Thursday, July 31, 2014

Timing is everything




It is not yet August so it is not yet a pennant race, but the Toronto Blue Jays are in a situation they haven't been for a long time - they matter. Their games matter, dripping with primordial playoff implications as they do. Given the AL East warzone, these future implications are more than just tiny glimmers of hope reflecting off the brass ring that is the second Wild Card game.

For the first time in a long time, people are very excited about homegrown talent that contributes to Toronto Blue Jays playoff positioning. People are excitedly watching on TV in record numbers. People are excitedly watching the scoreboards, cursing opponents of the Yankees and Orioles for seeming incapable of scoring runs or protecting leads. People are excited.

They're excited by attrition, as the sliding scale of satisfactory outcomes now includes "lurch into one-game coinflip against Mike Trout's team" or "win ugliest division in baseball with worst record in 15 years."

Not that it matters. There are no style points in the standings and you can't half-hang tricolor bunting. More to the point: flags fly forever so nobody asks if you backed in or won 100 games. Flags get the last word on matters big and small.

With that excitement comes unease. With unease come questions, both specific and existential. The questions are new and the answers are not well-rehearsed. They're questions rarely breathed around this team for 20 years, and yet here, in Alex Anthopoulos' ascii shrug of a season, they're getting new life.

When playoff questions are asked, their din drowns out whispers about style and weirdness and what it does to us to watch proudly mediocre baseball for a generation. "How can they win tonight's game?" becomes the only question worth asking.

Quite rightly, if we're all being honest. The game is the game but tuning in with a vested interest tends to trump ironic detachment, so long the bedrock of this small corner of baseball internet. It was the lack of these questions that brought sites like this one to life, a search for meaningful baseball conversations in a time and place where they were lacking.

This week, the Jays picked wins off the rotting carcass of the defending World Series champions and re-inserted themselves into the playoff conversation just as I learned that me and my friends needed to find a new place to work. Suddenly my life was full of questions, many of which I dared not ask before. Maybe not serendipity but not something I'll let pass without notice.

It won't provide any real answers but opening this space again just seems like something worth doing, given the events of the week. Here's hoping one half of this continuum lasts a long time and the other doesn't last at all. In the mean time, let's try this old suit on for size.

43 comments:

  1. Attaboy... Welcome back.

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  2. Sorry to hear the news. Glad you are still pumping out your great words.

    Paolo

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  3. Nice. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

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  4. So much for my plan to start "Ghostrunner on 2nd". That would just be tacky now. I don't even remember the password to my old geocities blogspot page.

    ps - I missed this page so much.

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  5. I'm truly sorry that it had to come at the expense of your paycheques, but the return of GROF is the best. Welcome back, LtB, and may your unemployment amount to naught but a brief vacation between jobs.

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  6. While I am sad that you have, temporarily, lost your means of earning an income, I am equally happy that we will continue to be able to read your words. Good luck in both the job hunt and the continued writing.

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  7. Good to see you back in the game.

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  8. GROF is back! The sheer awesomeness of this and however long this lasts gives me all the feels.

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  9. FIRE GROBBINS! and fuck parkes.

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  10. GROF, with djf and fjm, basically introduced me to quality sports blogging. Hope it's only temporary, but great to read your stuff as always.

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  11. I'll enjoy the words while I can, and hope that you're back to getting paid for stuff like this soon. GROF FOREVER

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    1. Here here!

      @yourbestfred

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  12. Chiming in to echo the sentiments already expressed. Best of luck going forward.

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  13. the grof is dead, long live the grof.

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  14. YEEEAAAAAH! GROF is back. Fuck commercial censorship. AWESOME DAY! #baseball

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  15. Cheers to the GROF

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  16. I knewwww keeping GROF in my RSS feed would payoff someday.

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  17. Welcome back. More Jays content the better!

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  18. Welcome back. I'm looking forward to reading your stuff again, Drew.

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  19. Happy to see your work wherever it lives. I am rooting for you.

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  20. Great words.You're a sweet baseball dude and will land on your feet quickly.

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  21. I'm new. I didn't read GROF during its hayday...but I'm pretty pumped to add it to my morning loop.

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  22. Fuck YA Drew! Fits like a glove!

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  23. Sorry to hear about everything that went down this week and I wish you all the best. However, I am glad you're still at it - your piece on pitcher safety after JA Happ took the line drive to the head last year was one of the best, most thoughtful and thought provoking baseball articles I have read - period! So cheers to GROF!

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  24. Drew, First, will read you wherever you roam. Second, not sure of the technical issues involved but any chance for a GROF podcast?

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  25. Glad to see you back Drew, I imagine it won't be long before you find another paying gig. You don't let talent sit in the minors.

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  26. Good to see you back and best wishes. I enjoy your perspectives.

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  27. Best wishes. Love your work, wherever it's located.

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  28. Hey dude, your back?!!? What happened. This was a much better medium anyways, screw The Score.

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  29. Just found the article, fuck the score!!

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  30. From my selfish point of view, I hope you keep writing about baseball somewhere that I can read it. From a less selfish point of view, I wish you luck regardless of my ability to read your writing.

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  31. Tools of IgnoranceJuly 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    If there is a god, he's got a place for you, Parkes, Lewis, and the gang to do this on your own terms. Grab an old recliner from the 70s and I'm sure Stoeten will migrate his ass to it, too.

    Just sucks that the old gang broke up, is all. GROF 4 LIFE

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  32. Awesome. Have you applied to theFAN? Maybe you could host Baseball Central at noon. I can't stand Blair

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  33. Your writing is the reason I fell in love with baseball. Glad to see you still writing despite theScore's short-sightedness. Thanks for fighting the good fight. Best of luck

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  34. Lloyd lives again! Glad to have GROF back Drew, was one of my favourite Blue Jays sites, always will be.

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Send forth the witticisms from on high