Sunday, May 20, 2012
I was a bit nostalgic this afternoon watching the second half of Toronto's 6-5 loss to the visiting New York Mets. My viewing of the first half of the game was pre-empted by some much-needed yard work, which is as much a May Long Weekend tradition as sitting on my ass watching baseball.
I finished up in the backyard, craving a cold drink and a place to put my feet up, and I remembered fondly my days as a youth, when I would spend more than a few afternoons like this one on the back patio of the house where I grew up, watching Blue Jays games with my dad. He wasn't a hardcore baseball fan, but he was certainly television-addicted, and he was good with electronics to boot. I don't know of another house on our block that illegally split a cable TV feed into as many locations as ours, including a permanent jack on our back deck. A little portable colour TV set would be set up in a spot shady enough to restrict the glare and create an outdoor viewing experience that, while imperfect, was still better than being inside. I watched a lot of great sports, including some great baseball players, on that back deck.
I don't think I could convince The Org Wife to let me begin drilling holes through our walls and feeding coaxial cable through the drywall. But as both the mercury and Henderson Alvarez's ERA steadily rise this summer, the thought has certainly crossed my mind.
About that Alvarez stuff: it's been covered to death elsewhere, by people who have a stronger grip on the stats involved than me, but the last two starts for Alvarez, including today's, are looking very much like a manifestation of the much-dreaded regression that was just bound to happen sooner or later. In fact, The Alvarez Regression has seemed like such an inevitability for so long that very few people seem all that surprised -- as if nobody really believed he was as good as his results were making him out to be, even if they couldn't put their finger on why. It's a really good thing thing this team's fan base isn't prone to overreaction or anything, and they'll continue to give Alvarez the benefit of the doubt as more of those ground balls find holes.
Besides, it's not like fans don't have better things to worry about. Like, say, the fact that the much-ballyhooed yet laconic centerfielder acquired in a big trade at last season's deadline is a bit of an offensive black hole at the moment. With Adam Lind now optioned (outrighted? waived? It's something like that. Anyway, we don't have him to kick around anymore) to Las Vegas, I imagine by about the second game of the upcoming series against the Rays, the calls will be loud and lusty to give Colby Rasmus the same treatment, albeit with little consideration given to whether there's a player on the roster capable of manning center in his absence. Oh, sure, if you have to, you can run Rajai Davis out there, and he's at least getting on base at right around his career average, and hitting with a bit more pop in limited time this season, and... wait. Scratch all that. I don't want to give anyone any ideas. I don't think we have to worry about Rasmus. Yet. But maybe soon. (Excuse me while I anxiously look at Anthony Gose's K rate.)
A guy we don't have to worry about is Jose Bautista, not that I'm telling you something you didn't know. He came through on my prediction of three more home runs this week, although his OPS hasn't yet cracked the .800 mark. But it's going in the right direction, and with a thumping Bautista in the mix, this team can boast some pretty strong offensive depth. I'll quit while I'm ahead on the prediction front, and simply take solace in the fact that the Jays have won four of their last five games, with mixed pitching (a dominant Brandon Morrow, as opposed to more ordinary outings from Alvarez and Ricky Romero) and some contributions all over the lineup.