Hot Stove Info from Toronto Blue Jays
Let's first go over what the Jays are currently doing:Read More
The Changeup- a compilation of baseball junk I read this week and my comments on the week's events. **
So, Ohtani said "No" to a bunch of teams, including the Blue Jays. When word went out that teams made presentations to Ohtani it made me think of one of my favourite episodes of Mad Men, Season 4's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.
Japanese executives from Honda come to New York to hear pitches from the various ad agencies about their motorcycle. Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price (SCDP) is is struggling financially, and has recently lost two clients to rival CGC. Bert Cooper, in anticipation of the Honda visit, has everyone read the 1946 book "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture" to tailor their pitch to a decidedly distinctive potential client.
Roger Sterling wants nothing to do with any of it because, as a veteran of the war in the South Pacific 20 years before, he has no desire to do business with the Japanese.
This has nothing really to do with Ohtani or the Blue Jays, but I hear about presentations meant to appeal to a Japanese audience, I think of this episode. It's a classic. Don Draper is impossibly smooth.
Mixed in with the minor disappointment of Ohtani's decisions was the satisfaction that he also said no to be the Yankees and the Red Sox.
Ohtani's rejection also gave us an oblique Ross Atkins quote for our scrapbooks. To Shi Davidi
We controlled everything within our power. Um, good? Is it in your power if you aren't controlling it?
The Blue Jays proved their phones actually do work by making a deal to address a need. The Jays traded a minor leaguer (J.B. Woodman) to St. Louis for former All Star middle infielder Aledmys Diaz. Diaz was hot in 2016 for the Cardinals, but struggled in 2017 and lost his job to Paul DeJong.
He spells the injury prone Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki, and is a (hopeful) upgrade on Goins/Barney.
Acquiring Diaz meant the Blue Jays non-tendered Ryan Goins. Goins was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009, and was usually appreciated for his glove and not his bat.
He had some moments:
The glee here is infectious. Every broadcaster is just so thrilled that this Little League move that these guys do all the time just to break up the grind actually worked.
This was the epic Canada Day 2016 game versus Cleveland. Edwin Encarnacion had been tossed in the first inning.
This is from the 2015 ALCS. Kid had himself a game.
(Can this team please get back to the playoffs? This excitement in this video is just electric.)
As soon as I saw the headline of the piece on Twitter, I rolled my eyes. Sportsnet had just fired Stroman's chief critic and this shows up? Do they have a quota over there or something?
Stroman is hype. He tweets about his brand and his life. I'm not interested in everything he tweets, but I also respect that he should be allowed to tweet as he likes. If his employer has an issue, they need to bring it up with him.
And without Stroman's social media storytelling, I would never have the delightful image of Bautista coming to visit over the Thanksgiving Weekend to play Taboo with the Stromans. Bautista playing board games is exactly the kind of thing I want to hear about.
The thing about finding someone's Twitter tactics "tiresome" is that Twitter provides a very easy solution. It's one of the only things it does really well.
And I'm not sure we need to be running around trying to tell young, black men to conform and be quiet.
As for Stroman's somewhat controversial tweet- I always thought he meant Goins found out over social media, not that Stroman expected Atkins to inform him of Goins being non-tendered. Because, why complain about the Jays when Goins could’ve texted Stroman? But I don't know that for sure.
And if the Jays didn’t inform Goins personally, that’s a little cold. The dude was drafted by the Jays in 2009 and has only ever been a Blue Jay.
George Poulis was never the guy you actually wanted to see on the field, but he has been the head trainer for the Jays for 15 years. And when I saw that he had been asked to speak at Roy Halladay's memorial, I knew he must be a guy that the players like and respect. You don't stay in a job that long if you aren't good at it.
So here is a collection of pictures of George Poulis doing his job through the years. My personal favourite is him looking at Edwin's teeth.
Brendan Kennedy wrote a profile of Poulis and Frostad in 2016 for the Toronto Star. These trainers really do have intimate, personal relationships with these players and their bodies. The late night calls about "food poisoning scares" sound interesting.
What Shapiro doesn't mention here is the diversity found in "new media" vs more traditional media.
Rogers CFO Tony Staffieri said earlier this week that his company is evaluating selling the Blue Jays. I'm not sure if this news is actually news. If I ran a company as large as Rogers Communications, I would be evaluating the different departments regularly.
The reinvigorated fan base and the healthy attendance (after years of half empty home games), as well as Rogers owning both the team and what broadcasts the games and creates content about the team, makes this an interesting decision.
This is a lovely gesture. I’m not arguing it isn’t.
But something is bugging me about it. I hesitiated in saying anything about it, but here goes.
The only reason Halladay wore 34 is because the Phillies had retired 32 for Steve Carlton. It was a backup choice.
I got yelled at on Twitter last month when I gently requested that more American coverage paid attention to Halladay as a member of the Blue Jays, or at the very least, balanced it out. He didn’t become great as a Philly. He was great and stayed great for them.
And I’m not buying the “maybe not many watched him as a Jay” argument. Halladay pitched in the AL East for most of his career. He faced the Yankees and Red Sox on a regular bases, two franchises with massive fanbases. Gausman’s own team saw Halladay as a Jay on a regular basis, wearing 32.
(And I checked for the numbers retired by the Orioles- 32 is available. 22 is retired for Jim Palmer and 33 is retired for Eddie Murray.)
I’m not outraged. It’s a classy gesture. But there is a pebble in my shoe about it and I think this is what it is:
It’s a small bit of evidence, which is really just a long string of small acts, mostly from the media, that betray a lack of respect when it comes to the player’s history. It’s a lack of respect for the man’s own wishes. Halladay retired a Blue Jay. He said he always felt like a Blue Jay, even when he was achieving great things in Philadelphia. Yes, Halladay was beloved in Philadelphia. But he felt like a Blue Jay.
If we, as fans, don’t speak up and defend our own team’s history, no one else is going to do it.
And I really don't give a shit if you don't agree.
The List is a (hopefully) weekly collection of my thoughts about the stuff I read and maybe enjoy in the world of baseball.
In news that surprises exactly no one, Gregg Zaun was fired by Sportsnet for "inappropriate behaviour", behaviour that is believed to be sexual harassment. The report from Sportsnet says that it's neither "physical or sexual assault."
It surprises exactly no one because Zaun has made a broadcast career of saying ridiculous things on the air for almost as long as he has been at Sportsnet. His public comments about Marcus Stroman this past summer confirmed Zaun's persona of being a firm believer in "old school" baseball, where players are hard-nosed and don't show off, and rookies get bullied into submission.
The firing brought out some classics:
I'll put aside the appalling spelling and grammar (Lol, indeed) and just focus on the content: the wrongheadedness of this is amazing. First- sexual harassment often consists of comments. For these women to come forward like this is plenty evidence to support the fact that they have plenty of spine.
Second, testosterone is not an excuse for people to behave in a way that is disrespectful and hostile. And sexual harassment is never really about sex, it's more often about exerting power over someone else. The gratification comes from that. Objectifying them, making them feel uncomfortable is all about keeping people in their place.
People are asking how men like Zaun can behave as they do. The reason is that no one has ever held them accountable.
And maybe now they are starting to.
His possible replacement?
He's telegenic (ie handsome) and well-spoken. He spoke out in support of Stroman during the season. He'd diversify the "panel of experts" Sportsnet runs out there.
I wouldn't be mad at it.
In this glacial offseason, a lot of talk has been circling about what the Jays should do with Josh Donaldson*. In October, Donaldson expressed a desire to stay long term with the Blue Jays. The front office has said nothing (obviously.)
Naturally, people want to speculate to fill the void.
It is , of course, total blasphemy. Hey, Darragh? Slap yourself because I can't reach you from here.
*What should the Jays do with Donaldson? They should love him, of course.
The Shohei Otani Sweepstakes continue unabated. MLB teams can now formally woo the Japanese superstar who some in the Japanese media call the "baby-faced assassin".
Nagatsuka describes Otani. It's basically baseball porn:
BTW, the New York Daily News has naturally decided that Otani will be a Yankee.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced this week that they would be honouring the late Alison Gordon with the Jack Graney Award for her contributions to Canadian baseball. She will be the first woman to win it.
Given the struggle female sportswriters have right now, one could imagine what Gordon went through in 70s and 80s when she was Blue Jays beat writer for the Toronto Star.
Word, Shaker. Word.
I got my ticket on Monday morning. I was acknowledged by the Mother Ship:
I've been saying for a few years that the Jays should have a Winter Fest and have it in the Rogers Centre (as opposed to the Eatons Centre, as they did in the past.) I consider this an important step.
So if you will be attending, look for me. I'll be the tall one escorted out for telling one too many that one stop in Vancouver is not a "Winter Tour." It's a "Winter Fest West."