Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A little perspective, if you please

The nice thing about unplugging yourself and getting away for a breather is that it allows you a certain amount of time to reflect and reassess. With the benefit of some time to quietly reflect, you can strip away some of the axiomatic thinking that creeps in and takes over when you are locked into the day to day grind of it all.

We highly recommend it. In fact, we'd especially recommend it to those in the comments sections of this blog and others who have started to freak out at the seeming disparity between the Jays signings and those of other teams, notably the Yankees. Because it's patently ridiculous the way that some are even trying to make some sort of point by comparing the Sabathia-Burnett-Teixeira signings with the Jays' scouring of the fringes to sign a handful of minor league free agents.

"They get C.C.! We get Mike Maroth! Fire J.P.! Fourth place! Gargggrggrghrghr!"

The Yankees, you have to remember, are in full restocking mode. They've lost a number of aging players with big contracts, so they can make all of these signings and maybe more, and still be under last season's payroll number. That's what they are doing now, and they are setting the market for the rest of the league, because they always have. There shouldn't be any cause for alarm.

The Jays' are on minor-league and marginal signings at this point, likely because are waiting (like everyone else) for some more movement in the free agent market amongst the more austere teams. There are lots of big names still on the board, and our guess is that some of them will be left scrambling for dance partners by the time February rolls around.

Besides, the Mike Barrett signing is a greatish one, both for the Jays and for the player. He gets the chance to get out of PetCo Park, and the Jays get a guy who was a Silver Slugger winner as recently as 2005. The signing also provides insurance in the event that Rod Barajas turns into a tubby pumpkin again.

We could definitely see Barrett taking playing time away from Barajas, especially if the latter backslides as he did in the final six weeks of last year.

That's a wrap on 2008
As 2009 lingers alluringly on the horizon, we look forward to turning over the calendar page and taking on another year. Have a great New Year's celebration, and we'll see you on the other side.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Recap (Ack edition)

It's been a while between posts on the ol' blog, what with the Tao taking a well deserved holiday break, and yooouuuurrrrr Toronto Blue Jays not giving us much to chew on.

It hasn't been completely uneventful, I suppose, in that the Jays have locked up Michael Barrett to a lucrative (read: minor league) contract, with the requisite "invite to spring training". Not a bad little signing, in that the Jays now have the low-cost veteran backup they were looking for. I'm already looking forward to the team's first trip to Comiskey Park, and a potential run-in with uber-douche A.J. Pierzynski. Should be fun.

The Ack's outlook - 2009
With time to kill over the holidays and some deep thinking moments of clarity, I've come to a revelation.

Yes, I've seen the light.

Life's too short to piss and moan about the Yankees (and Red Sox) free spending ways and bloated payroll. It is what it is. Besides, it'll all be deemed irrelevant when Sniderman belts 30 HR in his true rookie season, and outfield (DH) running mate Adam Lind adds 65 extra base hits of his own. Right? RIGHT??

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Taoist Wish for the Holidays

We're headed to warmer climes for the holiday season, and will be off the grid for the next week or so. In the meantime, we wish all of you a happy holiday surrounded by friends, family and loved ones.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What's on the menu?

Blue Jay fans will recall the mid-season meltdown where the ever-so-media-savvy A.J. Burnett announced that he would relish (see what I did there?) the chance to pitch in a town where they serve up some baseball for "breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

Ask, and ye shall receive. Welcome to New York, A.J.! It's an acquired taste, but I'm sure you'll get used to your meals prepared by pressure cooker as opposed to the slow roasting method you've become familiar with over the course of the past three seasons. Shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Like the esteemed Tao, I'm trying my best to be indifferent concerning the "A.J.-as-a-Yankee" era. After all, Team Burnett didn't break any rules, were well within their negotiated right to exercise the opt-out clause....and the situation played out pretty much - no, exactly - as we all thought it would, didn't it? So, what gives?

How about this quote, for starters?

"Whether you love them or hate them, everybody wants to be a Yankee."

Terrific. Thanks for the insight, A.J.

But wait - there's more. Remember the alleged conversation with (future Blue Jay) Carl Pavano regarding life as a Yankee? Yeah....that didn't exactly happen during an offseason career soul-searching session. It happened in September, during the Jays last trip to Yankee Stadium:

Down the stretch, Burnett even received a thumbs-up review of New York from a surprising source -- Carl Pavano, the much-maligned Yankees right-hander and a former Marlins teammate.

Standing down the third-base line during the Blue Jays' September visit, Burnett and Pavano dodged batting-practice drives and spoke honestly about what life is like pitching for the Yankees. Pavano's positive review surprised even Burnett.

"He said it's great," Burnett said. "He recommended that I come here and believed that I need to come here to really blossom and start something special. The first thing he told me is that he didn't do it right from the beginning and got off on the wrong foot in New York. But it's a great place to play and a great place to live."

Well, I'm so glad to hear that your commitment to the Jays was unwavering throughout the season, Allan James. Really good to know that you "honestly had no idea" what you were going to do with the opt-out.

So, about that breakfast, lunch, and dinner.....I hope you enjoy them, A.J. Try not to choke on it.

A one-sentence post on...A.J. in pinstripes

We're usually a little more measured about this sort of thing, but goddamnit, when we look at that grinnin' douchebag traipsing about in a Yankees uniform, it just makes us want to hate him in all sorts of ugly ways.

Give us our toque!

Because our friends and family like to enable our unhealthy obsession with the Blue Jays, we've received a Blue Jays gift card this year. (Discounted Frank Thomas bobblehead, here we come!)

We were also excited about receiving the card, since Vernon Wells has popped up on our screen a few dozen times this week, telling us of how we can receive a FREE supercool retro Jays toque when we register our gift card. (And hearing a Texan say "toque" is really worth the price of admission.)

But for the past four days, as we've gone to register our gift card as directed at, the system has crapped out on us, thus denying us our toasty headgear and ensuring a miserable winter of head colds and possible pneumonia.

We're not sure what the issue is, but if the Jays want to make sure that we remain healthy and happy through this long offseason bereft of hope and cheer, they can frickin' well get their act together and sort out their computer glitches. Because receiving our free toque in July isn't going to be that helpful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tao's Links in Bulk

(Oh Sour are our kryptonite.)

Tim Johnson Rides Again
The disgraced former Jays manager has caught on with the Tuscon Toros of the Golden League. (Or so he claims.) For some reason, the independent league team decided to literally parade Johnson through town on a horse.

(And good does Tim Johnson's 88-win season look now?)

Ernie Whitt for Manager! (Of Clearwater!)
The Phillies named Ernie Whitt manager of their Single-A affiliate in Clearwater. The Drunks mocked. Anonymous commenters went apeshit. Hilarity ensued.

Speaking of Anonymous Whingeing
In an article titled "All I Want for Christmas...for the Sports Fan" and credited to "Sun Media", some anonymous and angry copy desk jockey takes two gratuitous swipes at J.P., but refrains from telling Parkes to fuck off. (Not that there's anything wrong with anonymity, right?)

Cathal Kelly: Friend of P, Not of A.J.
It's a few days old now, but Cathal Kelly's takedown of A.J. in last weekend's Star is a dilly of a mythbuster on the enigmatic hurler. The Ghosties quite rightly noted that this is the sort of piece that we would like to see written when the malingerer is still in town, but never will.

Putting A.J.'s Departure in Perspective
Jon Hale talks Jays fans off the ledge at the Mockingbird.

Reed Johnson: Still Super-Awesome
Or so says, as they use the signing of the diminutive outfielder with the effeminate gait by the Cubbies last March as a shining example of the sort of remainder bin shopping that many teams (like the Jays!) will have to do this spring.

Our Saviour: Rick Ankiel
The Southpaw makes the modest (and somewhat reasonable) proposal that the Jays trade closer B.J. Ryan to the Cardinals for Rick Ankiel. If nothing else, the trade would exponentially increase the likelihood of Will Leitch sightings at Blue Jays games.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabrera panic!!!!!

When we saw a headline this morning that screamed out "Cabrera drawing interest from Jays", we crapped our pants.

Thankfully, we came to the realization that's intrepid Bastian was referring to Daniel, not Orlando.

That was close. Now if you'll excuse us, we have some cleaning to do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A one-sentence post on...the bottom of the barrel

In spite of all of our professed optimism, we know things aren't really going swimmingly in the Jays' offseason when we spend an hour arguing with ourselves over the relative merits and hidden value of Matt Belisle.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Keep hope alive

When it comes to the 2009 season for our beloved Blue Jays, there's a lot of people saying we'd be better off dead.

(Like our weekend contributor, for instance.)

Certainly, looking at the state of the Jays' roster on paper and contrasting it with that of our AL East competitors, there's plenty of reason for pessimism. The Yankees are adding big names, the Red Sox will be moving soon to supplement an already strong roster, the Rays are in play for a big bat (like Jason Giambi) and the Orioles are running down anyone who is willing to take their money.

The games, of course, aren't played on paper, and there are reasons for optimism with the Jays next season.

Think of some of the 2008 contributions made by Jesse Carlson, who nobody knew in December 2007, but who went on to lead the team in appearances, posting a 2.25 ERA. Carlson had pitched well at Double-A New Hampshire in 2007, but he was scarcely mentioned as a prospect anywhere in the lead up to last season.

So, to warm your innards like a piping hot cup of mulled cider, we offer a few reasons for optimism this winter. Keep these in mind as you are opening up your Christmas presents next week only to find a "Burnett 34" jersey lovingly gifted by a family member who knows that you love the Jays, but who isn't necessarily following along as we do.

Hopeful Thought # 1 - Travis Snider
The Great Big Giant Pasty White HopeTM is a star in the making, and a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate for 2009. While we've been salivating over LF/DH types in the free agent market, we're of the mind that the Blue Jays could generate as much offense from Snider at the major league minimum salary as they could have from Raul Ibanez at $10 million per year. We see Snider eventually as a Lance Berkman type, who could hit 30 to 35 homers with an OPS over .900. For next year, 20 homers and 80 RsBI seems like a reasonable expectation. Even with that modest expectation, he would represent an upgrade over the 2008 team's production.

Hopeful Thought # 2 - The rest of the farm
As much as the baseball hobbyists in the Toronto/Canadian sports media will continue to focus on J.P. Riccardi's draft gaffes, the minor league system is in its best shape since the salad years of the team. In addition to Snider, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Cecil and David Cooper all look to be legitimate high-end prospects.

Dig a little deeper, you may find next year's Jesse Carlson in the person of Robert Ray, a soon-to-be 25 year-old starter who put up some impressive numbers in his first crack at Double-A. A glance at his numbers suggests that he may be a step ahead of Ricky Romero at this point, and he could potentially find himself with the big club by season's end.

Moreover, there's Scott Campbell, who has put up better offensive numbers in his minor league career than Aaron Hill did. There are also (finally) a number of higer-ceiling Latin American players (Balbino Fuenmayor, Yohermyn Chavez, Moises Sierra) who are on the way, and who could make big strides in the coming year.

They might not all contribute to the 2009 team, but the wealth of prospects could provide the Jays with more trading chips if they need to make a short term move to shore up their pitching.

Hopeful Thought # 3 - The ailing return
In the short term, Aaron Hill, Casey Janssen and Jeremy Accardo should all return for the beginning of the year after missing most or all of last season. Dustin McGowan could be back as early as May. Obviously, it's difficult to bank on players returning to their former glories immediately after an extended period on the DL. But these players seem to have been forgotten in all of the tales of woe that are being spun over next year's team.

Hopeful Thought # 4 - The ailing return to form
Is it too much to hope for better seasons from Lyle Overbay and Scott Rolen?

Hopeful Thought # 5 - The other guys have their problems, too
It's not to say that the Rays' season was a fluke, but it seems unlikely that they will walk between the raindrops in the same way they did this year. Carl Crawford seems like an extended DL stint waiting to happen, as does the Red Sox' David Ortiz.

There's no telling what the jumble of new bodies (and their associated personalities) in the Bronx will produce, and Orioles have more holes to fill in their rotation and bullpen then money can paper over.

Moreover, with the exception of Boston and the Yankees, the rest of the AL will also feel the squeeze of the economic slowdown, which means that the Jays won't be the only team counting the coins in their change purse throughout the winter.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My new motto

Fuck 2009.

Add that to the ever-growing list of things I can thank Clarence Gaston for. You see, when Cito not-so-subtly announced that the Jays would have a good 2010, he did us all a favour. He did his players a favour by taking the pressure off before the team had even played one game of the 2009 schedule. He did the front office a favour by simmering down the public demand for a big offseason move at baseball's winter meetings. Maybe most importantly, he did me (and by "me", I mean "us") a favour by lowering expectations to a point where I (we) can enjoy the upcoming season for what it is.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not being a total defeatist. I'll still be following the team religiously and agonizing over every game, every GIDP, every strikeout in a big spot. I still hold out hope the team can be good - and maybe shock the baseball world. But....the pressure's off now, isn't it?

And while we're at it
Fuck A.J. Burnett, too.

I know, I know....he had every right to take the best offer on the table, and it was inevitable that the Yankees would be that team. But still......fuck him, you know? For all the talk about how close he was with Roy Halladay, A.J. really is proving to be the anti-Doc, isn't he?

Speaking of which, outstanding work by Cathal Kelly with this piece on A.J. Our man Cathal does a great job reminding us of what we really lost when he walked away, and de-mystifies the "legend" that was/is A.J. Anyone else looking forward to the first Yankee Stadium showdown with Doc and A.J. on the hill?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reading the tea leaves in the bottom of an empty cup

The big free agent signing is no signing at all
The first thing that went through our head when we heard of the Matt Clement signing yesterday was "Jaime Navarro". The Jays signed him in December of 2000, and after a couple of Spring Training outings, he never threw a pitch in anger for the Jays. We're assuming the same fate for Clement.

The triumphant return of Cody Heather Hatheer Haerther
The Jays are apparently smitten with Cody Haerther, seeing as how they plucked him from the Cardinals for the second straight year in the Rule 5 draft. Which is a little puzzling, seeing as how he posted a .658 OPS in 100 games at Triple-A Memphis last season. If nothing else, this pick up provides the Jays' PR team with a do-over after mangling his name in successive press releases last season.

Harbingers of doom, courtesy of Bob Elliot
Sun Media's veteran baseball scribe raises the spectre of the Jays being put up for sale in the wake of Ted Rogers' passing. Our thoughts: no one at Rogers is going to make a decision this quickly on the team, because they've put to much time and effort into integrating their media properties and marketing initiatives into the Jays.

Some of the signs that Elliot points to have less to do with the team preparing to be sold than they have to do with the team battening down the hatches for the financial decline that is sure to have a significant impact on them for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Sadly, for us Jays fans, there are forces in the world working against the team's ultimate success that are bigger than the Yankees and Red Sox.

Why are we reading the National Post?
It took us a while to come around to it, but we have to admit that the NatPost's Jeremy Sandler did a pretty good job with his reportage from Vegas. We've been dismissive of some of his writing in the past, but we found his work to be frequent, informative, fair-minded and entertaining throughout the Winter confab. We still miss the Globe's Jeff Blair (come back Blairsy!), but in his absence, Sandler probably did the best work on the Jays' beat over the past week. Huzzah!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A one-sentence post on...the glut of LF/DH types in the free agent market

Maybe we weren't reading every sentence and listening to every podcasted and broadcasted word on the Winter Meetings, but we can't remember anyone mentioning Adam Dunn, with his 40 homers and 100 RsBI, as a serious free agent target for any team over the past week.

Of cups and lips and the best laid plans

Sure, the Yankees have gone out and signed CC Sabathia, and seem prepared to vastly overpay for A.J. Burnett.

But somehow, we find our mind wandering back to four years ago.

Does anyone remember how in 2005, the Yankees brought in the top two free agent pitchers (Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano) and traded for Randy Johnson to supplement a rotation which already had Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina.

At the time, it seemed almost unfair.

But even having secured the three top pitching prizes on the market that year, the Yankees still won six fewer games the next season and lost in the first round of the playoffs. The free agents were absolute busts, and the Big Unit was servicable, if unspectacular.

Moreover, the Yanks haven't played an inning of League Championship action since 2003, two seasons before their spree since 2004, the season before the signings. (We overlooked the '04 ALCS, because it was clearly so forgettable and not at all historic...or possibly because we are really dumb.)

We're just saying.

Update 12/12/08, for the benefit of Baseball Musings readers: We're not comparing CC to Jaret Wright at all...but the Yanks did bring in Big Unit (2.60 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, second in NL Cy Young voting in '04) and Pavano (3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, sixth in NL Cy Young voting '04). So we don't feel as out to lunch with this comparison as some might suggest. But feel free to set us straight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Kubek, Frick and Cheek

When it comes to the Ford Frick Award, we'll take whatever satisfaction we can get.

We've previously stated that we're not going to hop onto this perpetual treadmill of rage about Tom Cheek's exclusion because frankly, this is going to go on for years. There are other ways to honour Tom Cheek, and we doubt that the man himself would look kindly upon another rage-filled blog post about this year's snubbing.

That being said, we have mixed feelings about the 2008 winner, Tony Kubek. As a Jays fan, he was without question a great influence on our early appreciation of the game. The team of Kubek and Don Chevrier is arguably the best TV tandem in the history of the franchise, and their descriptions of the Jays' rise to prominence through the 80's are etched indelibly in our memory.

Kubek was economical but pointed with his critiques of both teams on the field, a fact that got him in hot water when he and Bob Costas made allegedly derogatory remarks about the 1989 Blue Jays' chances of making a comeback against the Bash Brother-era A's. Costas stated that Elvis had a better chance of a comeback, and the fact that our "hometown" colour guy didn't speak up on behalf of the home side sent thin-skinned Canadian fans into paroxysms of indignance. (And, of course, Costas was right in his own irritatatingly smug way.)

Kubek never returned to the Blue Jays' booth, and walked away in digust from the game in 1994. It strikes us that while we have gauzy happy memories of those old Labatt's Blue Jays Baseball on CTV broadcasts, we wonder what people would make of Kubek's analysis now. Would he be pilloried as some old school analysts are? Would there be a Fire Tony Kubek blog?

So what's the downside of Kubek winning? Perhaps the most salient point that we've read on Kubek's induction came from Neate at Out of Left Field:

"This award is for broadcasters, not members of the jockocracy who actually didn't ride the coattails of their athletic career, which can be said of Kubek (it also applies to Alan Ashby on the FAN 590). Hey, let's put Joe Morgan in the broadcasters' wing of the Hall next season, even though he's already in as a player, just to make sure.

This a sports nerd's bias, but fact you were a player should not even be mentioned. It rubs it in the face of every trained broadcaster who came up the hard way, past, present and future, making a profession of their passion.

There's a lot to that, and when you start to look forward at some of the ex-player analysts who are on the horizon, you have to wonder if they won't start to squeeze out the men by their sides who called the games.

A last word on this goes to Kubek himself. According to the Globe's William Houston, this year's honoree said that he wished that Tom Cheek, the man who sat one booth over from him for 15 years as a Blue Jays broadcaster, was "standing alongside me."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dumpster diving for Winter Meetings news

(And note the name stenciled on the side of that dumpster: A.J. Pain. Too true.)

With the decline in the Canadian dollar (which currently sits at 0.7919 cents U.S.), this year's winter confab in Vegas looks to be an exceptionally quiet week for the Jays.

The team overspent on a few signings over the past few years of currency-related windfalls (we're looking at you, Mr. Wells). Account for the 2009 raises that are coming for most of the Jays' regulars in the middle of long term deals, and there's precious little room to maneuver for J.P. Ricciardi et al in Vegas, no matter how much A.J. Burnett, David Eckstein, or Frank Thomas money comes off of their payroll.

(Our brilliant idea: Put Lyle Overbay's entire contract on red at the roulette wheel. No, really.)

As J.P. told a group of drunken beat reporters (and's Jordan Bastian): "Anybody we add, we're going to have to subtract...I don't think we're able to take on a lot of payroll. So if we want to do some things, we're going to have to eliminate some payroll."

Unfortunately, we don't think that the Jays will be able to eliminate payroll by bringing contracts out to the desert like they did with Joe Pesci in Casino. Although that would be kinda cool.

So given this shite state of affairs, it should surprise none of us that on the second day of the meetings, we're reading about Chris Duncan as the Jays' next designated hitter. (This is the punishment we get for speaking wistfully about John Thomson yesterday.)

Also, if you're interested, the lede in that same Bastian piece is the fourth or fifth cycle of Rafael Furcal to Toronto rumours, which are too fleeting and far-fetched to even ponder at this point.

In other news that's as depressing as a 6 am, hung-over viewing of Mike Leigh's Naked, the Jays are apparently talking to Carl Pavano. We see Pavano as an option for the Jays rotation, in as much as he has two arms (slightly used) and opposable thumbs. Aside from that, we're not sure that Pavano (5.77 ERA, 1.49 WHIP in limited innings in 2008) would be a much better option than just letting the other team hit off a tee.

Mind you, Pavano (and feel free to sing this part along with us, because you certainly know the words) does have "a relationship with Brad Arnsberg". Which, as we all know, is the best way for the front office to sell this shit as Shinola.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Considering the alternatives, a little self-inflicted frontal lobe damage seems fine by us

We're having trouble deciding, so help us out here.

Is this the most depressing, spirit-crushing offseason in recent memory? Or is it the most painfully slow, demoralizing and frustrating offseason in memory?

We're the King of Accentuating the Positive, but seriously, the past eight weeks have pushed us to a point where we spend half of our time sobbing into our pillow and the other half of our time pounding our head into the wall.

What can we talk about? The instability of the franchise? The fact that there is likely to be no major additions and at least one significant subtraction from last year's disappointingly middling team? The fact that the Canadian dollar is down, and that the payroll will likely go down? The fact that the Yankees are going to retool and spend like drunken sailors (again)?

We've been waiting for weeks for the Winter Meetings to get started, and now that they are here, we fear that it is entirely likely that the Jays' front office staff will walk away from Las Vegas with little more than a tour of the new AAA franchise's dilapidated home field and some outrageous hospitality expenses.

At this rate, we'd settle for a John Thomson signing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A two sentence post on....Vegas

Ahhh Las Vegas - the city of sin, where anything goes, and usually does.

A guy can have all kinds of fun in Vegas - unless, of course, your name is JP Ricciardi and you don't have any money to spend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Final thoughts on A.J., and dubious reporters' anonymous sources

A.J. to the ATL
If there was any justice in the universe, A.J. would sign with Atlanta today so that we can rid our minds of any thoughts of him someway, somehow making his way back to Toronto.

It was fun to have him around while it lasted, but when it comes to A.J., we'd laid the wreath upon that stone some time ago.

The Braves are a great fit for A.J., and we suspect that for the first little while, he'll look like Nolan Ryan and will make some comment about Toronto that will put our knickers in a twist. Then he'll blow out his arm, and someone in Atlanta will wonder if they learned anything from their half-decade with Mike Hampton.

Godspeed, Pete Puma.

There are anonymous sources, and then there is this horseshite
Our antipathy towards Marty York has been expressed on numerous occasions, but we never thought that our views of Canada's Premier Commuter Paper Sports Journalist could fall further.

That was until we say York's piece on the Jays' layoffs in their ticketing department.

While the story was definitely newsworthy, we can't believe that York had the audacity to include the following paragraph:

"Sources in professional sports told Metro that no Canadian sports franchise in history has laid off as many employees in one day as the Jays did Tuesday."

We're sorry, but that is an absolute load of hooey.

There is a time and place to make use of anonymous sources in journalism, but they should be used judiciously, and only when there is no other option. This clearly is not one of those times. This is a simple statement of facts, and if York wanted to run with it, he should have verified those numbers instead of taking the lazy way out.

Unfortunately, someone is going to take this purported statement of facts as the truth, when for all we know, it was the usher at Toronto Rock games who made the claim off the top of his head. If York had any shame at all, he would have either found a legit source that would go on the record with this claim, or he would have done the research himself.

We don't expect much from Marty York, but this is even beneath his low standards.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Edward Samuel "Ted" Rogers, Jr., 1933 - 2008

Ted Rogers was without equal in Canadian business, building a remarkable multimedia empire with an astute and entrepreneurial approach. He built a vast, varied and incomparably successful business by taking risks that others would not, and by working harder than anyone else would.

As the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers rarely implicated himself publicly in the business of the baseball, calling himself a "village idiot" on baseball matters. And yet, under his stweardship, the team now has a vastly improved state of affairs, including ownership over its home park and all of the associated benefits that entails.

Ted Rogers was a leader in the truest sense of the word. He will be missed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The glacial pace of the offseason

We have another full week before the Baseball Winter Meetings even get underway.

Which means another seven days of random speculation on A.J. Burnett; another seven days of people talking absolute shite about trading Roy Halladay; seven more days of hearing absolutely SFA of substance about the 2009 free agent class; seven more days of rehashed think pieces on Scott Boras and his influence on the game (Suggested title: Scott Boras - Is He the Devil? Or Something Far Far Worse?); seven more days of hearing how fat C.C. Sabathia is; seven more days of hearing experts say the following words: "Once the first major signing is made, that will set the market, and I think you'll see a lot of dominoes start to fall after that."...which is what passes for insight these days.

Now if you'll excuse us, we're pricing out a hyperbaric chamber for our apartment so that we can hibernate for the next few months in an oxygen rich environment while waiting for pitchers and catchers to report. Wish us luck.