Sunday, 30 August 2015

Everything is Awesome: Jays Sweep Tigers, Are Awesome.

I'm having a bit of a struggle.

There are only 39 synonyms for awesome on

A Twitter buddy (@GimpedPimp403) suggested this:

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you're part of a team
Everything is awesome when we're living our dream

Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let's party forever
We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony.

If the Jays make the World Series, Tegan and Sara (of Calgary) need to play this song live. For real. But with Drake remixing the "rapping" part, with Jays stuff.

Book it.
Edwin Encarnacion is Awesome

This weekend it seemed like Double E, tired of his hit streak being so low key, decided to turn the volume up to 11. He extended his hit streak to 25 in the first inning with a solo homerun. This followed a three homer day on Saturday, when Encarnacion had a two run, a three run and a grand slam. I don't know if homering for the cycle is a thing, but if it is, it should be called "Completing the Edwin." 

I was at the game on Saturday selling 50/50 tickets for Jays Care and the hats falling from the stadium while the crowd roared and Encarnacion, having no idea at the time why he was being showered with hats, coming out for a curtain call was pure magic. I wanted to cry. 

This guy has this ability to just be unstoppable for stretches and for it to coincide with this run they are on just makes it that much more special. 

It was Navarro who explained to EE what the hats meant:

“He tell me, like, when they score three goals — I think? — they do that. It made me feel happy.”

Encarnacion enjoys it, but it's also about winning.

“It’s very fun. But it’s more fun that we’re winning games. That’s what we’ve been doing, winning games. Having fun, everybody, the team.”

John Gibbons is Awesome.

On the hat celebration:

“I hadn’t seen it before. Don’t they normally throw octopuses or something?”

Only in Detroit. 

He also describes Encarnacion as "some kind of locked in."

Josh Donaldson is Awesome.

Josh Donaldson hit a huge homer on Friday and followed it up with a solo shot in the first inning on Sunday for number 36 on the season.

He also had a charity event to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Toronto. The boys bowled. The event produced some great photos, including this one of Josh Donaldson holding a cupcake. The picture combined two of my favourite things- Josh Donaldson and baked goods. 
Russell Martin and Baseball Canada are Awesome.

It was Canada Baseball Day at the Rogers Centre and Russell Martin homered for the second day in a row.

“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team,” Martin said, “I don’t know what is.” 

“I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defence, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth,” he said. “I like what we have going right now, and we’ve just got to keep pushing – keep playing the game the way we play – and I think we’re going to do great things this year.”


Jessica Mendoza is Awesome.

For the first time, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball featured a woman as a colour commentator. Jessica Mendoza is a former softball player turned broadcaster. She did a really great job tonight and got to call a no-hitter as Cubs Jake Arrieta no-hit the LA Dodgers, who were no-hit by the Astros' Mike Fiers nine days ago. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Sooner or Later....

It's amazing how a little winning streak just smooths over frustrations. A 1-0 score late in the game and Jose Bautista misplays a ball in the outfield, letting three Rangers score. 

"I think I just attacked the ball a little too hard and the outfield grass is cut kind of funky here," Bautista said. "You get a lot of ground balls that snake around. We noticed that in BP the first day. I feel like my mindset was right and everything I was doing. I knew who was running at second, I knew they were going to stop him, but I was too aggressive attacking the ball. I came in with sort of an angle and I had to get around the ball, and by the time I got to it, the ball snaked on me a little bit."

It was ugly but Bautista seemed to take it in stride.

I remember reading once that Bautista eats sugary cereal with milk as comfort food.

It was ugly, but the Jays still ended up going 6-2 on the roadtrip.

Edwin Encarnacion extended his hit streak to 22 games, which has to be the quietest hit streak. It really says something about the general excitement surrounding the Blue Jays that Encarnacion's streak, the longest since Scott Rolen's 25 game streak in 2009. Encarnacion's comments on the streak were about as low key as the attention.

"I'm just looking for my pitch, try to be aggressive in the strike zone, looking for my pitch," Encarnacion said in reference to the streak. "It has been great, the way I have been seeing the ball the last couple of weeks."

The Jays really handled the Rangers the way they handled the Angels. Josh Donaldson busting it up the line in the first game, which made Adrien Beltre rush his throw, is one of my favourite plays of the year. Players are expected, of course, to do that all the time. But Josh Donaldson is hungry for winning. They are all hungry for it. 

The team. The fans. The city. Hungry.

Baseball is like having your soul crushed slowly by a steamroller made of platinum and diamonds. (The sunshine and the smell of fresh-cut grass are nice, too.)

Michael Baumman wrote something for Grantland about the success of the current version of the Blue Jays and what it means to fans of the team. He writes a few things that ring true for me and something that made me pause. 

The Blue Jays haven’t made the playoffs in 22 years, the longest drought in North American professional sports, and in the intervening years they haven’t even been conspicuously interesting.
 How have I managed to write countless things about this "uninteresting" team? Various players, events, GMs and managers.There is a whole lot of us who have managed to write and talk about countless things involving a team that isn't "conspicuously interesting".  Thousands of words. For many seasons.

So I guess they were pretty damn interesting.

Stacey May Fowles wrote a rather clever article about how it's ok for "serious" female fans to have the hots for baseball players. 

Quite frankly, I've grown real tired of pretending that Bryce Harper isn't a scorchingly beautiful specimen of masculinity. I've become exhausted denying that Buster Posey has the most adorable, angelic boy-band face I've seen since perusing Tiger Beat as a teenage girl. I'm weary from saying that Justin Verlander's pants look "uncomfortable," or that Matt Kemp looks "like an athlete." I've actually come to think that every time I deny my inevitable attraction to players—I'm only human, and you know what Matt Kemp looks like—I'm supporting that terrible notion that real fans don't have crushes, or that crushes hysterically cancel out all other considerations, and finally that women should simply shut up about how they feel if they want to watch a game with everyone else.

I'll just come out and say it. I don't use this space to write about who I find attractive, mostly because I think it'd be a boring read but also because I wanted to be seen as a serious fan.

But I certainly have the impulses. Which begin with Jose Bautista's quad muscles in his ESPN Body Issue picture (and his general confidence and intelligence), continue through Josh Donaldson's devilish grin/ ass combination and my desire to speak French with Russell Martin.

Throughout the league, let's just say Kevin Kiermaier is the most beautiful man, Matt Kemp is schorchingly hot, so is Trevor Plouffe. I completely get why Justin Verlander landed a super model and Robinson Cano can get it.

All the Jays' homers have been set to Johnny Cash's God's Gonna Cut You Down. 

It's glorious. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Suit. A Scandal.

José Bautista is an extremely clever person. I would love to have a conversation about anything with him. Fashion. Global warming. Education in Latin America. Puppies. Whatever.

He also understands his business, his brand- who can use it, how they use it and how to protect it.

His stand against Sportsnet over Suit-Gate is the correct one. Brendan Kennedy wrote about the situation for the Toronto Star. No one wanted to comment directly, but Bautista agreed with the Star’s facts about the situation.

It doesn’t matter what Devon Travis is paid in a season or how much the suit was. He should never have been asked to pay for the suit out of pocket. The tackiness of that is overwhelming.

Travis provided his face, his time, his name and his association with the Toronto Blue Jays to GotStyle and Sportsnet. Forcing him to buy the suit after they used his face, name, time and association is wrong. 

No one should have to pay a company/individual when they have been used to make money for the company/individual. And have no doubt, Devon Travis was there to make the store and the station money. He looked very cute in his new Ted Baker suit (though I think it needed to be fitted), but he was just a means to an end.

GotStyle is a major advertiser for Rogers. You can hear their “Style Tip” segments on the FAN 590 pretty regularly. The suit should either have been billed to Rogers/Sportsnet or the cost of the suit comes out of their advertising agreement with Rogers. Some people on Twitter were telling me this wasn’t GotStyle’s problem, that it was completely between Sportsnet and The Blue Jays. I don’t agree- all of this should’ve been hashed out before Travis showed up at the store. GotStyle benefitted from the segment as much as Sportsnet did. And it really doesn’t look good that they went to Travis to get paid. Tacky is the word I would use.

Per the Star article:
Janice Tibbetts, a journalism instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa, believes Sportsnet was right not to pay for the suit.
 “If Sportsnet had’ve paid for the suit, it could have given the appearance of having too cozy a relationship with Travis and the Blue Jays,” she said. “It’s a lot fuzzier than out-and-out paying for news, but Sportsnet and the Jays already have the same owner, so there’s the perception already that they’re too close, that there’s an ethical conflict or there could be some threat to journalistic independence. So it just looks better if he pays for his own suit.”

No, it really doesn't. No one saw this as a hard news story. Integrity is maintained when there is transparency. Be upfront about it:

“How to Dress a Jay with Hazel Mae, sponsored by GotStyle."

The end.

This feels like someone screwed up and left the inexperienced kid holding the bag (or the suit.) They took advantage of Travis’ inexperience and that’s why Bautista has taken a stand. He’s a good teammate to use his clout. And I really love how quiet he’s been about it. It's been a cold war for a little while which is going to heat up as October approaches. 

Finally, Devon? Mark Buehrle and LaTroy Hawkins will take you to buy a suit. And will actually foot the bill. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

"Angels actually try to beat Blue Jays, fail adorably": 36 Runs to Crush the Angels

I would love this picture even more if they were holding hands. "Let's get 'em! Together."

I flat out stole the title of this post from Halo's Heaven, mostly because it amused me.

I'm not sure how adorable Mike Scioscia found it, because he gave some epic "Scioscia Faces" when he was shown on camera. He also turned several shades (he was puce at one point) when his team kicked the ball around the field. None of the Angels looked very happy.

After the 15-3 loss on Saturday, Huston Street lost his damn mind. He yelled and threw things. 

“I hate losing. I hate losing like this,” Street said. ”Sometimes you just have to get in people’s . . . .

“This is frustrating. There needs to be a sense of urgency. Guys need to feel that. And I wanted people to at least hear or feel it. Because it’s time.”

On Sunday, when the Angels scored five runs in the bottom of the first, it seemed like maybe the outburst had fired up the Angels. It turns out, R.A. Dickey wasn't knuckling like he wanted to. He settled down and the Jays scored eleven unanswered runs. 

Other than the first inning on Sunday, the entire series was Blue Jays. This offence defies adjectives.
I am out of adjectives. Gibby is stumped for words.

"We’re on fire right now," said John Gibbons. "It was a heck of a series, I really can’t describe it. But one thing we do is score runs, we’ve been doing that all year."

The bottom of the order got on for the top of the order and it clicked along like a juggernaut. Donaldson, fire of our baseball loins, had a monster series. The media wanted it to be an epic showdown between Donaldson and Mike Trout this series. I don't buy into all that and I think Mike Trout is probably going to turn out to be one of the greatest of all time, but I was glad to see Donaldson turn it out like he did. 

It was hardly a one man show. Toronto finished the series hitting .393 (48-for-122) with a .436 on-base percentage and hit .409 with RISP. Jose Bautista went 3-5 today, missing only a triple to complete the cycle. Bautista gave credit to the bottom of the order. "When those guys can contribute and one through six, one through seven, that we have going out there, it's going to be a fun day."

Bautista's homer was about the time the Angels were just over it. I don't think Bautista's homer had even landed yet when this happened:

I give full marks to Dickey. He struggled out of the gate, but settled down and let the offence do what it does. He said it was his favourite win of the season.

"When I came into the dugout, everybody was still upbeat and there was no reason to pout," said R.A. Dickey said about giving up five runs in the first. "I look at things in terms of metaphors so much and it really felt like a family win. Guys are encouraging you and saying, 'Hey, we're going to get them back, don't worry.' And they did."

Josh Thole was called up to give a hurting Russell Martin a break. Alexis Brudnicki wrote a great article about Martin through the eyes of A.J. Burnett and Clint Hurdle.

I never realized Burnett was so poetic, but maybe people were just asking him the wrong questions or maybe Russell just inspires it in him. 

“I always look at the catcher’s eyes through the mask,” Burnett said. “I told him as soon as he came here how much I missed that. He makes you better. Certain guys, you can look down and see their eyes, and they’re just ready to go. They’re ready for the game, they’re competitors.

“Russell always had that look in his eye. He never had a pitch he took off. He never took an inning off. It was just about how good can I make that guy be out there? You see that. It’s hard to explain but it’s something that very few people have.”

Martin also inspired Burnett to refer to himself in the third person (it's almost always hilarious when guys do that): 

“He’s one of the guys who knew how to pull the reigns on A.J.,” Burnett said. “He knew how to control me on the field. He knew I was not joking around, competitor on the mound, very serious, real emotional, and if he didn’t get to know me he wouldn’t know how to handle me."

Pull the reigns on A.J.

Follow @baseballexis. She does some really great work.

Finally, Devon Travis was on with Wilner on the pre-game show. I phoned. Travis said my question was good. He's such a nice guy. You can really hear it in the interview. 

A Response (And Why I'm the 50 foot Woman)

Joanna I must commend you on the humanity you bring to baseball conversation. As a long time lurker (here sometimes but predominantly at DJF (RIP) /Stoeten) I always look forward to your comments. Your passion for the jays and ability to see past the drivel that is considered analysis by most of MSM is highly welcomed. Much of your writing IMHO has a feel to it that reminds me of the prose of John Lott, whom I consider one, if not, the best at his craft. So kudos to you.One question that I have for you. One or two weeks ago on a Stoeten post one commenter made a blatantly sexist retort to you which seemed to really unnerve you (changing your avatar, your demeanor, etc). It actually made me really mad (why is this idiot coming down on Joanna), but I assumed that replies like that are sometimes par for the course on social media and you'd brush it off as such. Obviously I was wrong. So my question is why was it so unsettling?You come across as an independent, confident woman who is so not intimidated by assholes. I regard posters who dole out insults as cowards hiding behind their anonymity, who wouldn't have the resolve to say boo to anyone in person. Am I wrong on that? I am not on social media and am only basing my perception on what others have said and written. I guess I'm from the old school about sticks and stones..... I would get angry, not frightened. Just trying to understand your thought process. Continue to keep up the good work Joanna and don't let these idiots get to you.
This was a comment that is on a previous post. It's one of the nicest comments I've received and I also wanted to address some of the issues brought up in a post, rather than just answering them in a comment.

Thank you for the compliments and the John Lott comparison- though I think that might be due to the fact that I routinely steal his quotes (he has a press pass and I do not.) He is definitely one of my favourites on the beat and has supported this little blog for a long time now. I've been at this since 2007- my first post was about B.J. Ryan's back that needed TJ, which is a lifetime ago- and sometimes I wonder if anyone appreciates it, but it is nice to hear when people do.

For background, I routinely hang out in Stoeten's Game Threats- I try to do my part to support his work and it also prevents me from over tweeting my thoughts during a game and annoying my followers. Stoeten uses Disqus and for a long time, I didn't have an avatar. I changed my avatar to a picture of myself wearing sunglasses. I shot it myself from below and if you look closely, you can see the Rogers Centre reflected in my lenses. It was my Twitter profile pic, so I decided to make it all consistent.

There are regulars on the Game Threats, and there are some that just occasionally stop by to post and there are trolls. Trolls are removed by moderators.

A few weeks ago, on the first day I changed my picture, some dude, not a regular, was posting comments on a game. It was normal "Yankees are stupid" stuff. He then posted a comment, calling Encarnacion "E5". For me, that's sort of a baseball related trigger.

I hate that nickname for several reasons- 1. It's a holdover from his days with the Reds. Stop taking unfunny things from the Reds broadcasters. 2. It's lazy. It's just as easy to type EE. 3. He hasn't played third in years. The current person who can commit an E5 is Donaldson. Don't go there. 4. It's cruel- Has the dude not played well enough to earn some respect? At least enough to not use that nickname and just hit the "E" key twice?

I have a habit of correcting people- it's impulsive. So I posted, "Don't call him that." Which is rather tame. And a switch was flipped, the previously innocuous commenter started saying that I must be engaging in relations with Encarnacion, which explained why I was defending him and also made several comments about my physical appearance, based on my picture. When I called him out,  he then also said that I should take his harassment as a compliment and that I was asking for it using the picture I did.

Some of the ladies and fellas on the board yelled and the comments were removed.

I thought about it and I switched it to the 50 Foot Woman.

I have always hesitated letting people know what I look like when I am associated with my blog. Of course, I use my real face on Twitter. And I've been on MTV while associating myself with this blog and I've sat on a stage at Pitch Talks (live!), so some things are more relaxed than they once were. But I'm usually prepared and this felt out of nowhere.

I'm going to assume that the commenter above is male, because I honestly think most women wouldn't ask this question because, depressingly, they've experienced it themselves. For whatever reason (misogyny? lack of imagination?), women are routinely dismissed for their opinions by using their physical appearance. "I don't agree- you are fat." "You're opinion on sports is stupid, but you are hot- you must want to sleep with the players."

It doesn't seem to matter whether a woman is conventionally attractive or not, her looks are used to dismiss her. I just made a choice to remove that weapon.

What happened didn't frighten me, particularly, although things can be very frightening for women on the internet. And while I changed my avatar, I don't think I've changed my demeanor. I'm still confident in my way and I'm not intimidated by assholes. My wall of sass is in full effect.

And I'll go back to writing about baseball and our totally kick ass Toronto Blue Jays.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bits from an Off Day: Hutch Sent Down

After much speculation and after two bounce back starts vs Oakland and New York, Drew Hutchison was optioned down to AAA Buffalo.

The Jays decided to go with a four man rotation for most of August, with Gibbons announcing that Hutchison will make one start in AAA before coming back by August 29th.

I was open to the idea of keeping Hutch up despite the off days, just so they could maybe give Dickey and Buehrle a bit more rest. But this is alright, too.

I just hope they had a talk with him about it not being a type of punishment and more about getting regular work in Buffalo. And maybe give the guy a bit of a mental break. By many accounts, Hutch is an intense and proud guy and I'm sure the struggles have taken their toll on him this season.

After his start but before the official announcement, Hutchison didn't want to speculate about what the team was going to do.

“When it comes to things that are out of my control, I don’t really pay any attention to that and I’m not going to talk about it,” Hutchison said. “I’m focused on what I can control … It doesn’t have anything to do with me or what I need to do to prepare. Whenever I’m given the ball, I’m going to go out there and try to give an effort like I did today and help our team win.”

The Jays called up OF Carrera and OF Matt Hague. Hague is hitting .348 with a .909 OPS with the Bisons this season. He leads the International league in batting average, on-base percentage (.427), RBIs (83) and hits (161).

He doesn't know that ketchup and chips have been combined in this country. He also doesn't know what poutine is or that milk comes in bags. But Hague seems very interested in food in general.

Hague's dad is Canadian. He, Melissa Couto and I have already exchanged tweets about dogs.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote a pretty fun article about the Jays.  

My favourite bit was Mark Buehrle talking about how he has come to enjoy playing in Toronto.
"Before I came here, this was a place where I never wanted to play," Buehrle said." There was no chance of me signing in Toronto. You come here as a visitor, and you have the customs, trying to figure out your phone bills, the money exchange, the temperature readings.

"But now that I’ve played here, it’s been so great. It’s just such a great place to live and play. They make it so comfortable for you."

I would like a follow up because I'm not sure what the issue with the phone bill would be. Maybe he means roaming charges on his cellphone bill when he phones the dog.

Today would've been Roberto Clemente's 81st birthday.
Here is an article by Dave Zirin about Clemente's affinity for Martin Luther King Jr. Here is what Clemente had to say about the Civil Rights Movement.

"When Martin Luther King started doing what he did, he changed the whole system of the American style. He put the people, the ghetto people, the people who didn't have nothing to say in those days, they started saying what they would have liked to say for many years that nobody listened to. Now with this man, these people come down to the place where they were supposed to be but people didn't want them, and sit down there as if they were white and call attention to the whole world. Now that wasn't only the black people but the minority people. The people who didn't have anything, and they had nothing to say in those days because they didn't have any power, they started saying things and they started picketing, and that's the reason I say he changed the whole world..."

Darren Rovel tweeted a picture of the letter from the Pirates' GM refusing Clemente's request for $23,000 for 1960.

"You have great ability and can become one of the outstanding players in baseball if you ever approach your potential."

Finally, they play baseball in San Quentin.

“Security concerns, rules about equipment and how it’s brought in. Organizational issues, and problems with managing the team. You have a predominant base of murderers and lifers on the team, which is in a way good, because it adds stability: Guys who come back year to year know how it operates. But a lot of these guys have all sorts of issues with competition, with failure, with anger. Some of them are in prison for a reason.
“You have to deal with all these personalities, put a team together, and try to play as one team. It’s difficult at times. You have to have a lot of experience in it, and an understanding of what kind of pressures they may be feeling off the field that might be contributing to the problems you see on the field.”

Other than the predominant base of murderers, that sounds a lot like a regular pro baseball team.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Sun on our Side: Jays Salvage Final Game vs Yankees

The Jays lost two in a row before finally salvaging the third game. The season ended. The world ended. And somehow, the Jays are now only half a game back.

The difference today between salvation (1/2 game back) and damnation (2.5 games back) was the sun. Had Carlos Beltran made a play on that ball hit by Tulowitzki, that whole inning changes.

"As soon as the ball was hit, I saw it all the way," Beltran said. "I lost it when it was basically getting close to me. I couldn't do anything. The ball hit me in the back. Unfortunately, it would have been a different story if I had caught that ball."

Severino is insanely talented, but really showed his youth. A more veteran guy will often find a way to tighten it up and bail his boy out after a misplay. The frustration was evident on his face.

"I think I'm doing pretty good, and I'll keep working hard so I can do it better," Severino said through an interpreter. "I just try to hit the glove most of the time. Hit the glove and everything's going to be OK."

Gibbons had pretty high praise for Severino.
Six games of the "13 remaining against the Yankees" have been played. The Jays lead it so far 4-2. Both loses over the weekend were tight and the Jays did hold the Yankees scoreless over much of both series. The Jays can have this, but they can't get complacent.

That was made abundantly clear this weekend.

Going into the weekend, many were wondering why R.A. Dickey wasn't called upon to pitch versus the Yankees on short rest- that certainly looked to be the plan until Drew Hutchison pitched well against the A's. And it was important to show some faith in him, because he is still needed down the stretch.

Also, while Dickey's been pitching really well, he still needs rest. If all goes the way the Jays plan, they need these guys to pitch another ten weeks.

Hutchison spoke after the game about all the speculation and how he is trying to stay focused.

"When it comes to things that are out of my control, I don't really pay any attention to that," Hutchison said. "I'm not going to talk about it. I'm focused on what I can control and if it comes from outside, it doesn't have anything to do with me or what I need to do to prepare."

Hutchison is obviously someone who cares very deeply about his work and that he has taken these struggles to heart. He has a lot of talent. It's very apparent when he's pitching well. And it's very easy to forget how young he is because he's been around so long. He's been a pitcher for the Jays longer than any other guy in the starting rotation. He was drafted and developed by the Jays. Hutch rehabbed with the Jays when he had Tommy John a few years ago. Hutchison is a Blue Jay. 

"He's a tough kid. He's had his struggles this year. That's obvious. You can't hide from that. But he's been great at home," manager John Gibbons said. "And he was again today. His last two starts he's had, when he's been under the gun, maybe not from us, but from [the media] -- but that's reality, that's the baseball world. He responded. I've seen him do that before."

The difference for Hutch is fastball command. From that he can use his slider and without it, he's lost.

Bautista hit his 29th homer today against Severino. He also had high praise for the crowd's energy over the home stand.

"It's awesome. I've never experienced anything like that so I'm going to continue to enjoy it. ... I guarantee that the fans are enjoying it, they're loving it. We really get to feel that energy from the crowds and how into the games they've been getting lately."

We are so ready.

There was a celebration of the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays, who clinched the AL East for the first time 30 years ago. The 1985 outfield threw out first pitches to the 2015 outfield. 

George Bell making the catch and falling to his knees as Tony Fernandez runs out is probably the most iconic image in Blue Jays history after Joe Carter being lifted by his teammates in 1993 and Roberto Alomar's touchdown arms after his homer off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS.

Speaking of the 1985 Blue Jays, here is a Bob Elliot article describing how Damaso Garcia burned his uniform in 1986. And generally how he hates Jimy Williams.

I haven't heard any player say that John Gibbons is the puppet of Alex Anthopoulos to the press. In the Toronto Sun comment section, yes.

Bobby Cox helped a kid lie to his father at McDonald's. Also, I want one of those white panel caps for $1.99. They looked really sweet on the field today.

I don't think Bobby Cox made it to the ceremony today. Does Cox just pretend he was never managed in Toronto? Do we all just pretend Cito Gaston (who showed up today) was the manager rather than the hitting coach? Is Bobby Cox ok? Am I the only one to think this is weird?

Does Jesse Barfield have a picture of himself on his sweatbands in that picture above?

So many questions.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Baseball: It Happens

We just finished watching two frustrating games coming off the eleven game win streak.

I was lucky enough to be at Friday's game and it had the kind of atmosphere I haven't experienced since I was a kid. When I was a kid, that place used to vibrate with energy. It felt like the walls were going to come crashing in.

I felt like that last night.

I took a video, which I posted on Twitter, of the crowd getting hyped for a Price strikeout. It doesn't capture how overwhelming the noise was, but it does capture the rising sound of the crowd as the moment got more intense until it released.
The video also doesn't capture how bloody hot it was in there with the roof closed. I was wilting. My hair was ten times it's normal size. I saw footage of Price and he looked downright clammy, so I'm thinking I wasn't the only one.

I was taking a break on the concourse, eating an ice cream sandwhich and made friends with a smiling baby in a onesie and barefeet. I was jealous of her outfit.

It was arguable about how long Price should've been left out there and it's given the "Fire Gibby" people something to talk about after having about two weeks off.

“Dave is one of the elite pitchers in the game,” Gibbons said. “Those guys find a way, sometimes. But three hits and then it started to snowball. Take him out and it’s just the tying run at second base. He did his job, really.”

(So it's "Dave", not "Pricey". )

“After the big double, I felt good about bringing Sanchy in,” Gibbons said. “It didn’t work out. When those don’t work, you analyze it, that’s for sure. That didn’t work.”

It didn't. Sanchez got to Beltran with two pitches up in the zone and it seemed like the plan was going to be to bury something low to get him to fish. Or maybe blow something by him.  Except Sanchez missed his spot and Beltran noticed. 

I was charging my phone on the concourse and saw it on TV. I'm not ashamed to admit that I yelled "NO!" at the TV. 

The only analysis of it I can offer is this: Sanchez missed his spot. It happens. 

The crowd was somber until the bottom nine and Troy Tulowitzki, with second and third with two outs, really made Andrew Miller earn it. The crowd was chanting "Tu-Lo" the entire time and booing lustily every time Brian McCann came out to discuss the plan with Miller. It felt amazing until it wasn't.

Andrew Miller screamed when Tulo finally struck out. And as evidenced in the picture above, normally straight laced Tulo screamed mid- at bat. 

“Classic (at-bat),” Gibbons said. “Two of the best players in baseball. That’s what people want to see, pay to see.”

After the game, Price said,"A loss like this can definitely bring a team closer, whenever it happens like that. And in this situation, I know we'll come ready to win tomorrow."

Except they didn't quite. All I have to say is letting a pitcher like Tanaka off the hook when there are bases loaded and the top of the order is up is never a good plan. 

I know people are starting to freak out about everything (the hitting! the pitching! the managing! the horror!), but the Yankees were never going to just roll over. They do have pride and they have led the division for most of the season. Turns out the Jays can't win the division in the middle of August. 

It also got Richard Griffin to write this:
The question has always been, when push comes to shove, do the Blue Jays have the killer instinct to step on an opponent’s throat when they have the chance and put them out of their misery?
I'm pretty sure they demonstrated the ability to do that last weekend vs New York. And versus Minnesota. And Oakland. They were never going to win every remaining game. 

The comments on that article on great, especially if you are doing research on how stupid people can be. 

Speaking of Mr. Griffin, after the game, Gibby's press conference featured a classic.

Richard Griffin: Gibby, would any thought be given to changing up the batting order maybe going into this road trip or something, with Tulo in the middle more than leading off?
Gibby: Well I havent given it any thought. How would you set it up, gimme a recommendation, it might help.
Richard Griffin: Revere 1, Tulo 5?
Gibby: Meh, save it.

Having Troy Tulowitzki hit leadoff is maybe the smartest baseball move Gibbons has made. That's a next level ninja move. The leadoff gets the most at bats and Ben Revere's .290 average doesn't feel like a particularly solid thing.

Silly Griff.

Bruce Arthur wrote the most beautiful article about your Toronto Blue Jays. It was a balm to anxiety and a reminder that there is still a lot of magic left in this season. We are hyped.  We are lifted.

Well, here we are. The Jays stopped losing for a while and engulfed this city in hope, and it’s been washing over everything. It is a fine and rare and dangerous thing, sporting hope in Toronto. But this team was worth it.
These games are baseball.

It's one of my favourite articles from the whole year. I had tears.

"Romantic." Actually, playoff baseball meant a lot of drinking. Aren't most of us conceived drunk?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

This Team is Bonkers: 11 Straight for the Second Time

Blistering. Blazing. Scorching. Sizzling. I think I have heard countless synonyms for hot in the various descriptions  of the Toronto Blue Jays of late.

And the Jays have gotten blisteringly hot. They have now caught and surpassed the Yankees for first in the AL East, making up  As I type this, the Jays, with their win today, are 1.5 games up but the Yankees have two on in the top eighth, leading Cleveland 8-5. So the Yankees may be half a game back when they roll into the Rogers Centre for the next three games of the Battle Royale.

The Blue Jays became the first team since the 1954 Indians to record a pair of winning streaks that lasted at least 11 games in the same year. They have swept the Twins, the Yankees and now the Athletics on their way to 11 straight wins.

People were doing weird things like saying, "If you eliminated those two win streaks, the Jays would be below .500."

Case in point:

So you're saying if you took away a bunch of their wins, they'd have fewer wins? 

The Oakland Athletics had some serious problems with the second inning in the last two games of the series. Jesse Chavez pitched very well every other inning but the second. He gave up a three run homer to Ryan Goins. You know destiny is on the side of the Blue Jays when Troy Tulowitzki gets the day off and his light hitting back up gets the three run homer. 

"The big part of the lineup is gonna be one through five, six, seven," said Goins. "Us guys at the bottom are just trying to have a good at-bat and turn it over to those guys; they're gonna be the guys who carry us."

I just re-read that quote, "The big part of the lineup is gonna be one through five, six, seven...." One through seven? This team is bonkers.

Mark Buehrle once again proved he is some sort of magician. The A's loaded the bases in the first with no outs and wiggled out of it. The A's put two on the corners with no outs in the second, and Buehrle got out of it again.

"For me, bases loaded and nobody out, that's usually guaranteed for at least a run or two because I don't strike guys out," Buehrle said. "I threw the curveball to Valencia and luckily he grounded it back to me. When guys are on base, I just have to try to pitch out of jams."

Jam management. Buehrle had balls bouncing off limbs and he still managed to get outs. He took a ball off the forearm in the first.

"The rest of my body parts are healing up from getting worn out, so I figured I needed to hang out with the trainers a little bit more to get some treatment so I had to wear off another body part." 

If Buehrle does decide to call it a career after this season, would it be possible to just to get him on the phone to give quotes about stuff? 

I really loved seeing the fans get up in the eigth when Gibby went to get Buehrle, and Buehrle acknowledging the crowd by clapping his glove. 

John Lott took a great picture of the moment.

“Gibby stepped out of the dugout and I wasn’t even looking, then I heard the fans and they were going crazy before he got to me . . . that was amazing,” Buehrle said.

I think he might finally love us.

It was announced today that Drew Hutchison will make the start Sunday versus the Yankees. The team must have decided that his comeback performance versus the A's (which featured excellent fastball command, which allowed him to use his slider effectively- two things that have eluded Hutch most of the year) was enough for him to give it a go. 

The plan might've been to have Dickey, who often dominates the Yankees, go once again on short rest for Sunday. Maybe he, like Buehrle, is a little fatigued. 

Keeping in mind that the Yankees are struggling a bit now (swept by Toronto last weekend, may salvage this final game having lost the previous two to Cleveland) and also keeping in mind my serious bias, the Jays look like the better team going down the stretch.

Of course, a team on an 11 game win streak is going to look fantastic, but I think this team has a shot at winning the division and it's in their hands to get it done. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Jays Sweep Yankees in First Big Showdown and Stroman Cleared to Throw

It was a pretty amazing weekend of baseball that we just witnessed. The sweep, of course, was fantastic. The Jays now sit 1.5 games back of the AL East leading Yankees.

The Jays pitching held New York to just one run over the three game set, and that one run was a disputed run- a homer off R.A. Dickey by Mark Teixera that may or may not have cleared the fence. The Jays outscored the Yankees 10-1 and shut them out two games in a row for the first time ever in franchise history.

There were key homers in this series by Bautista, Donaldson and Smoak. The run differential that the Jays had for the season meant that their winning percentage at the trade deadline should've been .588, rather than .495 that was the reality. As the New York Times wrote, this surge, given that differential, was only a matter of time. 

All of this was great to watch, but the interesting thing is that, for once, the Yankees looked uncomfortable for most of it and occasionally looked hapless and ordinary. They were getting frustrated by strike calls, they were taking when they maybe should've been swinging and just looked kind of miserable. I'm not crowing about it, it's just that it's so very rare to see the Yankees like this and to have the Jays be the cause.

It really felt like the Jays had their foot on the throttle and accelerated all weekend. The first sweep of the Yankees in New York since 2003.

I think Brett Gardner getting beaned by a Bautista homer ball being thrown back on the field sort of summed up the whole weekend for the Yankees.

“I just wore it. Didn't even turn around,” he said. “It wasn't like it was coming from the second row. It was a long ways away.”

I realize it's tradition to throw opposing team homer balls back on the field in Yankee Stadium, but I'm sure Gardner and others would appreciate fans aiming for the vast amounts of grass that makes up the outfield and not at his head.

Nice aim, though. Nice arm, too.

Josh Donaldson, who along with David Price shares AL Player of the Week honours, had a pretty massive series with first inning homers in the first and third games. He's unconcious right now.

"I think what it says is I'm getting ready for the first at-bat and [beyond]," Donaldson said of his first-inning homers. "It helps when you have great hitters around you, not only behind you, but I have Tulo in front. Right away, those guys have to be on top of their game, and I just kind of have been fortunate enough to get some pretty good pitches and put good swings on them."

Donaldson led the AL with five home runs , nine runs scored , 27 total bases  and seven extra-base hits, while batting .385 (10-for-26) with two doubles and eight RBIs over seven games. Price went 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 15 innings in his first two starts with the club since being acquired from the Tigers.

In general, everything feels pretty great right now.

"When you get five really talented Major Leaguers that are great players -- they've been in All-Star Games, playoffs -- and they come to us all at the same time at the Trade Deadline, and we already had a good team, it's pretty obvious that we're going to feel better about ourselves," said Jose Bautista. "We're a better team overall."

And as if things could get any happier, Marcus Stroman announced via Twitter that he's been cleared to begin throwing again. Dr. James Andrews was very impressed with Stroman's progress and credited his hard work.

Stroman also got a selfie with Dr. Andrews.

A+ use of goat emoji, young man.

And later tweeted this, because he is adorable.

Idiot Jays Fan is an Idiot

I don't want anyone to think that I only pick on fans of other teams or fans from other cities, especially since there are plenty of idiot fans of any team and one of my chief criticisms of a fanbase is the lack of self-awareness. And there are plenty of idiot sports fans in Toronto.

Resident media idiot Marty York was tweeting about the Blue Jays over the weekend.

Here is some of his previous work.

And his recent Jays talk inspired idiot fans to tweet nonsense to him.

 Of course, Marty York retweets that. Of course.

Also, how is it hard to believe that two players would make this much of a difference?

The team was very good, but under performing, before the trade deadline.

The team needed another starting pitcher. They went out and got one of the best.

The team needed to address defense at shortstop. They went out and got one of the best.

Both acquisitions almost immediately contributed to the success of the team. The deals also elevated the rest of them, who were already starting to perform better. The deals helped it all tighten up and the team to surge. They took the next step.

Also,  run differential- it's a thing.

Seriously, it's not hard.

Unless, of course, you are just a wretched jackass who hates on anything fun and you just want to wallow in your own jackassery. And do things like follow and tweet to irrelevant shitheads like Marty York on Twitter.

ETA from the comment section:

Thanks, Son.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Hilarious Yankee Fan is Hilarious

I've been noticing fans of other teams over the last few weeks, and how they react to the new look Blue Jays. Last weekend, Royals fans were obsessed with the idea that the Jays are cheating. Like, they were doing google searches. 

When they hung those back-to-back dongs, they really seemed to know what it was going to be right away. I chalk it up to meaty Ventura pitches, but my gut response is, they sure seemed to know precisely what was coming.

It couldn't have been really good hitters running into some mediocre pitching.

Some Yankee fans on the Internet over this series have a consistent theme of dismissing the Jays' acquisitions and acting like it's all no big thing. It's all fine. 

Yankee fan here, I think the Yankees have their work cut out for them. While the Jays’ deadline acquisitions help them quite a bit, Tulowitzki always is a risk for injury, and Price while his numbers look good on paper, doesn’t quite remind me of the David Price a few years ago. I’m not convinced either of these trades will push the Jays over the top...and Price looks to be another 2 month rental job that was not worth trading for. Not a fan personally of rental trades as they come with downside in that the player probably will not be around. Sure it might spur the Jays for now...for a price.

There’s also something I feel being overlooked with the Jays; their manager John Gibbons. He’s not a guy that I’ve ever felt inspires you with confidence.

Tulowitzki is always a risk for injury- as is Mark Texeira. And Carlos Beltran. And Brian McCann. 

He adds later on in the comments that Tulowitzki is owed a lot of money for a dude who spends a lot of time on the DL. He forgets, of course, that the Jays already had a shortstop who has injury issues and is owed a lot of money, they just traded him for a better one. They didn't add to their financial burden at all. 

Price's numbers (that he has put up over the past few years) look good on paper, but doesn't remind this person of old David Price. Why? I dunno. He throws hard and throws a lot of strikes. He seems to get better as the game goes on. He did do the work to earn those numbers. But who cares about facts when one wants to brush things off?

Not worth trading for? I guess you could make that argument, but if a team has the best offence in baseball and has the opportunity to improve and catch teams ahead of them , when would the right time to make a trade be if not then? Also, it's David Price. 

Who was obtained for Not Stroman, Not Sanchez, Not Osuna, Not Pompey, and Not Alford. 

Also, the Jays had a very good, if under performing, team before the trade deadline. Adding one of the best pitchers and one of the best position players just elevates everyone.

And I guess it's okay he doesn't feel inspired by John Gibbons. But one manager left his starter in a batter too long today, and it wasn't John Gibbons.

Friday, 7 August 2015

A Neat Way to Win: Jays top Yankees in Extras.

It was a pitcher's duel, with one extra bomb courtesy of Jose Bautista. Josh Donaldson and Mark Texeira both hit their 30th homers of the season early (in the first and second innings, respectively.)

I didn't exactly agree that Texeira's actually made it over the fence, as that fan looked to be hanging over the fence and interfering with Ben Revere. Without the fan there, I think it might've bounced on the ledge or at the top of the wall.

"It was hard to see. We don't get a ton of angles, but I thought it was a home run," Joe Girardi said. "You're never sure because it wasn't called a home run on the field."

It was hit by a Yankee in Yankee Stadium, Joe. It's a homer. I don't know if the top of the wall is a homer in Yankee Stadium, but it was definitely vague. And if the New York command central where they look at the footage requires definitive proof to overturn a call on the field, I'm not sure how this qualifies. But questionable calls are to be expected in this environment and a team just needs to deal with them.

The game also featured some....interesting.... strike calls at home plate. One to Josh Donaldson was particularly ridiculous:
I mean, wow. 2% of pitches in that location are called strikes. A whole 2%.  Jose Bautista actually came in to pull an outraged Donaldson away, which is hilarious given how people see Bautista and umpires.  The zone also made Gibby do this:

And then Bautista hit a delightful bomb into the left field stands. And all was right in the world.

In case you were wondering, they still do the handshakes.

Also, I enjoy Josh Donaldson screaming in his face in the best possible way.

"He just made a mistake with the fastball," Bautista said. "I felt like it was right down the middle in a 1-2 count. I'm looking for an extra-base hit, I'm not trying to poke a single to the right side in that situation. I need to get on second, there's already one out, trying to get in scoring position as soon as possible."

RA Dickey continued the trend of awesomeness he's had going since June. Dickey had his sixth straight start of allowing two or fewer runs. And he seemed philosophical about not getting the win:

"I think it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit. It’s a neat way to win a ballgame tonight."


Amazing photo by Julie Jacobson from the AP.

Bronx Bound: Yankees/Jays Friday Preview

So, it's August 7th and the Blue Jays are playing meaningful baseball. They just completed a four game sweep of the Minnesota Twins and are headed to New York 4.5 games back of the Yankees.

The Yankees just finished a series versus the barely sentient corpse known as the 2015 Boston Red Sox, taking two of three. One was a 13-3 blowout win started by Masahiro Tanaka, one was a promising start by their star prospect Luis Severino who got no run support in a 2-1 loss, and the rubber match was a 2-1 win for CC Sabbathia, who is barely holding on by a thread but managed to get it done.

The scariest members of the Yankees are a reinvigorated Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texeira, followed by Brett Gardner. Gardner is quietly having a pretty great year and also has a tendency to stick it to the Blue Jays at every opportunity, Ben Zobrist style.

The scariest members of the Blue Jays are a blistering hot Josh Donaldson, who punished the Twins at every opportunity over the previous series, and Edwin Encarnacion, who hit two doubles and a homer in Thursday's win. He's really starting to look comfortable. And by comfortable, I mean able to go large with great frequency. Also, the rest of the offense might be illegal, they are so dangerous.
Or as Torii Hunter put it, "When they hit the ball, it sounds like car crashes."

The Jays also have the advantage of not having to start either Drew Hutchison, who is scary on the road, or Mark Buehrle, who is historical scary against the Yankees.

How do you feel, Mark Buehrle?

 “It’s fun. City’s buzzing, the clubhouse in here, you’ve got that feel every day coming to the field, ‘Who’s next?’ No matter if it’s a rookie pitching or a guy that’s been around for a while, we’ve got that feel of, ‘whose butt we gotta kick today?’ That’s a good feeling. We haven’t had that in the couple years that I’ve been here.”

Friday's probable pitchers are R.A. Dickey vs Nathan Eovaldi.

Last three starts, Dickey is 3-0 with a 0.77 ERA.

"When I started striking out guys is when I went to those much harder velocities consistently," Dickey said. "But the key is throwing strikes with it. Whatever firm speed I can consistently throw strikes with it, that's what I need to do."

Eovaldi is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA.

"I would imagine it's just the split; I've been able to control it a lot better against both lefties and righties," Eovaldi said. "Throwing it for strikes too, not just swing and misses -- I feel like that's one of the big reasons I'm having success."

Thursday, 6 August 2015

It's All Happening: Hutchison Bailed Out By Massive Offense

Drew Hutchison had a rough first inning (three runs), then seemed to settle down a little for a few innings, which turned out to be precarious, because an error at first and a non-call on a strike to Joe Mauer seemed to send the Hutch-mobile into a ditch, which then caught fire.

I don't know what's wrong with Hutchison, other than the lack of fastball command which makes him have to throw a lot more pitches than he should. It means that even his decent starts (where he is commanding the strike zone and pitching with some authority) end in about the 5th inning.

He also may have been dropping his elbow in the early innings. It's a mechanical problem more in danger in becoming a mental one and nobody seems to know what the hell to do about it. I feel bad for Hutch because he's, by all accounts, a hard worker who wants to win and it can't be easy to be struggling like this when the rest of the team is soaring.

Speaking of soaring, the Jays offense still managed to get Hutchison the win because they are awesome. All the runs were scored via the homer, including a magnificent grand slam by Jose Bautista.
Bautista just completely impressed himself on that. Also impressive was Edwin Encarnacion, who has been stealthly red-hot since the All Star Break batting .321 (17-for-53) with five doubles, one homer, three RBIs, nine runs and 12 walks since play resumed. The five doubles are especially promising because EE sometimes hits a lot of doubles right before he goes on one of his unconcious homer parades.

“Those four days were very good for me because I wasn’t 100 per cent with injuries in my groin and shoulder,” Encarnacion says in an interview with Shi Davidi. “Now I feel ready, I feel good and I can let it go.”

“Yeah, I had to try not to do too much,” he said. “I’ve been swinging at the ball too hard and that’s not the way I swing. I try to stay short, that’s what I’ve been trying to do the last couple of weeks, after the all-star game it’s been working more for me.”

I think the fact that the offense is this good without Encarnacion and Bautista being 100% is kind of ridiculous. In the best possible way.

Other news that dropped yesterday was that Marcus Stroman has starting throwing off a mound as of yesterday, may get into rehab games on August 21st and is still hoping to come to the party come September. Some people are already trying to slot Stroman into the rotation (ha!), but if he shows up at all, Stroman would be an arm in the 'pen.

“We don’t sit here and look at it like, ‘OK, he’s going to come to the rescue, save the day,’ ” Gibbons said. “It’s his goal. We’re on board if he can pull it off. But we’re not going to do anything stupid either.”

 Our new best friend David Price is now calling us "Fellow Canadians":

Yelling Sabathia a million times does not explain the lack of fear, Stephen A. Smith, you idiot.
Also, Josh Donaldson has nearly as many homers as Mark Teixeira. Also, shut up.

I've decided just to take all the cheating accusations as the joke they are. It's really, really funny. There should be more coming this weekend with the big series in the Bronx.

David Price dunked Jose Bautista in a dunk tank for charity. Awesome.
Finally, I was on Definitely Not the Jays Talk this week, talking the big trade deadline. So if you are dying to hear my voice, here is your shot. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Silly Suspensions and Deadline Analysis: Sanchez and Anthopoulos

I think we should all stop expecting any kind of fairness from MLB when it comes to the Blue Jays.

The Brook Jacoby incident earlier in the season indicated that it wasn't going to be logical or fair for this team. 

Of course, I find it completely ridiculous that Aaron Sanchez was suspended for three games after being ejected from Sunday's epic showdown with the Royals. Sanchez maintained that he didn't do it with intent, which is completely debatable, but at least he did it on the lower body and basically just made Alcides Escobar dance a little. Gibbons I get a little more, as he did return to the field after being ejected, but he didn't seem to go out to throw punches but rather to prevent his boys from getting into more trouble.

The fact that Edinson Volquez threw at Donaldson twice, once hitting him between the numbers and the other buzzing him back at his face, and then was completely unapologetic about it post game and who now faces no discipline at all is stupid. Yordano Ventura, though he apologized, did threaten Jose Bautista with violence over Twitter. I have yet to hear any kind of word on that by MLB. The Sanchez suspension would be a lot more tolerable if there was just some acknowledgment that the Royals instigated and then escalated the situation.

Hear Jonah Keri call both Volquez and Ventura trash on TSN Toronto 1050 the other day.  About 15 minutes in. It's great.

Thanks, homie.

Speaking of Mr. Keri, his feature on the Jays' trade deadline, which includes an extensive talk with Alex Anthopoulos, is up today on Grantland. 

Highlights include:

“I asked if it would go to Friday,” Anthopoulos said. “He said, ‘I’ll get back to you tonight.’ I told him, ‘Great, my family’s in Portugal until Monday. I’ll be all alone. Call anytime, I’ll be awake!’ So later that night, Dombrowski calls me. Except I’m on the phone with [Mariners GM] Jack Zduriencik talking about [veteran relief pitcher] Mark Lowe. I’m dying to jump off the phone, but I don’t want to do that to Jack. I did really want Price, though. So I did hurry it along.”
That's such a social thing, too. You don't want to insult someone you are talking to, but the person you really want to/have to talk to is in your sight line.

“I didn’t sleep a second that night,” Anthopoulos said. “I was too wired.”

“We had a lot of people within our organization who were not comfortable with the idea of getting Tulo and wanted starting pitching instead,” he said. “They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up.”
Well, luckily you got them both. And I think it's clear that the Tulowitzki deal happened when it did because he was made available at that time and things fell into place. It had nothing to do with SS being the most pressing need that had to be addressed, but rather something that might be a bigger problem later but could be addressed now.

It's just interesting that there are both short term and long term needs addressed in this very active trade deadline for AA. Also, that he sent the wife and kids to Portugal so he could get some work doen.

I suspected in my middle of the night post about the  Tulowitzki trade that Anthopoulos had been involved in the 2005 draft when the Jays took Ricky Romero over Tulowitzki and that that draft had been on AA's mind for a while.

Turns out, I was right:

Tulo had been on Anthopoulos’s mind for more than a decade, dating back to when he worked as a Jays scouting director in 2005. He and (now-assistant GM) Andrew Tinnish went to scout the shortstop when he was starring for Long Beach State. The Jays ended up drafting Ricky Romero one spot before the Rockies took Tulo. Both men then watched from a distance as that five-tool kid blossomed into an elite talent. A decade later, they wanted him badly.
I love it when that happens.



Added more stuff because everyone is writing a tonne about the Jays lately:

More on Anthopoulos from my buddy Arden Zwelling:

Beeston is known for his rigid schedule, which involves arriving at work at 7:30 a.m. every morning and going to sleep at 10:00 p.m. every night. Anthopoulos knew not to call his boss after that time unless it was a matter of crucial importance. This was the rare time that it was. Anthopoulos had secured ownership approval on a Reyes-for-Tulowitzki swap months earlier when talks first started to progress, but Beeston had always said he wanted his GM to work with him on a “no-surprises basis.” So he phoned Beeston’s home and spoke to his wife, asking her to wake up Beeston. “Hello?” came a gravelly voice a couple of minutes later. “Paul, I’m really sorry to do this, but I didn’t want you to wake up and find out without hearing from me first. We’re about to close on Tulowitzki.” Beeston was quiet for a moment as he digested the news. “Well, all right.”

Reyes arrived at the Rogers Centre at 12:30 a.m., well aware something was up. While Blue Jays trainer George Poulis exchanged medical information with his Rockies counterpart Keith Dugger in one room, Anthopoulos and Gibbons broke the news to a teary-eyed Reyes in another. Reyes was quiet and emotional, not saying much other than asking who he had been traded for. Anthopoulos, ever vigilant about leaks, wouldn’t say. Reyes got up to leave, giving everyone in the room a hug before he went.

Do you want to read what Josh Donaldson has to say about hitting? Of course you do. 

“Honestly I never really think about my hands,” laughed Donaldson as we talked before a game against the Athletics. “It more has to do with angles with your legs, your spine, your shoulders. I wouldn’t consider myself a guy who has a handsy swing, that’s more of the old-school kind of thing, or guys that slap the ball around. I use more of my entire body.”
Did you know LaTroy Hawkins is awesome? Because he is.

Hawkins links generations of Major Leaguers. He's more than twice the age of his new 20-year-old bullpen-mate, Roberto Osuna, who is the youngest player to appear in the Majors this season. When Osuna was born on Feb. 7, 1995, Hawkins was less than three months from making his Major League debut.
 With Minnesota from 1996-98, Hawkins shared a clubhouse with Hall of Famer and current Twins manager Paul Molitor, who was born Aug. 22, 1956. So Osuna and Molitor, born almost 40 years apart, are connected through a common teammate.

Also, from the Denver Post:

“When I’m done playing, I don’t care about having a career ERA of whatever,” Hawkins said recently in the Rockies clubhouse. “I won’t care about never winning a World Series. I won’t care about any of that. The only thing I’ll care about is what my teammates thought of me, and the managers, pitching coaches, general managers and all the people I came in contact with. I care what they think of me. …
“I want them to say, ‘LaTroy was one hell of a guy.’ ”