed as a Big One. Perhaps we should gaze into the smoggy depths of Yankeeland and find out what we are getting ourselves into.
  • Bad news for Jays pitching as Hideki Matsui will be coming off the DL for tomorrow's game. Matsui's had success against the Jays, knocking 10 tater tots in 90 games. Matsui's knee will only allow him to DH, meaning both Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi must both strap on the leather. Giambi's defense has improved greatly this year, and his more into latex than leather.
  • Another boon for Yankee opponents is the possible return of Carl Pavano. The move up from punchline to rotation contributor is huge, but if Mike Hampton remains employed, there is hope for Pavano.
  • With two full years left on his contract, it is already time to begin the Derek Jeter=Brett Favre laziness. Oh heavens! What if Derek Jeter isn't a Yankee for life? It really makes me long for the days when players were cattle, and had no right to choose where they played or for how much. How else can we romanticize our legends? How else can a retired ballplayer ensure he'll never pay for a meal again in his life?
  • The Yankees are going to squeeze every last cent of revenue from the new Stadium that they can. They are going to ban all outside food and beverage; forcing the lowly plebes that can afford Yankee tickets to shell out even more for the honor of buying a sponsored drink.
  • Carnies are to be pitied, and are unanimously Yankee fans.
The pitching matchups for this series are a real "who's who" of wife beaters and cups of coffee. Darrell Rasner against the man with career highs in wins, ERA+ (high meaning low) and WHIP AJ Burnett. Guess which one of those things will ensure him 3/45? Andy Petitte and David Purcey hook up Wednesday, which should be interesting. Halladay and Ponson will close the series, and hopefully the book on Ponson's sad career.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Message Received

Josh Beckett removes Adam Lind's treatment from his faceUpdate: This aborted, half-assed post has been somewhat fleshed out. It still sucks though.

As much as I enjoy beating Boston so fully and impressively, I still won't waver from my hard and fast date to start looking upwards. But I will make an exception: I will deem the season a failure unless the Jays can finish above the Yankees. That is something I will pay particular attention to, and will not accept any less.

Did you learn from your chiding Alex Rio? 5 for 6, and a Major League record tying 4 doubles indicates so. His said after the game that he was trying to be more aggressive at the plate, that he hadn't strung a few good days together all season. That would be swell Alex. Two or three simultaneous hot streaks would be a first for this season, and certainly welcome.

Remember one week and one day ago, when I essential said that Adam Lind is now at point where I expect him to hit mistakes out, not just hit the ball hard somewhere. He is now doing that. It is unreal to watch.

Slap-hitting John MacDonald is now to be referred to as power-stricken 'roid monkey John MacDonald. He's certainly holding up his end of the bargain, taking some heat off Cito. The team improves to 21-13 with Johnny Mac in the starting lineup. Interesting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

True Believers

The Large Smoke Birds roll into Fenway tonight nine games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. It's been a season of "they just need to get hot" for the Jays and their every struggling ass offense. Well it's about that time now. Toronto is currently 62-60, with 40 games remaining, 27 of them are against either the Red Sox, Rays or Yankees. You gotta think it's going to take 90-95 wins to get into the playdowns. So Toronto needs to win 30ish games of their remaining 40. That, my friends, is .750 baseball.

I won't even try and count how many good pitching performances have been wasted due to the Jays inability to have their players physically cross home plate but I'm pretty sure it's a thousand. What the fuck can you expect when a player who's missed two months of the season is one behind the team lead in both home runs and RBIs? Awful.

While Scott Downs tries to convince the Jays he doesn't require a stint on the DL, don't expect to see "Shit the bed" Frasor in a meaningful situation anytime soon. How many chances does one get to relieve Jesse Litsch after he's tossed 7 innings of shutout ball? Motherfucker.

I doubt the Jays will finish 31-9 or anything remotely close to that, however I wouldn't be surprised if the Rays sputter home with Longoria, Crawford and now Percival on the shelf. Though I didn't expect the assholes to sit at the top of the East on August 15th either.

Fridays are for Goodness

Lots of good in the baseball world today, none greater than this. My dear friends, this is what we call boner fodder.

Grizzled Showdown at the Pink Hat Corral

Roy Halladay and Paul Byrd will take their Civil War reenactment society to the big stage, battling at Fenway in front of a full house. The Red Sox still have blood on their hands from pummeling the Rangers in the middle of town square. The Sox scored more runs against the Rangers than the Jays scored in July. Cito has his rotation set just the way he wants it, and after yesterday's debacle inevitable game in which the ironclad bullpen finally gives up a few runs, his best bullpen arms are somewhat rested.

Much has been said about Cito's bullpen management, so perhaps now it is time to give John Gibbons some credit for juggling all those southpaws in an effective manner. It also should be noted that Gibbons did it without an effective Brandon League.

Canada Plays Baseball, Your Attention is Diverted from Beach Volleyball for a Few Minutes

The Canadian Olympic baseball team continues its quest for relevance tonight against the 0-2 "Baseball is out of the Olympics so how will we redeem ourselves" Team. Johnny Was of the Southpaw will be live-blogging the proceedings over at Lefty HQ. Fire up and drop by with your maple leafiest comments.

Waiver wire Shenanigans

The worst part about the Vernon Wells on waivers non-story was having to read it on Sportsnet. The comments are an epic trainwreck, one I cannot look away from. Everything derogatory that people say about the internet is true. It is hell on Earth. We're all going to die a fiery death. Very, very soon.

Travis Snider Cannot Be Stopped

But he certainly should be stopped. Not stopped from hitting, which appears to be impossible. Stopped from burning a service year with a September call-up. Let him finish the year in Syracuse talking to Russ Adams about how one strong September in the Show doesn't keep you from being a AAA utilityman. My stance here is highly irrational, I simply don't want to be spoiled by a 20 year old phenom.

Enjoy your weekend, I will doing my weekend duties at Walkoff Walk once again. Sign up to be a commenter and let the capitalization begin. Don't let Jamie Campbell spoil the Fenway atmosphere for you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Questions from girls

A new semi-regular feature here at GROF HQ will see me, Jesse, your friend and marginal Grofman, fielding a handpicked selection of the several hundred well-meaning and adorably naive questions we receive every month from our vast female readership.

Q. Dear Ghostrunners,
I just caught the movie Bull Durham on a free preview of Moviepix and was sooooo charmed by the character Crash Davis. His mixture of calculated aloofness, non-threateningly fit physique, and ruggedly downhome sense of metaphysics made me glad I faked a stomach ache and cancelled on my best friend's birthday night at the Dance Barrel. My question is sort of like why don't I ever feel this way watching the pro ballplayers' interviews on TV? I'm guessing it's because Crash's team was a country team and not a real team, and when an agent signs you to a baseball contract the money and everything makes it weird, right? I don't know, I just thought it was weird.

— Jenn, 25
Mississauga, Ont.

A. So wait... shit. You're saying that the more conventionally masculine Costner character is the one burrowing ever-deeeper into the lurid precincts of your secret mind? I'm a little tangled up here: my gf says Tim Robbins is the cooler of the two, that his hyper self-conscious countenance and gangly musculature is "adorable" in a way that reminds her of me. Is she blowing smoke here or what's going on? Tell you what, I'm going to come back to this one.

Q. Dear Ghostrunners,
I can't believe it! Listen to this: I went down to Toronto for a Jays game at the SkyDome [sic -ed.] last Thursday with some friends (it was my bff's bday!!!) and I saw that the coach looked like the same guy — black , distinguished-looking and with a mustache — as they had when I was in Grade 7. Now I'm more of a Leafs girl (Tucker 4 eva! lol @ haters w00t) and I can tell you that the coaches in hockey are ALWAYS getting fired. Like, you didn't win the cup, so ok bye love ya lol. Why is baseball so different?

— Becky
Carleton Place, Ont.

A. I'm pretty sure this was sent in by my sister, which is a little fucking kooked out, but nonetheless I'll answer it straight. Being as I am a Senators man, I recently became acquainted with what would prove to be the first of the calendar year's two textbook instances of mere head-coach atavism, which we musn't confuse with the more insidious and chillingly evocative concept of head-coach entrenchment. Other than that, ummm... what does it matter that he's black anyway? I feel like you wouldn't be pointing that out if it weren't some like stereotype-inflected determinant of imagined virility. I want to know what's with this inner obsession with contemplating dating a black man. It's ENDEMIC and, what's more, it's tacky, man. NOTE TO READERS: In future correspondence, please make an effort to stay on topic.

Q. Dear Ghostrunners,
Hi guys, I'm self-employed in the public-relations field, so I more or less set my own hours. A lot of the early part of my day is spent browsing various blogs and web forums pertaining to a variety of things relevant to my work (a lot of my clients could be classified, at least in broad terms, under the "lifestyle" umbrella), and it was in the course of this cherished daily routine that I happened upon your site. First of all, GREAT work! I totally dig the dynamic. The Reverend's and Lloyd's respective voices evince this kind of dialectical good-cop-bad-cop vibe that I'm sure must be a boon for your come-back traffic. (I'd love to have a look at your analytics, by the way.) But I think the site's real strength lies in its lack of pretense. It gets annoying when bloggers act like they're at the vanguard of some New Epoch of Journalism. Give me a break! I appreciate that you guys have a sense of humour about yourselves.

Anyway — shut UP, Lauren :) — here's why I wrote you: I wanted to know how you'd rate the team's stock of minor-league pitching prospects, and whether, in a hypothetical world where the remaining salary attached to a player's contract had no bearing on his trade value, you think it'd behoove the team to move one (or even both) of Wells or Rios to acquire some young arms?

— Lauren, 28
Vancouver, B.C.

A. Yeah, sweet. Here comes Self-Styled Powersuit Career Lady, after spending a half-day skimming blogs, to prove to us what an authority she is. Let me tell you something, Lauren: a big multi-year contract is not something you can just ... just WILL away in accordance with some rose-coloured, pie-in-the-sky scenario you've come up with. "What if the everything were exactly the way I wanted it?" How about what if you had to actually live in the REAL WORLD? A place where you live with the consequences of your actions, where your ass is liable for the cheques written by your mouth, and where you don't just walk away from something you've invested in — something you've BUILT with what might as well be your own two hands, Lauren — for the sake of something else that's younger and more impressionable and ... and...I don't know, something that represents the unknown and carries with it an aura of "mystery," or whatever you want to call whatever dear-diary abstraction it is you're fetishizing this week.

The way I see it, you have two choices: you can continue to play it all Madame Bovary and wonder about what your team might be missing out on, or you can grow up and recognize that Vernon Wells is TRYING and Alex Rios is TRYING. In what universe, other than one conjured within the mind of a spoiled brat who's been handed everything she's ever had, do you have the right to demand anything more?

Talking about "lack of pretense"and "sense of humour about yourselves." Exactly what is that supposed to mean? People who live in glass houses, in which they lollygag around in their Lululemon and "work in public relations" during hours (I'm saying it's more like fractions thereof) of their own capricious choosing, shouldn't throw stones at the heads of dudes who have things called jobs. We do the best we can with the time available to us! You want slick design? You want high-concept Ivy Leaguish writing? Well, why don't go off and find yourself a slick, rigorously edited blog...and leave us alone to do what we do the only way we know how. I'm sure there are tons of prestige blogs maintained by rich college guys with more spare time (and more of mommy and daddy's money) than they could fill in three charmed lifetimes. I'm sure you'll have lots to talk about with them. I feel sorry for you.

Well, that's all for this week, everyone. I want to thank all the girls who wrote in. Keep those queries coming! We don't have room to run every letter, but we'll try and run this feature as often as possible and cram in as many of those questions as we can! You're all a big part of the success of this site and we love you for it. Until next time....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

David Purcey Makes a Statement

Loudly and proudly, the big lefty made a bold statement: Lloyd the Barber is an idiot.

I, for one, agree.

In his (my) defence, Brandon League is awesome. I claim complete ownership over his greatness. Ground floor! Ground floor!

I am very much afraid of Gary Sheffield, in both a baseball sense and a public safety sense.

Why am I longing for Eckstein? Is there anyway he and Inglett could play every day? I am experiencing strong yet conflicting feelings here. I'm nauseated and woozy. This is bad.

Wednesdays with JP! Mouthbreathers Unite!

I don't usually listen to JP's hour on the radio, but there it was on Wilner's blog, and here I am looking for an excuse to shoot my mouth off. I feel like I'm stealing numerous people's shtick here. For that I apologize.

First question: Why wouldn't you get Paul Byrd? Ya could've, ya know? Fer nothin!

JP's paraphrased answer: Because he sucks. He'd maybe be as good as our 4/5th starter, except he makes 5 times as much money. And he sucks. Yes, he pitched well against the Jays once. You know, the Jays team that can't score runs and has a terrible offense that you constantly complain about.

Unbeknownst to this "fan", the other Major League clubs don't play against the Jays exclusively. When Paul Byrd faces teams that don't have an offense that ranks in bottom third of the league, he gets lit. And he sucks.

Rational Human that likely works for the FAN: Bob McGowan wants to have a tête-à-tête. Will you?

Lloyd the Riccardi
: Bob McGowan is a smart, entertaining guy. A smart, entertaining guy that hosts a drive-time radio program. Bob v. JP would be big business. And a futile lose-lose situation for JP.

Bob would say "You turned a .500 baseball team into a .500 baseball team." JP would say "We have an enough young, cheap pitching to fill two farm systems. We currently carry maybe three (Overbay, Ryan, and kinda, sorta, Wells) bad and/or questionable contracts. Team interest is at all time high. Our pitching keeps us in every game. We will contend for a playoff spot with even a slight offensive improvement." And Bob would say they didn't win enough games, and you've had 7 years. JP would agree, and say he wishes they won more. Bob would smugly point out that JP, by his own admission, is a failure. They'd go back and forth, without ever really discussing baseball (which Bob knows very little about) at all. Then they'd go off the air, and Bob would say "Thanks JP, that was really good radio." And JP will have wasted his time.

Earnest Youngster: I heart the Jays and you're doing a bang-up job. Good work JP.

JP: I value your opinion slightly less than that of the rosin bag. But thanks.

Another dummy: My friends and I think you should trade Halladay for a bat. lol!

What JP wanted to say: Fuck off.

What JP actually said
: Seriously, fuck off. Go back to reading the same article Maxim has been publishing for 8 years.

Same dummy: You can pitch a no-hitter and have a Gold Glove defence, but if you don't put any runs across you are going to lose.

Lloyd the Apologist: Incorrect. At worst, you'd be tied. So THERE!

Hopeless dreamer: Grady Sizemore is good. Go get him!

JP the Barber: I'd love to, but I'm balls deep in Megan Fox right now. I was in the process of calling Mark Shapiro with an offer this afternoon; but Hemingway called and asked that I orate my memoirs to him. Then Megan came over. I'll get to it tomorrow.

Harsh Realist: Alex Rios is lazy and lacks motivation.

Bizarro JP: He hates his job, a job that maybe 120 people in the entire world are qualified to do. The job you'd kill a bus full of nuns to have. And he's richer than you could ever comprehend. Richer than you'll ever be, even if you lived a thousand lifetimes. You spend your Wednesday evening's calling me to complain about baseball players lack of heart; he's in bed with somebody's wife and daughter right now. At the same time! Like right this very minute! Sleep tight!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Show Me the Pink!

As you may well have heard, the Jays recalled Jesse Litsch to the big club. Just in time to face the Detroit Tigers. After AJ and his not-so-great-against-the-Tigers numbers finish tonight, the Jays will send David Purcey and the Pink against the big bad Tigers. This does not fill me with a great deal of confidence. Looking a Jesse's splits, we can see that he is the ultimate feast or famine guy. He's vulnerable on the road and has trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark. The Tigers have no problem whatsoever hitting the ball out of the ballpark. The Jays then send David Purcey against the Tigers for the second time. Before his big league debut, I predicted grave things for the big lefty's start against a team that destroys lefties. He kept it respectable that day, aside from the 7 free passes he issued. I believe in Purcey, but the potential for ugliness at the back end of this series is huge.

I do not understand why the team called up Litsch to start against the Tigers, pushing Halladay back a day to open the series against the Red Sox. The relative magnitude of these two series is the same, isn't it? Hell, why not send lil' Litschy at the Sox? His record against them isn't bad at all.

The Sox will have a new face in their midst as well, acquiring old-timey Jay killer Paul Byrd. It seems Tim Wakefield's shoulder can't hold up to the strain of flicking knuckleballs 65 mph for 20 years. All these deals after the non-waiver deadline, is nothing sacred anymore? Doesn't that mean the Jays could've had Adam Dunn for a song? (Note: Only if their record was worse than the D-Backs.) If they are truly going to shut down Accardo for the year, they could move him to the 60 day DL and clear up a spot on the 40 man roster. That would be some sweet spiting.

One thing that is certainly sacred; the legacy of the Montreal Expos. There is a nice retrospective on ESPN's page 2 today (Via My weekend overlords remind us that today is the 14th anniversary of the strike, and the Expos descent into hell that began that fateful day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stewart packs his shit, Jays defeat Tigers

Shannon Stewart was the latest victim of the Jays' season-long chess match with .500. The Jays activated Stewart from the DL and promptly released him. Oh yes, it's been an awesome season for him. The acquisition of Stewart eventually led to the release of Reed Johnson, which proved unpopular with a certain segment of Jays fans. Stewart struggled most of the season while Reed sort of did okay, making the move seem that much worse. With the OPS Express continuing his reign over the city and a cast of other mediocre outfielders on the roster, there simply wasn't room for Shannon. Oh well.

It looks like time for Gregg Zaun to get on his way too. In addition to losing the ability to throw the baseball that well, he can't seem to put the barrel of the bat on it either. Barajas looked the part of the starter tonight, slamming his tenth dinger of the season, a lot for this team. Shaun Marcum is returning to the form he showed before being sidelined earlier this season. Fucking right.

Universe Deems My Happiness Impossible

No fucking sooner had Rocco Baldelli made his triumphant return to the field, driving in runs and diving to and fro with a determined ardor, does Scott Rolen head to the DL with further issues in his bionic left shoulder. What is an ironically detached, wins and losses don't matter, try-hard poseur to do? What's next? Brandon League pitching to contact? Alex Rios walking?

I don't ask for much. Some impressive defense, some memorable moments. Guys that make use of as many tools as they can. I'm a bitter and cynical old man, I like very little. In fact I hate almost everything. So leave my favorites alone, will ya!

I can't help to look forward to this series against the far more disappointing Tigers. Can you imagine if the Chicken Little JP haters followed this team instead? Right handed bats only, huge salaries, pitchers that make AJ Burnett look like a model of consistency. Shannon Stewart, meet Jacques Jones. About time to meet up in the dole queue, innit?

The Jays lose, I have a cat...

The return of Vernon Wells didn't provide the spark one would've hoped, and the Jays were broomed out of their own park by the bottom feeders of the Central Division: the Cleveland Indians.

I suppose if they were going to lose a game it would have been yesterday's. The Jays were the only team Cliff Lee hadn't beaten to date and from what I can tell, Lee has been alright this season.

Over the three game set with the Indians the Jays only managed to score a paltry four runs. Might have been a better idea had the Jays just conceded all three games to the Indians and take the three days off for rest instead.

I have a cat.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Don't You Fuck This Up Cito Gaston

Too much, too soon Cito. We were humming along nicely, Adam Lind was slowly climbing the order, getting his at bats without a sudden influx of pressure. But no, Cito, you had to slot him in as your clean-up hitter today. Why Cito? Why?

I know that Lyle Overbay's been struggling but still getting on base, and you've been reduced to hitting Brad Wilkerson 7th for christ's sake! Times are tough for this offense once again. But you've set Adam Lind up to fail. Adam Lind mashes hard stuff, but against Byrd he won't see fastball one!

Adam Lind can flat out hit. You know this and I know this. It is to the point now with Lind that I expect him to do better. In the fourth inning last night, Lind lashed a pitch down and in to centerfield for a single. My immediate thought: he should have hit that out of the ballpark. That is how quickly expectations rise Cito.

Meanwhile on the Farm
Rehabbing Vernon Wells and prehabbing Travis Snider both went 0-4 last night, Snider with 3 Ks. Ricky Romero struck out 10 in 7.2 innings, only allowing 5 hits. The Southpaw has a nice "fuck you" post to the haters that called Romero a flop at the age of 23. I will not hesitate to admit that I am guilty of Tulowitki-longing, but added a nice safety corollary of "I know pitchers take longer to develop." Which is true, unless they are David Price.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our Home on Native Land

The racist nicknames are in town! The racist nicknames that were supposed to contend until all their big bats fell injured, so they blew out their roster of all expensive talent instead. The racist nicknames that haven't been playing very good baseball for the last two months. The racist nicknames that are looking up at Royals in the standings! Wow. This team isn't so great. And they still use that stupid racist nickname! A nickname so stupid it prompted our boy David Chalk to write an excellent piece last year calling for them to change it. Superstud Grady Sizemore has gone into a sympathy slump, quietly protesting the racist nickname. But who cares, they bring lovable dope Sal Fasano with them. The Indians send Cardinal Castoff Anthony Reyes against David Purcey tonight, Reyes' first start in the American League.

In the great Indian giving of 2008, the team got an excellent prospect who will partner with young players like Ben Francisco to improve their fortunes down the road. But for now, this team hasn't been good; putting together an impressive run of lose 2, win 1 stretches and coughing up huge leads to the god-forsaken Rays. Should David Purcey be able to keep the ball in the park, this is a good match up for a Blue Jays team looking to string some more wins together.

In BriefEnjoy the games, I'll be holding it down at Walkoff Walk again this weekend, swing by and see what kind of madcap hi jinks I can get myself into.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wouldn't it be Nice

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
(to the post season)
And then we'd be happy

Wouldn't it be nice

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it

But let's talk about it

Wouldn't it be nice

Beating up on the hapless A's is one thing. Looking ahead to AL East divisional battles is another, similar thing. I'm going to apply the Uncertainly Principle here and say if this happens, if the Jays can suddenly, miraculously shrug off 4 other teams and somehow wrest control of the wildcard, I'm going remain safely distant. Not because I'm a chicken shit frontrunner, although I just might be. However improbable, mind boggling as it is, it is still possible. I can't allow my game enjoyment be hampered by an ulcerous, life-shorteningly failed stretch run.

I promise not to scoreboard watch ONCE until my birthday, September 14th. I will not direct any (additional) ill-wishes towards the Yankees, Sox or Rays. I am swearing to myself here and now NOT to beg for a Rangers Pythagorean correction.

I sure hope it happens, but in the meantime I have much bigger fish to fry.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good For What Ails You

After the Tao pointed out my agitated, nearly apoplectic state on Friday; I experienced a strange calm similar to the one the Tao himself spoke of. A long weekend, a solid-to-excellent Halladay start, a shrimp sighting, and an all-ages hardcore show have that effect. The roster is going to get pretty crowded in the next few weeks, with Vernon Wells scheduled to return soon while Shannon Stewart & Jeremy Accardo run through their rehab stints. Kevin "Warning Track Power" Mench and one of the Tampa Two figure to be the odd men out, though Shannon Stewart should heed Hale's advice and retire with dignity.

I'll quickly give JP some credit; people love to disparage his decision to bring in Zambrano, Ohka and/or Mench as quick, cheap fixes that go nowhere. But consider John Parrish, Shawn Camp and Jesse Carlson. No account journeymen who have all stepped in and made positive contributions. Low ceiling guys all, they've eaten innings and provided effective relief/spot-starting when called upon.

The plummeting A's seem to have brought their Blue Jay-brand futility bats to Canada. Canadian wonderstory Scott Richmond takes to the hill tonight, facing Greg Smith. Smith makes his third start of the year against the Jays, which makes as little sense as his success in each of those starts. The ever-dangerous soft-tossing lefty has only given up 2 earned runs in 12.2 innings against the Blue Jays. Let's hope Scott Rolen's two days off yield a big day against a lesser foe.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Don't Even Know What I Believe Anymore

More to the point, I don't even know what I think anymore. While I appreciate the translation services to improve my understanding of JP's lies, and I can understand where the die-hards are coming from, I'm conflicted. When I read something aimless and critical of JP without reason other than sheer frustration, I get angry. What do you expect him to do?

I agree with Geoff Baker, optics are key in Toronto. The baseball fanbase in this city is fickle at best and hopelessly out of touch at worst. But are you willing to sell the farm in a sellers market? If the rumours are true, would you suggest trading David Purcey (middle of the rotation guy that he is) and Brandon League (freakish closer-in-waiting) for 2 months of Raul Mondesi Ibanez with hope of picks in the end? Making a do-or-die desperation trades with 5 teams to climb in the standings? The majority of teams are guarding their prospects like never before, hoarding them in the name of fiscal responsibility, armed with the realization that these deals rarely warrant any real return.

I'm not entirely comfortable with my role as JP defender. I understand the rationale behind most moves, but this team is stuck between stations. I can't really see them making a serious "push" to make the playoffs next year or ever. This business is content to float along, make money and not upset the league enough to stop the equalization payments. Winning titles simply isn't the priority that "winning enough to avoid consumer confidence issues" has become. Just as Rogers won't lower the astronomical data rates for 3G wireless customers, they won't keep increasing their baseball costs if they are already seeing a positive return. The payroll is reasonably high, but returns are reasonably low.

Is JP to blame? Is he but a victim, caught between the fans expectations and ownership's eye for the bottom line? I certainly give him a hard time, mostly because of his pompous, arrogant persona. Has he done a bad job? Not necessarily. I wish that the Carlos Delgado situation was handled differently, that the money Ted ponied up the year after his departure could have kept him a Blue Jay until this day. I don't like Eckstein, but bringing him in made sense. Not trading him and other veterans currently bench surfing seems to be a waste of everyone's time; but C-level prospects and AAA roster filler don't help anybody, nor does it entice potential low risk free agents to come to Toronto.

I guess it boils down to the nature of my fandom. While liberated in some ways, I am mostly a dogmatic Blue Jay fan. I like the Jays, and that is that. It isn't going to change, but it isn't the essence of my being. I'd like for them to be better, I'd like to know they are working toward something positive, but I will not uproot my support and move it to a more "successful" team. So yeah, they didn't make any moves, and they are essentially out of the race. JP knows what he is doing, but what he is doing is making Rogers money. Whatever.

In Brief
I'm back at Walkoff Walk this weekend, keeping my eye on all the debuts and hot weekend action. With Jason Bay going to Boston not Tampa, Rocco is clear to be the right handed bat/right fielder in September. Jays in Texas, I fear, will get ugly.