Tagged: Blue Jays

Saving Posters from Real Estate Poachers

In the process of moving my family is now ‘showing‘ their home.  Apparently posters, and enormous shrines dedicated to the Blue Jays are not appropriate enough for people to look at during these home showings!  I don’t know who made these rules?  To me, they would be an enormous sell feature? 

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To save the life of my posters from the evil ‘real estate’ people, I decided to post them on here.  I’ve never been too good at parting with some of the things in my youth.  I resist it as much I can!  Picture a 28-year-old, living with his parents and wearing different baseball jerseys out everyday.  Ya …. that is me.  Without the noticable height, facial hair and maturation you couldn’t tell the difference between me and a 7-year-old.  Call me crazy, but I am very reluctant to trade in my collection of jerseys for plain, neutral and well tailored suits.  Then being told to take down my posters for bland, off-white paint!  Something feels wrong with this process.

Anyway, my wide collection of posters is not all complied of all Blue Jays.  Various other players stood out in my young and impressionable mind during those.  Here they are:

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The wizard dazzled just about everyone in the 80’s.  If you watch an Ozzie Smith highlight reel, it is hard to deny how absolutely spectacular the man was at shortstop.  He was definitely deserving of ‘the wizard’ nickname.  This was one of my favorite posters, even though I acquired it from my older brother Chris when he had to grow up.

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You might remember these Brisk Ice Tea ads with caricatures of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.  I got this poster for free, and have been a fan of Brisk Ice Tea ever since.  Am I compelled by advertising or what?  Come on, Babe Ruth is on it!  These ads were the coolest!

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During the late-80’s and early 90’s Tim Raines was the face of the Montreal Expos.  Although his image is tarnish from the mention of his cocaine use in the Ken Burns documentary ‘Baseball,’ Raines was an electrifing outfielder for his time.  He was an icon in Canadian baseball, so much so that Cooper Sports (a Canadian company I believe??) even used him as a part of their baseball apparell campaign.  Before the 1994 strike, Canada had a ‘baseball boom’ and many companys/organizations wanted to be involved with it.  This poster is a throwback to those days.

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If you grew up a young boy in North America during the late 80’s and early 90’s the odds are you had a poster one of these two players.  Wayne Gretzky was born about 15 minutes away from house.  I consider myself lucky to have been alive during the era of their dominance. 

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Of lesser importance is the poster I had of Vince Carter during the ‘Vinsanity’ days when he played in Toronto.  Waste of money if you ask me.  Carter left the Raptors after a fit of whining, and complaining about the team, the city and life in Canada.  This guy was a big disappointment.  His time on my wall was temporary.

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This is a life-sized height measuring poster of the enormously tall John Olerud.  I never got up that grew that much, nor did my brother Jeff, but I couldn’t understand it anyway, as the measuring was in meters??  The gracefulness and beauty of Olerud’s swing was unmatched by many.  No Blue Jay fan will forget the batting title he obtained in 1993 hitting .363 and leading the Jays to World Series in the process.

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‘Donny Baseball’ was amazingly one of my favorite players.  He represented an era in Yankees in history when they weren’t winning!  Maybe that is why I liked him?  He also signed my father’s baseball once, so that left an impression. 

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I love baseball hats!  The designs, colors and logos I find them all truly unique.  Having this poster ensured that MLB was on my mind 24/7!

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This Babe Ruth statue has graced my living room fireplace mantle since I was born.  In the process of ‘showing our house’ the Babe was taken down for a brief period.  I’d argued ‘tooth and nail’ that the Babe adds to the traditional, New England-style decor of our home.  If I were a buyer, I’d ask it to be thrown in with the deal!

  

Scott the Rock, Marco the Spirit

“You are Scott the Rock, you are rockin and rollin.  I wanna rock with you all night and party everyday.” (quotation from a Scott Rolen fan that encounters his favorite player working at a drive-thru window in one of the very humourous Blue Jay advertisments this season.)

Scott Rolen has been a big suprise for the Blue Jays this season, hitting .325 and playing ‘rock solid’ defense at 3rd base.  Never do I doubt Rolen’s ability to make a play at third base when the ball is hit in his direction.  It is very reassuring to Jay’s starters to have a spectacular infielder like Rolen, especially during a Halladay start that often induces multiple groundballs.  This season, Rolen has made a notable transition at the plate from previous years.  He is hitting for a high average, but not nearly getting the power numbers that a player of his stature – when he is hitting for a high average – is accustomed to.  Rolen made a significant transition in his stance, and batting stroke this offseason.  He lowered his shoulder at the plate in response lingering problems in the area.  By doing this, Rolen was able to shorten his stroke, giving himself better timing and plate coverage.  The down side of that is keeping the shoulder high in a hitting position allows the batter the generate more power.  With Rolen’s shoulder problems, this was a fair trade-off as his average is now soaring to (if it keeps up) a career high.  Homeruns can definately be overrated.  The new compact hitting and durable Scott Rolen is having a great impact on the team now.  Can he keep it up?  Cue mon!!!  He is a rock!  Que Bob Segar here … ‘Like a rock.’ 

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Marco Scutaro made one of the most ‘heads up’ plays that I’ve seen in a long time yesterday in Philadelphia.  On a ball four from Phillies starting pitcher, Joe Blanton, Scutaro alertly stole second base seeing that Blanton and the Phillies middle infield of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were not paying attention.  How he did it?  I don’t know?  But with plays like that, you can definately tell the competitive drive that Scutaro possesses.  He works works walk, gets on base, steals, and earns everything he gets.  A very fine season Marco Scutaro is having, and I think All-Star consideration is not off limits to him.  Here is an earlier derivative design of Scutaro that applies as much today, as it did when I made it last season.

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To conclude.  Go Jays!  Way to sweep the World Champs!          

A Series NOT to Remember

Over these past two months, the Blue Jays have been ‘red hot’ and showing great confidence in all aspects of the game. It would be easy for this team to get discouraged – after really playing great baseball – then to come into a BIG series with the division rival Red Sox and get swept in dominating fashion. 

I don’t think the Jays played all that bad this series, Boston just played better.  The came through with homeruns and big hits where the Blue Jays couldn’t.  We face the Red Sox at the end of May and look to rebound from this performance. 

The old ‘we’ll get um next time’ is relevant here.  For now, the Jays are just going to have do what Cecil has to do.  That is, let this one fade away into memory.  Store it one of those unused compartments of the brain.  The attic of the brain. 

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Good News – Bad News

I have some good news-bad news in this blog entry.  The good news is this week I joined many of the people that blog here by gettting a job.  The bad news is finding the time to blog and work at the same time can be challenging, as I’ve experience these last couple of weeks.  I’m doing PR right now for an organization that helps local schools educate kids about the environment and possibly raise funds for them to plant a tree at their school.  Although I’m not an enormous environmentalist, I do like trees (with the exception of them getting in front of my 5 Iron) and I also like parks (especially ballparks).  Regardless of what I like, building a considerate and environmentally conscious youth I believe is a positive step for the future, so at least this is work that I can feel proud about doing. 

Its better than throwing out every perfectly useable but somehow slightly dented product at Wal-Mart.  That is one policy I did not like!!!!  I worked their for a brief time during school.   

Anyway, the outfit I’m working for is called Earth Day.  Here is our website for anyone interested: www.earthdayhamilton.ca.  The job is only until April, so my graphic design ambitions are not yet gone.    

With my time off blogging, I created an advertisment for my blog.  It combines three of the most important things to me in baseball.  The Blue Jays are represented by Carter’s homerun in 93′ along with my favorite player Roy Halladay, baseball history is represented by Gerhig and Ruth (the two players with arguably the most impact on it) and the bobbleheads represent how much fun I have talking about baseball with other baseball fans from all over, while somewhat bobbling my head at times I guess????

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Looking Forward to the AL East in 2009 … Let’s be Positive Blue Jays Fans

The quartet in the A.L. East has just gotten a lot more powerful.  The expression, ‘beasts from the east,’ has never been more true than it is right now.  The Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays look to improve on strong years that saw each of them support very respectable final records.   

So, what do these teams have to look forward to in 2009?  Well, at least these are the guys I will be looking forward to seeing in 2009. 

The Red Sox have these guys.

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Probably one of the best left-handers in the game, Jon Lester, is only getting better.  Last year he showed what he is capable of.  A ‘big’ 2009 may be in the works for him.  If you were wondering who the guy tucked on the right is?  It is Lars Anderson, Red Sox first base prospect.  Anderson was only drafted in 2006, however, he has been killing the minors and should probably get a look at ‘the show’ this season.  Anderson’s future prospects were definately one of the reasons why the Red Sox did not pursue Mark Teixeria as aggressively as many might have hoped.  Last year’s American League MVP and all-around scrappy ‘little-big man,’ Dustin Pedroia, will be interesting to watch in 2009.  First of all, the guy is always getting dirty, putting his heart on the field and awkwardly swinging to stardom.  I love Pedroia’s game.  If watching the AL MVP follow-up on his amazing season is not enough, then watching him making diving plays at second, steal bases and try to ‘leg out’ a double on every ball he banks off the monster is.  He’s a small guy, but he plays very big and right now he ‘big in Boston.’   

 As if the Rays needed any more players young players.  They have David Price.

 
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The number-one-pick overall in 2007, and it is easy to see why.  He has wicked stuff.  The Rays had enough confidence in him to close out games in the World Series.  This year, he will likely be featured in an already steller pitching rotation that includes Scott Kazmir, Jamie Shields, Andy Sonnanstine and Matt Garza.  Five legitimate starters going into 2009.  Most teams would take any of these guys as their #2, if not at least #3 starter.  The strength of the Tampa’s rotation will be tested against a division that just got a lot stronger in the pitching department.  I’m really looking forward to seeing their young pitchers next year, especially Price (that god for MLBTV and MLB Extra Innings).

Now lets state the obvious shall we. 

Everybody, me among them, is going to want to see what these lunkers will do.

 

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Yes, the Yankees landed the ‘big fish’ in the free agent market.  Their team does look devastating on paper; however, as the old cliche goes: ‘games aren’t won on paper.’  These guys will compliment Arod, Jeter and Rivera in what the Yankees are hoping is money well spent.  I think everyone is going to be interested watching these three, after the contracts they just signed.  To be fair, the Yankees did have a lot of money coming off the books to facilitate this.

Now for the Blue Jays.  With all this looming above us (just scroll up), it is obvious the Jays will have a big challenge in 2009.  We are no longer big players in the free agent market, with financial constraints the Jays cannot even afford a top 10 free agent without seriously having to budget.  The Canadian dollar dwindling has hurt the club, there have been job losses in the organization (so much for me getting a job there) and we lost two of our top pitchers last season, Shaun Marcum (injury) and A.J. Burnett (free agency).  Most prognosticators will predict the Jays to finish 4th in the division – just like last year no doubt.  Some might even throw the Jays behind the lowly Orioles in the A.L. East.  A team that I didn’t even consider for this entry because I’m not really looking forward to seeing anyone on that team (hmm… maybe Adam Jones).

So, lets be positive, because none in the organization seem to be (i.e. Vernon Wells, Cito Gaston).  The Jays are going to get a very good look at some young and possibly emerging players this year.  Notably Travis Snider, Adam Lind, Dustin McGowan, Jesse Litsch, David Purcey and possibly even Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, J.P. Arencibia and Scott Campbell.  Travis Snider might be a ‘stud’ in the making, and if only Vernon Wells and Alex Rios could remain healthy, that would give the Jays a very strong outfield.  McGowan staying healthy might actually lessen the burden of losing Burnett, Aaron Hill looks like he may be healthy and ready to get back to form, Jose Bautista and Rod Barajas are wildcards that may do well and we all hope that Scott Rolen has had enough time to rest his shoulder for a great 2009 campaign.  This all being said, it will probably take all these things for the Jays to be anywhere near competitive in the A.L. East.

                

      

Mele Kalikimaka Everyone … Merry Christmas

Watching the National Lampoon’s Griswold family Christmas on CBC TV last night, I got to thinking about the joy (thats right, joy) of spending time with family during Christmas.  Then I got thinking about this blog and the family many of us have created here.  A much less genetic, more distant, would be a little akward if I actual met cyber-family. 

Then I thought about the Blue Jays.  Cito, Halladay, Vernon Wells and the bunch.  I realized

Thumbnail image for clark-griswold-tree copy.jpgthat they too are like a family.  The players themselves have a large family of fans that celebrate with them, struggle with them and even endure financial hardship with them. 

I compare Roy Halladay to Clark Griswold.  Clark would always try to ‘overdo’ everything to get his family into the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ (i.e. making a mamoth light display, a mamoth tree, a super-lubricated sled, having the entire family over for a week).  Halladay does the same thing except in baseball.  He takes games into the 9th, completes them until he is sure the Blue Jays have won, he pitches on short rest and his winning attitude gets the team into the ‘playoff spirit’.  No matter how dysfunctional his family/team is (i.e. Frank Thomas, Shea Hillenbrand, Cousin Eddie).  No matter how many financial hardships the family/team has to endure, it doesn’t get Clark Griswold or Roy Halladay down.  They keep the Christmas/Playoff spirit.  And in doing this, it has payed off for the both of them.  Halladay got a fairly big contract extension through 2010, and Clark got a bonus check so he could install a pool at the end of the movie.  The spirit is alive in both these men.  Merry Christmas everyone.  Mele Kalikimaka!          

Great Man – Ted Rogers 1933-2008

To be honest, I didn’t know that much about the man before recently. What I do know is that he was a giant media mogul, business mind and generally only talked with his wallet regarding the Blue Jays.  Ted was apparently a great philanthropist, risk taker and business leader throughout his years.  Unlike some owners, he left the baseball decisions solely to the executives, which in most cases is a good thing.  In the years Ted Rogers was operating the club, we saw a name change to the Dome, expensive restoration and renovation to the Dome (i.e. video screens on the walls and around the park, giving the Dome a little more character), a marked payroll increase that almost doubled in the span 3 years, and this past season, renovations to a clubhouse that is regarded as one of the best in baseball.    

Actions speak louder than words.  All I know is that he loved the Jays, and that was obivious through his actions.  That makes him a ‘great man’ in my books.  It is a difficult thing to lose an owner with that much love for the team.  Ted Rogers will definately be missed.  I wonder where Rogers Communications and the Blue Jays will go from here?  Wonder where I will go from here?  I love the Jays, and have Rogers wireless.