Saturday, October 31, 2009


Cito, courtesy of Bastian:

"My gut is that I think Doc wants to be on a winning team -- whether he comes back here next year or is going to be gone the next year. I'm pretty sure that's what he's probably going to do, because he's probably sitting there looking at A.J. out there pitching, knowing that that's where he'd like to be. It's not about money with Doc. It's about him being on a winning team. I can't speak for Doc, but my gut feeling is if he's here next year with us, then he'll probably leave after next year. Hopefully, if that's the case, then we can get something for him before he leaves."

Uh, Cito? I don't want to spend the weekend piling on here....but shut the fuck up already.


If I'm cringing when I read that you're already sending Doc out of town, how do you think your GM feels?


Oh wait - you've just informed the fanbase that the Jays won't be a winning team in the forseeable future. Got it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

So much for turning the page

Cito Gaston, the manager who completely lost the clubhouse at the end of last season, will be returning to fulfill the final lame duck year of his contract.

Brad Arnsberg, in the biggest non-coincidence in the history of baseball, will not be.

And to think....I was set to post about "turning the page" this weekend and embracing the new Blue Jays front office regime.

Instead - unless I can bottle my rage - I think I'm taking the rest of the weekend off. It's better for all of us this way.

Fuck this.

Friday Rock Out - By popular demand

If there's one thing we've come to understand about this blog, it's that you give the people what they want.


Speaking of giving the people what they want
We're of the opinion that the news this week that Paul Beeston will take on the President and CEO role for the next three years will actually result in the three things that would make us happiest: A larger budget, new uniforms and a new manager.

With the manager, we get that Beeston is a good pal of Cito's and defended him at the end of the year. But it seems that it is Beeston's nature to calm the waters in those instances. With Beeston working with the "newish" front office, we could see him casting his gaze towards the future, and asking his pal to work as a ceremonial advisor to Anthopoulos and Tony LaCava. Cito really doesn't seem to have any aspirations beyond next year, and he seemed to be getting much less enjoyment out of the position this year than he did in his triumphant return the previous year. (Which is probably a function of winning...but still.)

And by the way: How awesome is it that the Jays retained LaCava? It hasn't been mentioned that much since the reworking of the management team, but it was a pretty important move in our view. Frankly, we could have seen him take over the GM job, but to have him there as the Ant's right hand man let's us sleep a little bit easier at night.

Also, we couldn't imagine that the Beest is going to let the idiotic Godfrey black cap legacy live on beyond the coming season. Even if it means a nostalgic return to the 92-93 era unis, we'd be happy. Anything that helps us ditch the black is a good thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How can you not love Beeston?

No really, this is the question that we've been asking ourselves for two days now. We heard him on Monday's Prime Time Sports (just catching up on podcasts), and it just seemed like everything he said seemed reassuring to us. Even when we thought he was lying, we still found warmth in his pants-on-fire.

Then we checked our wallet, and somehow, we were missing a fiver. Beeston!

What was the point of this...we were trying to get to some sort of clarity here. But we've got no time these days to dedicate to elucidate our thoughts.

Ah, forget it. Just go read Will Hill's interview with the Beest on

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You couldn't get rid of Paul Beeston if you tried

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The Globe says the Paul Beeston has decided to remain where he is and remove the "interim" tag from his title. Presumably, so that he can enjoy many years of Alex Anthopoulos' pastel dress shirts.

Not sure what to think of this. Sure, it is nice to know that there's some sense of stability at 1 Blue Jays Way, and that one aspect of the off season equation is taken care of. But on the other side, we've lost an awful lot of faith in Beeston over the past year. (To the point where we've echoed Ghostrunner Drew's assessment of him as a "bumblefuck".)

If the Beest wants to quickly regain the confidence of the fans (and maybe more importantly, the players), he should immediately look to find a harmless consultant position into which he can move his good pal Cito.

It's time to stop living off past glories, and to start creating some new ones.

Long Distance Dedication to Beeston
Because the lyrics seem so appropriate: "The search is over / You were with me all the while." (Also, because this song is now stuck in my head, and I want to share that misery with y'all.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tao's AL MVP Ballot

Hey kids! It's the last in our series of ballots for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance posteason awards.

We've always had some trouble with the whole "valuable" aspect of MVP awards. Mostly because when people start talking about a player's relative value, they point to a whole host of things that are generally beyond the player's control.

Was the player on a winner? A playoff team? Was he on a team that was good enough to get into the playoffs, but not good enough to get there without him? How tangible were his intangibles? And how big of a towel does he need to cover his dong after getting out of the shower?

(Okay, that last one was proabably a step too far. But you get the idea.)

In some ways, this is why we'd prefer to think of these awards as "Player of the Year" awards, so that you can rid yourself of all the extraneous horsepoop. Alas, we'll just play along so as not to be any more difficult than we need to be.

So how do we determine value? Well, as we mentioned in this snazzy interview with the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector, we're more of an OPS dude. Because some of the advanced metrics make our pretty head hurt. So we took a look at the leaders in OPS, then figured it out based upon our particular likes and dislikes and prejudices. (And our apologies to Shin-Soo Choo, who we really tried hard to get into our top ten. Because we think he's awesome. Maybe next year.) Anyways, here's what we came up with.

1) Joe Mauer, Twins - 1.031 OPS, 28 HR,96 RBI, 8.2 WAR: There really shouldn't be any debate about this, because Mauer's year was so far ahead of anyone else's. And if you are so inclined, you can consider the fact that he is a catcher, and heap an extra scoop full of intangible goodness on top. Mauer's season was one for the ages.

2) Mark Teixeira, Yankees - .948 OPS, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 5.2 WAR: There are those who love Derek Jeter, and think the sun shines out his ass, and therefore any of the glow around the new first baseman must just be the refracted light from his glory. But we think that Teixeira's outstanding season stands on its own.

3) Ben Zobrist, Rays - .948 OPS, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 8.5 WAR: In addition to putting up numbers that were stunningly surprising in the heart of a strong lineup, Zobrist also provided unparalleled defensive flexibility. By season's end, Zobrist had played every position on the diamond, save for catcher and pitcher, and provided good defense wherever he played.

4) Miguel Cabrera. Tigers -.942 OPS, 34 HR, 103 RBI, 5.5 WAR: Cabrera is a scary good hitter who more than carried his weight in a Detroit lineup that scuffled for much of the year.

5) Evan Longoria, Rays - .889 OPS, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 7.3 WAR: Longoria's exceptional fielding (14.4 UZR/150) bumps him up on this list.

6) Derek Jeter, Yankees - .871 OPS, 18 HR, 107 RBI, 7.4 WAR: We might hate him and all he stands for, but he had his best season in years, and posted a sterling .406 OBP.

7) Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -.961 OPS, 27 HR, 99 RBI, 5.5 WAR: Okay, we really hate Youk. And we could make an argument that he should be higher on this list, but we suspect that his OBP is aided by some Fenway calls and his SLG is aided by the the Fenway dimensions. And we hate him.

8) Kendry Morales, Angels -.924 OPS, 34 HR, 108 RBI, 4.3 WAR: One of our favorite breakout stories this season. He has stepped up to the next level, assuming the role of the impact bat in the middle of the Angels lineup.

9) Adam Lind, Blue Jays -.932 OPS, 35 HR, 114 RBI, 3.7 WAR: In the value metrics, he takes a step back because of his dubious fielding and his role as the DH for most of the season. But Lind was the most consistent in the Jays offense, which actually ranked in near the top of the AL.

10) Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -.933 OPS, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 4.6 WAR: Love him or hate him, A-Rod produced in his 124 games this season. In a full season, he would have been in the top three.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aroldis Chapman, huh?

Let me start by making one thing perfectly clear:


Even still, it is - at the very least - interesting to hear that the Jays are kicking the tires on the live-armed defector. With the Red Sox and Yankees interested, and the unproven Cuban reportedly looking for a contract in the $40M-$60M range (what!?), it's a pipe dream for the Jays to actually be "in" on the player (see what I did there?).....but the fact the team is even being mentioned in rumours has to count for something, yes? Yes.

Is this a peek into AA's money-burning soul? Has Rogers actually opened the wallet? Did this offseason suddenly get a lot more interesting? Are you tired of me extending this post by asking questions we can't possibly know the answer to?

Yeah, I dunno. It's the rumour mill. Take it with a shaker of salt. The team hasn't even set the direction yet - or so we were sorta kinda maybe told by Mr. Tony Viner - so it's difficult to imagine this is anything more than due diligence on a free agent. If even that much is actually fact.

And hey, if nothing ever comes of this, I hear that Kenny Takahashi is available.

Mandatory JP Ricciardi update
So, the Red Sox have offered JP a spot in their front office. Makes sense, right? Of course it does. No, not because Ricciardi is a native Massholian who hated Toronto and secretly made moves with an eye on his hometown team.

It makes sense because the Red Sox are a smart, well run organization. Yeah, I said it.

(And yes, I just choked even typing words of praise to the Sox.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alex Anthopoulos is a keener

And trust us when we say that we think that's a good thing.

AA spoke to's Jordan Bastian this week, and noted that he's made about 30 phone calls to players and staff since getting elevated to the GM post. You know, just a little chinwag...sussin' stuff out, seeing how people are doin'.

Call us crazy or naive or blindly hopeful, but the idea that Alex is talking one-on-one to everyone in the organization and quietly, privately addressing what was happening with the team and assessing where the players' heads are at makes us think that maybe this team might be taking some steps in the right direction.

We know that the details have been slow to come out, and after a full season of stasis in the front office, we're all a little stir crazy and anxious for the team to start making significant moves. But at the very least, it sounds like the groundwork is being laid for the long winter ahead.

And as much as people have us pegged as a J.P. apologist, we'd like nothing more than to see AA succeed wildly.

Viner speaks, says little
This is ground that was covered well by the Drunks yesterday, but suffice to say that Rogers Media CEO Tony Viner's interview with the Bobcat was something less than enlightening.

That shouldn't be a surprise. It's not like Viner could come out at this point and make any promises about the direction of the team, or promise vast amounts of cash for payroll.

(Although the longer that Rogers types obfuscate and throw out the notion that it could be $50 million, or $100 million or $150 million, the more that we start to think that it will be the middle number and not much more.)

Mostly, is scares us the Paul Beeston is still (allegedly begrudgingly) involved in the decision-making process. Because we've lost a lot of faith in his magical powers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pining for Manny Acta

The G&M's Jeff Blair dropped two shots of happy into our drink yesterday when he suggested that it was somewhere withing the realm of possibility that the Jays could make a run at former Nationals manager Manny Acta.

We should probably check ourselves here before we get into some irrational thoughts about what Manny Acta could actually do to make this team better. There is a bit of a Cult of the Manager amongst baseball types (mostly writers and broadcasters), who inherently pass along the credit for any team that appears to be outperforming expectations to the bench boss.

This is why we think that the Manager of the Year Award (or the "Wow, That Team Did Unexpectedly Well Award") is kind of a crock of poo.

At the same time, Manny Acta would bring some very tangible assets to the Blue Jays that we think can only help the club. For instance: He's not Cito Gaston. That's a good start.

Acta is also a young man (40), and while we don't want to be ageist, the MLB season is an eight month grind for which a younger man may have more stamina. Also, Acta can speak Spanish, which in this day and age is a huge asset. Can you imagine how he much more effective Acta could have been in yelling at Alex Rios: "Hola amigo. ¿Por qué es tu cabeza en el culo?"

Mostly though, we're focusing on the whole "Manny is not Cito" aspect of things. That gives us a little hope.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our 2009 Roy Halladay Award ballot (Formerly the Cy Young Award)

If you ask us, they should just give Roy Halladay the Cy Young award every year, and then let him decide which pitcher in the league he deems most worthy of winning the award. Because you know he'd always pick exactly the right guy, with his trademark precision.

Alas, that's not the case, so indulge us as we go through our charade of a shadow ballot for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance:

1) Stupid Zack Greinke of the Stupid Kansas City Stupid Royals and his stupid excellent numbers (2.16 ERA, 242 Ks / 51 BBs, 1.07 WHIP, 9.4 WAR): There's no question that we want to give the top spot on our ballot to Roy Halladay, but Greinke's numbers across the board are just thatmuch too amazing to ignore. Those are Bob Gibson or Pedro Martinez numbers, so it would be a touch hard to defend our homerism if we were to ignore his great season. (Although having said that, we would note that Greinke's numbers probably wouldn't look nearly as shiny if he toed the rubber ten times against the Yankees and Red Sox.)

2) His Roy-al Docness, Harry LeRoy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays (2.79 ERA, 208 Ks / 38 BBs, 1.13 WHIP, 7.3 WAR): Truth be told, there isn't a single pitcher in the Majors that we'd rather have than Doc. And if at some point in the next few years, if he should go to some other division where he's notfacing the Yanks and Sox and Rays all of the time, or if he should go to pitch in the Quadruple-A National League, he'll post numbers that will make people nauseous. We'll give the nod to Greinke because we're having a hard time quantifying the difference between their stregnth of schedules. (So essentially, we can't give Doc the award because we suck at math. We're sorry Roy...we've failed you again.)

3) Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (2.49 ERA, 217 Ks / 71 BBs, 1.14 WHIP, 6.9 WAR): King Felix's ERA and win totals were better than Doc's, but most of the other relevant numbers are on par and we really could give a shit about wins. Plus, Doc plays in a man's game in the AL East. So we keep Hernandez in third for this year.

Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (3.45 ERA, 269 Ks / 63 BBs, 1.18 WHIP, 8.2 WAR) : We're pretty certain that lots of bloggers will point to Verlander's value metric as justification for him to be on the ballot. But he just got too many easy innings this season in a pitchers' park and a pitcher's division. The big numbers he posted versus the White Sox, Cleveland and Kansas City don't impress us much.

Interesting fun facts!
Although the three non-Halladays mentioned above had good seasons, they were no match for the mighty offense of the Blue Jays this season. Each of them got two starts against the Jays this season, and posted some of their worst ERA numbers against the Toronto Nine:

Greinke: 5.25
Felix: 6.59
Verlander: 10.97

Who knows? Maybe the Jays were trying to put a dent into their Cy Young chances for Doc.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Waitin' on news

Don't get me wrong - playoff baseball is great.

With the Jays on the sidelines (newsflash!), there are still small joys to be found, and I'm wringing every last ounce possible out of the season. It might not result in the same level of enjoyment as, say, a Travis Snider opposite-field shot, but getting the opportunity to yell "SUCK IT, JETER!" as the Captain grounds into a (bogus) double play is still something. Like methadone, I guess.

Yes, the baseball fan in me is still religiously glued to the set as we march towards crowning a new (or repeat?) World Champion, but the raging lunatic Jays fan in me still scours the usual sources for news. And I'm still looking. And waiting.

I seem to recall freshly minted GM Anthopoulos hinting strongly that news on direction would come sooner rather than later, but I suppose it's only prudent to hold the line until Beeston names his successor (if there is one to name). Stop me if you've heard that before.

And so we wait. The guess here is that we're about to embark on a r-r-r-r-r-rebuild (I stutter when I say it), as the young GM looks to rework the franchise in his own mould. I could be wrong (it's happened before). Maybe the front office and ownership really does come through with this magical pile of money we are continually told is there to spend. But honestly, I have my doubts, friends.

I don't want to consider just what that might entail - until I'm forced to.

Grinding axes
Honestly, his body isn't even cold yet, and Griff still feels the need to plant his boot in JP's ribs.

Now, to be fair, Griffin makes several salient and entirely defensible points within his latest mailbag....and I understand that ol' Rich was never a Ricciardi supporter (newsflash pt II!).... but this latest salvo was way over the top.

And I mean, way over, man. Like, past the bounds of decency:

"Not to be overly simplistic, but the difference for the Jays between the Ricciardi regime past and the Anthopoulos years to come is like the difference between two countries - one governed by a dictatorship and another by a parliamentary system. Yes, the Ricciardi statue in the village square has been toppled and democracy takes over, signaling the dawn of a new Blue Jays day."

I've laid down my fair share of outrageous innuendo here in the blogosphere.....but - in my humble opinion - Griff really crossed the lines of good taste just to work another shot in at the deposed GM.

And, uh, about that analogy? Let's hope things work out a little better in "the dawn of a new Blue Jays day" than the "real-life" scenario alluded to.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I disagree with all you crazy bloggers

Part of the fun of partaking in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance postseason voting was the notion that maybe those of us who reside outside of the press box would get it right, and prove just how vastly superior we are to the washed up hacks in the BBWAA.

After reviewing the BBA press release from yesterday (hey, they quoted us!), all we can say is: Oops.

Mind you, our choice for AL Rookie of the Year, the A's Andrew Bailey, took the day with nine first place votes and 48 points total in the 5-3-1 scoring system. But what shocked us was that Brett Anderson, who we even considered as our choice at the top of our ballot, received one first place vote and our second place vote...and that's it.

(And full marks to the kids at Camden Crazies, who had the stones to put Anderson at the top of their list.)

To which we say: Really? Put Anderson's numbers up against second place finisher Rick Porcello (four first place votes), and Anderson pretty much takes the day across the board. Sure, Porcello's ERA starts with a number 3, but he got that tenth of a point by feasting on the lesser lights in the NL Central in interleague play.

We give the young Porcello full marks for his judo hip toss of Kevin Douchekilis, but there's no way he makes it to the top of our ballot.

Other oddities: Elvis Andrus had a good year with the glove, but that .702 OPS is not enough to carry him over the top in our mind. (Apparently, three people disagreed.)

Also, some people seemed to be voting based on who they thought had generated the most hype through the season, or who had the most potential. We can't imagine any other reason why someone would vote for Matt Wieters, or have him at the top of their list (as one voter did).

So to all of you who got your ballot completely wrong (and there seems to be a lot of you), we respectfully disagree. And we fart in your general direction.

Other place where we've been quoted today, aside from in my own brain
Infield Fly Rule has assembled a postseason roundtable, in which yours truly, the inimitable eyebleaf, some soccer loving dude and the lovely and beguiling Katy Unger offer our remembrances of this season past.

There were so many memories, fond and otherwise, that the roundtable will be broken into three parts, so keep checking back.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our AL Rookie of the Year Ballot

So we've been a little but delinquent with reflecting this, but late in the season, we agreed to take part in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, which is intended to be the blog world's answer to the BBWAA. There are a bunch of interesting blogs covering most of the teams across the Majors (including four Jays blogs), so it's worth a gander.

Mostly, we wanted to get involved with the BBA so that we could vote on the postseason awards. And while we were trying to be magnanimous and allow our fellow Jays bloggers the opportunity to vote on Manager of the Year (an award that we kinda hate anyway), we're jumping in to cast our ballot for the AL Rookie of the Year.

With a few weeks left in the season, we probably would have had a completely different final three, but with a little time to look over the performances of the handful of candidates, we narrowed the field down to three. And so, here's how we saw it.

1) Andrew Bailey, Oakland A's - 1.31 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 91 Ks / 24 BBs, 26 saves in 83.1 IP.

Saves might be viewed amongst the more progressive thinkers as the most overestimated stat in baseball, and as such, a lot of voters might breeze past the Athletics' closer. But we couldn't look past that high K rate, and the excellent ratio. Even if Bailey hadn't been bestowed with the closer role, those numbers out of the pen put him amongst the elite late inning pitchers.

2) Brett Anderson, Oakland A's - 11-11, 4.06 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 150 Ks / 45 BBs in 175 IP.

With much of the focus through the season on the performances of the Tigers' Rick Porcello, the Rays Jeff Niemann and the Jays' Ricky Romero, Anderson's numbers in the end stand out across the board. His ERA was slightly higher than that of Niemann and Porcello, but his K rate, WHIP and K/BB ratio were much better.

3) Jeff Niemann, Tampa Rays - 13-9, 3.94 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 125 Ks / 59 BBs in 180.2 IP.

Given the choice between Niemann and Porcello, the Rays starters' higher K rate tips the scales in his favour.

Falling off the ballot
Among those who fell just short of our ballot were the Tigers' Porcello (not enough Ks, too much of his stats racked up against the NL); the Orioles' Nolan Reimold (good numbers, but not enough to rate a mention); the Orioles' Matt Wieters (he'll be good eventually, but his performance this year didn't stack up); the Rangers' Elvis Andrus (love his defense, but hate the .702 OPS); and the Jays' Ricky Romero (wore out by season's end, and the last six weeks pretty much wiped him off the ballot.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Briefs: Various and sundry thoughts from a long weekend

Hope you all had a great long weekend, eating spaghetti squash and ham and turkey and watching baseball where Sportsnet deigned to put the playoff games on the air.

Watching douchebags fail makes life worth living
We felt for our buddy the Red Sox fan, who came over to watch the Red Sox-Angels game in the TaoCave on Sportsnet West (the only feed on which the "four-channel offering" could be bothered to run what should be a national sports media property).

Yeah, sure, he roots for a team full of pompous douches and rat-faced little twerps (shine that MVP plaque this offseason, Mr. 72 RsBI Pedroia), but you still have to empathize at least a little bit when you watch his arsewipe closer huff and puff and blow the game for the Masshole Nation.

Nah. On second thought, you don't. Because watching Jonathan Papelbon cough up a three run lead is one of the happier moments we've seen this year.

(And a free tip for Mr. Irish Jig for next season: Mix in an offspeed pitch once in a while.)

Anthopoulos does stuff
If you were wondering whether if Alex Anthopoulos is just keeping the GM seat warm until the mythical creature known as the Next President of the Jays is found, the news that he's brought in his pal Dana Brown from his days with les Expos should at least give a sense that he thinks he's got the job long term.

We'll leave it to those who dig into the whole prospect and development side of baseball to figure out if this is a good thing. The Nats don't seem to have an overwhelming abundance of talent, and the Expos had some pretty fallow years in the draft before moving south (Josh Karp and his $2 Million-plus signing bonus, anyone?)

Simmons slurpage
Speaking of the new GM, the Sun's Steve Simmons could barely contain his glee while writing his love letter to the new regime.

"It all sounds so promising and so anti-Ricciardi that you want to believe every word and you want to run alongside him, just hoping to capture that youthful exuberance," Simmons wrote.

Not that we're wishing ill on Anthopoulos, because the fate of the team that we spend entirely too much time worrying about rests in his hands and in his decisions. But we're getting an impression that the lad is going to get cut a lot of slack over the next few years because he is just so darned nice and Canadian. (Never mind that J.P. was pilloried for years for firing top scouts and minor league staff upon his arrival, while Alex is getting a pass on doing the same.)

A Bad Week for Umpires
It's probably a good thing that the first round of the playoffs has concluded, and that the pack of umpires will be culled by half. While it is understandable that umpires are going miss a few calls and the spotlight of the playoffs will make those mistakes more evident, this year's postseason seems to have had more than its share of botched calls.

The most fun for us, though, was suddenly seeing hundreds of people late on a Friday night landing on an 18 month-old post about Phil Cuzzi, and our general antipathy towards him. Fun stuff.

Happy Reading
Just picked up Stephen Brunt's new book, Gretzky's Tears: Hockey Canada, and the Day Everything Changed, and though we're only three chapters in, we can wholeheartedly recommend it. It's on sale. Go buy it. You owe it to yourself. Brunt is a national treasure, and buying his book will only convince Knopf to keep engaging him to write more of them. Which is a good thing.

The book is so good that about five pages in, we hit ourselves over the head with it, because his eloquent, engaging, and evocative prose is so far beyond anything that we'll be able to write. (And he doesn't even indulge in corny alliteration like we just did there.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

JP Ricciardi didn't walk on water (but maybe Alex Anthopoulos will)

There. Are you happy now? Is that enough for you?

It seems that taking an honest look at the Ricciardi years - and not automatically turning on the hysterics at every misstep - deems one to be a total and complete JP apologist and Wilner hack.

(To be fair, the "hack" part of the equation is quite accurate in the case of present company. I'm not trying to fool anyone here.)

Never mind that I feel like that I've been quite open about negative feelings on some transactions:

Never liked the Frank Thomas signing, though it's hard to argue the production the Big Hurt provided in year 1. It was the 2 years-$20M + vesting option that did not equate.

Was not happy about the Reed Johnson - Shannon Stewart saga. And not because ol' Reeder is a scrappy high socked/dirty shirt ball o' hustle. It was because I though Stewart was done before they signed him; barely less than a warm body in left.

There were more, I'm sure. Doesn't even matter. What is laughable is the "fire JP" crowd's tendency to completely ignore not only the many solid baseball transactions under his watch, but the realities he faced on a daily basis holding down the office of Blue Jays GM.

No playoffs in 8 years? Hard to dispute. Judging on that basis alone, his tenure was a failure. But was it really 8 years of failure? In how many of those years was he really given a clear mandate to build a winner, and not to simply "control costs/be competitive"? Three years? Four years?

Oh, and you're tired of hearing about the difficulties of competing in the AL East? The Jays should be more like the Twins, for example, who get by on limited payroll and sniff the postseason seemingly annually? Hat tip to commenter Peter D for the following:

"over the last 2 years, Twins vs. AL East 23-44, Jays vs. AL Central 47-27"

I don't know how you dispute those numbers. I really don't.

But it's over. JP's done, and even staunch supporters realize it was time and another year under Ricciardi most certainly would not have been healthy for the franchise. And on that note, as far as debating the pros and cons of life under JP, so am I.

So bring on the Anthopoulos years. I'm on board. What choice do we have?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't rush to judgment on Travis Snider

One of the comments that has stuck with us over the past week or so was someone taking a shot at Travis Snider in a defense of Cito. The notion seems to be that Snider had a lousy season, so how dare he question the tactics and decision of the great, sainted, beknighted Cito Gaston.

(That's Mr. Cito, who has not managed a team to a winning record over a full season since 1993...but we digress.)

It does strike us that some of the gleam has dimmed off of the rosy-cheeked masher of the future, now that fans have had a chance to see him for 101 big league games. People seem to focus on his (arguably) bad defense or his propensity to strike out. And his .748 OPS over a half-season certainly wasn't bringing forth choruses of hallelujahs from on high.

But as we watch the playoffs and see some of the premier players in the league, we're reminded to think of where those big name mashers were in the age 21 seasons.

Matt Holliday was playing high A ball in Salem. Mark Teixiera was finishing his college career at Georgia Tech. Joe Mauer, Vladimir Guerrero and Derek Jeter were getting their first taste of the majors in a handful of games. Kendry Morales was somewhere between Cuba and Rancho Cucamonga. Bobby Abreu was hitting 10 homers over a full season at AAA Tuscon. Todd Helton was hitting one homer over 54 games for the Asheville Tourists.

The player that we've pegged as most analogous to Snider over the past couple of years is Lance Berkman, and at 21, he was tearing up the Florida State League for Kissimmee. And Carlos Delgado, the greatest offensive player in the history of the Jays, was 24 before his manager (a certain Mr. Gaston) would give him enough playing time to hit 25 homers and drive in 92.

The point is that Snider still has time to develop into the player we think he can be. He'll need to be given enough latitude to develop, and we can't expect him to put up 100 RBI seasons immediately. But within the next two-to-three years, Snider has the potential to make the patience of Blue Jay fans pay off.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The order of our playoff affections

Through 10 hours of baseball yesterday, we barely thought of the Jays or what the hell they are going to do in this offseason to further crush our spirits.

(Well, not much. Occasionally, we see Cito's face and his cackling mustache laughing at us in our mind's eye, but we're looking into medication for that. A little bourbon, perhaps.)

As for our own rooting interest in this year's playoffs, we hadn't really decided which way we were going until midway through the evening, but we've settled on the following order:

1) Dodgers - Because that outfield of Kemp, Ethier and the other dude is almost enough to make us switch allegiances. Not really. But we like the Dodgers lineup and bullpen a lot. Even Ronnie Belliard.

2) Angels - We kinda hate all the "they play the game the right way" horseshit that surrounds this team, but we still like the way Mike Scioscia manages. And we wish the Jays ownership were as committed to winning as Arte Moreno. Also: Vladdy. And Howie Kendrick's .948 second half OPS.

3) Twins - They're probably going to get the bum's rush out of the LDS, and their pitching sucks. And Jon Rauch's superdouche neck tattoo is good for a laugh. But it's hard not to like Mauer, future Jay Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel in the middle of that lineup. Also, Ron Gardenhire reminds us of the later vintages of Kenny Rogers.

4) Cardinals - In a way, we wish that they weren't playing the Dodgers in the first round, because we like their team. And seeing Albert Pujols come up in big situations is always fun.

5) Rockies - Ubaldo Jimenez is kinda awesome. That's pretty much our reason to like the Rockies. And maybe former Expos coach and Ottawa Lynx manager Jim Tracy.

6) Phillies - They are too good to root for. And we kinda hate them after the whole wringer that they put us through with the Halladay trade thing.

7/8) Yankees and Red Sox - We couldn't really picture ourselves rooting for either of these teams, even if they face off in the ALCS. It might be good to have the Yanks win so that they don't spend another half-billion in the free agent market next year, but we'd still hate to see it.

We can't say that we've broken down any more than that. It's all pretty much just a whim. But here's hoping for a Dodgers-Angels World Series.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A One-Sentence Post on...This Beautiful Game

You go through a long, arduous baseball season, filled with misery and strife, and then the game gives you a magnificent gift like last night's incredible AL Central tie-breaker to soothe your beleaguered soul.

(And oh yeah...Fisted!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A defense of J.P. Ricciardi's legacy

Before we start too far down the road of defending J.P. Ricciardi and his eight years in Toronto, allow us to get this part out first: It was time for J.P. to go. He'd had his run, and he'd done his bit, but the team needs to go in a different direction and needs a new public face in the GM position.

So you can save all of your "you're an idiot for wanting to keep Ricciardi" comments. That's not what this is about.

But we find ourselves wanting to take up the cause for the now departed Ricciardi because the manner in which his tenure was described over the past four days and eight years just seems fundamentally wrong to us, and we'd at the very least like to inject a little bit of reason into the naked Dionysian orgy of elation at his firing.

There are significant elements of the Toronto and national sports media who have taken revisionist and reductionist view of Ricciardi's time in Toronto. Put simply, their knee jerk take is: "He failed, because he didn't get the job done, he didn't do what he said he'd do, and he made lots of mistakes."

It's odd to think that eight years of a man's work can be reduced and crushed into rubble in such an off-handed way. To us, it would seem to be a lot more nuanced than that, so we'd like to address those three notions.

J.P. made a lot of mistakes
There are plenty of examples that get trotted out here: Letting go of Carlos Delgado and stripping the team down, then making big money signings that didn't pan out, like B.J. Ryan and Frank Thomas. Giving way too much money to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, and "bungling" the Roy Halladay trade bonanza.

The thing is that when you take a step back and look across the league for a bit of perspective, you see that there are plenty of teams that make "mistakes" in overpaying free agents, or letting guys go. But GMs in general and Ricciardi in particular don't have the benefit of hindsight to evaluate the relative merit of these deals before they go out with them. Inevitably, you're going to make mistakes because players are going to have career years or they are going to get old, or they are going to get hurt.

But even some of those signings that are treated as "mistakes" now are a little more difficult to criticize if you place them in their appropriate context and look at the performance over the contract.

Take B.J. Ryan, for instance. He was the marquee closer on the market, and the press and the fans were clamoring for something better than a closer committee led by Jason Frasor. At the time, it seemed as though the contract was a year too long for a closer with a funky delivery, but the Jays wouldn't have brought him in if that extra year wasn't included. It was a risk, and as we saw this year, it didn't pay off.

But let's not forget that nobody was questioning that signing in 2006, after Beej had saved 38 games and posted a 1.37 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. And in 2008, after his Tommy John surgery, he posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP with 32 saves. So while it didn't completely pan out in the end, he certainly brought value at the time.

And ask yourself this: What would the Jays have looked like over those two years without Ryan as their closer?

A similar signing was Frank Thomas, who was coming off a season where he was fourth in the MVP voting, and fit a need that the Jays had at the time: A masher in the middle.

Again, this was a signing that in the moment seemed like it might be for one year too many, but Thomas' performance in that first year (26 HR, 95 RBI, .857 OPS) was on par with expectations, and the aging slugger actually led the team in many of the relevant offensive categories (with the others being held down by fellow oldtimer, Matt Stairs.)

The point is that as a general manager, sometimes you need to trade off the long term financial implications in order to look after the here and now, and that is especially true in the AL East. The window to compete in the division opens briefly and slams shut suddenly, and you need to step up when you have the opportunity. You can't tear the team down and build it all back up gradually like you're in the NL West, because the two powerhouse teams above you are always going to have more money.

The biggest "mistake" of J.P.'s tenure was probably the Vernon Wells deal, and even if you set aside the fact that it might not have been Ricciardi's call to hand over that much money, he still needs to wear it because it was still his responsibility. But to understand exactly how a deal of that magnitude gets signed, you need to look at the other deals that were floating around at the time. The Gary Matthews Jr. deal, or the Carlos Lee deal, or Alfonso Soriano, or Carlos Beltran. In that moment, when no one was looking at a dramatic contraction in the economy in general and the money from the online components of the industry were flowing freely, there was a sense that a deal like Vernon's made sense in the context of the day.

Maybe Ricciardi wanted to bring Vernon back, and the Rogers brass or Godfrey felt as though they were prepared to hand over whatever it would take to keep him. Given the contracts being handed out to similar players, it stood to reason that someone would have made an offer in the range of $18 million per year or more to get Vernon, and letting him go at that time would have signaled to fans that the Jays weren't willing to compete to keep their own players.

It's easy to look back and pick this apart, but a man's gotta make decisions in the moment where he stands.

J.P. Didn't Do What He Said He'd Do
The Plan. That's what so much of the criticism of J.P. has come down to over the years. Did he have a "five-year plan" and did he stick to it? And if he didn't stick to, then what was the value of the plan in the first place?

Recognize this about some of the media types who took the most umbrage at the audacity of having a plan: Most of them don't have a plan beyond a week or the next series. They have editors in chief and managing editors or section editors or segment producers or executive producers to worry about the planning and and the long term view of keeping those who control the money happy, so the notion of some set of guiding principles and timelines and budgeting and a view towards where anything is headed is beyond their scope of interest. This leaves the reporter to react to the day-to-day events.

So the notion that a guy would come in with a "Plan" that he intended to execute would become laughable to some of those guys, and all the much more so when they were able to use it as a laugh line: "We're in year seven of the five-year plan! Hey-o!"

Moreover, there was an assumption that because J.P. came from Oakland that his entire worldview was predetermined and preprogrammed to be that of Billy Beane and his fancypants Moneyball tomfoolery. And so of course J.P. was going to institute a Moneyball regime in Toronto, because he was a Moneyball guy. Isn't that what he said?

What's missed in this assessment is that J.P.'s background was as a scout. He was not a number cruncher and he was not a sabermetrician. He was one of those guys who went out on the road for months at a time looking at kids and assessing them, and then cross-checking the assessments of others. If J.P. came from an organization where Moneyball practices (whatever the hell that means) were in place, he wasn't the driving force behind it.

(And for those of you who want a bit of an eye-opener, take a look at the handful of pages where J.P. appears in Michael Lewis' book. J.P.'s never the guy pushing stats. He's a scout.)

(Also, as the media bends over backwards to praise Alex Antholpoulos in the coming weeks, none of them are going to assume that he's an absolute disciple of J.P.'s...because he's a good Canadian boy and he deserves the benefit of the doubt.)

What J.P. had in mind for the franchise is up for debate, but it does seem as though he figured that Toronto could compete on the field without having to compete in terms of payroll. That meant cutting ties with Carlos Delgado and finding more economical alternatives.

But what J.P. might not have seen coming, and what none of us saw coming to the extent that it did, was the massive inflation of the payrolls of the Red Sox and Yankees in the next few years. The heart-breaking losses that both of the behemoths suffered in the early part of the decade led them to engage in an all-out price war for players.

When Ricciardi took the post in 2002, the Yanks spent $133 million in salaries. By the end of 2003, that number jumped to $180 million. (Using Biz of Baseball as the source.) The Jays' scaled back $66 million payroll was enough to keep them in the middle of the pack (13th overall) in 2002, and by 2008, their $98 million payroll was enough to keep them in exactly the same spot.

The payroll bumps that Ricciardi was permitted over the past few years in order to go after high-priced free agents wasn't so much a change of philosophy as it was a recognition of the change in the market. If there hadn't been immense inflation in terms of player salaries, the Jays may have been able to sign some of the same free agent targets without having to offer them more money than the Yanks or Red Sox.

Now that the economy has contracted and the payrolls have shrunk for every team other than the Yanks and Sox, there is a chance that some second tier free agents to fall to a mid-payroll team at a reasonable price. But one need only look at the monstrous signing season the Yankees had last off season to recognize that a gap is increasing between those two teams and the rest of the league, and the Jays don't have the luxury of getting by on 85 win seasons.

We're not sure what the plan was for Ricciardi, but if he chose to adapt and adjust it to the realities of the day, we can't say that we'd pillory him for a lack of consistency. Foolish consistency in a rapidly evolving world might make for a clearer narrative to follow, but it won't make for wiser business decisions.

J.P. Didn't Get the Job Done
Ultimately, this is true. If your notion is that his job was to fashion the team into a playoff team at some point in his tenure, then you're right, he didn't get it done.

But again, we come back to the context in which the Jays find themselves. They play in the division with the two most aggressive teams in the league, and there are no cheap playoff berths to be had. Moreover, they face those two teams 19 times each over the season while competing for a Wild Card entry with teams whose strength of schedules are vastly inferior.

The reality of assembling a "competitive" team in Toronto is that even good or very good teams can end up looking "mediocre". (Those two words are favorites of the sports punditocracy, and we've heard them endlessly to describe 86 and 82 and 87 win teams.) The teams that J.P. assembled in Toronto were far more competitive than he was ever given credit for, and would that their destiny not be tied to their geography, they might have made the jump into the playoffs.

Now that J.P. is gone, and a new regime is allegedly going to be in place at some point, their challenge will be the same. But given the unbridled, voracious appetite for winning baseball titles that their competition in the AL East possess, the New Boss is going to have to assemble teams that can compete each and every year, not just at the end of a prescribed cycle. And on the off chance that misfortune befalls either the Yanks or Sox, those competitive teams can pounce and take advantage and maybe slip into the postseason.

But even if the team is prepared to pony up and increase the payroll and look at making big moves to compete for a playoff spot, they won't return to the days of being a perpetual contender unless they are willing to establish themselves amongst the leaders in spending, as they were in the back to back championship days. Even with a bigger payroll and some good fortune, it is entirely likely that this franchise will continue to find itself in the position of winning 84 to 90 games per season and sitting in third place in the division.

Which is pretty much what J.P. did for most of his tenure.

Monday, October 5, 2009

We need some time...

There's plenty to say in the wake of this season, and the myriad ways it fell to dust over the last four months.

We'd hoped to have some profound summation to the year that was, but today, we're just a mess of emotions that we'd prefer to keep to ourselves until we can sort them out into something coherent.

The Ack gave us all lots to ponder over the weekend on Cito, and we highly recommend a look there. Also, Stephen Brunt pretty much wrote exactly what we were thinking all of last week, only in a much more eloquently elucidated manner that we'd never be able to replicate. So you can read his take here. (Reading Brunt makes us hate our self just a little bit.)

As for us, we're going to stare off into the distance for a while and see if any of this makes any sense to us anymore.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Trouble in the clubhouse, Pt II: The Case against The Cito

Well now, part 2 of this epic seems almost redundant at this point, doesn't it? The players go public with locker room discord, and Ricciardi walks the plank instead. Collateral damage? Smokescreen? Cushion for Cito? Part 1 of "The Plan" (TM)?

It remains to be seen how the rest will play out, but one thing is for certain: the issue will not die. Despite the protestations of Cito and Paul Beeston, this is not simply the griping of a few isolated malcontents. The problems are widespread, as documented here in this excellent and comprehensive piece.

Cito's lost the clubhouse.

The case against Cito:

You can't fire the 40 man roster
I touched on this above, but the front office is fooling themselves - and nobody else - if they believe the complaints are isolated and a "non-story". They aren't, and it is. Sample quotes (see the link above for full text):

Vernon Wells:

"There are issues, obviously. If something obviously of that magnitude comes out, obviously there’s some truth behind what comes up. It’s tough for something like that to be stirred up and completely be fabricated."

Say what you want about Vernon, but his shittacular season should not come into play in this analysis. He's a long-tenured Blue Jay with obvious clubhouse pull. If Wells says there are issues, then rest assured, there are issues.

Aaron Hill:

"think there are some things that need to be addressed, yes..........I think everybody pretty much feels the same, for the most part."

If team good guy Aaron Hill says there's a problem, well.....

Roy Halladay:

"I've got nothing for you guys on that. Any concerns or views I have will be expressed, but to the right people."

Well, you didn't expect Doc to give it up, did you? But that's quite the non-denial.

That's the leadership of the team. Those are the guys who dictate the locker room vibe. You still think there's no problem? There's a problem.

You can't just stay out of the way with this roster
Cito won with superstar lineups. That, my friends, is no small feat. Managing egos and getting the most from each individual is a skill to be praised. Despite his critics, Cito was a master at running the machine.

The Blue Jays of 2009, however, are not the same machine. You can't just roll with "your guys" and let the chips fall where they may. It's not working. It hasn't worked. It's not going to work. The team needs active management and someone adept at finding the right formula. Cito seems either disinterested or incapable of taking up the task.

If you want to get out of a hole, stop digging
Cito's reaction on hearing the news that his players were unhappy?

“I’ve treated everybody with respect, so I’m not sure what their bitch is”

Well now, don't bother trying to make amends or get to the bottom of things, I guess. You're the boss, Cito, but your stubborn streak is killing you. It's killing the team. Were the players right to air the dirty laundry? Probably not. But it's out there, now, and both sides are going to need to come together if a contented medium is going to be reached. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Cito's all that interested in changing.

Jeremy Accardo, BJ Ryan, Travis Snider, Rod Barajas
This one's the shocker for me. We all remembered Cito as the ultimate player's coach - a guy who would go to the wall for the players, and consequently have them run through it for him.

What happened? Giving an obvious bullpen asset the bum's rush out of town, and never embracing him upon his return from exile? Ripping his closer and bullpen leader (justifiably or not) while still a member of the team, and further trashing him publicly months after the fact? Taking not so subtle shots in the media at the "coachability" of the team's young star - a player the Jays desperately need to develop into the middle of the order hitter once envisioned? Speaking of his starting catcher as an afterthought and announcing he likely won't be back before the season is even over?

The hell?

If you're confused, join the club. That's not the Cito that I remember. And that's not the Cito that I want to remember.

A coaching staff divided
Quite honestly, I'm not sure this is all on Cito's shoulders, but it's his job to pull together a cohesive staff - inherited or not. The divide between "Cito's Guys" and Gibby's holdovers is, quite frankly, embarrassing.

If Cito stays, I'm fairly certain that there's no way that excellent coaches Brad Arnsberg and infield guru Brian Butterfield will return. The front office had better think long and hard on those ramifications.

Offseason ramifications
The blame game is almost irrelevant. The damage is done. Word is out that the players don't like playing for Cito Gaston. If - and I realize the massive nature of that "if" - ownership does decide to open the wallet and enter the free agent dance this offseason......what player in their right mind would join this circus?

For that matter, what young player on the team would sign an extension with the black cloud of uncertainty hovering above? And is that worth risking for a manager who admittedly is only likely to stick around for one more year regardless?

And in the end....
...this is painful. It's painful because all we want, as Blue Jay fans, is to think fondly of Cito and watch him guide the team to success. It's becoming more and more apparent that is a scenario highly unlikely to unfold.

So where do we go from here? Paul Beeston better have an answer, because it seems like more and more fans are choosing to tune out than stick around.

The End Is The Beginning Is The End

That's all she wrote for J.P. Ricciardi. After years as the whipping boy for disgruntled Jays fans and unimpressed media types, J.P.'s finally been moved along.

Everything from now on is going go as swimmingly as anyone could imagine, because everything was J.P.'s fault all the time. This absolutely resolves all of the team's problems. There's nothing else to do but plan the parade route for 2010.

Or maybe not.

It reminds us of something that the Russians used to say: If you think the last czar was bad, just wait until you see the next one.

Trouble in the clubhouse, Pt I: The Case for The Cito

Cito's lost the clubhouse.

Of course, this happy happy joy joy of a season we call (Fuck) 2009 had to come down to this. It was inevitably inevitable, wasn't it? The team couldn't just finish up strong and send us into the offseason with a Jays fan's favourite feeling - faint hope - could they? No, of course not. Not in 2009. Not in this season.

Really, this is evolving - correction, has evolved - into the ultimate nightmare scenario for those of us who held the '92-'93 memories of Cito near and dear to our baseball loving hearts. We managed to (conveniently) forget about the absolute management butchery of '94+ era Cito. Yes, we forgave and forgot long ago, and the notion was sealed with the team's run of great baseball under Gaston's guidance to close out 2008.

But here we are. We've come full circle. The possible end of Cito v2.0 is mirroring the end of the first Gastonian era, and the happy memories of '92-'93 are again beginning to fade. Oh, we'll get them back. We'll always have those banners hanging from the rafters of the 'Dome. But now? They're in the shadows, man. 16 years has never seemed so long ago.

So who's to blame? If you're a regular reader of this space, you're probably aware that I feel fairly strongly about how the club has been managed this season. But in the interests of fairness, let's look at both sides of the coin.

Today: defending Cito.

Player entitlement: Cito don't play that
If you're reading this with any sort of interest, you'll know by now that "the Mutiny" centers on issues like lack of communication and Cito's old-school no bullshit approach. It worked for Cito a decade and a half ago. So why not now? What's changed?

For starters, the players. Gone are the days when the term "Manager" commanded instant respect. Gone are the days of players needing to perform to earn & keep the paycheques flowing. Gone are the days when all a player needed was to stroll into the locker room and check the lineup card to see if their name was penciled in.

Is that Cito's fault? You be the judge.

Players win games
It's been said over and over and over and over again that Cito was successful in the halcyon days of the franchise because he simply stayed out of the way of the superstar lineup assembled & handed to him.

It's also a fairly obvious truth that talent wins. Conversely, you aren't going to win without enough talent. Ergo, there's no way Cito could have pushed this club to the top of the division with the roster he was given. The question then becomes, did he do enough with the talent at his disposal? For you to decide.

The emergence of Lind and Hill
Self-explanatory and difficult to argue. If we can all pat ourselves on the back and belittle Gary Denbo for his role in destroying the team's offence pre-Cito, then by rights we must heap praise in Cito's direction for nurturing Aaron Hill - and especially his young protege Adam Lind - into legitimate middle of the order mashers. Fair enough?

The stretch run of '08 & the opening and closing of '09
How do you explain the extended periods of brilliant baseball Cito has coaxed from the team? It really boggles the mind that the team can look so unstoppable for weeks on end, then follow up those stretches by playing the worst baseball in the league this side of the Nationals.

Bench strength fail
A major point of contention between non-Cito partisan Jays fans and the manager is his use of the bench and, uh, "confusing" lineup decisions. Count me among them. I will also hypocritically declare the Jays bench strength to be abysmal - late runs of brilliance by Jose Bautista and recent play from Johnny Mac notwithstanding of course. We can't have it both ways, can we?

They don't call him The Cito for nothin'
Because he's Cito Fucking Gaston. Bad-ass manager of back to back World Series Champion teams. That's gotta count for something, doesn't it?

(Next up, part 2 - the case against. Buckle up, friends.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mutiny! Uprising! Unrest!

It seems as though the players in the clubhouse have had the same frustrations as us with their manager.

Rather suddenly, a bucketload of reports have come out indicating that the players have had just about enough of Cito Gaston, and are determined to see him turfed out on his keester at the season's conclusion. And if any member of the Blue Jays' playing roster is reading this, we say to you: RISE UP! Get him out of there now! YOU HAVE THE POWER!

We had a sinking feeling that it had become an inevitability that Cito would be back, as the senior management brain trust wouldn't feel like they could shitcan such a living legend, and because they couldn't conceive of how this craptastic season could be Cito's fault.

But now that the players have started an off-the-record campaign to demonstrate their displeasure, we hope and pray that this might just be enough to end Cito's reign of oblivious ineffectiveness and unconscious ineffectiveness.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roy Halladay is a saint. A SAINT!

There are many lessons to be learned from last night's 12-0 thrashing of the Pawtucket Portland SeaDogs Lowell Spinners Boston Red Sox.

First and foremost, we have seen once again that Roy Halladay is a Man. A manly Man who does not cotton to the foolish games played by snivelling boys around.

Roy is generally a pacifist and a man who usually looks to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But if you get cavalier in throwing at one of his teammates, Roy Halladay is a Man who will risk getting tossed out of his last start of the season (?) and his last start as a Blue Jay (?) to settle things. Bottom line: Roy Halladay will plunk a punk.

And moreover, he will use his surgical precision to hit your player directly in his ostentatious elbow pad, so as not to needlessly hurt him. Because Roy is a Man who knows that HGH simply would not heal the bruises caused by a Roy Halladay fastball.

We watched the replay of Halladay sticking it into Big Papi's elbow pad about 20 times last night. It was a good thing. It brought joy.

Randy Ruiz is otherworldly
Because Cito Gaston has spent much of the season apparently trying to clean his colon with his mustache, he seems utterly oblivious to the offensive skills of Randy Ruiz. And so, Ruiz took it upon himself last night to inflict a week's worth of damage in what could be his final start as a Blue Jay.

Two homers, four runs scored and a 4-6 night. That should pretty much earn Ruiz an assload of pine for the rest of the season, because Cito is an idiot. (Christ, even Drew at Ghostrunners has started to believe!)

Randy Ruiz is hitting a homer once every 13 plate appearances. That's a 50 homer pace. But really, who needs offense?

Jo-Bau is intergalactic
Lost amongst everything last night is the fact that José Bautista hit a homer for the third straight game, and his fourth homer in five games. If the Jays don't have room for him on their bench as a supersub next year, the Red Sox should definitely jump all over him, because he is a monster in Fenway.

It's September and all, but...
Jays sweep the Red Sox. That always sounds good.