The Jays won their first preseason game thoroughly pounding the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-0. I didn’t watch the game because I was doing that thing I have to do to be considered a productive adult but word is some guy named Harrell started the game and Joshua Palacios, Mike Ohlman, Jonathan Diaz (I know that one!) and Matt Dean all hit homers off an obviously ineffective Pirate bullpen.
You know who manages the daunting task of being a productive adult while paying attention to Blue Jays baseball? John Lott.
His work covering the Jays in Dunedin so far for The Athletic has been stellar. And much appreciated, because I’m spending my days in a cubicle in a grey Ontario February. The work has been so stellar, in fact, that I finally did this:
(It was mostly laziness that prevented me from doing it before. And also the shame of not living up to my belief in ponying up for the online written content I enjoy in the way that I pony up for things like Netflix. It’s not a lot of money and it’s well worth your dollars.)
There is an elegance to what Mr. Lott does and that, combined with the fact that he never sensationalizes the story or makes it about himself, makes John Lott my favourite on the beat.
Here are some highlights:
Chris Smith is a hard throwing reliever who is trying to pitch his way into the Blue Jays bullpen after a long slog through all kinds of pro-baseball, even the kind that doesn’t pay until you produce:
‘For me, it’s just unnecessary:’ New no-pitch walk rule sends Blue Jays’ Russell Martin on rant
It was a thing of beauty.
I found the "it's for the fans" aspect of Manfred's statements to be kind of galling. The fans complain about a lot. I mean, I'm on Twitter during games and it's not quiet when it comes to complaining. But I don't ever remember anyone ever complaining about intentional walks and how long they take.
If Manfred said something about holding the umpires accountable for some of the calls they make, I think more fans were probably recognize that as something that is complained about. But that would never happen. Who complains about the length of games? I don't think you are a fan of baseball if you consistently think the games are too long.
The lulls, the bursts of action and those agonizing moments in between when you kind of feel like you want to die are the point of the thing.
Touching on the subject of umpires, Coltrane also spoke at length about the proposed change in the strike zone.
Martin clearly takes pride in his craft. It's this pride that drives him.
I like Dalton Pompey. I found him personable and kind of shy when I met him. (He's also quit a dreamboat.) The big thing that stood out for me was how young he seemed. Not in the sense he was immature, but rather that he was not yet in his prime and that it was premature to assume it was too late to get there.
Lott took all those photos. Except the Beyoncé one.