Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fermented Jays Fans

Now here's an event that has the Drunk Jays Fans written all over it. We saw this on what looks like a completely unreliable splog, but still. Vernon Wells, Dusty Lambchops, magicians and showgirls in the "distillary" district...what could be better?

From (unedited, with wacky capitalization and spelling mistakes, for your enjoyment):

Lucky guest has chance to drive away in a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 01/30/2008 -- The 4th annual General Motors of Canada reverse draw, in support of the jays care foundation, will be held at the Fermenting Cellar in the distillary district on Thursday, January 31, 2008 from 6:00 - 9:30 p.m. This event has been thrown a curve ball as organizers trade in the formal black tie dinner for a hip lounge-style cocktail party and Vegas themed games night. The event promises guests an evening of exquisite foods, specialty drinks, casino gaming, raffle excitement, amazing prizes, and performances by Circus-Orange Aerial Silks Troupe, magicians and even showgirls. Toronto's stylish in-crowd with join TORONTO BLUE JAYS players JEREMY ACCARDO, DUSTIN McGOWAN and VERNON WELLS for an unforgettable evening in which guests will have the chance to drive away in a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid valued at over $34,000 or fly off and enjoy an incredible 7-night all-inclusive trip for 2 to the Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa in Cuba courtesy of Transat Holidays.

Incidentally, we love the fact that the number one amenity for the venue listed on the Fermenting Cellar's site is "Upscale Designer Washrooms". Niiice.

It's Oh-So Quiet

Is it just us, or is it really disconcertingly quiet around the negotiations on a new contract for Alex Rios?

Sure, Professor Griff had some speculatin' in his column yesterday ( meeeellion dollars!...scary!), but it seems as though the Cone of Silence has dropped over these talks in recent weeks.

What are the chances that Rios pushes this all the way to arbitration?

Rios Wants Noise
Hat tip to the Drunk Jays Fans' Stoeten, who found a quote on the CBS Sportsline Fantasy page that compares Rios to Dave Winfield, and calls him the 11th best outfielder in the (roto) game. More impressive: he posted this late last night after drinking himself into sweet oblivion, punishing his liver with Carlsbergs.

There is a common notion amongst we rotonerds that a player turning 27 is usually a good bet to have a breakout year, which makes us think: wouldn't it be sweet revenge on all of those Giants bloggers who dissed Rios as a marginal outfielder if he were to go 25HRs 100RsBI 20 SBs, while Tiny Tim Lincecum gets smacked around and sent back to the minors?

Not that we wish anybody ill.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We Like When The Facts Back Up Our Random Thoughts

We like it when people who are nerdier smarter than us can find the time and energy to back up our baseless assertions with actual facts and figures. Which is why we're reading Jonathan Hale's Mockingbird blog a lot lately.

Hale picked up on the all of the discussion around Lyle Overbay's performance (including our own), and ran the numbers through the Pitch FXlinger 2000 to come up with a graphic representation of Overbay's season that looks like something that would have done Jackson Pollock proud. And like Pollock's work, you can find meaning in there if you really try.

Most importantly, Hale picks up on the concerns over diminished bat speed, and notes that Overbay's Batting Average on Ball in Play (BABIP) on above average fastballs (over 92 mph) dips to .236. Which is exactly what we said. Sort of.

Also, Hale has an angry and insightful post on the whole Barajas versus Fasano conundrum. We like Mike Wilner, but his assertions that Barajas wasn't a significant upgrade over Pal Sal seemed a little overly sentimental to us. Barajas had a down season last year, but he's much younger and much more athletic than Sal, and we couldn't fathom the Jays running the Fu Manchu out there for any extended period if/when Zaun goes down this year.

We saw Fasano up close in a Syracuse uniform this summer, and he looks like a creaky old man behind the plate, not to mention his dimishing offensive skills.

Southpaws on the Move (Or Not)


Johan Santana is on the move, and it is out of the American League. And moreover, he's not headed to the Yankees or Red Sox, which allows us to breathe a little easier. For now.

Meanwhile, Canadian-Ontarian-Blue-Jay-Fan-By-Birth Erik Bedard was supposed to be headed to Seattle, but meddlesome owner Peter Angelos is on the cusp of nixing the deal. Because that's how he rolls. We have no complaints, though, because the comically inept Angelos regime in Baltimore has given the Jays lots of leeway over the past decade to maintain their mostly-annual third-place finish in the AL East.

Erik Bedard will be a Blue Jay. Oh yes. He will be ours.
While we're talking nixed deals, Jeff Blair blogged that Angelos has put the kibosh on any discussions of a Bedard trade to the Blue Jays. Clearly, the man aspires to finish third in the East at some point before he rolls over and croaks, or before Omar Little gets him.

We've been down this road of Bedard becoming a Jay before. Several times. It's getting to the point that if Bedard does actually sign with the Blue Jays for the 2010 season, it will be completely anti-climactic. (Maybe they can invite Jason Dickson and Corey Koskie to the news conference, just to remind us all of how well this gambit has worked in the past.)

We're tempted to declare a moratorium on all Bedard-to-Toronto posts. But we know that at some point in July, the lack of realistic trade news and speculation will drive us back to this non-story.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Misty Powder Blue Coloured Memories of the Way We Were

Exhibition Stadium. Rock hard turf. Dudes with mustaches drinking beer. B.J. Birdy. Dave putting down a smoker, a strike, and you've got no doubt (Yer out!).

Oh, and seagulls. Lots and lots of seagulls.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lyle is the Linchpin

When we think forward to the 2008 season (just weeks away!), the one notion that keeps coming back is this: If Lyle Overbay doesn't hit, we're screwed.

This isn't to say that the Jays don't need a better season out of Vernon Wells (.706 OPS in 2007...yeesh) or for Scott Rolen to return somewhat to form. But for whatever reason, we keep coming back to Overbay as the key in the Jays lineup next year.

Obviously, there's an easy explanation for Overbay's decline last year, as he went into the tank after getting hit on the hand by a John Danks pitch on June 3rd. His performance in most categories up until that time was close to his career average (15 Doubles, 8 HRs, 28 RsBI, .796 OPS through his first 55 games).

Lyle's second half was nothing short of disastrous (67 games, 15 doubles, 2 HRs, 17 RsBI, .620 OPS), and while his smashed-up hand may have been an explanation for his steep decline, the Jays can't carry those sorts of numbers for any extended period from a corner infielder for any reason.

Not that we want to be a Cassandra here, but Overbay is turning 31 this year, and there's at least a bit of concern that we're going to start to see his bat speed slow, and an overall offensive decline ensue.

Overbay spent most of the 2007 season splitting time between hitting second and sixth, and his numbers weren't significantly different in either spot (.721 OPS hitting second versus .740 hitting sixth in small sample sizes). Wherever Overbay ends up in a revamped 2008 lineup, his ability to get on base, keep the line moving and drive in runs at a pace closer to his 2006 performance (92 ribbies) will be a crucial determining factor on the Blue Jays' ability to compete in the ever-strengthening AL Wild Card race.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Blogs and Stacks of Wax

It's been a musical day here in the blog writing mines. It started this morning, when we decided to forgo the usual ritual of catching up on podcasts in favour of Spoon's stupendously awesome Ga Ga Ga Ga. It was a very good decision.

(And as a side note, we love Brunt and McCown, but you can only listen to Maple Leafs talk for so long before your head collapses.)

The New Kid in Town
We generally don't link to new Blue Jays blogs this early after their inception, but we're giving it up for The Bottom of the Order. Written by semi-frequent commenter /A (ooh, mysterious handle!), BotO is a nice addition to our little collective of ne'erdowells blogging on the Jays. As a bonus, /A has an excellent music blog called THIS IS OUR MUSIC., which demonstrates their excellent taste in tunes. (And we say that, because it's pretty much the same as ours. This is all subjective, you see.)

More Hot Wax
And while we're on music, Blairsy's latest links to the Mitch Melnick's Team 990 blog, where MM gets all Brokeback and wistful, remembering the good old days of hanging with Blair in the MTL ("I wish I could quit you, Blairsy!"). Mitch also talks tunes, including the Drive By Truckers (not our favorite, but we respect their fighting style), Ryan Adams (we love him, but not as much as he loves himself) and Jeff Buckley (*sniff* We wish we could quit you, Buckley!)

So What's This Got To Do With The Jays?
Nothing. We are really getting down to the end of what we can blog about until pitchers and catchers report. It's like we've finished all of our beer for the night, and it's 4 am, and we're starting to mix Blue Curacao with apple juice because that's pretty much all that's left.

WTF is going on?!?!

When we try to admire our own writerly stylings today, we see that our blog looks something like what you see above. Anyone else ever come across this? Is this thing on?

We know that there are workarounds to get to the blog (like adding the "www" in front of the url), but we're a bit concerned that maybe a techno-savvy friend of Rod Barajas has taken umbrage to our last post.

We do this blog for fun, but we'll admit to being a bit panicked at the idea that it is permanently FUBAR.

Update: All is well! Phew!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well, that's unexpected!

Wow. This news is so unexpected that we had to check our browser cache to make sure we weren't being redirected to stories from last off-season.If there was one free agent that we figured the J.P. would steer clear of, without question, it was Rod Barajas.

And yet, there it is. The very same lard-assed catcher who bailed inexplicably last off-season on a deal that was as generous as the portions that he takes from the clubhouse spread, only to take less money and less term from the Phillies, has signed a one-year deal with the Jays.

He'll ostensibly back up Gregg Zaun, although there is no clear indication as to who will provide his wardrobe for any episodes of Sportsnet's popular series: "Playoff Action with Ginger and the Catcher".

Barajas wouldn't have been our choice for the backup/other catcher. Our heart belonged to Miguel Olivo, who rebuffed our advances and signed a one year contract with the Royals. Must be those fountains in center field.

It's hardly even worth discussing Barajas' stats from last year, seeing as how he only managed 122 ABs. We're looking at this as an Ohka/Thomson/Zambrano signing for this year. If Barajas goes back to his 2005 form (21 HRs and 60 RsBI), then $1.2 million is somewhat reasonable. If he sucks, then at least we've already got last year's surplus Barajas effigies hanging around the crib, aching to be burned.

We'll say this about Barajas: He may be a walking, talking sebaceous gland, but now, he's our walking talking sebaceous gland.

Long may he waddle around the Rogers Centre.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lansing Roadtrip!!! Go Nuts!

Sure, there's been plenty of malarkey about the Blue Jays' top farm team setting up shop in Ottawa. Meanwhile, back here on planet Earth, the team has re-upped with their minor-league affiliate in New Hampshire for four years, and signed two-year agreements in Auburn (the Doubledays of the Single-A NY-Penn League) and Lansing (the Lugnuts of the Single-A Midwest League).

We know SFA about Lansing aside from the fact that Magic Johnson was born there, and that it's home to Michigan State University, but the ballpark looks like a great place to spend a summer night. We were going to suggest a road trip to the see the Jays of the Future this year, but Lansing's just about 100 miles further into Michigan than we would dare venture.

We're way too soft and would be too much of an easy target to last more than 15 minutes west of Flint.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To put this whole Scott Downs contract in context

The White Sox just handed $11 million over two years to the perpetually injured and mostly ineffective Octavio Dotel, ostensibly because he has "closer stuff". Downs managed a 2.17 ERA in 81 appearances last year, while Dotel has pitched in 62 games since 2005, putting up a sparkling 5.63 ERA for Oakland, the Yankees, Kansas City and Atlanta.

So Downs is a relative steal at those numbers.

This is Kenny Williams' second high-priced middle relief signing this year (after Scott Linebrink's slightly more palatable 4-year $19 million deal), and we're rooting for this to blow up good in his face. (Our antipathy towards the South Side's GM hasn't diminished a bit in the years since the Sirotka heist deal. )

Hey, if nothing else, this is the sort of move that's surely going to result in Ozzie Guillen flipping his lid at least a few times this year. And who can put a price on that sort of entertainment value.

Monday, January 21, 2008

His name is Rios and he dances on the sand

What was all this 4-year/$40 million tomfoolery we were spreading last week? That's the last goddamn time we quote the National Post on anything.

We know we're the last to mention this, but Blairsy reported on the weekend that Alex Rios (seen above with noted artificial turf expert David Beckham) is looking for $5.65 million for 2008, whilst the Blue Jays are offering $4.535 million in return.

Obviously, with those sorts of numbers on the table, there's no great impetus for the Jays to break open the bank for the second time in as many seasons on an outfielder. Because it worked so well the first time around, right??

Neate-O Linkage
Out of Left Field's Neate Sager (who is retiring from sports blogging, just as soon as Jay-Z lives up to his retirement announcement) has two great posts up today. The first is an email exchange with the Great Wizard of Brunt, who 'splains hisself for not voting for nobody in this year's Hall of Fame balloting. (And as per usual, Brunt's email was engaging, poignant, and challenging...we bet that dude's post-it notes and grocery lists are better than our blog posts.)

The other is a takedown of an Ottawa Pet Trainer Citizen columnist who is perpetuating the myth that the Jays' AAA franchise has an icicle's chance in hell of moving to the Nation's capital next year.

Now, we'll admit that we've advocated for this in the past, and we'd love to see the Jays set up their AAA shop in Ottawa. But as Neate astutely points out, that would only work if Rogers were willing to cough up the cash to buy the International League franchise, move it to Bytown and eat the losses. That becomes much less likely when you consider that the very successful AAA franchise in Buffalo will likely need a dancing partner in 2009, and the Buffalo market would be as attractive (if not more so) than Ottawa to the pointy heads at Uncle Ted's Inc..

There's an argument to be made that moving a Blue Jays affiliate to Ottawa would work. (A New York Penn League team, perhaps.) But unless there's someone in the International League that is looking to unload a franchise - and remember that there was a franchise to be had on the cheap in Ottawa for the past five years! - there's no chance that the "Ottawa Blue Jays" will ever take the field on Coventry Road. No matter what sort of facile spin the crayon-eaters at the Citizen and the Sun try to put on it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gettin' Real Paid

In addition to Scott Downs' gulp-inducing deal, the Jays also announced deals to avoid arbitration with Marco Scutaro (two years, but cheap!), Brian Tallett (who now only has the second-best mutton chops on the team), Gustavo Chacin (the Machine returns!), and Jason Frasor, who will get paid $1.25 million to sweep up the sunflower seeds in the bullpen.

Surely, the Jays could find some NL team to take Frasor off their hands. There's a buttload of bullpen arms right now, and Frasor could move to the more delicate league to pick and nibble and throw sliders in the dirt and still be considered an asset.

Scott Downs has 10 million reasons to smile

True story: when we were 13, we broke our right arm on the first day of the summer holidays. Two days before we were supposed to go to baseball camp. It sucked.

But since we couldn't toss the old horsehide around with our right arm, we taught ourselves to throw lefty. Suprisingly, we managed to figure it out, and ended up able to play a half decent game of catch with the wrong arm. If we'd really worked on it, we might have been able to make the switch permanently.

Of course, when the right arm returned to health, we ditched tossing lefty and never really gave it much thought. Until last night. When Scott Downs signed for three years and $10 million.

Damn it all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Road to Third Place Is Paved With Catchers of the Future

We've got catchers on the brain today, what with the to and fro regarding whether if J.P. said he was going to look for a backup catcher in the coming weeks. (The Nat Post says yes, as mentioned in the comments from yesterday, but Jon Hale says J.P. said no such thing. And that the Post is full of shit.)

You have to think that this team doesn't see Gregg "Let me write you a cheque for that" Zaun and Sal Fasano as the long term answers behind the plate. Both are getting older, and let's be honest: Fasano's offensive prowess lingers somewhere around the Huckaby level.

There are options on the way, with both Curtis Thigpen and Robinson Diaz on the horizon. But having watched both youngsters last year, we don't get that "ready-for-prime-time" vibe off of either of them.

The same said Mr. Hale has also posted a link on his Mockingbird (Let's! Get! Mocking!TM) blog to the Jays' non-roster Spring Training invitees, Among the catchers showing up in Dunedin (if only to catch soft-tosses) are 2007 first-rounder J.P. Arencibia (pictured above), Pal Sal, and Brian Jeroloman, a walks machine who posted a .421 OBP in the Florida State League last year.

There's catchers everywhere you why are we still worried? Likely because we've seen one too many Jays Catcher of the Future turn to dust as soon as they get the call to come north. It's almost uncanny. (Maybe Ernie Whitt's sabotaging these up comers as a part of his evil plan to make Blue Jays fans eternally nostalgic for his squatting prowess and his extreme pull uppercut swing.)

The Graveyard of Catching Dreams
Check out the roster of the 2002 Syracuse SkyChiefs, which is a veritable smorgasbord of lost souls when it comes to the Jays future backstops: Josh Phelps? Check. Kevin Cash? Check. Jason Werth? Guillermo Quiroz? Joe Lawrence? Check, check, check. They may not have projected to be stars, but they were all supposed to be full-time Major League catchers at the very least.

(And Ken Huckaby is in there too, even if he was never a prospect to do anything more than separate Derek Jeter's shoulder.)

In the end, two of them (Werth and Lawrence) switched positions and never caught a game in the bigs, while Phelps caught four games this year. It was the first time in six seasons that he donned the tools of ignorance, but we suppose that when you're a marginal player on the Pirates, you do what you gotta do.

Guillermo Quiroz and Kevin Cash are now both doing the organizational two-step, hopping from one team to another. Cash did manage to land in Boston when the music stopped last year, just in time to bask in some of the refracted glow of the Sox' World Series glory.

So who's laughing now?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Technical Difficulties - Please Stand By

We'll admit it. In our haste to make some subtle changes to the blog's layout, we've goofed.

It takes a certain level of cranial slowness to mess up a Blogger template, but everything looks slightly wrong to us right now.

The content should all be there, but don't mind the mess.

UPDATE: ...and we're back. Kind of.

Wrapping up Rios

In what is a bit of a non-news story, the National Post's Jeremy Sandler reports that the Jays are looking at signing Alex Rios to a deal that will buy out a couple of arbitration years.

Numbers like "four years" and "$40 million" are tossed around, but there's no real there there. J.P. said of the contract talks: "I wouldn't say they're going great, I wouldn't say they're going bad."

Let's read too much into one press conference

It's probably wrong of us to look at yesterday's presser and confer meaning onto Scott Rolen's yuks-per-minute quotient. But we'll do it anyways.

There's something in Rolen's tone which seems to balance his commitment to winning along with a sense of levity, and that's something that the old third baseman didn't have. Glaus was a batting helmet chucker who shouted expletives most every time he wailed and wiffed with men on. We got the message: Troy Boy was INTENSE. He CARED. Didn't you see and hear it?

We got caught up last year in the whole idea that the Jays locker room was too loose (as though we even had a clue what we were talking about.) Who knows, maybe Rolen will be the lead goofball soldier, manning the Nerf dart gun into battle with aplomb. On the other hand, maybe he'll be the guy who can turn to the jokers in the locker room and say "You guys are having an awful lot of fun for a team in third place."

Maybe he'll punch out one of those racing chili peppers while he's at it.

Or maybe it doesn't even matter. But it's January, and we need to believe in something.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Enter laughing

The Wit and Wisdom of Scott "Shecky" Rolen:

"I did bring a tie, but I didn't want to show up J.P.."

"Me and my family, we're gonna tear this place up."

"My daughter told me I was gonna wear 'firty free', so that's the number I'm gonna wear: firty free."

"I can't believe I passed my physical."

"You guys have turf?"

"I'm thinkin' (Gibbons) might be from the South, right?"

Here's the link to the shenanigans.

Two important questions
  • Would it kill J.P. to ditch the gum before he went on camera?
  • Why does Paul Godfrey even need to be there?

Put your hands together for your new third baseman...

The Jays have announced a press conference for 5:45 Eastern tonight to introduce the second coming, Scott Rolen. We'd presume that Rogers customers should be able to see this in full on that JaysVision barker channel.

If they put him in the powder blues at the presser, we'll crap our pants.

"If" is the operative word
Fox Sports' Dayn Perry continues a trend that has been taking off in recent days. Take a look through the clippings over the past week, and you'll see the word "if" dozens of time. If Rolen is healthy...If Wells hits like Wells...If Overbay is able to swing the bat...If A.J. Burnett pitches the whole season...If B.J. Ryan is able to return...If Roy Halladay stays healthy...If Marcum and McGowan pitch at the same level.

Obviously, it means that there is room for optimism, but as has been the case since 1993, that optimism is tempered by a whole lot of caution.

The worst part of this trend: it's left a really bad song by Bread stuck in our noggin all afternoon.

(Officially) Hello, Goodbye

With the health and economic issues resolved, we can officially look forward to Scott Rolen donning the silver and black (groan) of the Blue Jays this year.

What's particularly fun about this trade is the fact that it is a good old fashioned fantasy league challenge trade: your guy for our guy, and let's see who does better.

Not that we want to start making excuses already, but before anyone (looking your way, Professor Griff) starts to compare Glaus and Rolen's power numbers this year, let's remember that Glaus is a mistake hitter who crushes pitches that errantly wander into the strike zone. Playing in the NL Central, he'll get his share, and will (if his health accommodates) hit 30 bombs or more in Saint Lou. (He might hit 30 off the Pirates' Zach Duke alone.)

Of course, we'll have to factor in the the magical healing power of Busch's natural grass surface, which will not only make Glaus run like the wind and slug 150 points higher, but will also make him six inches taller. And when he runs on said magical grass, he'll make that Six Million Dollar Man Steve Austin ch-ch-ch-ch sound.

Rolen's contributions will be a little harder to measure at first blush. He'll get to more balls at third and he'll run the bases far better than Lurch could with his plantar fascism. He'll be lucky to hit 20 homers, but he'll also be vaguely useful against right-handers.

Reactions from both sides
  • The Drunk Jays Fans have a good wrap up on the trade, which elicited barely coherent comments from a few vaguely literate Cardinals fans.
  • Deadspin empresario and Cards apologist Will Leitch said goodbye to Rolen, which opened up the Gawkerblog's comments to the barely literate hipster bourgeoisie that skulk around those parts. (Sample comment: "Troy Glaus just reinjured his shoulder while patting himself on the back for getting out of Canada.")
  • Viva El Birdos (shouldn't that be los birdos?) have already indexed the seasons for each player's new ballpark, and have figured out that Rolen is going to slug .319. So since that's settled, we might as well shut down the blog until next year.
  • The Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon has turned on Rolen, essentially calling him a malcontent and ne'erdowell who wrote his ticket out of town by not bowing to the superior knowledge of Tony "Red Light" LaRussa. (What's especially rich is the "why would anyone want to go to Toronto?" comment...oh, who knows? Maybe he'd just like to get the hell out of the Midwest. It's not inconceivable.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Duelling Mailbags

Blue Jays fans ask's Jordan Bastian: "Why would the Jays trade Glaus for Rolen? It's not that great an upgrade, is it?"

Cardinals fans ask's Matthew Leach: "Why would the Cards trade Rolen for Glaus? It's not that great an upgrade, is it?"

UPDATE: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold reports that doctors have examined both players, although there is no news on whether if either team's doctor performed the "old finger trick", as Karl Pilkington would call it. Now it all comes down to a few games of three-card monte to determine the financials, and the deal is done.

The turf was the least of Glaus' problems

A quick note of clarification to the Cardinals Diaspora (and every baseball writer who attributes injuries to the state of Toronto's artificial turf): It's not Astroturf. It hasn't been for several years, and Troy Glaus never played an inning on Astroturf as a Blue Jay.

We've actually had the opportunity to scamper and jump and slide on FieldTurf (which was installed in 2005 at SkyDome/Rogers Centre), and it is no worse that the natural grass surfaces or the dirt cutout in most baseball stadia. So don't go thinking that Glaus' joints are suddenly going to regenerate because of the healing powers of Busch Stadium grass.

It wasn't the playing surface that caused Glaus' injuries, but rather, his Lurch-like physique.

UPDATE: Let's throw the Sporting News' Sean Deveney under the bus while we're at it, as he notes in his latest blog posting that the turf "exacerbated" Glaus' foot problems.

Doctor and the Medics Evaluate Trade

And now, we wait for the respective medical staffs to sign off on this whole mess, which the Star's always well-dressed Cathal Kelly reports should happen today.

Not to send bad omens out there in the universe, but we'll just mention that when off-season deals involving guys with dodgy shoulders are mentioned, there's one word that floats and bobs through our mind like a turd in hot tub: Sirotka.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Out with the old and in with the older

After spending most of the day on the road and incommunicado, we were greeted at home to a frantic voicemail from Shortwaveboy, giving us the 411 on this whole Glaus for Rolen tomfoolery.

(Funny side note: we just got back from a late Christmas gift exchange with the in-laws, which included a Jays t-shirt emblazoned with Troy Glaus' name and number. Seriously. What are the odds?)

So what the hell does it all mean?

We'd tend to side with the G&M's Jeff Blair, who writes that if Rolen is healthy, this is a much better deal for the Jays. Of course, we'd place some real heavy emphasis on the IF, because Rolen's last four seasons have been plagued by a litany of injuries, both small and large. He's also two years older than Glaus, so the end of the productive portion of his career might be closer than we think. (Then again, Glaus looked like an eighty year-old on the basepaths last year, so many those two years aren't as big a deal as we think.)

There is a concern with the fact that Rolen has yapped his way out of two cities, although the two managers (Larry Bowa in Philly, Tony "Red Light" LaRussa in STL) that got under his skin were meddlesome egomaniacs, and geniuses in their own minds. And we can all agree that whatever Gibby is, he isn't any of those things.

There's many a slip between a cup and a lip, and finishing this deal off will require waiving no trade clauses and clear physicals, the latter of which would be a minor niracle for these two rustbuckets.

But thank the lord, we've got something to write about this week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jonesing for some ball

Last night, while staring at the ceiling, bored out of our frigging skull, our mind turned to Roy Halladay.

We pictured him striking some chump out, then walking coolly off the mound, as he's want wont to do. We pictured him swearing at himself into his glove, as he's also want wont to do.

God almighty, we're going through withdrawal. And it is still more than a month until pitchers and catchers report.

Occasionally, we'll tune into ESPN Classic to see if they might be showing a baseball game just to get us through the winter, but usually, they're running old episodes of Kiana's Flex Appeal. (Which is satisfying in its own way, but hardly a substitute.)

And seriously: Do we really need the "Pub Night" Fridays? Is there any such thing as "classic" darts?

We'd settle for Halladay throwing darts. Hmm...let's see what happens when we Google "Roy Halladay Darts".


Speaking of Pitchers and Belly Itchers
Belong to Rios basically wrote the post that we were going to write about the Jays' stockpiling of dubious bullpen arms. There's not much there to get excited about, but then again, guys like Scott Downs didn't have a ton of cachet as off-season signings, and they turned out to be pretty useful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Blue Jays Fan of the Day: Mike Williston

Cheers to Mike of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia for being brave enough to step into the breach, and represent the Jays in the midst of a Red Sox Nation celebration in Halifax yesterday. (Also, there's video!)

The BoSox brought the World Series trophy to the Maritimes to recognize the team's rabid fan base in the region. And believe us when we say that some of them are literally rabid, frig wha!

Our hero Mike attended the celebration (at Boston Pizza, natch) in full on retro Jays gear. And if history is any guide, we're sure that he's still wringing the beer out of it today.

Cheers to you Mike Williston for brining the noise and representing. You done us proud.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Belong to Rios Announces Jays Top Ten Prospects*

(*with an assist from Baseball America)

All Your Base Are Belong to Rios (the Scrappy Doo of the Blue Jays blogosphere) has the rundown of Baseball America's annual list of the top ten Blue Jays prospects, complete with some insightful commentary and illustrated with candid shots of the same said prospects. (Check out Litchsy flashin' gang signs, yo!)

Back to the Grind

It seems like we've been out of our routine for months, what with our extended holiday break. We're finding it hard to find the motivation to get up and take on that world again, and somehow, our mantra of "pitter patter, let's get at 'er" just isn't as effective as we would have hoped.

Roger Clemens: Wordsmith, Vioxx victim
We hadn't intended to watch the Rocket's lame denials on 60 Minutes last night, but we're glad that we did. We were getting a little soft on the big Texan, sensing that he was going to become the media punching bag for much of the misdirected rage about PEDs.

That was until Clemens spat out that first line: "I'm angry that what I've done for the game of baseball, and what I've done in my private life, that I don't get the benefit of the doubt."

Without question, Clemens career performance (enhancers aside) is amongst the most exceptional in the history of the game. But if you were to remove Clemens entire career and indeed his existence from the history of baseball, the game would have proceeded along pretty much as it did. He's not that important, nor is any single player. The game is much bigger than "all he's done for it". Arrogant prick.

Amongst Clemens other bon mots:
  • "If (MacNamee)'s putting that stuff in my body...I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
  • "I was eatin' Vioxx like it was Skittles! And now, these people who were supposedly regulatin' it tell me it's bad for my heart!"
  • "I understand that as a public person, you're gonna take some shots. The higher you get on the flagpole, the more your butt shows."
(Quick question on that last one: does Clemens generally climb flagpoles while wearing a skirt?)

And now, in a heart-warming turn, Clemens has announced his intention to sue McNamee.

Reed Johnson will run like a girl in a Blue Jays uniform for one more year
Maybe it's the economy of baseball, or maybe it's the Canadian dollar, or maybe someone out there thinks that Reed Johnson's varied facial hair exemplifies his "heart". That's about the best that we can come up with to describe why Johnson got a slight raise after doing poo-poo and pee-pee in the bed all last year. Which isn't to say that we're not rooting for's just that, you know, Josh Towers had one good season too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

We're opening up the comments...let the madness begin

It's the New Year, so something's gotta change, right?

We've decided to turn over a new leaf, and allow random yahoos to post comments on the blog. We might be getting ourselves into a serious shitstorm, but frankly, we know you're out there reading, and we want to hear what you have to say. As long as it is coherent(ish).

Mind you, we do actually have a vocation and a life beyond the blog, and we're not about to sit around all day moderating the comments. Be nice, for Chrissakes, or we'll turn this goddamn car around and go home, and then you'll have something to cry about.

One thing, though: While you can now post anonymously, do us a favour and leave your name or come up with some sort of clever identifier so that we can tell who's posting. We don't want to try to figure out which "Anonymous" is which.

Shea's ship is sunk

Douchey ex-Blue Jay and Accardo trade bait Shea Hillenbrand is having a hard time getting any contract offers, what with his .599 OPS and all. The LA Times (via MLB Trade Rumours) reports that only the Giants (desperate, much?) have contacted the free swinging animal lover and clubhouse whiteboard poet.

And it looks really good on him, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy Freaking Hangover! Welcome to 2008!

Ouch. Is it 2008 already? Maybe it was the Chicken Bone shots (Fireball and chocolate syrup...ganongy!), but we're having a hard time coming to grips with the transition into the New Year. You'll hve to excuse us if we sign our posts with 2007 for the next few days.

No news is...well, it's no news
While it's been a while since the last post, we have been combing around looking for something resembling news to comment on. Mostly, we're seeing a ton of year in review stories (yawn), pontification on Mitchell (blergh) and news about Canseco's sequel (ugh). We just can't get that interested.

Reaching all the way to Guam for anything resembling news
Pacific News Daily has brief on John Hattig, the corpulent Jays farmhand who in 2006 became the first player from Guam to get the call to the bigs. As you would expect, the hometown press is nicey-nice about why Hattig spent the year in Syracuse, and why he was removed from the 40 man roster. We, on the other hand, can tell you that from seeing Hattig play seven or eight times this year that he's fat, slow, and swings at just about anything thrown between first and third and the earth and the stars, and is a lousy fielder at either first or third. Still, you gotta root for the guy, don't you?

Great off-season blogging
  • Tip of la casquette to the Fan 590's Mike Wilner, who shrugged off the MSG headache and dug into the mailbag on Christmas Day. Wilner, as ever, gave rational, thoughtful responses to questions...we're looking forward to seeing his blog in the mix in 2008, even if he does have a bit of a man-crush on John McDonald.
  • The Drunk Jays Fans shamed us into getting off our fat duff with two monumental posts over the holidays. We're talking two posts of Brattainian length, covering a full breadth of topics, from the Doors to drunken meandering on empty Christmas streets. We laughed, we cried.
Wii Baseball News
While we spent a good part of the holidays getting our ass handed to us at Wii Sports by blog co-conspirator Shortwaveboy, we managed to avoid any nastiness like you see below.

(Thanks to Home Run Derby for the video)

Happy New Year!