Monday, June 30, 2008

Beautiful Lazy Sorta Long Weekend

We hope to god that most of you have had the good sense to make a long weekend out of this Canada Day tomfoolery. What sort of idiot would be at work on an utterly beautiful day such as today? (Well, aside from us?)

Celebrating our Seattle?
Seriously, this whole business of keeping the Jays out of Toronto on holidays (Victoria Day and Canada Day in particular) has gotten out of hand. Who do we have to blow in order to get ourselves a home series for the Jays over the weekend of our national holiday? Maybe Paul Godfrey didn't want to ask for such frivolities as he was angling for the All-Star Game (and settling for the World Baseball Classic, or Festival, or Jamboree or whatever the hell they are calling it.) Still, we miss the days when the Jays came out in sweet red caps and jerseys with "Canada" on the back.

Maybe we didn't appreciate the last Canada Day home game because on that day, the Jays wore quite possibly the ugliest uni's ever sported by the Toronto nine.

There's always next year, we suppose. Regardless, we fully expect that the Jays fans in beautiful British Columbia will make their way down to Safeco this week to represent. And possibly strip to the waist and make really bad puns on player's names. (This is what too many hours in front of has done to our youth.)

Make us proud, left coast Canadians.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Relive the 1992 World Series

It's the Braves versus the Jays. Bobby Cox versus Cito.

It seems like yesterday to us...Upside down flags, Kelly Gruber's tomohawk chop, Maldonado over everything, Derek Bell(!), Jimmy Key's swan song as a Jay, Winfield's double, Timlin to Carter, Pat Tabler on top of the pile. We're getting misty just thinking about it.

Have a great weekend kids, and enjoy the memories.

Bizarre search terms of the day - Hazel Mae edition

Occasionally, people find their way to our blog with some strange search terms. We don't often point them out, because we don't want to seem too invasively interested in our readers' business, but this one really caught our eye:

"carlos delgado gets hazel mae fired"

Strange, no?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jesse Litsch is a pink, round and efficient giant killer

First he took on Joba (well, in our mind he did), then Jesse Litsch took down Edinson Volquez with a masterful eight inning, three hit, one run performance (and with a little help from his reinvigorated pull-happy friends in tonight's 7-1 win over the Reds.)

(And bless you, Joanna, for coining that description of Litsch, which never gets old.)

Speaking of Jesse's pink roundness
On the radiocast this evening, both Tom and Alan kept giving Jesse these backhanded compliments about his defense, especially after a couple of nice plays in the middle innings. The funny thing about their compliments was that they were all couched in terms of: "You wouldn't think it to look at him, but Litsch is a really good fielder", or "You might not get that impression from looking at him, but Litsch has cat-like reflexes." You could almost sense that they were holding back, and that they really wanted to come out and say: "Jesse looks like Barbapapa, but he can still field like a Gold Glover."

Is it too soon into this "hot streak" to point out...
That Scott Rolen is the Greatest Blue Jay of All TimeTM? Because after watching him catch up on the basepaths with Stone Cold Matt Stairs after swatting his third homer in four games, we had no other choice but to shout this from the rooftops. (The pigeons seemed non-plussed, but we don't care to hear their 6 am rutting sessions outside our bedroom window either, so we guess that evens it all out.)

A point of order for Mr. Blair

In his latest Globe on Baseball post, Our Hero and Spiritual Leader Jeff Blair winds his way through the neverending J.P. v. Dunn saga and debacle, and discusses the whole Crank Yankers incident of the person who called and spoke to J.P., but that Dunn swears wasn't him.

"Ricciardi says he deleted the incoming number from his cell phone, but that he noticed the area code was something like 519. Thing is, that's a southwestern Ontario number and with the Reds in Yankee Stadium ...."

Well, that's all very nice and all, and we dig the use of suspension points to indicate a raised eyebrow.

Except that to be fair to J.P., we'd point out that the area code in Cincinnati is 513, which at a glance and painted from memory can look an awful lot like 519.

Just sayin'...

Marco Scutaro is a gritty gamer

You see how Marco slid headfirst across first base? That makes him last night's Gritty Gamer with Heart and Grit and Probably Chemistry Too.

Also, it makes him a bit of an idiot, seeing as how you can run through the bag quicker. But what do we know? We haven't got any heart or grit.

Maybe if we had better chemistry with the Jays, they could have shown some determination and urgency and won last night's game in extra innings. Instead, we sat back and ate chips in bed and the Jays lost 6-5 to the Reds. We just have to want it more. We've got to give it our all and focus on the task at hand, rather than listening to Jerry and Alan while trolling around for pictures of naked celebrities.


You know who is a gritty gamer?
Roy Halladay. Dude went out five days after taking a line drive off the melon, and threw 121 pitches. It wasn't his best outing, but the fact that he's out there at all is a tribute to the Stormin' Mormon.

Brian Wolfe would do well to learn how to take the out that they are trying to give up
Oh Wolfie. You are so pleasantly plump, and your tiny goatee accentuates your auxiliary chins. It's just too bad that you had to walk the first batter you saw (bad), then walk a guy who was squaring around to give himself up to advance the runner (superbad!). And this, after Scott Downs and B.J. Ryan had held down the fort.

Say, what ever happened to Jeremy Accardo?
Apparently, he "remains in a holding pattern on his rehab assignment and there is no timetable for his return." So we'll have to go a while before seeing his splendid mullet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gary Denbo must have been a really awful hitting coach

How else can you explain the Blue Jays sudden offensive explosion in his absence? Maybe he had been preaching a tantric hitting approach that finally paid off big time last night.

(Of course, there is the scary prospect of what Denbo is going to do to the Jays' minor leaguers, now that he's been offered a roaming instructor position with the team.)

The first two innings of last night's 14-1 demolition of the Reds provided a week's worth of highlights, including three homers (THREE HOMERS!), lots of extra base hits, and hitting with runners in scoring position. Not that we're going to break out the party hats and print our playoff tickets at home (for a small fee) straight away, but you've got to hope that this "see ball, hit ball" approach that the new/old regime is preaching is going to result in more big innings like last night.

Alternatively, the Jays could just try to make sure that they face Bronson Arroyo as often as possible. (Hope the singing career is going well for Bronson, because he might need something to fall back on.)

J.P. and Dunn...more hilarity!
It goes on and on and on. It's like watching The Hills, only without the hot/dumb women and Spencer's bizarre flesh-coloured beard. To be honest, we don't even give a rat's ass anymore.

Wednesdays...with J.P.?
What are the chances that the embattled GM hits the airwaves tonight? And if he does, will a minion from Rogers be sitting beside him to taser him should he make any controversial comments?

Gibby's parting words
John Gibbons appeared yesterday on the Fan 590 with Herbal Fat Boy Gord Stellick and the perpetually incredulous Damien Cox. Gibby sounded sanguine about everything that went down, and seems more or less at peace with it all. As excited as everyone is about Cito, we hope people recognize that Gibby acquitted himself pretty well, especially over the past two years. We'll miss him (and that's coming from someone who was demanding his head on a pike on this very blog.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear Adam Dunn

Hey Adam. How it goin'? We're doing okay ourselves.

We just wanted to touch base with you about all of the monkeyshines that were going on last week, what with the GM of the Blue Jays calling you a slacker and a passionless home run hitting strikeout machine who hates baseball. That's gotta sting a bit, so we don't expect you to necessarily warm up to Canada and Toronto right away. Healing takes time, but let's start the process now.

First off, let us make something clear: we don't share J.P.'s opinion of you. We're Adam Dunn fans. We remember sitting a few feet behind you as you were in the on deck circle back in your Louisville RiverBats days, and we thought to ourselves: That is one big mamma jamma. And then we saw you crush a few balls and we thought that you were exactly the sort of dude that we'd love to see playing for the Blue Jays. We've been biding our time for about seven years, waiting for your Reds contract to expire. And now that it's about to, this whole mess happens. It's really got us worried what you must think of us.

We know that you've probably got, oh, say, 29 other cities where you would rather play than Toronto. And we get that you weren't exactly thrilled to hear what J.P. had to say about you. But let us say that we thought you handled it with aplomb. That "loonies and twonies" line was flat-out comedy gold. That sort of quick wit plays really well in Canada. Canadians would love you.

Sorry...are we coming on to strong? Because we can be intensely laid back, too. Not unlike yourself! You see! Canada is the one country that can truly appreciate you!

(Mind you, it wouldn't hurt if you were to consider changing your name to "Dougie" or "Gordie", because Canadians tend to relate to those guys instinctively. Not that we want to change you. You're perfect just the way you are.)

By the way, can we just mention how much we like to see home runs? We like them A LOT. The ringtone on our cell is of Jerry Howarth saying "There she goes!" Jerry's the radio play-by-play guy. And you know what? He already likes you. Or I know he would if he got to know you.

Sorry, where were we? Oh yeah, home runs. They're awesome. They're like a hit by pitch, stolen base, sac bunt and sac fly, only all wrapped into one without the bother of giving up any outs or getting thrown out. Just BOOM! Runs on the board! And then they play the Quad City DJs' "Ride the Train" at the SkyDome, which makes it all that much better. ("Come on ride the train! And ride it! Toot toot!" Awesome!) So imagine hitting 40 bombs a year (as you have for the past three years...consistent much!?) for the Blue Jays, and how fun that would be for you and for us.

Are we gushing? Sorry. Sometimes, we get all nervous.

Anyways, we just hope that you're able to enjoy your time in Canada, and that maybe you can forgive and forget this whole ugly business.

And seriously: get yourself a handful of loonies and twonies, and go pay for stuff with it. You'll feel like a pirate who has grabbed a handful of doubloons from the booty chest and come ashore! Arrrrrrgh matey!

Oh, and one last thing about J.P.: maybe you'll never see eye to eye with him. Sometimes, we don't get him. He's from Boston, you know. So, he's not really our people.

But maybe you can just introduce yourself to Tony LaCava. He seems like a good bloke.

Looking forward to seeing you...just take it easy on our pitchers this series!

Your Best Canadian Friend Forever,

The Tao

P.S. Did you know that Shania Twain is from Canada? And that she's single? Ponder that for a moment. We're just sayin'...

Monday, June 23, 2008

The sharp tongue of the Law

This week's Drunk Jays Fans podcast was another knee slapper, even if it wasn't downloadable on iTunes for the second week in a row. (And yes, we know there are workarounds to get the damn mp3 on our iPod, but it's immensely more satisfying for us to pout and complain about sitting in front of our computer to listen.)

This week's guest was's Keith Law, who indulged in a bit of schadenfreude at the shite state of affairs in which his former boss J.P. Ricciardi finds himself. Law is very funny, and to be perfectly honest, we could see ourselves letting loose on some of our former employers given half the chance.

Clearly, these guys aren't BFF's. But before we pile on J.P., it bears noting that the very public sniping between he and Law began when the latter published a report on the four-letter's site stating that "Vernon Wells has told Blue Jays' management that he has no intention of signing a contract extension to stay in Toronto."

Vernon repudiated the statement immediately, and J.P. quipped that "He’s become a writer. It doesn’t take long. Keith Law is officially an idiot.” (The whole sordid tale can be found here and here.)

(CLARIFICATION: This tomfoolery happened in 2006...lest anyone think that this sniping was a recent thing.)

Just because Vernon reupped in Toronto, it doesn't necessarily mean that there was absolutely no validity to Law's story. Maybe one morning, after rolling up the rim and coming up empty once again, he exclaimed to any one of KLaw's possible sources in the Jays' front offices that he was done in Toronto. coulda happened that way.

Whatever the case, Keith Law goofed on this one and J.P. goofed on Ricky Romero, so we guess that makes it all even, right?

Ultimately, Law was a junior employee who disagreed with his superior, which probably happens about a billion times a day. It's just that not everyone has the bully pulpit of the Worldwide Leader to dump on their former boss.

And since we're dumping on sacred monsters...
Commenter Silvestre had an interesting take on Mike Wilner's last words about Ernie Whitt, which we think bears mentioning here:

"Funny that in mentioning he will not discuss Whitt anymore, Wilner induces a flurry of posts bashing Whitt, and links to the story. So now everyone knows what an asshole Whitt is without needing to divulge any details - mission accomplished.

Similar to the Toth incident a couple of weeks back where Wilner mentioned he would never attack a fellow broadcaster like Toth did and then let the posters pile on the slamming and ad hominem attacks. I generally like Wilner, but he is a sly one."

Whitt's end

Ernie Whitt's a lovable guy, and a key figure in Toronto's baseball history. But his rant to Sun Media's Bob Elliot shows that he's more than a bit out of touch with reality. Whitt took the opportunity in the interview to throw the rest of the coaching staff under the bus, noting that maybe the manager or bench coach or hitting coach deserved to get canned, but that he certainly bore no blame for the team's poor performance.

Whitt refers to himself in the article as "the best manager Toronto has never hired". Oh really? Based on what?

Whitt has managed a handful of games for Canada's national team, but filling out the lineups for a few weeks here and there is a far cry from taking the helm of a team for a full season. Whitt used his reputation as a well-loved Blue Jays icon to jump the queue, propelling himself from a wandering coach position to the major league staff without having managed anywhere in the minor leagues. If Whitt had taken the slow and steady path to the Majors, he might not find himself at home without options today.

Whatever you want to say about Gibby, or even Carlos Tosca, both of them established themselves as minor league managers, and will have options open to them for years to come because of that experience. In fact, Tosca finds himself at the right hand of Florida's Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins' bench coach...a role that we can see Gibbons taking within the next 12 months.

We get that it sucks to get fired, and we don't doubt that Whitt might have been a bit more careful in his choice of words given a few days to come to grips with this. But he would do well to stop complaining and pointing fingers and to start looking for a position in someone's system where he can develop and show the world his stupendously awesome managing skill.

UPDATE: Supplementary Whitt-icisms
As noted in the comments, Mike Wilner mentions Whitt's not-so-friendly demeanor in his latest blog post. Wilner states that he's not going to discuss Whitt any further given his reaction to comments made by Wilner when callers brought up the bizzarro notion of that Ernie should be the team's GM. (An idea that we ridiculed ourselves.)

Well, that was one hell of a week, wouldn't you say?

So much happened last week that at a certain point, we started to feel like we couldn't keep up.

The losing streak.

The J.P. Meltdown.

The Dunn response.

The Prince Fielder inside-the-parker.

The extension of Aaron Hill's cranium injury time off.

Gibby fired. Cito (and the cast of Cocoon) hired.

No really, Cito's back.

Halladay takes a line drive off the mellon (and in true Doc fashion, still gets the out.)

Marcum goes on the DL, and goes to visit Dr. James Andrews...but no need to worry!

Adam Lind gets called up, having damaged AAA pitching as much as anyone could.

Oh, and the Blue Jays win a game.

Truly, a momentous week.

So, what now?
The odd thing about the next few weeks is that everyone is going to take their particular grievance or worry, and project it onto the team's performance. If the Jays score a few runs (as they finally did in yesterday's 8-5 win over the Bucs), then it will clearly be the repudiation of the strategy of patience preached by Gary Dembo. Or it will be Cito's guidance and his strategy of being more aggressive at the plate. Or Cito gave them all a good pep talk and then they came out and played with heart because Cito made them care.

Or, if they continue to get their asses handed to them, then the Jays will be a failure because of J.P. Ricciardi, and he should clearly be the next to go.

(These are the things that we've already heard, and we're sure that there's more from where that come from.)

Anyways, our point is that you can believe whatever you want to over the next few weeks. We're going to sit back and let all of the madness soak in a bit. When you try to impose meaning on events before you've even had time to process them or put them in their proper context, you end up just using them to confirm your own particular prejudices.

Then again, if it weren't for snap judgments and unsound reasoning, we doubt we'd have anything to blog about.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Making Sense of the Senseless

It's hard to even enumerate all of the emotions that we've gone through over the past 24 hours.

Incredulous. Shocked. Dumbfounded. Dreadful. Sad. Angry.

It wasn't so much that we weren't expecting John Gibbons to get the can tied to him sometime soon. In fact, we had a pretty strong suspicion that, barring some magnificent onslaught this weekend, Gibby wasn't going to make it back to Toronto as the team's manager.

Not that we'd put this year's failings on Gibby. The manager's primary responsibility is to manager his pitching staff, and Gibbons has done that pretty admirably all season long. The pitching and defense haven't really failed Gibbons this season. To twist the cliché around, the issue is the offense, stupid.

And to be completely fair to Gibbons his job as manager is to look at the 14 names he has on his lineup card and pick the best nine in the best order that he can. We railed about his lineup madenss last year, but this year, Gibbons was faced with a team that is filled with decent number five, six and seven hitters, but no real three or four hitters. Scott Rolen, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay...none of those players have delivered in those keystone slots in the lienup, but Gibbons has had little choice but to continue running them out there.

What the Jays had in terms of player personnel was not what they thought they had in the nascent stages of the season. There was a firm belief that the 2007 season was an all-around aberration, and that everything would return to normal this year. It was an article of faith that Wells would return to form after his injury, and that Overbay would be fine; at the same time, there was the assumption that Rios would continue to build on last year's fine results.

And yet, here we are in the middle of this mess, with an offense that literally has us looking with envy at the lineups of the Royals, Pirates and Orioles.

We've said it before, but it bears repeating. Very little of this is Gibby's fault, and to fire him for the failures of this team is unfair. Yet, the manager and coaching staff are invariably the first to fall when a team's front office begins to recognize that their plans have gone completely askew.

This clearly has been the worst week of J.P. Ricciardi's tenure as GM. Gibby was his guy, as were the other members of the coaching staff (with the exception of Ernie Whitt, a fact which is doubly ironic now). Gibbons apparently told Walt Jocketty (his former compadre in Oakland) that he lost his head with the caller on JaysTalk the other night because he was under stress from the knowledge that this cull of the coaching ranks was to come.

And perhaps most emasculating for the GM is this latest hiring, one that is hard to imagine came from him. The move to bring in Cito Gaston as the manager of the Jays is clearly not a baseball decision, and if Ricciardi suggested it (as Paul Godfrey told the press he did), then it is a last desperate act of someone who has seen the light at the end of the tunnel only to realize that it isn't daylight, but rather a hurtling locomotive.

Don't get us wrong: we've been pulling for Cito to get a managerial position for years. But this move nostalgic at best, and given a clear-eyed observation, it reeks of a shameful sort of cynicism. It seems like little more than pandering to the most casual baseball fans who want to return to the salad days of the franchise, but who take that desire far too literally.

(If Rogers really wants to see the team return to the good old days, then here's a shocking idea on which they won't ever follow up: have the highest payroll in the league. Seriously. Outspend the Yankees and Tigers and Mets and Red Sox. Because THAT is the reality of those monster WAMCO lineups that Cito could draw up in the days of yore.)

We'd be thrilled if we were wrong about this, but this move seems to us to signal the end of this season, and moreover, the end of this era of the Blue Jays. The idea that the team turns it around, or that J.P. is able to rebound and keep his position seems remote. The seven-year process of rebuilding has come up short thus far, and the dwindling numbers of fans at the SkyDome this season would indicate a fatigue amongst the fickle sports fans in Toronto.

But the saddest thing of all for us it that for the next three months, we have to sit at the bedside of the 2008 team, and hope against hope for signs of life.

It's an awful thing to be writing the post-mortem for your team's season in June.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Holy shit!? Cito?!

You know what will be the worst part about the Jays bringing back their former manager from the the franchise's halcyon days?

The sense of empowerment that it will give to all of the insane retreads who called JaysTalk over the past five years to ask why they didn't just rehire Gaston. Next up: calls for J.P.'s dismissal in favour of Pat Gillick.

We've got much more to come on this, but let us reiterate one thing: Holy. Shit. This. Freaks. Us. Out.

J.P. sings Brenda Lee

We're sure that J.P. Ricciardi knew almost as soon as he let fly with the litany of criticisms of Adam Dunn to a petulant JaysTalk caller on Wednesday that he had stepped in it. Still, the Jays GM would have been well-served to take the high road and accept the criticism that the team isn't doing enough to get better rather than opening up as much of their internal decision-making processes as he did.

It's hard to say what J.P.'s apology will mean to the Reds' slugger, although for those of us who had been salivating at the prospect of having him as a big power threat in the middle of the team's anemic lineup shouldn't get our hopes up.

Buried Lede Department
Free commuter rag columnist Marty York really hid the most important part of the story in his rush to bury J.P. and insinuate that his "sources" say the end is nigh for the GM. You have to get all the way to the bottom of that piece (essentially a cut and paste of the transcript of the infamous call which appeared in dozens of blogs yesterday) before you get to the good news: "...I’ll also stop writing MLB Reports for a while." Hooray! Finally, something for baseball fans in Toronto to celebrate!

Enjoy the CFL season, Yorkie...and don't hurry back!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Five random yahoos who would lead the Jays in homers AND RsBI

Cowboy up, indeed.

The infinite sadness

Four losses in a row. Three games below .500. Six series losses in a row. Last place in the AL East.

However you slice it, these are the worst of times for the Toronto Blue Jays.

We're not sure if there was anything emblematic about last night's game. It was just another loss in a series of losses that leave you thinking that this team just isn't good enough, and that the pieces that we thought we had here aren't what we might have thought.

(By the way, does anybody remember a time about 14 months ago when people would make the statement "Oh don't worry...the Blue Jays are going to score plenty of runs." Yeah. Those were good times.)

Denial, Grief, Anger, Acceptance - All in one episode of Wednesday's with J.P.
It shouldn't surprise that the callers came with knives out last night on the weekly call-in segment with the General Manager after the game. Ricciardi alternated between reassuring the fans that he's a frustrated as they are and flagellating himself over the ballclub's poor performance.

But what was stunning last night was hearing J.P.'s comments about Adam Dunn when a caller suggested that there was something wrong with the Jays' brain trust if they didn't already have him locked up.

"What do you know about Adam Dunn?" J.P. shot back at the caller. "Do you know that he doesn't like baseball?"

We won't reprint the whole exchange (go listen for's towards the end of the episode), but for anyone (admittedly, like us) who had visions of big number 44 hitting cleanup for Toronto, J.P.'s incredibly frank assessment of the Reds' slugger should pretty much put those notions to rest. We've never heard J.P. (or any other GM) speak this frankly about a player, although we're sure that if he had a do-over, he might not have let his frustration with the petulant tone of the caller get the better of him.

Our question now though is: If not Dunn, then who? Big Sexy Richie Sexson?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The Jays ain't got no alibi. That was ugly. Ugly ugly ugly.

There's nothing quite so demoralizing as seeing Craig Counsell (Craig Counsell!!!) hit a home run. Or seeing perpetual washout and strikeout master Russ Branyan knock one into orbit. Or to watch Ryan Braun knock the Jays pitchers around the park like they are tossing BP. (And speaking of BP...doesn't it look like the Jays could use a little extra, what with their measly four singles?)

Or seeing Benny the Bernie Brewer repeatedly slide down his slide into...wait, what happened to the beer he used to slide into? Not family-friendly enough? The team does recognize the fact that they are called "the Brewers", right?

We're doing our best to look on the bright side, and to not become another of the nattering nabobs of negativity burying this team. But after another washout like last night, we're wondering if this team is ever going to get it going.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gibby isn't Willie

In spite of the fact that both of their teams are a game below .500, those who are clamoring for John Gibbons' dismissal shouldn't take the midnight execution of the Mets' bench boss Willie Randolph as a sign that Gibby should be going next.

Let's remember that the Mets were absolutely built to win NOW. They have brought in big names (Pedro, Beltran, Delgado, Wagner, Santana) and built from within (Wright, Reyes, Pelfrey), and this was supposed to be a powerhouse. They have the third largest payroll at more than $138 million, which is actually more than the Red Sox are spending. They were also number three in payroll last year when the team went into the crapper in the final month of the season.

It's hard for us to say what Randolph's role was in the decline of the Flushing Nine. Certainly, some of those big acquisitions have underperformed in recent years (looking your way, Carlos), and it's hard to stick that on Randolph.

But one distinction we would make between Gibby and Willie is the manner in which the folksy, taciturn Texan has learned to deal with the media. Sure, Toronto isn't New York, but with three national sports networks, lots of talk radio and four dailies following the team around, Gibby's job in handling the media is no walk in the park.

Unlike Randolph, Gibbons has learned to give polite and usually honest answers without throwing his players under the bus or escalating the situation when things are going poorly. We tend not to give the man any credit because we're all a bunch of self-satisfied arrogant Canadians who figure than anyone with a Southern drawl must be a hick and a dope. But Gibby's learned from his run-ins with players in the past, and knows that giving the press an "aw shucks" bon mot will usually get them off his back and diffuse the situation.

It's not to say that we think that Gibby's got a ton of rope: both he and J.P. are meat if the seats in the SkyDome don't start to fill up soon, because the Rogers folks are focussed on the bottom line of the time above most everything else.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Weekend in Review: Tempests, Teapots, and Gaping Power Holes

Well that was a crappy end to a crappy homestand, now wasn't it? Accepting that the Cubs are the best team in MLB (record-wise, anyway), maybe we shouldn't be a disheartened as we are by the Jays' losing two of three.

This homestand had set itself up for the Toronto Nine to make some hay against the lower lights (Baltimore and Seattle), but instead they limp away going 3-6, dropping below .500 and falling six games back of the Wild Card. Blerg.

Let's All Read Too Much Into A.J. Burnett's Off-Handed Comment!
This one was all a bit much. The Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer takes a throwaway line from A.J. Burnett about how he likes Chicago and the Cubs, and turns it into a full-blown controversy. A.J.'s comments seemed polite to us, but Wittenmyer's take ("A.J. Burnett liked the idea of a trade to the Cubs so much he might as well have said, 'Please.''') was way over the top. This resulted in a full cycle of retractions, clarifications, restatements, rebuttals, tea-leave reading and sound and fury, all of which signifies exactly nothing in the end. What fun.

Jeff Blair Is Always Right
Blair's been on a roll as of late, what with his Friday afternoon dismantling of Mike Toth on the Prime Time Sports roundtable ("I have one question: Were you smoking crack when you wrote that article?"), and his associated evisceration of gasbag Gary Carter. Blair's also hit it pretty much squarely on the head when assessing the Jays' need for a legitimate cleanup hitter.

There's no scary hitter in the team's lineup as it is currently comprised, and while we're not sure that they have enough to give in order to make a deal for an Adam Dunn, Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, the team's offensive woes are going to continue until they can find that legitimate 35 homer, 120 RsBI guy around which they can build their lineup. (And neither Vernon Wells nor Scott Rolen is that guy. Sorry.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mike Toth: Media Critic

Before anyone takes Mike Toth too seriously when he starts to act as a media critic, burying vastly superior broadcasters on the air, let us take a moment, and remember the time when Mr. Fun Stuff said the following on the air in the middle of a highlight package:

"Antero Nittymaki, smoking that wacky tabacky..."

Yeah, he said that. So clearly he has the moral high ground.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blue Jays teach school kids the meaning of "misery"

Also: "disappointment", "ineptitude" and "impotence". (Stash that last one away for a couple of decades kiddies.)

B.J. Ryan continued to hand out free trips to first base like he was Jonathan Carroll from (Call 1-866-WOW-DEAL! And get away for less!), walking Ichiro (oops) and Miguel Frickin' Cairo (double oops) in the ninth. And while it sounded as though he was being squeezed, maybe the Beej should have put on his big boy pants and stopped nibbling around the corners, looking for calls.

(Yeah, you read that right. We're down on the Beej now. Dude needs to stop arguing with umpires and start getting outs. And soon.)

Of course, all of that ninth inning drama could have been avoided if the Jays had only picked up a run in the sixth when (stop us if you've heard this one before) they left runners on the corners with one out.

One good thing about today's game: Jamie Campbell wasn't broadcasting it, so he didn't get to go apeshit crazy on the air when the Mariners went ahead in the ninth. (Although he probably did so at home in stately Ginger Manor, with all of his Richie Zisk cards displayed in front of him.)

Ladies and Gentlemen - Your 2008 Toronto Blue Jays: Crushing your spirit, shredding the crushed remains, then lighting the whole shredded heap into blazing inferno. Rinse. Repeat.

Kevin Elster's brother has had enough

The genius behind the strategy of packing the Rogers Centre with Red Sox and Tigers fans has decided to take his show on the road, having had enough of Toronto and its general apathy towards baseball.

Jeff Blair reports that Patrick Elster, who has suffered through a life lived as the brother of Kevin Elster, decided to move on from the Jays as early as last December. This may explain his "fuck it, I'm outta here anyways" approach to selling tickets this year, which has resulted in a net drop of about 40,000 fans over the first 30 home dates.

Not that you can attribute all of this decline to Elster. The Jays have yet to have a really compelling opponent (i.e. Boston or the Yanks) come to town for a weekend series since the notorious opening weekend. It will be interesting to see if this weekend's matchup against the Cubs attracts many fans from across the Midwest, although given higher gas prices and the pain in the ass of getting back and forth across the border these days, the Jays won't be able to count on the visitors' fans packing the Dome.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Blue Jays will make your dumb off season signings look sorta good

Not to be a downer about tonight's 3-1 win over the Mariners, but didn't the Jays make Carlos Silva look like a legitimate Major League starting pitcher, instead of the overpriced tomato can that he is? Maybe his fellow struggling southpaws Dontrelle Willis and Barry Zito could use a start against the Toronto Nine to get themselves righted.

Sure, the Jays won, but it was mostly on the back of a stellar pitching performance from Dusty (Return of the Lambchops) McGowan, who went the distance.

Odds and Sods

Gregg Zaun's hospital gown provided by Gregg Zaun: Blairsy reports that Zaunie (cripes...this isn't a Canadian blog or nothin', eh?) will not come off the DL as soon as initially thought, providing Rod Barajas with more time to steal his job.

Jon Hale will answer your queries forthwith: Good job by the Mockingbird's "stat dude" for getting on the case to answer Blair's questions about the favourable calls that Halladay might have received on Sunday. It's a tribute to Hale's intellectual honesty that he doesn't make too many homer excuses for why Halladay gets the calls he does. (Also, we like that he's lost track of the Aaron Rowand bacon meter, as a stellar May by the Giants centerfielder has us fever-dreaming about nitrates.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thoughts from a lonely hotel bar

We're having this Heartattack and Vine sort of evening, drinking in a hotel bar that's not nearly as cool as it thinks...but the pints of Mill Street and the view down the bartnedress' blouse have lifted our spirits. Vaguely.

Not to get overly personal here, but the last three weeks have us run down and in dire need of a bit of joy.

So thank god for our new hero Rod Barajas, who has been a bit of a revelation since Zaunie went down. Besides the pair of doubles and twice advancing on sac flies to score the winning run (in spite of the fat that he's a big fat slow man), there was that catch today where Rod the God reached around the backstop netting to snatch a ball out of the lap of a douchebag in the premium seats. (They don't call them "In the Action" for nothin', son.)

It was hard to tell from our vantage point in the 200s, but we're sure we saw Zaun on the top step of the dugout, watching the last vestiges of his short span as a starter comming to an abrupt end.

Other thoughts:

-Okay folks, we get that you want to make Sunday a family outing, but here are a few basic rules that you should follow:

1) The Rogers Centre is not your living room. Make yourself comfy and all, but please don't make us get up and allow you and your demon spawn with the ping-pong ball sized bladder through any more than a dozen times.

2) If you must get up more than a dozen times, then try to do so between innings. Because hearing your impolite "excuse me" and watching Luke Scott's second homer through your pasty white thighs is enough to test the patience of any man.

3) Stick together. Just because there are empty seats one section over doesn't mean that both sections wish to play host to you and your inbred ginger clan as you amble back and forth through the aisles. We came to watch the game, not an impromptu street theatre performance of the Grapes of Wrath.

Aside from that, it's at least a win, and a 1-2-3 ninth from B.J.. Another win from Doc, and a great game from Vernon (perish all of those thoughts of how well the Jays did without him.)

Now, back to the beer and the blouse.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Beej feels shame once again

Three things that absolutely killed us at about 5:04 Eastern time yesterday:

1) Knowing that with Johnny Mac (or even Scutaro) patrolling short, that the game would have been over yesterday with A-Rod's slow bouncer. Maybe Rolen was a distraction, but that was a ball that Major League short stop should get. Sorry Scrappy Doo, but you're back on the shit list.

2) Listening to Jamie Campbell absolutely lose his shit AGAIN when the other team wins in a walk off against the Jays. Do you think Hawk Harrelson would squeal like a little girl at a Jonas Brothers concert if the Yanks had beaten the White Sox? Sure, there's a balance between being a nauseating homer and an absolute objective observer, but Campbell should recognize the fact that he's conveying the games events to a few hundred thousand BLUE JAYS FANS, who aren't going to get all sopping wet about the Yankees magic and mystique, blah blah blah. It's like he felt he had to shout over top of Michael Kay in the press box.

3) Of all the Yankees to do it, why did it have to be that wretched douchebag Giambi?

As per usual, Jon Hale at the Mockingbird sums up that last pitch about as well as anyone could. It was a mistake pitch, although we wonder if the Jays shouldn't be backing off on Beej (and Jesse Carlson for that matter) just a bit. We're not sure what the speed was on that meatball, but it seemed to float in there at a snail's pace.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Afternoon Delights

Unfortunately, we're not able to listen to the radio broadcast of this afternoon's game, but we have our workstation's RAM revved up to the limit tracking the Jays-Yanks (up 7-6 in the 7th) and the draft.

Milwaukee ruined the Jays fun by picking Canadian Brett Lawrie, presumably because the Canadian-heavy front office in brew city wants to stick it to J.P. and the Jays. (We're actually making that up, but it would be fun if the finagglings amonst MLB GMs were like an episode of The Hills.)

So here's the Jays pick. (Drum roll!)...David Cooper, a lefthanded hitting first basemen from the University of California (via Cal State Fullerton). Steve Lyons, who doesn't know enough about baseball to keep a job as GM but knows just enough to fill the airwaves on ESPN 2, says that Cooper will hit about 25 homers and hit .300. If he's right, then he should be about on par with Lyle Overbay, meaning that we'll have another decade of JaysTalk callers complaining that the first baseman isn't enough of a power threat. Fun.

Jesse Litsch is not invincible

Alright, so after hyping our pink, round and efficient marvel hither and yon yesterday, Jesse Litsch gets hit around like a number five pitcher in last night's 5-1 loss to the Yanks. We fully expect to eat crow all day.

More galling still, Worst Person in the World Mike Mussina pitched well as the Jays flailed and waved at his magically evil knuckle curve. (And not that we want to start rumours out of thin air, but...BALL SCUFFER!)

Hey man, a loss is a loss. Even the good teams have got to drop 65-70 games per year. Still, we get a little uneasy when the Jays once again stop hitting with runners in scoring position.

Hey look: afternoon game!
Dustin McGowan versus the Wang at 1:05. Abdicate your work responsibilities and listen in to Jerry and Alan all afternoon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shamed by our potty mouth

Wouldn't you know that the moment that we post something that's full of expleted deleteds, we'd have Yahoo's Big League Stew, Baseball Musings and Rob Neyer link to it. Our momma's gonna let us have it, but good.

Somewhere, Buzz Bissinger just slipped that post into a brown file folder for his next TV appearances decrying the damn pamphleteers.

Of course, it's true that we've allowed ourselves to get caught up in our shameless aping of the Drunk Jays Fan to such an extent that we can't even write a post without profanity anymore, gosh darnit.

Tonight's matchup is, delightful!
Just for the sake of perfect symmetry, tonight our hero and undisputed Cy Young front runner Jesse Litsch goes up against the last man added to the ToS Enemies List, Mike Mussina.

Are we learning to love Scrappy Doo?

A funny and disturbing thing has been happening to us lately. We're going a bit soft on David Eckstein. Maybe it's the fact that John McDonald is hurt and therefore the scrappy gritty full-of-heart gamer isn't stealing playing time that we think rightfully belongs to the defensive whiz. But god help us, Ecks is growing on us. It almost feels like he's a Blue Jay at this point.

Mind you, we're not a big fan of him launching throws way wide of first as he did on Sunday versus the Angels, but now that Little X is hitting lower in the order and we don't have to think of him as the "prototypical lead off hitter" as some small ball proponents were suggesting earlier in the year, we can appreciate his ability to put the bat on the ball and extend at bats long enough to get a good pitch to hit just over the infielders' heads.

Speaking of small ball...
Against our better judgment, we're also big Brad Wilkerson fans in this corner. But watching him get thrown out at third last night just before Scrappy Doo dropped single into right sent us into a blind rage. We don't care how good a jump he got, Tabby and just don't need to take third on that play.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Snap judgements

Your new starting catcher?
Rod Barajas, who slid like a motherfucker into that random Molina's shin guards to put the Jays up in the fourth and drove in a pair to bust it open in the seventh, now has five homers and 19 RsBI. Meanwhile while Gregg Zaun has two and eight respectively in about 30 more ABs. (Oh, and Zaunie likes breakfast, which we won't hold against him in this matter.) We hate to make too hasty a judgment, because we're invariably wrong on these things, but you're gonna have a hard time jamming the Sportsnet Playoff Anchor Whose Teeth Shall Go Unseen back into the lineup when he comes back.

Hey, you know what the Yankees could use?
Another sleeve patch. No, really. Let's add another commemoration of the end of this version of Yankee Stadium (vintage, 1976). It's the House that Graig Nettles Built, so we guess we should all genuflect and show it the respect that it deserves, right? How about some Chris Chambliss patches on the ass of every player? How about a patch sewn into the skull of every Yankee to honour the truly awful and stupidly expensive boiled hot dogs at the Bronx House of Botulism?

Can everybody just shut up about Joba already?
Fat ugly toad Joba Chamberlain lasted just over two innings. There's your god damned saviour, Yankee fans. And while we're at it, Joba (born 9/23/85) has done pretty much fuck all as a major league starter aside from having some overhyped "rules" named after him, while Jesse Litsch (born 3/9/85) is 7-1 this year with a 3.18 ERA (and 14-10 with a 3.58 over his first two years.) Not that we think it is an injustice necessarily, or that things won't play out differently in the end...but it does make us want to smack Michael Kay in the face with a Rideau Crusher every time we hear about how great Joe-Bah is.

Instead of apologizing for nebulous reasons, Jason Giambi should apologize for that really stupid mustache.
That's really stupid mustache. We bet he goes to all the hipster bars in New York, orders up bottle service for all his hangers-on, and then points at his supposedly ironic lip hair exclaiming "Hey man! Check out my mustache!" He should really stop trying so hard to be cool, because we all know that he's just a scared little jock douchebag who wants the world to love him again, even though he's a fraud and a sellout. Trying that hard only reinforces it.

We got nothin'

Holy shit. We've been staring at this screen for, like, a decade, and we've come to realize that we have absolutely nothing to say. Seriously. Nothin'.

Maybe it's just that we haven't watched a full game in almost two weeks (life itself having impeded our baseball privileges), or maybe it's that there's not nearly as much to bitch and moan about since the Jays finally pulled it together in the month of May.

It might even be that we are insanely jealous that the Drunk Jays Fans interviewed our not-so-secret mancrush Stephen Brunt on their latest podcast. (We're assuming that the invitation for a return engagement for yours truly must have been lost in our spam filter.)

Hey man, we're sorry. We've just gotten fat, lazy and disengaged. It's as if David Shoalts is writing the blog posts here. It's gotten so bad that we can barely muster the energy to shit on the Yankees in anticipation of the series, which starts tonight.

Sorry we suck. We're gonna get back into fighting shape this week, we swear.

In the meantime, we're just going to work the word "smegma" into as many posts as possible in lieu of saying anything witty or insightful.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pay no attention to that spirit-crushing loss

Let's just focus on the fact that Rod Barajas is awesome. (Or at least: awesome lately.) Not only can he hit like Johnny Bench right now, but he'll also drill Reggie Willits in the back for an out, or even block the plate when necessary. (Eat that shit, Phillies fans.)

The fragility of future plans
Travis Snider got drilled in his (thankfully) helmeted melon yesterday with a foul ball while standing in the on deck circle. While he seems as though he'll be fine, the Rotoworld fellas quite rightly mention Juan Encarnacion, whose career is done after a similar incident. So say a little prayer of thanks.