Before we start picking through the minutiae, indulge for this moment: Good gravy it was lovely to see baseball this weekend. Sure, we can spend six months musing on hypotheticals and theory, but there's nothing quite like real games that matter.
(And make no mistake: There are 159 games left, but the margin for error for an American League East team is so small that the "meaningful" games start early on in the season.)
With that said, here are a few thoughts on the weekend.
The Crowds, For Better, For Worse: Mostly, we should be saluting the strong crowds throughout the weekend. Bringing in more than 110,000 spectators for the first three games shows that there is a renewed interest in the team amongst some of the more casual fans. So bully for us.
Now, about the bad shit: When you pack the house on a Friday-Night-Opening-Night, you're certain to attract a some number of hooligans and ne'er-do-wells, as has happened before. Friday night's game was not nearly the complete shit show that the 2008 opener devolved into, with just one (apparently highly-entertaining) girl fight breaking out. Still, the Jays' in-game promotion department should probably settle on the fact that they can't just hand potential projectiles to the Opening Day crowd.
No one was in any particular danger - which only facilitates the thought process for the idiot goons who get their kicks out of throwing shit on the field - but the delays are a pain in the ass, and senseless.
Final thought on the crowds: Blue Jays crowds tend not to be terribly raucous, and that's okay, frankly. Yes, the echoes of silence in the closed Dome can create some uneasiness. But that's just who we are. And if it bothers you enough, then let yourself become the SuperFan that you wish for. (But try to be more interesting than the guys who scream: "You suck!" all game long.)
It's really just a shame that with the extraordinary upside that this team has, the crowds have chosen to reserve their most vocal moments for booing one of their own players. Which brings us to...
Good Edwin, Bad Edwin: Make three errors in two games, and suddenly every thinks you're a terrible player.
(Okay, maybe not so suddenly.)
Yes, we're a bit of an apologist for Edwin Encarnacion, so take this for what you will: We actually liked his game this weekend, especially his newfound speed out of the box. EE twice reached on errors this weekend, but they were errors that he helped to create by getting out of the box and down the line quickly.
As for the errors: The short hop on Friday was a tough play with which he tried to do too much, while the liner on Sunday was another difficult (though makeable) play. But let's not run him out of town like Larry Murphy based on three bad moments. (And by the way: Booing him out of town isn't going to speed the process of getting Brett Lawrie to Toronto. So shut that shit down right here and now.)
Pitching Dopeness, Pitching Wackness: Friday's start by Ricky Romero and Staurday's outing from Kyle Drabek were remarkably fine-tuned performances for the beginning of the season. Both changed speeds and locations well, and kept the Stars-and-Scrubs lineup of the Twins in check for the first two days.
And if it were still the fourth inning on Sunday, we could have roped Bret Cecil into that same group. Except that Cecil began letting the ball sail up in the zone, his tragic flaw.
It seems to us as though there's something askew with Cecil's foot plant, or it could be that when he gets into this trouble, he is too upright and never quite gets his body driving on a downward plane towards home. (Pappy Walton and Pat Hentgen would probably punch us in the face for talking about stuff that we don't really know. But we'll stand by this.)
(And by the way: More interesting, graphically astute analysis of the weekend starts by Drabek and Cecil can be found over at Ghostrunner on First.)
Surprising Mancrushes: Watching two games of Mike McCoy in centre for an ailing Rajai Davis, we were actually pretty impressed with his ability to field the position. (We sat in the centrefield seats on Saturday, and spent a lot of time observing the outfielders' positioning. And while Kyle Drabek's mastery meant that it wasn't a busy day, we appreciated some of the heads up play that we saw.) McCoy may not get more than 100 ABs this year, but as a guy who can cover off the middle of the diamond defensively, there's some value to him as organizational depth.
The Leader Leads through Leading Leadership: It's hard to criticize José Bautista, especially given the quick start to his season. Still, we watched him this weekend, and he seems to have taken his role as a leader on the team very, very seriously. It seemed as though he never stopped talking to teammates (this chatterbox nature might be why Alex Anthopoulos has bonded with him).
Given that there was plenty of complaining about the lack of active leadership in the clubhouse over the past decade, we're willing to go along with JoBau's chatty routine. As long as everyone is happy to listen, then this is great, we suppose. But it is a fine line between talking TO your teammates and talking AT your teammates.
(Why am I complaining about this?)
Other Stuff, Quickly, with Ellipses: The Saturday and Sunday lineups were not necessarily what we'd have used, but at least Farrell is willing to mix it up a bit...Not that we expected much from Juan Rivera, but even at that, he has been pretty lifeless so far...Loved the path to the ground balls that Snider took on Sunday to throw out one runner and hold the other. Saved two runs, and he looks swift tracking down balls as well...We can make the argument as to why Lind was right to jump on the first pitch (presumed to be a fastball strike, except that it was a breaking ball low) from Joe Nathan with the bases painstakingly loaded in the ninth, but it would probably sound like contrariness for sport.
Up Next: The Athletics. And The Summer of Jo-Jo begins in earnest.