Monday, July 16, 2007

Does Erik Bedard have the homesick blues?

Bugs and Cranks’ Orioles poster Patrick Smith has asked the following question:

“Does Erik Bedard want to pitch in Canada or is he just an asshole?”

This is what we might refer to as a false dichotomy.

Bedard has been notoriously persnickety with the press in Baltimore, giving monotone and monosyllabic responses in post-start scrums. We’ve always attributed this to the fact that Bedard is a francophone, and might not feel 100% comfortable in English when dozens of microphones and camera lights are foited upon him. Moreover, Bedard usually has the local press descend upon him right after he has pitched, and we would imagine that fatigue might have something to do with it.

Smith posits that Bedard wants to pitch in Canada for the Blue Jays (a theory floated by Jamie Campbell earlier this year), and that is contributing to his crankiness. Then he runs completely off the rails:

"But unless Navan, Ontario gets an expansion team, that means Bedard is stuck in Toronto, 300 miles from Erik’s hometown. And while Toronto is a great city, who thinks Bedard would prefer pitching there? Terrible ballpark. Lukewarm fans. High taxes."
As a Canadian, we're sure that Bedard gets the same palpable feeling of relief that we do when he steps back onto Canadian soil, whether if it is in Navan, or Montreal, or Toronto, or Vancouver. You can feel it, and you'll never be able to explain it, because it defies reason. But we'd feel more at home thousands of miles away on our side of the border than we would if we were just the other side.

Whether if Toronto's fans are lukewarm or not, we'd like to point out that there are an extra 1,500 of them per night showing up to that "terrible ballpark" than the number of "hardcore" fans showing up at the faux-traditional Camden Yards. And we'd add that Rogers Centre has been improved immeasurably in the past three years.

Taxes are not nearly the issue that American sportswriters make them out to be, and Canadian sports franchises have worked hard over the past decade to make that point.

We don't actually think that it is a slam-dunk that Bedard ever becomes a Jay. Jays fans love to dream about the Great Canadian Hero who is going to come and sell Blue Jays' baseball to your average xenophobic Joe Hockypuck, even if past history of our native sons has been decidedly mixed (Cory Koskie, anyone?) And if Bedard were ever to play in Toronto, we'd guess that there would still be issues with the media.

We're just at a loss to explain why Orioles fans are crucifying him for not being a better quote when he's leading the league in strikeouts, and is really the only sign of life on their franchise.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I'm just amused at the idea that those with the Orange birds think the Blue bird situation is somehow less attractive to players. Even bringing up the tired and inaccurate taxes/disinterested fans/bad ballpark excuses.