Saturday, 29 November 2014

Mind. Blown.



So, I feel weird. Shocked.

It appears instead of wrestling people over deals at the mall and finding an excellent price on big screen TVs, Billy Beane was shopping bodies.

The Blue Jays traded Brett Lawrie (and other bodies, including Sean Nolin) to Oakland for Josh Donaldson.

So much for a Canadian/Dominican co-production.

I like Lawrie a lot. He makes insane plays, his energy is something and he was charming when I met him. Thinking about him talking enthusiastically about having Martin and Pompey join him on "Canada's Team" a few weeks ago seems quaint now. I have trouble looking for pictures of the boy to include. I heard hilarious pep talk stories he gave teenagers at Baseball Canada events. Not the type of pep talks you might expect.

Oakland is talented team and Lawrie might thrive there. The stadium is a dump but San Francisco is a nice place to live. He can hang out with people at Google.

There was a little ballyhoo about Lawrie playing some 2nd and how he might not have liked it all that much. My thought was he's a great athlete, he used to play that position and he also doesn't really get to make that call. Lawrie backed away from statements and said he'd play wherever for the team.

There might be more concern about Lawrie's obliques than the Jays said publicly. And sure enough, right after I write that sentence, this appears:

Sometimes you just make assumptions about your team. You get used to the idea of having certain guys in certain spots and you just assume certain Canadian fireballs are going to stay. But it's a business and AA is looking to win. Now. His job depends on it. He has to pay off that Honda. 

As for the new guy, per Stoeten:

7.7 and 6.4. 
Those are Donaldson’s WAR totals in each of the last two years, according to the FanGraphs version of the metric. He was first and second (by 0.2) among MLB third basemen in those years respectively. He hit 24 and 29 home runs — in Oakland. He walks at an above average rate. He plays tremendous defence (UZR of 15.5 in 2014, DRS of +20). He put up a 147 wRC+ in 2013, and a 129 this year.

I guess he'll do. He's a few years older and has "broken out" as opposed to  " maybe about to break out." He's under control for four years, which is exactly the kind contract AA likes. Control gets him going.

Also, Donaldson, like Martin, is a guy who's been on a playoff team. Jose Bautista is a great many things, but he's never been on a playoff team.  It all plays in to the idea that AA is in it to win it.

I don't think Donaldson is in this picture (he's got a generic white boy look, and Oakland has it's fair share. They had great hair last year) but I just enjoy it.


Speaking of hair, Donaldson appears to  favour a faux hawk/rat tail combination.

His dad spent most of Donaldson's childhood in prison and didn't see his kid play baseball until 2013. In that game, his kid had two hits in three at bats, walking twice, with a homer, a double and three runs batted in, in a 9-8 Athletics win.

His dad's name is Levon. I've got Elton John in my head. That song was written about Levon Helm, btw.


Plus,

“I have definitely watched thousands of hours of Bautista hitting,” Donaldson said. “Bob Melvin actually had to stop me from watching him. He said, ‘Hey, I want you to be your own guy.’ ”


And then,

Now they can swap recipes and braid each other's hair.



Read this, cause Ian from Blue Jay Hunter gets cited. Like a boss.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Whispers



Ah yes. Whispers.

Go read this:

Sometime around the Grady Little/Pedro Martinez situation in 2003, I was watching baseball with my dad. He saw the discussion between the two and as Little sauntered back to the dugout (and his eventual unemployment),  my dad said, “Why is he even asking him? Every guy worth his salt is going to say, ‘Yeah, skip. I’m good.’ So asking him is idiotic. The manager should know before he even goes out there.”

Dickey should be having discussions with Gibbons about being pulled. That doesn't mean Gibbons shouldn't be pulling him. But having a high opinion of your own abilities is the mark of a competitive pitcher. It’s up to Gibbons to manage that. Managing big egos is the deal with being a big league manager.

I don’t care that Dickey is a loner. I don’t care that Stroman goes to Buehrle for advice. I’m not Dickey’s friend or his wife or his mom. I’m not working with him. I would like to discuss books with him, but I'd be ok if he didn't want to be buds.

I say this as an introvert. I have sometimes been accused of being aloof or snobby or dumb (because silent equals stupid.) And I’m kind of sick of people assuming that this is some kind of character flaw- that not being chummy with everyone or an open book is a terrible thing. Or that I have low self esteem or think my ideas are terrible because I don`t always voice them (this was especially true as a teenager.)

Dickey’s history might suggest a person who is slow to trust. Or who doesn't trust at all. It’s very common. I loved his book. He doesn't come off like a cuddly person, but I’m ok with that. I just think he’s fascinating.

He's also cheap and pitches 200 innings.

Since we are all so fond of whispering- I’ll relay some whispers that I've heard. That a certain long time broadcaster is not so great to work with and that’s why a smooth voiced former catcher went elsewhere and a more amusing than expected pitcher followed suit soon after- though the official reason was to be “closer to home.” Sources sourcing sources.  So the source of this Dickey opinion amused me greatly.

For the record, Ian is a mensch. The menschiest mensch of all the mensches. So go read his blog.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Notes from an Offseason (So far)

Life sped up on me through the end of the regular season and this space is neglected. The first real snow fall is outside, meaning now is as good a time as any to write about baseball.

The last game of the regular season was bittersweet- Casey Janssen, who has been a Jay longer than I've had this blog, tipped his hat to the Toronto crowd for likely the last time. It's like he's growing up.

I thought it was totally cheap that they didn't put Colby Rasmus in the field or to pinch hit in the final game, also likely his last as a Jay. Rasmus is a special little snowflake, had a down year after a career year in 2013 and might've been on the shit list for one infraction or another.  But every time I went to the Rogers Centre over the past few seasons, I've always seen a tonne of Rasmus jerseys. I just think people liked him- for being a basset hound of a human being with flashes of brilliance.

Look at him take a selfie:


And also this....



He's one of a kind. And I hope he finds happiness. 



I watched the post season intently, though it was completely ignored here. The two Wild Card games were the best advertisement for the second Wild Card imaginable. The Oakland/Kansas City game was a nail biter that began to feel a little like a hostage situation (but with more bunting.) And the Pittsburgh/San Francisco game was so one sided, it was sort of boring, despite (or maybe because) of the extreme dominance of Madison Bumgarner. That performance was just a hint of what was to come, a show of dominance on the competition that was the stuff of legends. I was cheering for Kansas City in the World Series, but no one had an answer for Mad Bum. And the even year magic for the San Francisco Giants continues. I also really enjoyed the fact that the truck awarded to the WS MVP was subject to a recall. It's the little things. 



Adam Lind, the other Blue Jay from the first age of Gibbons, was traded to Milwaukee. I like that dude- I liked that he was so chill, I liked that he married a girl from Scarborough, I liked his beard and I liked how he ran like an energetic 10 year old.  We'll always have 2009, Adam.

Anthony Gose was traded to Detroit. I believe I tweeted "Damn it" often when he was at the plate. He seems like a nice kid though, and should have a good time in Detroit's massive outfield. Jays got 2nd base prospect type Devon Travis. I've read a bit on the kid, and I don't really know what to think about him. As Stoeten puts it,

 "The Jays, apparently, just dealt for a below-average/average/above-average defensive second baseman who will win batting titles/hit like Altuve/be a .280 hitter with 10-12 HR power/be unable to adjust to big league pitching with his unorthodox swing mechanics."



I'd also like to pour one out for Drunk Jays Fans at the Score. I don't know what's going on over there, other than they seem to be dumping some content creators. I first found Drunk Jays Fans through Google. Parkes had written a piece linking to my piece about not booing Josh Towers and saying that I should date Bergkamp, who also had non-hostile feelings towards Josh Towers. And I had the odd sensation that strangers read my writing and I thought "Who are these assholes?" 

They were the other big dog besides the Tao of Stieb in the nascent Blue Jays blogging scene that was developing. If this scene was the Rat Pack, as the Tao of Stieb put it, I'd be the Angie Dickinson. We were blogspots. It was before Twitter. It was crazy. 

Stoeten is now writing at andrewstoeten.com. It isn't, as I first thought, stoeten.com.  I was a little confused and thought for a moment he was writing in Dutch about boats, that he was really branching out. But, no. Still baseball. Still English. 

Now maybe Stoeten will follow me on Twitter again. 

What else is happening? Let me think. Oh, wait. 



I had this feeling earlier in October that I wanted some sort of Canadian/Dominican co-production making up the Blue Jays (American pitchers are fine.) I have this dream that Missisauga native Dalton Pompey is actually ready for the big leagues and blossoms here. And thought, off hand, "Martin would be nice, rounded out with a healthy Lawrie." 

I understand the naysayers about this deal (there are always naysayers about any big deal.) Martin will be 36 when the deal is done. Catchers don't always age well. But he handles pitchers like a dream and frames the hell out of a pitch.  His middle name is Coltrane. I've got stars in my eyes.

I'm excited. So is Brett Lawrie. Listen to him talk a mile a minute about it. 


He's very pro Canada, very pro Pompey and very pro Martin. "Let's rock!" Seriously, Lawrie packs a million words in a sentence. I imagine him speeding down the highway, screaming into an ear piece.

Here's AJ Burnett stealing a throw down to second from Martin. 



Also, 

Miller did say he wanted to stay in the AL East.

And then!

2014 offseason > 2013 offseason.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Had It Going



The Jays are mathematically out of it, rather than just out of it in theory/opinion, but they also made sure that Seattle is pretty much out of it, too. They've beaten the Mariners in the first three games of this series in spectacular fashion.

I know many are saying this is all meaningless, but it has meaning to me. Mostly because it's fun. And after watching the Orioles clinch the East vs the Jays last week, fun is a nice change.

I don't know if being almost there, but not is better than being out of it by July but it certainly was more stressful.

They pounded the Mariners 14-4 in the opening game. Jose Bautista, consistent with his fantastic season, had a fantastic game. He went 3 for 3 with a homer, made a great catch and threw Logan Morrison out trying to stretch a single. Look at all the skills. 

Bautista, without much fanfare, has put up an MVP calibre season and I expect to see a few votes go his way. Mike Trout, on an Angels team that has the league's best record, likely has it in the bag, but Bautista is in the conversation. As FanGraphs put it:

"It’s Michael Brantley without the baserunning, basically. Or, if you prefer, it’s Jose Abreu while also playing a more important defensive position. Bautista has been mostly overlooked because we’ve gotten used to him putting up .400 weighted on base averages on non-contending teams, but he remains one of the game’s very best hitters, and he’s not a big negative on the field or the bases. He might not be the best hitter in baseball anymore, but he’s still one of the best players in the sport."

Felix Hernandez pitched in the second game, and the Jays handed him the worst inning of his entire career. Highlight of the inning was Dalton Pomepy's first big league homer.

“I was kind of in shock for a moment,” Pompey said of the home run off Hernandez. “I’ve played with that guy in video games. So to think that I just hit a home run off of him was pretty crazy.”

He looked for a pitch up in the zone and got one. It's been an amazing season for Dalton Pompey and I really hope that the local boy is for real. He could be a big star here. Arden Zwelling writes about Pompey's rise. 

“Every game that goes by I feel more comfortable. I feel better and better about myself. I feel like I belong,” Pompey says. “I’m still trying to adjust to these pitchers. So it’s nice to be in there every day.”

And yesterday, in one of my favourite games of the season, Mark Buehrle got to 200 innings pitched for the 14th consecutive season.  Buehrle made his 461st consecutive start without a stint on the disabled list which is the longest streak in the Majors.

"I think it's going to mean more at the end of the season, knowing I accomplished it again," Buehrle said. "I think when I had two or three starts in a row I had three innings, four innings, mixed a six-inning game in there, I kind of, I don't want to say gave up, I said, 'Hey it's not going to happen.' I did the math and said I have eight starts, I need so many innings, I didn't like my chances. It means a lot because I put this goal on myself in Spring Training."

I felt bad for Taijuan Walker, rookie Mariners pitcher, who matched Buehrle pitch for pitch until the 8th, when Goins hit a bloop which scored Kawasaki from first. It was a classic pitcher's duel that lasted under two hours.

"He had it going," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of Buehrle. "He's a veteran guy that knows what he's doing. He's got great touch and feel. He had the cutter going in, good changeup, breaking ball, mixed it all. That was vintage Buehrle."

Yep. Vintage Buehrle.

I don't know if you've heard, but Derek Jeter is retiring. I won't be surprised if you haven't heard, as it has barely been talked about. He plays his final game in New York tonight, likely with little fanfare. Here are some private photos, but likely not the type of private photos like Justin Verlander's that were circling a few weeks ago. The photos are taken by Canadian photographer Christopher Anderson.

But I want to give a shout out to one of my favourite ball players who is also calling it a career. Paul Konerko is maybe the most underrated in MLB and I've always liked him.

Here is his message to Chicago White Sox fans.


Also, it seems the White Sox think the "Man in White" moved to Detroit. Sale, calm yourself. You'll pull something.

Do you want to see a Lil' Uribe dancing in the Dodger celebration? Yes, of course you do.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Rolling Well


Great game at the Trop or THE GREATEST GAME AT THE TROP?

This place is normally a house of horrors for the Jays, but last night had a little bit of everything good.

Dickey, knuckler dancing, two hitting the Rays over seven innings, followed by Sanchez (a knuckle ball followed by a 98 mph sinking fastball is hilarious) and then Redmond to close it out. A homer with Danny smiles, a homer with Reyes smiles and a pinch hit Navarro homer, cause why the hell not? And millions of hands to high five. And some audible "Let's go, Blue Jays!" among the twelve people who showed up to the game.

I don't know these people that said the homers were a bad thing, but they sound like jerks.

“Timely hitting, couple of home runs,” Dickey said. “We took extra bases, a lot of excitement, we pitched well. Yeah, it reminded me a lot of May when we were rolling well and everybody was contributing, which is a fun environment.”

I got into a Twitter talk re. Dickey last night, and I’ll re-iterate. I pretty much find Dickey fascinating and not much is going to deter me from wanting to have an extended conversation about books with him (you lived the dream, Stacey.) I don't care about his “pitching face” or that he seems crabby on the mound (impatience and eye rolling or whatever) or separate on the bench. People are allowed to be introverts or idiosyncratic or weird. I am those things.

And pitchers are often total jerks on the mound. I’d rather a guy be angry than sulk. But mostly I don't care.  These guys are proud and competitive. I don't think Thole is put upon. Some of my favourite Alan Ashby stories were the ones where Nolan Ryan was hilariously mean to him.

And as Wilner pointed out, Dickey's been pretty great, in his way.

Knuckleballs are capricious animals and I'm going to defend the dude. Especially when he is two hitting the Rays.

Dalton Pompey made his MLB debut last night as a pinch runner.

“When I think back to when I got drafted, I didn’t really know if I was going to make it to the big leagues or not,” said the native of Mississauga, Ont. “Now I’m here and all my friends back home are like, ‘Man, we’re going to see you [at the Rogers Centre] in like a week!’ It’s just unbelievable.”

On Rasmus sitting tonight when he's 4-11 vs Archer. I don’t know what that's about. Is he still sick? Is he on the shit list?  I just don’t know. There are a lot of outfielders running around now, and maybe the Jays are focusing on the future rather than the probable-past.

I love the kid, but I fear his time with us is almost up.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Assorted Thoughts

Remember when this was the most discussed picture of Verlander and Upton? I mean, magenta pants? MAGENTA WITH A SHEEN?



So I looked. They were not hard to find. They are awesome pictures. It looks like a good time and they enjoy each other. They look happy. And very naked. When I first heard the two were together, it felt like the law of nature made manifest. He’s been one of the best pitchers for the Tigers. She’s a supermodel from Michigan. And also a blonde, very American supermodel, in the Christie Brinkley mode. Another type of model would seem all wrong with someone like Verlander. It’s just so sporty.

I didn’t get the big deal about the pics- I mean, the naked aspects of them. I got the big deal about the stealing. I’ve seen many, many European actresses naked in films and also many models naked in magazines (fashion ones, not porn ones) and these weren’t any more extreme. I saw more of Verlander’s former teammate Prince Fielder in the ESPN Body Issue earlier this year (though that had better lighting and makeup. Fluorescent lighting is friend to no one.) We all saw more of Jose Bautista in that magazine the year before. And you know, boobs are boobs.

But then I thought about it. And I realized the big deal with the pictures not the nakedness but the choice. Upton and Verlander chose to be naked together (awesome) and chose to capture that nakedness with their smartphones (cool.) But they didn’t choose to share those pictures of their naked together times with all of us (unfortunately) but instead had them stolen by jerks (asshole jerks.) And now not only has their personal information been hacked (we don’t know what kind of breach this was- are there phone numbers out there and is credit information involved? Apparently, it's an iCloud breach) but they also have to deal with people making comments and judgments about their naked together times and their bodies, when it looks like it’s two consenting adults having a private good time. I've read some of those comments. Not so many shared my sentiments of "hey look how happy they are!"

So I’m sorry I looked and violated their privacy. And I’m sorry we live in a society where healthy adult sexuality is seen as a commodity that needs to be stolen and displayed for judgement and derision. I hope these people get charged (the Scarlett Johansson phone hacker got ten years) and I hope everyone affected goes back to having healthy, sexy good times (in private, if that’s how they want it.) Because they don’t deserve the shame they are getting.


ETA- to all the people saying that Verlander is a "secondary" victim or a collateral victim- that's his ass, too and some suspect it could his iCloud that was hacked (apparently athletes are terrible at passwords.) So let's not completely dismiss Verlander being wronged here.

So anyway, baseball. Derek Jeter and the Yankees rolled in for a weekend series of struggling to remain relevant and were nice enough to lose two of three to the Jays. Jeter got an all expense paid trip to Banff in a castle (including cooking and mixology lessons) and a nice chunk of cash for his charity. Jeter thinks Halladay was tough. 

 Bautista has hit five homers in the last five games. It's a shame he's so "selfish". What a terrible human who brings no joy to any of us.

Buehrle started out well on Friday until the wheels fell off in the later innings. Buehrle might just be getting old.

September call-ups happened- Morrow! Norris! Hometown boys Pompey and Kottaras ! Brand new and almost new toys!

Brett Lawrie was transferred to the 60-day DL, so that's the end of his season. I think the Jays need to stop leaving this kid to his own devices. His workout routines might be too extreme and it's making his sides go crazy. The key to Lawrie's success is going to be learning to balance that crazy energy he's got (which is a plus) and to focus it so things don't get ripped up. Get him to meditate or something.
Blue Jays Plus wrote more about Lawrie and his obliques. 


Casey Janssen just hasn't been the same since he went to the Dominican at the All Star Break. He tells John Lott that the food poisoning isn't an excuse for his poor performance.

 Athletes have this stubbornness when it comes to these things- when is it an excuse and when is it just a fact? Admitting that getting sick and losing eight pounds in a day or two might just be the cause. And that's ok. It's just something you need to work with.

Also, who goes to the Dominican (who isn't Dominican) for two days in the middle of summer? Questionable behaviour.

August is over. It was awful. I want a hot September. I want to make it hell for the rest of the league and insanely fun for us.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sad Baseball is Sad

Just when I think rock bottom has happened, they somehow find a new level. Great, merciful crap. That game. I didn't even watch it. For the first time, I followed along entirely on Twitter. So I just had to visualize the monster homer Mike Napoli hit off Sergio Santos that now haunts my dreams. I still haven't seen highlights. My imagination was bad enough.

After the Red Sox scored seven runs in extras, the Jays, just torture us, score three. There is nothing wrong with scoring three, other than it further emphasized that they were terrible with RISP last night and could've totally used those runs to win the stupid game when it was tied in the 9th.

I got so annoyed at John Farrell for IBB Edwin Encarnacion last night in the 9th when the game was tied. I was like "You are so far out of it, this win is meaningless. You won the World Series last year, you selfish bastard." Well, it's getting pretty meaningless for the Jays. August has been terrible, and though the Jays have hovered around .500 for most of the time I've written this blog, .500 feels like getting drop kicked in the face.


Ian, the Blue Jay Hunter, captured it all. (Seriously, go read his blog. It rules.)




The black cloud even got to this one:


Monkeys never cramp, but boys cry.

I don't know why Casey Janssen can no longer have shut down innings. Maybe the baseball gods are punishing him for going to the Dominican in July. He's just not been the same. Maybe he barfed up the season. Santos, who poured gasoline on Janssen's tire fire last night, got DFA'd.

It's gotten to a point that newspaper comments on articles online feature theories that Gibbons doesn't have a disciplined dugout because the players smile during the national anthems. And @MLB is tweeting about the push for the post season featuring the Yankees and Orioles.

It's all just so sad. Maybe we should all just go hang out in Buffalo. 

“That is such a fun group down there. That kind of saved me a little bit. Everybody in that clubhouse, it’s just a fun group of guys. They’re relaxed," said Santos. "Honestly, I think that’s why they’re playing so well, is because they have that big carefree mentality, and so it makes baseball fun again.”

It can be fun?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Almost, But Not Quite



I wrote all day at my job today, so I'm basically out of sentences.

But a few need to be written about the Bautista thing. Or THE BAUTISTA INCIDENT, if you prefer.

It was major bad form for Bautista to get so worked up and get himself tossed. The strike zone was stupid, but the strike zone is usually stupid. Pointing out that a person is shit at their job is never a wise strategy.

At the bottom of the 10th, I was praying to the Baseball Sanity gods that Reimold would do something to at least score that run at third. Not just because it would've tied the game, but because I knew plenty of idiots would come out and everyone would have to have a big discussion about how Bautista failed society. And I get drawn into black holes like this. 

So maybe I'm giving Bautista "a free pass" by writing what I'm about to write, but this is just how I see it.

Bautista being up in his usual spot in the 10th would've been very useful, but it really shouldn't have gotten to that point. Basic, decent baseball would've won that game. Reimold screwed up in right field in extras. It was a routine catch that nine times out of ten he makes. The Jays had a guy on third in the 10th with less than two outs. Reyes and Cabrera needed to step up and score that run.

Bautista is their best player and by many accounts, a leader on this team. But he's also allowed to have a shit day. The short fuse he has displayed in the past has really been a non-factor all season. Bautista has been a lot better in that regard, and people should maybe give him more credit.

The thing that really irritates me about the outrage of this is that I know if he didn't show that kind of fire, he'd get variations of the "lazy/entitled/spoiled/ indifferent" label that gets lobbed at players of colour all the time. Has a Latin player ever been described as "gritty"?

He's also, rather quietly, having one of the best seasons of his career. Bautista's fire and his high standards are part of what drives him. This guy is one of the best players this team has ever had, and I think it's unfair to dump on him after a screw up. This purgatory of "almost, but not quite" is terrible to witness, so it's also likely terrible to play in.

Maybe Bautista's team should bail him out for once. He's done plenty of the heavy lifting.

In other news that made this loss irritating: Drew Hutchison pitched a really good game and he did it at home, which, for whatever reason, he hasn't been able to do very often. Also, the Cubs swept the Orioles over the weekend, so some ground could've been made up.  The division is the key to the playoffs.

Also, to people in various corners saying that "Garbage Clowns" is mean. Mean is having to listen to the Garbage Clowns talk their idiotic spiels of nonsense. Accept that you are clowns and also garbage, Garbage Clowns. Stop trying to trade Encarnacion and Bautista, who are on two of the friendliest contracts in baseball for the next two seasons. Just stop.

Finally, from Jake, in the DJF comments:

Quick comment on those who are quick to say Bautista is a selfish piece of shit for being ejected…..not that it’s related, but—->my daughter was picked as part of Jr Jays starting lineup, you know when little kids get to stand next to the players during the anthems. Well she got to stand next to Jose….and he engaged her and talked to her the entire time, while the other players showed little interest in the kids they stood next to, or so it seemed. He didn’t have to talk to her, but he was genuine and clearly cared about her experience. Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe not. All I’m saying is we’re awfully quick to judge when it’s something negative happening, but overlook some of the more important positive things. Let’s not forget Jose took EE under his wing and helped him (how much? who fucking knows) become the player he is today…..

Friday, 15 August 2014

"That's Throwing like a Girl"


West Coast baseball is sort of terrible because it completely throws my schedule off, and occasionally I sleep through the final innings. Drifting off during Wednesday's game, I knew, somehow, that the score was going to remain 2-0 and Dickey was once again going to get screwed out of offence. I woke up the next morning, just knowing the score was 2-0.

There is this anti-Dickey sentiment that hangs over this team, coming not just out of the fringe crazies but from the mainstream media (which is perhaps feeding the fringe crazies, to encourage them to click and share deliriously.) Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star posted an article in which he writes:  “Dickey overall did not pitch poorly, but once again, as has been the case with all of the Jays starters, he did not pitch well enough to win.”

Back it up there, Griff. He went six innings and gave up two runs. Dickey struggled a bit, but he did manage to make pitches when he needed to and get out of jams. It was a crafty performance. If a pitcher pitches late into the game and gives up three or fewer runs, I think he's pitched well enough to win. Any decent offence should be able to scratch out two or three runs. I'm not arguing that the Jays are currently a great offensive team, but I definitely wouldn't hang that on the pitcher.

No pitcher is going to go out there and throw a perfect game, and throwing the idea that that is possible is doing a disservice to the already alarmingly ignorant fan base.

Just re-read this  and roll with it.

The bigger problem was that the offence left a village on base. They struggled mightily with the concept of getting the big hit.



Hopefully, the return of Edwin Encarnacion will help overcome that struggle. I really can't express how happy I am he's returned.

“He looks fine,” Buffalo manager Gary Allenson told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News on Thursday morning. “I think the determining factor really is how much they need his bat in the lineup right now.

“Is he 100% healthy? I don’t really know. Maybe not. But that’s not going to be the point right now. Getting that bat in the lineup that drives in the runs is what you need. They haven’t been swinging the bats too good or scoring many runs up there. It’s obviously a big bat they need.”

Maybe not?

Gose is down for EE. No, I don't know why. Options?

A massive shout out to the Jays fans who made the pilgrimage down to Seattle from the West Coast and who clearly don't dislike the late games as much as I do. You made your presence felt and annoyed some Seattle fans on Twitter. This guy from Seattle wrote about this last year. He doesn't get it.




“It’s just crazy . . . it’s like the support of the fans is all across Canada,”  Marcus Stroman said. “I forget that you literally have a whole country rooting for you. I think when I’m in Toronto, I think we only have Toronto fans. But we’re not just a normal city, we have the whole of Canada rooting for us. It shows you how many fans are truly behind you and are keeping in touch with the Blue Jays and how many fans are hoping that we can get to the playoffs and win.”

On the subject of silly journalists, a couple of choice tweets from Jon Morosi this afternoon:


There were a lot of follow up tweets asking Morosi to send this info to AA, citing Jose Bautista's comments and the record. Yeah, I'm sure Anthopoulos is just waiting for that call, being totally unaware of the idea of upgrades. Also, I wish people would actually have read Bautista's full quote, because it does not come off as petulant and dissatisfied as the little pieces that were quoted heavily in the press.

I'm a big believer in the psychological aspects of the game (as I also believe in those things in life) but I'm not sure it actually works the way Morosi implies. Morosi is basically saying that the players acquired have not been great, but their very existence has inspired the Mariners to reach new heights.

Or, maybe the Mariners just got hot. They do have the best pitcher in the American League.

It reminds of the remarks Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler were making about the Yankees a few weeks ago. According to them, the Yankees are playing extra hard to make it into the playoffs for Derek Jeter.

A new commissioner was elected to the MLB. Rob Manfred is replacing the retiring Bud Selig. This tweet from Wendy Thurm sums up my feelings pretty well:
It's interesting that Paul Beeston was against the choice. I don't know what that implies. Maybe Manfred wears socks with his loafers.


Finally, the Little League World Series is happening. The star of the tournament has been Mo'ne Davis, a pitcher for the Taney Dragons out of Philadelphia. She's the 18th girl to play in the tournament's history.

She's 13 years old. And has a 70 mph fastball.

She's a bad ass. And I love her.

On being a girl in the tournament:

"Probably like a couple of years from now, there'll be a lot of girls here, and then it won't be just like all boys, so they'll have to build like another dorm for girls, so it'll be a huge impact if more girls start playing," she said.

On her roll as a pitcher:

"I mean, if it wasn't for my team, we wouldn't really be here right now," she said. "It's not just about me, like I can't fill all nine positions or bat all nine times, so you just have to see the whole reason why we're here is because we work well together and we work as a team."

From her teammate:

"She is the only girl on our team, but we don't really think of her as a girl until she starts telling us all what to do, and then we're like, oh yeah," said center fielder Kai Cummings, 12.

From her coach, Alex Rice:

"You won't see her fall apart on the mound," said Rice. "You can't get to her. It's a real poised group, and she's at the head of it."

She also gave this choice quote:

"Throwing 70 miles an hour," she said. "That's throwing like a girl."


"What about a you know, typically, uh, I don't know, more female friendly sport, like soccer? No?"

She led her team to the Little League World Series. But yeah, maybe she should try soccer.

I mean, people who do this:



should not be discouraged.

Oh, and she also challenged Clayton Kershaw to a pitch off (as you do.) 

His answer:
“Hey Mo'ne, just wanted to say congratulations on making it Williamsport. That's awesome, such a cool thing for you to get to do. Such a fun opportunity and I heard you're ready for a pitch off. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm prepared. I'm ready for whenever you can make it out to LA, just let me know.”

Get Vin Scully to call it, and it'd be THE. BEST. THING.EVER.

RIP Robin Williams. (in a baseball context.)


I just love his line reading on "So, you're the one." 

Monday, 11 August 2014

19 Innings : Fun is Winning and Winning is Fun


That series had everything about baseball packed into three games. Great defense (hi Colby), horrible defense. Great bullpen pitching and three blown saves. Great starting pitching, bad starting pitching. Replays and calls overturned late in the game. Homers and small ball. Dickey looking like he had been kicked in the stomach (Friday, post blown save) to Dickey kissing Bautista (Sunday, post 19th inning walkoff,single.)


Three 1-run games. You can't tell me the Jays in the playoffs would be boring, MLB, because it just won't be. You can't tell me this isn't a baseball town, because Toronto packed the house.

“It was a club celebration,” Colby Rasmus said. “Everybody was excited, pumped for the win, and I think we were trying to make the environment [about] everybody being happy that we won, not just coming into the locker room and just sitting there.

“Everybody came in having a good time. And I think that’s going to push us to want to win and want to do things right, and just have fun. At the end of the day, fun is winning and winning is fun.”

So

Much

Fun
 This was actually my favourite moment of the game. Mostly because Gibby is such a bad ass in it.

Melky Cabrera is awesome. And had a historic day at the plate.

Got mad hits like he was Rod Carew. (And intentionally walked like Barry Bonds.) 

The only Jay who didn't have a very good day was this guy.


I don't know exactly what's going on (and no, it's not because he sucks) but here is my suspicion. Buehrle gets 200 innings every year, and he has never been on the DL. That's a lot of innings on that arm. He's not a kid anymore and he's probably hit a wall. I'm hoping he can get some down time with the off days, and maybe skip a start. It's rough to watch. 


I believe the thing I was thanking Washington for was his pointing out how hard/terrible the turf is — it was one of those situations like where you can complain about the terrible things your family does or how misbehaved your dog is, but as soon as someone else makes a comment about it, it’s not ok. 

Also, I have no idea how Washington has managed a bullpen lately, but I remember a certain World Series game where Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre hit what felt like 50 homers and the bullpen couldn't hold on to any lead. I believe they came within a strike- TWICE!- of winning the whole thing. If you have used your ‘pen to the point that your pitchers can no longer throw a single strike, you have overused those horses. You could almost see the smoke coming out of Nolan Ryan’s ears. 

The Jays fan is a moron. (Way to represent.) Gibbons’ bullpen management tends to be pretty good—I fail to see how it was mismanaged yesterday. Did they not throw more than a complete game of shutout baseball? Like, 15 innings or something insane like that? Chad Jenkins is a long man- he went long. And they didn't have to throw a starter out there. 

Also, the words “Joey Bats” and “swinging like a moron” should never be strung together in a sentence, unless the words “not” or “never” are mixed in. I mean, have some respect.

Respect like this.


h/t to Ian the Blue Jay Hunter. He's the best, guys. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Withering Sighs of Meaningful Baseball.


While that was a frustrating series in many (many) ways, it was maybe not as bad as it seemed. The series loss to the Orioles didn't dent the lead in the standings I would've liked, but looking at the actual numbers that were flashed on screen- hits, runs, homers, various pitching number- the two teams are virtually tied in the season series. Other than the first game, the pitching was great. Two out hits were in abundance in the second game. The Orioles looked okay, but not out of this world. The Colby Rasmus ground rule double that bounced over the wall last night was probably the key moment that made this a series loss rather than a series win. And that's just luck, something the Orioles have buckets of. 

This team just isn't firing on all cylinders like they did earlier in the season. And I'm pretty much exhausted trying to stay positive (or at least, logical) in the face of the frothing masses. 



I've also been attempting to Internet date (which is a whole other story) and Match.com has an option to add your favourite MLB team to your profile. It's a Match/MLB cross promotion so fans of the same teams can have sex with each other, until it becomes awkward and one decides the other needs to die alone. 

See if you can spot the problem: 


I mean, really? There is even a space there. 


Friday, 1 August 2014

Running in Place: No Moves on Trade Deadline Day


MLB Trade Deadline Day happened yesterday, and it was a busy one.

Boston off loaded pretty much everyone (they've traded away 4 of 5 of their Opening Day starters, leaving Clay Buchholz the last man standing.)

Jon Lester and Johnny Gomes were traded to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes.
John Lackey was traded to St.Louis for Allan Craig and Joe Kelly.
Andrew Miller went to the Orioles from the Red Sox.

Stephen Drew was switched from Boston for Kelly Johnson from New York (first time those two teams have traded with each other since 1997.)

Yankees also picked up our old buddy Esmil Rogers off of waivers from the Jays.

And David Price went from Tampa to the Tigers in a three way trade also involving the Mariners.

All this happened, and some Blue Jays fans were wondering "What about us?" It turns out, so were some Blue Jays players, as both Casey Janssen and Jose Bautista were vocal about their disappointment. And a few anonymously agreed.


"Obviously, we value our prospects, we value our players, I'm sure the other teams do as well. Maybe they just value the player or the opportunity to get into the playoffs more, "said Bautista. "It takes something to get something, and congratulations to those teams that got those guys."

“You don’t make a move just to make a move, if it’s not going to help your team at all, but at the same time, doing something — even if it’s a small improvement — I think it gives the [clubhouse] some excitement that hey, they’ve got our backs, they’re trying hard, they’re doing everything possible to make this club better,” Janssen said, referring to management and ownership.

I understand the frustration, but the price for the big fish, I can almost guarantee, was Stroman and/or Sanchez, who are currently contributing to the big club.

There was also some talk on Twitter that they were less ornery about Lester and Price, and more about Martin Prado. It was at that point that I wanted to fly to Houston, and yell at them.

Fellas? You have Martin Prado. Except you don't have to pay him as much (saving money for Melky) and he'd prefer if you call him "Danny."

Meet him here.
Nice teeth, Danny.

I mean, seriously. As pointed out by "Chris" in the DJF comments yesterday:

Prado splits
2014 — 270/317/370
2014 (vs LHP) — 338/381/500
Valencia splits
2014 — 277/322/375
2014 (vs LHP) — 343/375/478

Prado is 30 and costs $22 million in the next two seasons
Valencia is 29 and has three arbitration years coming up.

What do they expect to do with Prado when Lawrie comes off the DL?


I agree the Tigers and A's look very scary with their rotations. But they also looked very scary three days ago. Super rotations are often the difference, but not always. The Cardinals and Tigers both had great rotations last year, but fell short of the ultimate prize. As did the 2010 Phillies.  So often the playoffs are about who gets there and then gets hot. Nothing is guaranteed.

What I suggest for all involved: Anthopoulos tries to pick up another starter to bolster the rotation (I'm thinking maybe Cole Hamels, from an oddly silent Phillies) and the players focus on winning the division and become a well-oiled winning machine. The reinforcements came in Stroman, Sanchez, Reimold and Valencia. More are coming when Encarnacion, Lind and Lawrie come off the DL.

Stop wondering "why?" and focus forward.





Pedro was candid, funny and very honest. I want him to adopt Marcus Stroman, and teach him how to be small and nasty. An excerpt:

"Jonah Keri: One [thing] I want to ask you about is, you were talking about the injuries, and pretty much from ’99 on, having to go through that. Take me through a little bit of what you had to do. What were the remedies? How long were you icing your arm? What steps did you have to take to be able to go back on the field every five days?

Pedro Martinez: If you recall, sometimes someone was calling me a prima donna, saying that I was in my own program, saying that I was different. Some media members sometimes come in and see you doing something different that the other guys don’t do. It was working for me, the way I went about my program. At the same time, nobody was my size, nobody was my height, nobody was Pedro Martinez. I’m going to tell you this, because a lot of people sometimes make the wrong judgment, because they don’t understand: The routine I had would take me from five to seven hours daily to actually keep this small-frame body for 18 years live and kicking. It’s not that easy.

I would say, with all due respect to everybody in baseball, to my understanding, this is my own words: Nobody worked harder in this body, to maintain this body for 18 years that I played the game, than I did. I am the one that felt how I worked, I am the one who went to the rehabs I had to do, I was also the one that felt how my body felt. To me, it was the toughest thing to ever do, showing up every day and putting that amount of work on my body in order for me to hold. I wouldn't suggest to anybody my height or my size, or with more abilities, to pick pitching for their career. If you can hit 30 jacks and hit .280, take that road. Don’t go to pitching; it’s really hard to do at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. It’s really hard to do, to maintain that for eight, nine months, sometimes, including the playoffs and World Series. It’s not easy year after year with the routine, with the plane ride, with the bad food, and being a bad eater. I was a picky eater, so I had to get milk and cookies sometimes between games and all that. It’s not an easy task."

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Stuff....



Dickey pitched well. They scored 9 runs in the 6th inning.

And this


“Everybody’s contributing … Everything is clicking together right now at the right time,” Melky Cabrera said, as third-base coach Luis Rivera translated from Spanish.

And well, today happened.


Holy mother....

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted.  14-1 wins over Boston (although big up to the fans who stuck around to sing "Sweet Caroline". I hate that song, but it was a nice touch) and trades for Danny Valencia are good times.

And then Dirk Hayhurst writes something about "manhood" in the minor leagues. Go search for it, as I'm not in the mood for linking. The article has the absolute worst title "50 Shades of Emerald" referencing, of course, a terribly silly book. Just FYI, titling an article about the complete disregard for women (and sometimes the rape of women) in the culture of baseball in reference to a very silly book about consensual BDSM that was insanely popular with women is just strange. The attempt to titillate in this context is weird. Don't do that.

It was a pretty gross read (if it was a person, it would smell like stale BO and have all the STDs) and not entirely surprising. The procurement of sex that is described sounds exhausting, but I hate the phone and making appointments. Hot college intern Jane, who Hayhurst had a crush on, gets filmed without her knowledge and the video of her and Hayhurst's roommate gets passed around. Hayhurst wanted to vomit. Women are categorized based on sexual willingness and physical attributes.Dudes run trains on girls without their knowledge/consent (which, in case you are wondering, is not maybe rape. That's actual rape.) Managers gave talks about what happens with players stays among players (aka "Lie to your wives, cause those bitches tell other wives and I get yelled at.")

People had some mixed feelings about this article. Some called Hayhurst brave for exposing this. Some called him cowardly for using pseudonyms. Some called it bullshit click bait. Some called him out for waiting this long.

I'm not as angry about the existence of this piece in the way some people are. Hayhurst has a right to write what he saw. And you have a right to not read it. You can be angry about it, too. It is indeed self-serving that he writes this now. No, he is not brave. He was just there. Yes, Hayhurst should've said something at the time, but I do get why he didn't. Hayhurst was a 21 years old, in a culture that places a huge premium on keeping secrets. He wanted this pitching job and a carrot like that is often an enticing enough one. It's gross and terrible, but it happens.

Hayhurst is a best selling author now, with a forum- more people are going to think about this issue now than they would've had he said it in 2003-2004. Which doesn't make it right, but it is, in my mind, a reality. He isn't brave- brave would be to stand up at the time and say something, at the risk of losing his career.

If we should take anything from this article, which left many of us horrified but not surprised, is that we stand up when witness something that de-values this sport we love.

What Hayhurst tweeted above is so dumb. Baseball is not "dudes running trains on unwitting girls". A girl can appreciate and love baseball and not be one of the girls these idiots categorize, objectify and violate. The two things shouldn't be intrinsically linked. The solution is not removing women.

I think if sport culture is actually interested in de-objectifying women, they need to open up the old boys club. There needs to be more female journalists and broadcasters. There needs to be more women in executive positions. Bring women into the situation where they are not just the cheerleaders or the "road beef", but rather their bosses or their access to the public.

The Score made a major change today and it's really the end of an era. They pulled the plug on the features department. Writers Dustin Parkes, Drew Fairservice, Jack Moore, Richard Whittall, Scott Lewis and Sean Tomlinson as well as multimedia producer Ryan Eligh were shown the door. And contrary to some of the chit chat on Twitter, there are still actual journalists there. Good journalists trying to make a go of it.

These writers produced some great content over the last few years, and those I've met are decent people. The Score is recently closed a $17.25 million closing round, so this isn't so much a funding issue (unless these guys make way more than I assumed they did) but rather "restructuring".

It's tough out there for content makers.

Monday, 28 July 2014

WIN IT



That was a ridiculously stressful weekend of baseball and I loved every second of it. Except Friday. I don't know, Mark Buehrle. I just don't know.

The Jays actually won a series in the Bronx for the first time in two seasons. And if that doesn't make you feel  somehow empowered and hopeful about the rest of the season, I can't help you. If you didn't feel something when Bautista stole second to get into scoring position late in the game, a move that helped him be the go ahead run,  I don't know what to tell you. Here is the man, the myth, the legend himself, as told to John Lott:

“I knew there were two outs, and I figured it would have to be a pretty long extra-base hit for me to score from first because I’m not the fastest guy on the team. I know that Robertson, unless he slide-steps, is a little bit slow to the plate. I just took a chance. I said I’m going to try to take a hop-step when he comes set, and if he doesn’t [try a pickoff], I’m going to go. I did, and he didn’t pick, he went to the plate, and I got the easy stolen base, got in scoring position early in the at-bat for Dioner. He had a great at-bat. He did a helluva job battling some tough pitches and fouling some balls off and getting the knock.”

 After the Orioles beat the Mariners in extras yesterday, I tweeted "Thanks for nothing, Mariners." And I got a few replies that said something along the lines of  "Well now the Jays have sole possession of the second wild card." And I was instantly reminded of all those Ricciardi years where the goal was .500 baseball- as if that was something to get excited about.

I don't want the “second wild card”, with it's playoff game and desperation.

I want the division.

Screw the Orioles and their golden horseshoe luck and Nelson Cruz's alarmingly manicured eyebrows and their fans booing Melky Cabrera despite the  presence of Cruz on their team and their bragging about being in first (after about an hour of being in first.)

Screw the Yankees and their geriatric players, and their hometown calls and their deification of Derek Jeter. Screw that they get talked about as somehow more relevant in the playoff race than the Jays, though they have almost identical records and were never in first place as long as the Jays.

Screw the Rays and their sudden surge to relevance, for one time employing a rapist (apparently STILL, in AAA), for their stupid stadium and their fans making comments about the Jays' lack of fans, as well as insanely ignorant comments about Canada. Screw them for calling out David Ortiz for pimping homers (how about don't give up homers to him? Problem solved.)

Screw the Red Sox for having terrible, entitled fans that think they are great. Screw John Farrell's “magic”. Screw Jonny Gomes’ stupid beard. Screw BROCK HOLT. Screw David Ortiz's home run pimping and calling other players' “sensitive” while being overly sensitive.

Screw the AL East. And go out and WIN IT.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Up and Downs and Some Pitch Talkin'

I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him...

Tonight's game was 1000 times more entertaining than last night's. “It was bad,” Hutchison said after Monday’s ignominious failure. “It was probably more than bad. But there’s nothing you can do when you have a performance like this other than come back and show what you’re made of.”

I watched Drew Hutchison start a tire fire last night, and then Brad Mills poured gasoline on it. I made this face:


And took the dog for a walk. I love that vintage v-neck Cubs shirt Jack White is wearing. I want one. I wonder if he knows "Seven Nation Army" is played at sports stadiums everywhere, that it's become like "Rock N' Roll" or "Thunderstruck".

Tonight was much more fun. You can tell by Jose Reyes' face. His face is a litmus test.


J.A. Happ annoys me. I don't really know why. But I suspect he knows he annoys me and he feeds off that annoyance, pitching well and making my annoyance that much more illogical. He was fantastic tonight and used his curveball like a boss. Gibbons thought that was the key.

“That might have been [Happ's] best outing of the year, simply because he had a good curveball going that he established and used quite a bit,” Gibbons said. “He primarily relies on his fastball. He’s got a good one, but he had a good curveball tonight that he was throwing over the plate, and a good changeup. That was a big part of the reason he held them in check.”

I was in Toronto late last week, post All Star break. On Thursday, I participated in a really great event called Pitch Talks. I sat on a stage with Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet, and answered questions about baseball. And then Drew Fairservice talked, followed by Melissa Couto and Bob Elliot.

We talked with our hands. (John Lott took these pictures.)



I was not particularly satisfied with my own performance. I didn't feel like I sunk my teeth into it the way I wanted to, despite that picture looking like I'm about to eat your soul. I very much enjoyed meeting Bob Elliot, John Lott and Drew Fairservice, though. The event in general was great. I also got to meet and talk to other female baseball writers (ones with actual press passes) Melissa Couto and Alexis Brudnicki. I gained a new appreciation for Bob Elliot for the way he supports those two young writers. He also called me "kiddo." And he indulged me in my warnings about the dangers of Diet Coke.

Post event, I saw Drunk Jays Fans get actually drunk. I can't recommend these events enough. It's baseball and beer. Why haven't they been happening for years? Next one is on August 21. Follow @pitchtalks for more info. And just go.

Now for a Mark Buehrle moment of wisdom:

“I say every spring that the big thing is health with any team, I say that every year,” Buehrle said. “Not too many teams could have the depth to handle the injuries we have had this season. Is the first half a success or a disappointment? Both. We rode the wave for a while then lost some guys, but we’re not 10 games out, we’re four out."

Bless you, Mark Buehrle.

The Colby vs Colby "controversy" over the weekend was fantastic. Here is everything Lewis had to say:

"I told [Rasmus] I didn't appreciate it," Lewis said, according to MLB.com. "You're up by two runs with two outs and you lay down a bunt. I don't think that's the way the game should be played."

"I felt like you have a situation where there is two outs, you're up two runs, you have gotten a hit earlier in the game off me, we are playing the shift, and he laid down a bunt basically simply for average," Lewis said.

On top of the bunt, Lewis said the fact that Rasmus didn't try to steal second base further proved he was just concerned about upping his average.

"[Rasmus] didn't steal within the first two pitches to put himself in scoring position," Lewis said. "That tells me he is solely looking out for himself, and looking out for batting average. And I didn't appreciate it."

I can just imagine a group of reporters huddled around with their recorders, worried one of them is going to do something that makes him stop talking. I wonder if Lewis sat at home and thought about how ridiculous he sounded. When something Colby related happens, naturally I converse with Rasmus Pater.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

No Light

I don't really know what's going on with this team, other than this being the nature of baseball.

It's terrible to watch, of course, and I was sitting around last night thinking about why. And I think I know. One is the clear toll it's taking on the boys to be playing like this. We saw beautiful, happy faces in May and now those same faces are faces of doom. There is nothing worse than the appearance of effort, of pressing. And when that pressing leads to failure, it's pretty excruciating.

The other aspect of this that turns my stomach are those braying idiots who go on and on about how this team sucks (have sucked, might suck now, will suck any day now, sucks and blows) like they get some enjoyment out of it. Tweeting Wilner and Stoeten when they were playing well, saying "this is an illusion!!!" and now that they are struggling, these idiots get to say "I knew it. This team isn't a first place team." I'm sorry, but if a team is in sole possession of first place for 42 straight days, it's a first place team. The first place team is a first place team.

I'll give you a moment because I just blew your mind. First place team is first place team.

Like I was saying, I don't know what is going on except injuries to Lind, Bautista, Encarnacion and Lawrie derailed this thing, and everyone is pressing. The earlier success wasn't a fluke. The guys that were playing well had all done similar things in their careers before (save maybe Francisco. But he probably has always had stupid power.) The key was everyone was doing it at the same time.

The American press fawning over Mark Buehrle has died down, but I honestly don't think he's pitching terribly. He's pitching like himself. Yes, he is giving up homers but when this team is clicking, homers (particularly solo ones) get erased pretty quickly.

Dickey has been a little frustrating, but I've written about this before. It's a trick pitch. He's been a fine #3. Dickey's rough edges would be a lot less rough with a bit of offense. Thole is not the anchor everyone seems to think he is (he is more useful than Mirabelli was catching Wakefield- who won two World Series with Boston. It's possible, people.) Mostly what annoys me about Dickey pitching is the pointless chatter about how AA screwed it all up. Dickey gives up a run and people want to shoot themselves.

Hutchison has shown flashes of brilliance and Stroman makes my heart sing. Happ....well, he's there, too.

I don't know the solution to this, other than to ride it out. And try not to cry. You'll get dehydrated and alarm your pets.

Daniel Norris, my favourite Jesus lovin' hippie surfing pitcher kid, has been named by Baseball America as the 25th best prospect.  I want to keep this one, Alex. He lives in his VW bus and doesn't want money to "change" him. He also lives in a Terrence Malick film.



I've finally gotten around to reading Dirk Hayhurst's latest book about his time with the Blue Jays. His struggles with mental illness and he reluctance to take anti-depressants (while nightly chasing oxycodone with beer) says a lot about the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental illness. The bits about Jays clubhouse were interesting, and rather irritating. These guys were a lot more like 13 year old girls than I imagined.

I just started a new job and part of my training was this anti- workplace bullying workshop. It was basically a workshop on how not to be an asshole. Many people in this book (and in life) need this workshop.

I was reading the Paris Review and there was a blog post about this series of early 20th century books about a baseball player named Joe. The series, Baseball Joe, followed the adventures of pretty much the greatest baseball player ever to play. Ever. His baseball skills are so overwhelmingly awesome, he saves lives with them. And thrashes his enemies. And single-handedly wins pennants. My favourite description was of one of the later books Baseball Joe, Champion of the League, or, The Record That Was Worth While.

Joe Matson sets out to lead the league in home runs, batting average, stolen bases, pitcher's strikeouts, and ERA, while leading the Giants to records for consecutive victories and games won in one season.

In this installment's subplot, shameless confidence men try to get Joe to throw the pennant, arguing that Pittsburgh or Chicago deserves a flag once in a while. When Joe turns them down, the con men commission a mad scientist to invent a ray gun that will drain the power from Joe's pitching arm. Fortunately, Joe begins the novel by saving the scientist's wife from a burning building, and once it's made clear that our hero was her deliverer, the scientist repents. The con men are foiled, and thrashed for their pains. Joe goes back to pitching no-hitters, starting triple plays, and scoring from first on singles to win the pennant.
Awesome. 

Finally, I'm participating on Pitch Talks #5 with other baseball types, including Bob Elliot, who is in the Hall of Fame. Which is ok, I guess. If he doesn't lead the league in home runs, batting average, stolen bases, pitcher's strikeouts and ERA, it's just not as impressive.

So come on out on July 17th and see me try to be informative and witty about baseball. Use the code "HumandChuck" and get $5 off.  


The $5 can be exchanged for beer.