Friday, 4 January 2013

The Percolations are Imminent

Photo by james_in_to 

The title has nothing to do with this post, other than this is a bunch of things that have been percolating in my head. And when I think of the word percolating, I think of Mr. Burns and that great episode where Homer replaces Smithers as Burns' assistant.

Your new duties will include: answering Mr. Burns' phone, preparing his tax return, moistening his eyeballs, assisting with his chewing and swallowing, lying to Congress, and some light typing.

So Happy New Year!! I hope all of you had a pleasant holiday season and look forward to 2013, which, from a Blue Jays perspective, will either be absolutely magical or soul crushing.

The Globe and Mail declaring that it will be bad year for the Jays due to the overwhelming expectations and that 2013 will illustrate the folly of overpaying was rather dickish on their part. It might be true, but still dickish.

Sportsnet, looking to fill airtime with no hockey and to cash in on some of the Jays buzz, replayed the 92 World Series in it's entirety. I started a post on Game 2, and this is basically it.

Airing on Boxing Day, it was Game 2, Toronto at Atlanta, originally played on October 18, 1992. David Cone wasn't sharp but bailed himself out by getting hits of his own off an extremely nasty John Smoltz. Cone got an RBI in fifth with his second single of the game. I was a little kid during the 92 series, so I didn't fully comprehend just how filthy the pitching in this series was. Smoltz was seriously rude with his pitching. There were copious shots of Jane Fonda praying, so perhaps she feared pitching this filthy was the work of the Devil. 

One of the interesting things about a 20 year old game is we get to look back at all the banter. Tim McCarver and Sean McDonough mentioned David Justice's recent engagement to Halle Berry. Spoiler- it didn't end well. He gave interviews like this She took out a restraining order and contemplated suicide. 

 Tom Cochrane butchered the Canadian National Anthem. The Canadian flag was hung upside down by the Marine Corps Color Guard. I vividly remembered the flag incident, but not the anthem.

Roberto Alomar had every single skill. Though he was called out at home in the fourth, it was clear Alomar beat the tag, meaning he was so quick that he could score on a very short wild pitch. Alomar also started an 8th inning rally with a one out double. And showed off his unbelievable range at second multiple times. This game illustrated just about every facet of his game. 

 In the 9th, Cito went to his bench or to the Trenches as they called themselves. Derek Bell drew a walk and Ed Sprague became a legend. 

Watching Ed Sprague tag (tattoo, really) the winning homer off Jeff Reardon, while his olympic gold medal winning synchronized swimmer wife Kristen Babb looked on. The amount drama that accumulated prior to that moment with Babb's Olympic win and after that moment with the unfortunate things that happened to Jeff Reardon in his retirement It's enough sports and human interest stories to fill at least three ESPN 30 for 30 films.

Mrs Sprague wore a jean jacket with a huge American flag stitched on it and had those puffy bangs. The 90s were glorious. 

There were so many iconic moments in this game alone- the upside down canadian flag, the butchered anthem, the Sprague homer, the botched call on Alomar at home, the Gruber tomahawk chop. Jane Fonda praying. Magic.

I was reading an interview with Tom Verducci, and he mentioned one of the highlights of his career being his article about playing for the Jays for a few spring training games. 

Brian Butterfield, with a "preacher's passion", delivers a sermon on baserunning in Verducci's 2005 article. "Make your own legacy," he tells us. "We will always slide into second base. Always. Don't even make that early peel-off an option with two outs. And you know that saying, Don't make the first or third out at third base? Be aware of it, but don't be a prisoner of it. If you get thrown out, that's O.K. Now if it happens again and again, then maybe we have to talk about pulling in the reins. But we're going to be one of the best two-base teams in baseball. Make it a priority. And damn it, beat the snot out of the Red Sox in 2013." 

(Ok, I added the last part.) Oh Butter. Sigh. But Tim Raines will save us. 

Also, in the sigh category, Alan Ashby resigned from Rogers and will likely take a tv job with his home town Houston Astros. Ashby maintained a bit of a hard edge in his commentary about the Jays, and I always liked that about him. I thought he made a great partner for Jerry Howarth, because Ashby's steeliness cut through Howarth's tendency towards the homespun.

I also enjoyed Ashby's stories about catching Nolan Ryan- "Kid, if you are coming to the mound to talk to me, you better have something damn interesting to say." 

I'm having a bit of trouble getting outraged about the Darren Oliver situation. He pitched fantastically last season. The bullpen loved him and guys went to him for advice. Of course Oliver wants more money. I want more money. I think it's a reality for most working adults, no matter their income bracket. The thing I think some people are forgetting is that he has been around for so long, all the lustre has worn off the game. It's business and he's treating it as such. It's Oliver's last contract and might be looking to get the most out of it if he can. This is also assuming that the Fox article is completely true. It might be just the result of the Jays getting buzzed about in the scene and there is some undercutting and whispering going on.

So, be mad if you like, I guess. I hope it keeps you warm. But not matter what, Oliver was still one of the highlights in a very dismal 2012 season. So I hope he pitches for the Jays. But if he doesn't, because he retires, I'm not going to hate on the dude.  If I were AA, I'd probably say "play out your contract or retire" but who knows. (ok, edited to add this. Yeah....still don't really care all that much.)

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