Monday, June 6, 2011

Defensive Alignment

Nestled north of the border and shrouded in relative obscurity there has always been something fun about cheering for one of the teams on the short list for "Most Forgotten About In Baseball". Passionate but polite and gleefully reinforcing the Canadian stereotype of being laid back and easy-going, the Jays fanbase isn't generally known for being quick to anger unless you speak ill of one of a small handful of players.

It's not a long list but here's a quick primer about how to get a Jays fan to get on the defensive and quick.

Player #1 - John McDonald

How to start the riot: Mention any offensive statistic in existence 

Responses you can expect: "There's more to baseball than hitting! He's the best defensive infielder in the world! He's got a huge heart! Stop being a dick!" 

Explanation: We all love John McDonald. We really really do. He's got so much scrappy hustle and heart™ that we ran David Eckstein out of town for stealing JMcD's gimmick. If you're going to take someone to task for wearing a "McDonald 6" jersey get ready for a lecture about the finer points of glovework and a story or two about what a great guy he is. As my friend Sarah has been quoted saying: "If you don't love John McDonald, Fuck You."

Player #2 - Kyle Drabek

How to start the riot: Bring up the fact his WHIP is nearly 1.70 or that he's on pace to set a record for his inability to throw strikes at an MLB level. Or hey maybe mention that he was a part of the Roy Halladay trade. We can never hear about that enough.

Responses you can expect: "He's 24! He's got killer 'stuff'! He'll work it out! It'll be fine! Shut up! Stop talking about Roy Halladay or I'm going to punch you." 

Explanation: Please stop talking about Roy Halladay. We know Drabek was involved in that trade, Drabek knows he was involved in that trade, EVERYONE knows he was involved in that trade. We're doing our best to be reasonable about the expectations on this kid but damn, sometimes seeing him pitch is intoxicating. Intoxicating in that it starts off loud and fun but then the next thing you know you're throwing up and swearing to never drink again. Whether the opinion is to keep him with the big club and let him work through the motions, or to send him down to continue eating AA alive, the important thing to remember is to not let the Jays fan you're pestering know that you don't believe in his "stuff". His stuff is great. His stuff is unhittiable. His stuff cannot be contained or defined. His stuff is very rarely thrown for strikes.  

Player #3 - Travis Snider  

How To Start The Riot: Show video of him swinging at 2-strike off-speed pitches in the dirt. Say the name Mike Stanton. Mention that you think his progress might have been haltered by being brought up through the system way too quickly and that he benefited from playing in the hitter friendly PCL. Say that he's not ready for the MLB level. Prove that meats clash.  

Responses You Can Expect: "One handed home runs! Opposite field bombs! Mike Stanton is a gigantic freak aberration! Improved fielding! He was smashing AAA pitching when they brought him up! Baseball players slump! Meats Don't Clash!" 

Explanation: One day we all woke up on the internet and caring about baseball prospects became the most important thing you can do as a 'real' fan of your team. With this precedent set Jays fans turned to the only player in the whole system that we'd been told to care about by Keith Law. I hate to get all factual with you here, but as a card-carrying Sniderville native I have to tell you that it is a complete 100% inevitability that Travis Snider will one day hit 35 home runs per year and lead the Jays to several AL East titles. Snider is the inspiration for this entire post, as I was watching last week's live Getting Streamed On vlogcast from the guys at Getting Blanked and the level of snark that emanated from someone doubting Travis' ability was hilariously palpable. It should be noted that this is the camp I find myself in as well. I won't stand for you doubting Travis Snider in my presence. Travis Snider is going to be fine. We're going to be fine. Everything is fine. Stop worrying. 

Player #4 - Jose Bautista 

How To Start The Riot: PED's. Brady Anderson. Unsustainable performance. Due for a reality check. He's not Barry Bonds.  

Responses To Expect: "He changed his swing and stance! He didn't find the singular magic PED that turns you into Babe Ruth! He's finally gotten a chance to get regular playing time!"  

Explanation: Y'all jealous as hell. 


There you have it. A quick and painless plan to make any Jays fan get their back up against the wall. Feel free to let me know if I missed anyone that gets you totally defensive or, if you'd like, prove my point on any number of these by getting really defensive in the comments about how you don't get defensive at all about any of them.

{Follow Archi on twitter here}
{Photo courtesy Bojuka Self Defense Canada}


  1. What's with the attendance at Jays games?

    /prepares for hellfire

  2. Fun breakdown, but neither Drabek or Snider has spent significant time a AAA ball. And with Drabek, by significant I mean any. You could look it up.

  3. I COULD Greg. I really really could.

    Or I could just edit the post and eliminate one of the A's. Which is what I will actually do.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  4. I applaud this post. Bravo.

  5. I will stand by that John McDonald quote for the rest of my life. Put it on my grave.

  6. Jesse Litsch!! Will one day win 5 Cy Youngs and 3 Jesse Litschs.

  7. @Brian K: If I had to guess (re: the attendance), I would suppose it's because the team is mediocre (to be kind) AND is trotting out lineup cards stocked with a bunch of has-beens who in their prime were mediocre (to be kind).

    It's one thing in a rebuilding year to lose with 23 or 24 year old guys who one day MAY be quality regulars. It's quite another to watch a team lose with guys like Jayson Nix, Juan Encarnacion, Corey Patterson, and Jo-Jo Reyes.

    Also, I really, truly, honestly do not "get" the misplaced love for John McDonald. He's a solid glove-man, but really. You have to be able to hit something. If they kept him as a late-innings sub, that's OK.

    But it's sort of a canary-in-the-coal mine metric for incompetence the number of plate appearances a guy like McDonald get.

    If guys like that get 150 ABs in a season, the management have no clue how to run a major league team.


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