Taking the bull and putting him in his place! Or bulling the man and taking him with horns of fury?! Or taking horns and throwing bulls all over the place. However that expression goes? Alex Anthopolous is doing it with the Blue Jays right now.
Presented with the monumental tasks of dealing Vernon Wells‘ long and expensive contract, acquiring some team speed, revamping the Blue Jays minor-league prospects and solidifing a team manger, Anthopolous has taken the challenge head-on.
Alex Anthopolous (or the Silent Assassin as many call him) dealt Wells to the Angels in return for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli (who was later traded to the Texas Rangers for former closer Frank Francisco). In process he has freed up the Jays from a large financial obligation that was not paying off. Rivera and Francisco are decent players that will help the Jays in the 2011, and some will argue that Rivera could provide similar offensive production, even if we see him in a plattoon role. The Jays will undoubtably be able to a lot of things financially in the near future, so many Jay fan are excited at those possibilties even if they did come at the expense of losing a good player.
The Need for Speed
I did a prior post on this subject and I believe that it cannot be overstated. The Jays are going to be a more athletic team. The recent acquisitions of Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, Brett Lawrie, Yunel Escobar (to lesser extent) and Corey Patterson has given the Jays a new dimension defensively and on the basepaths. AA said that he was going to pursue more athletic players to give the team another threat. He was true to his word. I believe that this is an element of the game that the Jays have lacked in the past. In my opinion speed isn’t vital to the success of a club, but it is important.
A New Coach
A Jays team without both Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells will seem unusual coming into the 2011 season. Things will be different, but hopefully they will get better with changes on the managing front. AA brought in a well-respected pitching coach from the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell. A core of very good young pitchers consisting of Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow will have Farrell’s hands full. Not to mention the young pitchers that are liking coming up in the near future Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart. Farrell will likely be able to provide some valuable mentoring for these players along the way.
The task of winning in what is usually the toughest (or among the toughest) divisions in baseball every year, is extremely challenging. Blue Jay fans have experienced it. Right now, I see AA developing a well-thoughtout strategy to make the Jays successful. Notably, the Jays are improving their minor-league system and player development, they are focusing on the draft, improving scouting and they acquiring players with high-ceiling and loads of athletic ability. Or in other words:
AA has branded a Blue Jay bull with the Blue Jay logo, and he is going to eat a succulent medium-well cooked New York (Yankee) strip steak with it!
Make sense? ha ha. So, the Blue Jay bull is a Yankee?
As I watch Roy Halladay do what I always knew he was capable of doing, I’m reminded of the old identity the Jays had with ‘Doc’ as the star. In 2010, Jose Bautista changed all of that.
The Blue Jays, and more specifically the Rogers Centre, is now a scary place to play. Opposing pitchers are coming to another country, and they are being harrassed and assaulted by a lineup with deadly weapons. Entire pitching staffs are being held hostage by Blue Jay bats. The structure of the game is crumbling as we wreak devastation on MLB. Bautista is leading his rebellion army across baseball and (hopefully?!? arbitration?) into 2011.
No pitcher prepares, trains and works harder than Roy Halladay. His pre-game preparation and spring training regiment has become ‘a tale of legend’ among his peers. You know why the movie ‘I am Legend’ with Will Smith flopped in the box office? Because it wasn’t about the life of Roy Halladay.
Halladay focuses on every hitter/team like a school exam, and he is a straight ‘A’ student. Some would call the Yankees and the Red Sox a hard test? Not for Halladay. ‘The Doc’ was 13-6 with a 2.59 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP against both teams while he was in the A.L. East.
No test is too difficult for Halladay. On a Saturday night in Florida, Roy was given the test of the Florida Marlins and scored perfect. With one out in the 8th inning I watched Halladay freeze a very good hitter, Dan Uggla, on a 2-seam sinking fastball that broke towards the outside corner of the plate. When I saw him make that pitch, I knew he had enough to be perfect. Sure enough, Ronny Paulino grounded a ball hit slowly enough in the hole that Phillies utility infielder, Juan Castro, could make a play on. The rest was history! A perfect history exam, if you will?
In all seriousness, does it get any better than Halladay? As if you didn’t know how good he is yet?
The Blue Jays enter 2010 depleted of some depth. We traded our only front-end starter (Roy Halladay), let our best defense outfielder walk away (Alex Rios) and also traded our best defensive infielder (Scott Rolen).
The analysts don’t see the Jays getting any better any time soon. That
said, it is hard to get worse than the 75-87 record that saw the Jays
finish, once again, 4th place in the highly competitive A.L. East.
The only thing that could be worse is the Jays finishing behind the Baltimore Orioles
for dead last in the A.L. East. This is where most believe
the Jays are headed, as Baltimore seems to be going upward in the
standings with an array of emeging young players. Some even go further
to say that the Jays are going to be the worst team in the American
League. Hello Kansas City Royals! I’m not about to go nearly that far, but I do believe the Jays 2010 success is contingent on some key factors.
Every year I look forward to reading the Baseball Prospectus write-up that forcasts the Blue Jays future. Similar many other baseball fans, I use the intelligence and effort put into Baseball Prospectus
to supplant my own personal lack of baseball intelligence.
They do amazing work! More to their credit, they were dead on with
pin-pointing the downfall of J.P. Ricciardi in previous years.
Primarily, they critiqued Ricciardi’s string of questionable signings that
started with Cory Koskie and his low-risk, low-reward college draft
picks that produced a few good talents, but ended up depleting our farm
system as a whole.
For this season, Baseball Prospectus has pretty much agreed with
other publications saying that 2010 has been “clearly surrendered to
rebuilding’ with the signing of ‘stopgap’ players like John Buck and Alex Gonzolez.”
They also state the obvious by very briefly saying “trading the Doc
hurts, and the Jays will be in a tough battle to be ahead of the
Orioles all year.” What they are enthused about is the prospects of Hill, Lind,
Snider and the Walrus (Brett Wallace) all playing together at some point
this year, calling them the ‘Fab Four.’
I’m liking this ‘Fab Four’ analogy … a lot! So, I’m going with it as my number 1 ‘key to the season’ for the Blue Jays:
Keys to the Season
1. The Fab Four
It would be very nice to bank on repeat seasons from Adam Lind and Aaron Hill. If it doesn’t happen, then Baseball Prospectus
has entertained the notion of trading Aaron Hill at peak value to
further establish the Jay’s committment to rebuilding. Anthopolous
doesn’t seem headed that wa -, but it might be an idea?
Hill and Lind anchored our lineup last year. The Jays would not have won 70
games without them. For 2010 we need to count on their bats have to be back in full
effect. They are both a key component to our team now. They now have to show that the team can rely on them.
It will key to get help from guys like Brett Wallace/Lyle Overbay and Travis Snider providing more support near the back of the order. Going back to Baseball Prospectus, our home park (the Rogers Centre) statistically favors left-handed power hitters. Last year Jays radio analyst and former player, Alan Ashby,
stated that what really contributed to the Jays 1st place dominance in
April and May was one man – Travis Snider. Snider started the season giving the
Jays a great power element before totally tapering off in May. He was a
nice surprise for a team that could use ‘nice surprises.’ This season the Jays could
potentially get another surprise in Brett Wallace. Anthopolous acquired his
coveted left-handed power bat as a part of the Roy Halladay trade. The Jays hope that Wallace will be the future, as Lyle Overbay
enters the last year of his contract. Overbay suffered a
knee contusion last week in Spring Training, so the prospects of
Wallace in 2010 look more possible. If Snider and Wallace can somehow
find their way into the lineup and produce at expected levels for the
kinds of prospects that they are? The Jays will have a pair of surprise
‘left-handed’ power bats to compliment Lind and our home ballpark. Brett
Wallace didn’t have a very good spring, so the Jays will look to
rejuvenate Lyle Overbay for their left-handed production in 2010. Granted that Overbay’s knee contusion doesn’t become
serious. These guys all have to produce for the Jays to compete with the potent lineups of New York, Boston, Tampa and now Baltimore.
2. Leading the Way on the Mound
The absence of Halladay in the Jays rotation leaves the question: What starting pitching
talent(s) will emerge? It would be nice to see multiple guys have
success. For the Jays to have hope of doing anything this season, they
need some pitchers step up and make a name for themselves. The likely
candidates are Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero. Romero is
coming off a fine rookie year going 13-9. At one point in the season,
some Yankees writers compared Romero’s stuff, notably his changeup, to Mets ace Johan Santana.
That may be a bit strong as Romero struggled at times – compiling an ugly
WHIP of 1.52. He will need to do better than that to lead the Jays
pitching staff, but he is still learning.
I was really looking forward to watching Shaun Marcum in the Jays
rotation last season. He came off an impressive 2008 only to be sidelined in 2009. At times, the way Marcum changed speeds and commanded
the strikezone makes, he was unhittable against weaker hitting clubs. He seems
to have a great pitching IQ. I like that Marcum always looks
like he is in control on the mound – something that he probably
learned from Roy Halladay. Having Marcum back will be an asset that
the Jays didn’t have last season. Although, coming off an injury, that
will hard count on. The Jays making the Marcum the #1 opening day
starter is good sign that he will be one ‘key’ to watch in 2010!
As for the rest of our staff, the Jays look to be going with three of Brian Tallet, Marc Rzyepcynski, Brandon Morrow or Dana Eveland.
Eveland had a very strong spring that propelled him into the mix. It is hard to tell how he will fair with the Jays, but he has certainly opened some eyes this spring. He might be the most unlikely candidate to lead the staff, but these kind of players sometimes emerge. Look at Ben Zobrist last year?
The Jays gave up an intriguing young pitching prospect, Yohermyn Chavez and hard-throwing reliever Brandon League to get Brandon Morrow. Baseball Prospectus
called Morrow “an odd decision” since the Jays don’t look to be
contending anytime soon. I don’t agree with this because at age 25, Morrow is still young – making him a possible factor in the Jays rebuilding project. He is the kind of
player where the Jays are expecting the worse, and hoping for the
best. I’d say Morrow is ‘big key’ to this season because he could be
due for a breakout year capitalizing on his chance to start full-time. If Anthopolous hit a homerun with this trade, 2010 could be very promising!
Brian Tallet pitched very well for the Jays filling in rotation spots last year. He
has the most experience of the bunch and is a solid option. However, I don’t
expect him to ‘breakout’ year in 2010. I’d catergorize Marc Rzyepcynski
the same way. Zippy (as I call him) is very advanced for his age. He has four good pitches that he can command, but they don’t overwhelm batters. Both these guys are solid optionsm, but without a very high-ceiling.
If the Jays want to do something this year then having Kyle Drabek and Brett Cecil
emerge is key! Cecil overstepped his bounds getting some early
‘big-league’ experience when he should have been in the minors. Cecil
brings a great arm and a somewhat deceptive left-handed delivery.
Cecil’s development is not quite there, but in my opinion he has the makings of a front-line
starter. He will start this year in AAA and look to bounce back into
the rotation at some point this year. Kyle Drabek has had a very
impressive Spring Training. Drabek is now being considered for the
rotation earlier than we expected. Not having actually seen him pitch, I
hear he has a very effective, well-controled curveball that is featured
along with some other great pitching tools. Jays fans can barely hold
their excitement on him. I know better than the rely on a rookie though.
With the rebuilding project underway there is no reason to rush both
Cecil and Drabek. However, their contributions this season could be
‘key’ to the Jays 2010 season, although it is a bit of stretch to count
on rookies emerging in dramatic fashion.
It is also a bit of a stretch to count on players coming off the injuries to emerge. Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch
are both wildcards at this point. We may see them not pitch at all
this year? McGowan had a serious injury, and it is a terrible shame because of
his talent level. Litsch doesn’t have the stuff to be a top 3 starter in my
opinion, but I hope he proves me wrong. I’m counting more on the
contributions of Drabek and Cecil as possible ‘keys to the season’ … and the future for that matter!
3. Team Defense
The Jays lost Scott Rolen at third base, we picked up a decent
defensive shortstop Alex Gonzolez, stayed similar defensively at
catcher acquiring John Buck to replace Rod Barajas and got a little weaker in the outfield losing Alex Rios. The Jays outfield will now have Jose Bautista.
Bautista intrigues me because I want to see how much ground he can cover in the outfield. Bautista’s arm is also well above-average. I look
for him to step-up and be a key contributor to the team defense. With Adam Lind and Travis Snider possibly occuping the other corner
outfield spot, it could get ugly. Also Edwin Encarncion at third base is a very risky option. The Jays will need to play good ‘team defense,’ as they look to be deteriorating in that respect.
If all these things fall into place, the Jays will have a very good
year. If they don’t? And you will notice that I don’t expect all them
to actually happen. The Jays will – as every baseball preview predicts
– submit this season to rebuilding and likely end up in the ‘cellar’ of
the A.L. East. Notice how I used the word ‘cellar.’ Cellar are often opened by keys … ha ha. Yep, I’m a cornball.
Even though this year looks bleak Blue Jay fans, it will be entertaining to look out for my:
All right! Time to get serious about this season, and Jays in the future. Reading ‘Baseball Prospectus‘ I see that Jays GM Alex Anthopolous is already facing critics. Here is a little background on Anthoupolous, and the situation he faces for the upcoming season.
At the end of 2009 the Toronto Blue Jays went
the route of choosing a young, and up-and-coming General Manager, Alex
Anthopolous. Among Blue Jay faithful, Anthopolous is beginning to
become known as ‘AA’ out of conveinence for his large name.
AA took over the job in October of 2009 after working as an Assistant
GM apprentice to the J.P. Ricciardi for four years. Before that, AA had
been with the Montreal Expos and the Blue Jays as a scouting
coordinator since 2000.
AA is great young sucess story graduating from my Alma-matar,
McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, with an Economics Degree. At
23, he decided to pursue a career in the game. He became proactive,
calling organizations and looking for any way to get a foot in the
door. Finally, after getting a direct line to Expo GM Jim Beattie’s
office in Florida, he got his chance. Starstuck, AA says that he hung
up on Beattie the first time he called.
In his short time as GM, AA has inherited a team with many problems
seeking an innate desire to rebuild. Right from the beginning, it was
clear that AA had a new agenda than the previous GM that was said to
have ‘reign’ over all Front Office decisions. J.P. Ricciardi cut Blue
Jay scouting, and AA’s first instinct was to expand it, possibly
looking to go after ‘gem’ high-school prep players that the previous GM
was reluctant to take the risk on. Over Ricciardi’s tenure, he drafted
low-risk, low-reward college prospects that didn’t completely fail
(finding guys like Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Ricky Romero) but they
were enough to deplete the depth in the Blue Jay’s farm system to where
they were rated #28 system in baseball.
The appease the public, and address this need, AA showed a committment
changing this by expanding the scouting staff and trading the Jay’s
most valuable commodity, Roy Halladay, for three top-level prospects
that instantly boosted the rating of the Jays system.
The rebuilding that every Jays fan is looking for has seemingly been
initiated with these moves. However, reading the recent issue of Baseball Prospectus
they consider the trading of top prospect Michael Taylor to the Oakland
Athletics for A’s top prospect Brett Wallace a fatal mistake by AA.
Baseball Prospectus evaluated Taylor as a player with much more
naturally gift skill, and having a higher-ceiling.
Wallace, a low-risk college phenonom at Arizona State, was ripped by
Baseball Prospectus for his athletic ability and they made fun of the
way scouts mocking called him ‘Walrus Boy.’ The Jays have notoriously
been critisized for showing a tendancy to disregard building their team
around speed and defense. Trading Taylor for Wallace only fuelled this
debate among Blue Jay faithful.
The current do not have a legitimate leadoff hitter, they have two slow
outfielders that have trouble making plays in the gap (Travis Snider
and Adam Lind) and third baseman with notorious defensive problems
(Edwin Encarnacion). Taylor, with speed and outfield range, would have
been able solve two of those problems. Instead, the Jays saw fit to get
a player that REALLY needs to ‘mash’ in order to play first base in
Altogether, AA has been critisized and commended for his initial
dealings with the Jays rebuilding plan. He continues build from within
while cutting payroll and improving his chance to reap the benefits
young players. It is the way in which he is doing it, which has been
Personally, I tend to agree with Baseball Prospectus. Taylor would have
been the option with more potential. However, looking at the Jays
current first base situation, they could use help in the area. Teiexia,
Youkilus, Pena and Atkins are what the Jays are up against at first
base. They haven’t had that ‘jumpstart’ in the middle of the order from
that position. I see both sides here, but I’m also skepitcal about how
Wallace with be able to hit, or field even considering his frame. I
believe, this deal could definitely backfire HUGE in AA face!
Do you agree Billy Beane swindled the Jays by acquiring Taylor for Wallace?
Does AA deserve to be ‘ripped on’ for the ‘Taylor/Wallace deal?
How important is it to have athletes on your team, as opposed to players that can ‘mash’?
The Roy Halladay blockbuster trade to the Phillies a couple months ago has recently brought this blog, my screen name, my life and Toronto Blue Jays into an identity crisis!
For those of you that don’t watch ‘The Simpsons,’ there is an episode where a motivation speaker, Brad Goodman, is intrigued by Bart Simpson’s attitude towards life. Goodman gets the people of Springfield (the town where the Simpsons live) to chant in a motivational town hall meeting: “‘Be like the Boy’ ‘Be like the Boy’.” After that, Goodman gets just the ladies in the crowd to chant: “Be like the Boy”, “Be like the Boy.” Then Goodman asks the old people in the back of the crowd to do the same chant. Hilariously, the old people hard of hearing come up with: “We Like Roy, We Like Roy.”
Combined with Halladay being my favorite player, this was naturally one of the best screen names that I’ve ever thought of, in my opinion. I even tried to get that chant going at a couple of Blue Jay games, but it never caught on. This is the gift that I give to you City of Philadelphia! Make the ‘We Like Roy’ chant work!
I’ve come to realization that I will always be a HUGE Halladay fan, no matter where he goes! And to prove this fact, without completly destroying my identity as a life-long ‘die hard’ Blue Jay fan, I’ve taken a drastic step.
That is right! I got a Roy Halladay Phillies jersey, and I wear it proudly, not even being a Phillies fan. Call me a traitor all you like, but I still wear my Halladay Blue Jay jersey just as proudly. Having this jersey is a statement that I realize the economics/business of baseball, and I have accepted it. Halladay wanted to get paid, and go to a winner. As long as that doesn’t come at the Blue Jays expense, I accept it, and embrace it. From now on, I am a serious Phillies fan when Halladay is pitching. I will be skipping Jay games to see Halladay starts! That is a bold statement for me, but in figuring my ‘identity crisis,’ the loyalty I have towards Halladay partially trumped my loyalty towards the Jays. It had an impact, is all I am saying. My personal ‘Blue Jay world’ was devastated by some kind of natural disaster when the Halladay trade went through … to use a terribly timed metaphor.
The Jays Future Identity
In losing Halladay, the Jays have lost their one definable ‘star player’ that all MLB fans,
teams and media were aware of. We now look on to a much younger team
that has wide array of possibly emerging talent. It is hard to say who will be the ‘marquee’ Blue Jay moving forward. Aaron Hill and Adam Lind
would be the likely candidates, but we all know a ‘marquee’ player is
not given that moniker after only one ‘all-star caliber’ year. It
takes time and consistant success. Halladay gave the Jays many
‘all-star caliber’ years. So, who will step into Halladay’s old
shoes? Other than Lind and Hill, the Jays have some intriguing young
players that could be future All-Stars? However, I’m not comfortable
enough to definably predict any of them as that. Brett Wallace, Travis
Snider, Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, Ricky
Romero, Brett Cecil and Brandon Morrow are the guys in the
organization that I could possibly see being future All-Stars. If any
two of these guys actually turn into an all-star, the Jays will have a
promising future. That said, nobody can replace ‘the Doc,’ but it will
be interesting to see what player(s) round out the Blue Jay ‘identity‘ for years to come.
In Closing: My Life
In closing, uncertain in life as I look for steady employment, figuring out my baseball allegiance had to be cleared up before appling to more jobs. I was lost. My life usually follows the condition of the Blue Jays franchise in some eerie way. You’d have to talk to me for examples.
Right now, the Jays and I are both searching for an identity. Hear is hoping that we both hope find our identity moving forward.
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On occasion a ‘deep thought’ enters my brain. These
thoughts, however, are not unlike the ‘Deep Thoughts’ by Jack Handy skit,
that were famously parodied in the early 90’s on Saturday Night Live. This doesn’t really make them ‘deep
thoughts’ – just silly ones.
Now that off-season blogging has begun, I feel that I can now delve into a
little more creative writing – the initial goal of this blog. All the off-season
speculation can get a little over done. For instance, when you have blog
writers like me posting about topics that he nowhere near qualified to post
about. I will just sum up my opinions on the Jay’s 2010 off-season in
some brief bullet points:
– Alex Gonzolez makes the team better defensively at SS. I
question Scutaro’s ability to play that position in the future.
– I think the Jays will get a hefty sum for Roy Halladay this off-season,
not unlike the offers we were presented at the deadline last year.
– Working Adam Lind in at first base is a very good idea. Snider
in the outfield might become an issue. I’m okay with Randy Ruiz
starting at DH this year, but don’t expect ‘the world’ from him. Would be
a ‘great story’ if he excelled though after spending the majority of his career
in the minors!
– We need a catcher! Barajas likely won’t be back. I hear talk of Yorvit
Torrealba? Almost not significant enough a move to talk about.
– Improved scouting and player development under GM Alex Anthopolous.
Very good! Thumbs up to him. Hopefully, we will be able to freakin
SIGN some of his picks!!!
How Baseball Compares to World History
Finding loose, comical
parallels in comparing the history of baseball to significant moments in World
The ancient history
of baseball evolves out of a game played in England called ‘Rounders.’ Rounders was game that took it’s form from
games such as Cricket and Polo. In fact,
throughout the early history of baseball the game was constantly evolving and
improving to suit time. This evolution
has not stopped, as today we see the implementation of instant replay, and
dampened baseballs in Colorado for instance. The evolution of
baseball compares to the natural process that is Charles Darwin’s ‘natural
selection’ theory. We adapt, and improve
to conquer our surroundings. From
bacteria, to Australopithecus afarensis, to **** Erectus, to Neanderthal and so on.
Baseball’s origins came from oddly unfamiliar relatives, just as
humans. The early years of baseball saw
many different forms and improvements in the equipment, the uniforms, the rules
and the organizational structure.
Baseball went from unorganized groups where games were played in
backyards with loose rules and little knowledge of what they were actually
participating in, to an international game played in billion dollar stadiums
employing millions of people. Human kind
came from a group bipedal apes sitting around trying to find a way to keep
warm, crack nuts and keep nourished, to nations, cities, politics, commerce,
the internet, Shamwows and the Snuggies.
Civilization and Religion
June 19, 1846
– Baseball became most similar to the way it is played today. The innovations made on the Elysian Fields in
Hoboken, New Jersey
would set baseball on a path towards the great game that it is today. There Henry Chadwick went on to become the
game’s preeminent reporter developing baseball’s statistics and scoring system.
became known as “The Father of Baseball.” I don’t want to compare Henry Chadwick, to
you know who, but the religion of baseball, still practiced today, lies in the
constant statistical work and reporting of the game. Whether you deny it or
not, this area is the Mecca of
baseball. The New England, New York area
is/was home to Cooperstown, the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, Babe Ruth’s
playing career and Elysian Fields, where many scholars agree is the ‘true’
birthplace of baseball, even though this is a debatable suggestion. This area has influenced far stretches of the
baseball world, similar to the ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ except
this empire remains in baseball even to this day. Some compare the United
States to an extension of the Roman
Empire, so I will use that logic for the sake of comparison. The Roman Empire fell
in a way that compares to the way baseball’s great franchises in New
York lost themselves to expansion. The Dodgers moved to L.A.
and the Giants moved to San Fran causing a collapse in the mecca of the New
York baseball during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. The destruction of Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn
symbolizes this fall, only to gain strength later in a different form, Pax
Americana. The in-between time saw
baseball prophets, icons, political leaders, heroines, kings, queens, martyrs
and cultural representations emerge.
Branch Rickey …
Abraham Lincoln (freed baseball … freed America)
Ty Cobb … Ivan the
John McGraw (little
Napolean) … Napolean (both were truly great strategists)
Jackie Robinson …
Dottie Hinson (A
League of Their Own character loosely based on Dottie Green of the Rockford
Peaches 1943 to 1947) … Cleopatra
Yogi Berra … Winston
Pete Rose … Harry
Truman (great president … one big mistake.
Great player … one big mistake)
Barry Bonds …
Machiavelli (use whatever means as long as you get the end result: Steroids)
Rafeal Palmerio …
Richard Nixon (just despicable)
That is all I got right now!
Free agency, no-trade clauses, agents and big money have
made the game what it is today. These implementations
have also expanded the game further than any thought it would have
internationally. The gospel of baseball
took a dramatic turn with the advent of these measures. The Protestant Reformation conducted by
Martin Luther in 1517, coinciding with the creation of the printing press allowed
for religion to be spread and interpreted all over the world on levels that it
had never seen before. Baseball as an
institution could now be influenced by the players that play the game. This is similar to the Protestant
Reformation, where people began to influence religion more than they had been
able to before in the era of the ‘Holy Roman Empire.’
Baseball, along with life on this planet is moving now in
rapid speed. The internet has created a
world where baseball can be covered, analyzed, broken down into a mirco-science
like never before. Improvements to
scouting, statistics (with sabermetrics), reporting and promotion have
propelled baseball into the technological age.
Teams know now to jump on the next best thing coming out of Cuba,
Venezuela, or Timbuktu
that throw 100 MPH. We live in a smaller
world, and globalization has taken hold of baseball as well. The World Baseball Classic is in its infancy,
but baseball is also expanding into unimaginable countries now. Yet, the peace on a baseball field remains
untarnished despite the new world order.
That is the beauty of it all.
What is next?
I envision a game where humans
take on robots that can statically
compute information before every pitch.
No, no really.
Better yet, baseball games used to decide conflict, or
war? If only we could get the Taliban to
agree to that?? It would be a whole lot
more fun than the alternative, I’m sure most would agree.
Taking time off blogging about the Jays, I recently came across a very good old film that put the 2009 Blue Jays season into perspective for me. That film was ‘Jeremiah Johnson‘ starring Robert Redford and Will Greer. Shot in 1972, Jeremiah Johnson, played by Robert Redford, isolates himself from civilization looking to find peace amid the harsh wilderness of the Rocky Mountain in the late 1800’s. Johnson becomes a ledgend of the mountains!! He singlehandedly takes on a pack of wolves, a bear and countless natives looking for the honour of taking the ledgend’s sclap. To say the least, the heroine, Jeremiah Johnson, kicks some serious butt. I won’t go on and ruin the movie for you, if you haven’t already seen it.
(My Interpretation of Jeremiah Johnson at a Jays/Tigers game in September … sadly the beard is gone too itchy)
Roy Halladay is Jeremiah Johnson
Before Halladay departs from the Jays. Mark my words, I am going make a ledgend out of him in Toronto before he can do it somewhere else! I’ve already compared him to Seabiscuit, but I think this comparison is more accurate. Now, I don’t know how Halladay‘s record is against the Indians or the Braves, but Roy definately reminds me of a ‘renegade mountain man ledgend‘ pitching for the Jays this season. Roy is kinda like a warrior far from a war. He plays for a team far from the limelight (if you’ve seen the Jays crowds lately). He is alone among pitchers of his era, completing games like no other and compiling stats hardly comparable to his peers. Halladay extremely well-spoken with the media, but you can tell that he doesn’t care about that and all he wants to do is pitch, and win! Playing in a ‘not-so-great’ baseball market, like Toronto, Halladay’s win total has suffered. His greatness, as a pitcher, is not what it might be in a bigger market some would argue. But the truly great thing about Roy, is that he doesn’t he care about that? Not a bit. All he wants to do is win. He is a ‘renegade mountain man’ sporting a beard and born in Colorado to make things even more comparable. It wouldn’t surprise me if he knew how to ‘SKIN GRIZZ,’ as Will Greer puts it in the the film.
The Blue Jays are Mountain Men
Every September the Blue Jays become an isolate, renegade team. Being forgotten by most, but sneaking up on the Red Sox, Angels, Yankees and Twins/Tigers to do some damage to their confidence (lol?) going into the playoffs.
Currently, the Jays have a bunch of ‘mountain men’ fighting to survive on the mountain. Jose Bautista, Randy Ruiz, Travis Snider, Marc Rzyp…, Brian Tallet, Rod Barajas and Edwin Encarnacion are showing their stuff off to Jays execs. Two or three, if not all of these guys might get a starting job next season. A prerequisite for making the team must be ‘skinning grizz.’
10 Games this Year
10 is most games I’ve gotten out to in one season. The Halladay vs. Burnett game, Opening Day, the Jays 92/93 reunioun game and my annual trip to Detroit were just too much for me to sit at home and watch on TV. Seeing that I’m nowhere able afford season tickets, or flex-packs or what-have-you I think that this is a pretty good number. It was even fun last week where I attended a game, with such a sparse crowd, that I could people hecking from the 200 level on the other side of the stadium. The Halladay versus Burnett battle was probably my favorite game, of the ones I attended. The crowd was just awesome that night. It felt like a playoff game. A close second was the 92/93 reunion game. He are some pictures from that night.
Before Halladay’s ledgendary start versus the Yankees two nights ago, those were the exact words I used to describe Roy’s troubles since the trade deadline. ‘He justs needs to learn how to be a horse again.’ copying the stellar lines delivered by Chris Cooper in the film ‘Seabiscuit.’ Halladay had just come off an utterly disturbing perfomance against the Rays, giving up 7 earned runs and 12 hits in only six innings of work. 7 earned is a number that is NEVER usually associated with a Halladay start. The Doc’s record was 2 – 5 since the trade deadline, and it had people, like myself, wondering if the 2 months of constant ‘trade talk’ (more like badgering) had thrown his performance off in some way? Moreover, it had teams all around the league saying, ‘thank goodness we didn’t pull that deal!’
That all changed September 4th against the Yankees in a highly competitive A.L. East match-up. A ‘match race’ if you will! The likely A.L. East champion New York Yankees came in with their big arms (Joba Chamberlain), big bucks, big New York attitudes (not like we don’t have them in Toronto as well) and big egos (with all the media attention placed squarely on them). Everything about them seemed greater and stronger.
What the Yankees ran into Thursday night was ‘the heart of a champion.’ We road our ‘horse’ to a complete-game, one-hit shutout against the perennial A.L. East Champion and 26-time World Champion New York Yankees.
Did the Jays stand a chance? The answer is a definate ‘yes.’ We had the iron will, heart and determination of a ledgend on our side. The best thing about Halladay, is like Seabiscuit, he is a horse that has ‘spirit.’ Halladay, on Thursday night, was finally able to put the distractions aside and compete on the level that we are accustomed to seeing him. Going the distance and dominating the game for 9 innings against a monumental challenge. If only he could pitch for us everyday!
The sweetness of this one victory has put a consolation on on an otherwise extremely disappointing season for the Blue Jays. Now go win the World Series Yankees, just know that we beat you guys September 4th in the back of your head.