(See what I did there? With the picture? Bits and pieces? Kibbles and bits? A dog's breakfast? Ah, nevermind. I should stop trying to be clever. A Johnny Mac walkoff pic was the no-brainer call here. I'm sorry.)
Folks, as I always strive for in this space, I'm forced to be honest with you. The club leaves me flummoxed and without any sort of epic to produce in post form - all I have are a few scattered thoughts. Think of these as mini-posts, would you? Please and thanks in advance....
John McDonald, ball player and gentleman
Rehashing my own twitter, um, tweet (I guess?)..... I'm not sure which event gave me greater pleasure: Johnny Mac's walkoff blast (sure, let's call it a blast), or his handshake with Sammy Cosentino after the requisite post-game hero interview. Here's a guy who just won the game for the team (and let's not ignore the magnificent defence).... and he basically says "No, Sam, thank you for the time." Unbelievable.
I don't know what it is about Mac & me this season. I seem to be writing about him a lot; more digital ink than a reserve infielder normally garners. Maybe it's me, gettin' all old, longing for a link to the past - no matter how inglorious the years since '93 have been. Maybe it's a new realization and respect for McDonald's skills - contributions that don't show in a gaudy (or even respectable) OPS.
Or maybe it's just that John McDonald gives me no reason to think he's anything but an exemplary human being and defensive wizard, and goddamn if that isn't the kind of player I can get behind.
Brett Cecil has lost his fastball... and his way
Oh boy. Cecil's last start made his demotion to Vegas a foregone conclusion. Not just because of the missing velocity, nor the missing location. The missing composure was the final straw.
And this isn't meant as any sort of "tsk tsk" head shake here, because it's painful to watch a young player go through that so publicly. Despite the protestations that big Cecil can get by (for now) with an 88 mph heater.... when the confidence goes, it goes. I don't think I carry unique worry when I say that the rotation of the 51's isn't the softest of couches from which to regain that confidence, but if you're the Jays, whaddya do? What else do you do?
Hope he finds another tick or two of heat and remembers how to locate his bread & butter slider - away from the unforgiving Sportsnet cameras, I guess.
Pound down, Cec.
Hey Tao, can we talk about Lawrie? Just for a minute?
At the risk of getting run off this blog like Joe West on a heckler, I've been thinking (quietly) about Brett Lawrie and if maaaaybe there's a case to be made that he'd be better off.... in Toronto.
See, here's the thing. He's absolutely raking (admittedly) early on in Vegas. Crushing the ball. Two more home runs the night of this writing with an OPS north of 1.000. Even translated to non-PCL currency, it appears his offensive game is ready. Not finely honed, by any means, but ready for a big-league test.
If the offense isn't the issue, the bad news comes, as expected, with his defensive play. Errors every other game will not play at the major league level, ergo, not ready for prime time. My answer to that? Brian Butterfield.
You see where I'm going with this? Long viewed as the best infield coach in the game, wouldn't taking reps under the watchful eye and guidance of Butter be the best course toward advancing Lawrie's defence? Or would the negative glare of the aforementioned Sportsnet lenses offset the magic of Butterfield?
In any event, as the Curious Case of Jo-Jo Reyes has proven, player controllability weighs heavy in Blue Jay decision making, so it's likely a moot point until the arb deadline passes. But can we promise to at least talk about it again the day it does?