On Jays from the Couch Radio
Last Sunday I had quite a lot of fun guesting on the Jays from the Couch Radio show host Shaun Doyle. With me were Tao of Stieb, Ian Hunter from the Blue Jay Hunter and Stoeten from Blue Jays Nation (and a million other places.)
We talked about the state of the Jays, how blogging has evolved, what the hell happened in 2017 and a bunch of other stuff. I had the best answers, naturally.
It was great because we've all been at this a ridiculously long time (especially for the Internet) and we all have evolved. And I enjoy talking about baseball (and a bunch of other stuff) more than just about anything, so....
Here, by the way, is my "crazy prediction" getting his hacks in on Instagram.
Jay Bruce, Once and Future New York Met
A running joke on the podcast was Stoeten's insistence that Jay Bruce would be a great add to the Blue Jays.
That dream was denied this week when it was announced that Jay Bruce was coming back to the New York Mets.
I do actually agree with Stoeten that Bruce would be a good, productive addition to an MLB team, I'm just not sure that that team would be the Blue Jays.
And for some reason, it just feels like giving up. Why is that?
Some Mets' fans were cool with it:
As were some Mets:
Joshua Howsam, of BP Toronto had a good thought:
Solarte is a Blue Jay
About the time I was pressing the "publish" on my post from last week (a post that made fun of the Jays for not making any moves), the Jays were announcing a deal for Yangervis Solarte from the Padres. (You really showed me, Blue Jays.)
Ross Atkins was on Prime Time Sports with Arash Madani this week and had this to say about Solarte:
I think a lot of different things. I think the energy, the passion for baseball, the pure aggression that he plays with. He’ll light you up if you watch him take just one swing. I think he and Josh Donaldson are going to get along really well. His joy and passion for competitiveness is something you can feel across the field. I can think of many at-bats where I’m watching, thinking “How far is this guy gonna hit this ball?” So that comes to mind. The versatility, having played every infield position, having been in the outfield in the past, really just being passionate about winning and wanting to play — he’s going to make a contribution in a bunch of different ways — and the more versatility we have the better and the more options we have the better.
By "dealt with a lot", Center means this. It was, indeed, a lot.
Eno Sarris, for Fangraphs, threw a little cold water on us:
That’s probably enough of a reason to risk this type of prospect, even if the downside is that they may have just spent a young major-league regular in order to acquire a below-average stopgap third baseman who will play behind a traded Josh Donaldson as the team jumps more fully into a rebuild. That’s a fairly depressing downside, but you have to remember to put it up against the other two ways the new Jay can help.
Ugh. It was better when you wrote about Joey Votto's pants. (The topic of Joey Votto's pants, which emerged from this article, has long been a part of a back and forth Sarris and I engage in over Twitter. I told Sarris recently that the Lou Marsh Award- which Votto won once again- was an award for the Canadian with the tightest pants.)
To cleanse from the negativity of a rebuild, let's look at Solarte's insanely cute babies.
I've really got on board with the idea of "raising the floor" that was brought up in the podcast I was on. I don't think the moves the Jays have made so far push them up and over a hurdle, but it does put them ahead of where there were at the end of 2017's season.
And despite what MLB Network wants to say, this remains a fact:
A healthy Travis already makes this team better. Pray to the health gods.
Jays Announce New Game Packs
Before we move on, speaking of fees and bullshit, uh, a disclaimer on the site warns this: “Prices will depend on the category of each of your games. In addition, prices may be increased once dynamic pricing comes into effect.” That last sentence confused me for a second, but what I realize now it means is that if one of the designated games has been bumped up to a premium one by dynamic pricing — say José Bautista signs with the Twins and his Rogers Centre return is in one of the packages, or John Gibbons calls Jeff Bannister a shit-eating pigfucker and a Rangers game in one of the packages becomes a must-see certain war — then the club reserves the right to increase prices for those buying after that point. You’re not going to get dynamic priced into paying more than you expect if you buy in February.
I would totally buy tickets to a "John Gibbons calls Opposing Manager Shit-Eating Pig Fucker Day, brought to you by Honda." I would probably buy out a section.
Josh Donaldson leads a large and expensive class of arbitration-eligible Toronto Blue Jays that could cost the club upwards of $45 million in 2018 salaries. As Donaldson enters his fourth and final season of arbitration eligibility he can expect a salary north of $20 million that will make him the Blue Jays’ highest-paid player.
MLB Launches GIF Database
MLB.com launched a searchable GIF database. Doing a little searching inspired easily my most popular tweet of the week.
Look at his hair! And he's quite chubby there. On the subject of hair, searching "Josh Donaldson Hair" yields some glorious fruit.
Much like Donaldson's homer swing, where there is a little bat twirl on the end of it, the flourish at the end of this makes all the difference. King of the Jungle indeed.
This is a commercial for something.
Maybe for being wet.
Or for being so fresh and so clean clean.
It was all so distracting that I didn't even notice the dancing celebration in the background.
Bad Ball Hitting
And they pass it down to their children:
Doug Ault BP Toronto
Rachael McDaniel wrote a beautiful piece for BP Toronto about Doug Ault, hitter of the first ever home run by a Blue Jay.
The ever-insightful Alison Gordon, in the chapter of her book Foul Balls! entitled “The Players,” had this to say about how baseball players react to failure: “For men not encouraged to define themselves by anything but their talents, failure can be emotionally devastating.” Ault was no exception to this. Every small mistake, every error or strikeout, weighed on his mind; the heavier he felt, the worse he performed, and thus the cycle continued. He lost his starting job in spring training of 1978. By the end of the season he was a third-stringer, on the bench most of the time, unable to even redeem himself on the field. “It’s been a tough year for me,” he told reporters. “I’d never been on the bench before and I let it bother me. It took me a long time to adjust.”
Others seemed to find his profession of internal hardship difficult to believe. After all, he was always so affable, so quick to smile. He was only two years removed from being Toronto’s golden hero, driving around town in a car with his name written on it. He had no right to be depressed. “Doug Ault is such a cheerful, easy-going guy,” reads the lede to the interview where he discusses his feelings of depression and inadequacy, “it’s hard to imagine him letting anything get him down.”
Sad news came out last weekend when the Trenton Thunder announced that their beloved bat dog Derby passed away.
Deadspin had his obit. The nine year old Golden Retriever died of cancer.
Golden Retrievers are (obviously) bred to go get things (mine would bring me my shoes or anyone's shoes if she wanted attention.) They were bred for duck hunting, so along with their swimming abilities, they have soft mouths so as to not destroy the duck corpse when they swim back with it. They are perfect for bat dogs.
There are few things better than baseball or dogs. Putting them together, like chocolate and peanut butter, just makes sense.