Sunday, October 31, 2010

A two-sentence post on.... mixed emotions

Especially for fans of baseball north, winter is the longest and most desolate of seasons, robbing us of all the pleasures that baseball brings.

So tell me why, then, am I anxiously counting down the days of the post-season - one that I am thoroughly enjoying - with greedy eyes focused on the Hot Stove?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 second posts - The briefest of thoughts

On Monday, we offered the briefest of thoughts (52 words!) on John Farrell, and it got us in trouble because of the lack of contextualizing and sermonizing. (That's our guess.) So we figured we'd let fly with another undercooked post, and let you tear away at it like hungry wolves. Kill!

John Farrell is good because: Monday, we said hiring Farrell was a good thing, and we got hit with a chorus of "WHY?!" So here's why: He seems smart, he seems to be actually thinking his way through his answers as he gives them, and because he has the humility to note that he wasn't prepared to take a managerial job only a year or so ago. The fool thinks he knows all, the sage knows that he knows nothing.

Having your cake and eating it too: We've always said how much we like this coaching staff, minus The Former Manager. Getting Brian Butterfield to stick with this team after he was passed over for the managerial job is just stupid awesome news. Add to that the Jays keeping Pappy Walton around, and the rumours that Luis Rivera will join the big league staff, and you're looking at a happy Tao. (We're also crossing our fingers that Omar Malave and Dwayne Murphy are back, though we'd respect Farrell wanting to bring in some of his own guys.) We can't actually remember the last time that we felt this good about the instructional resources that the Jays have at their disposal.

Tabby and Farrell?: Pat Tabler and John Farrell played together with the Cleveland Clevelanders back in 1987 and 1988. We're sincerely hoping that Tabby can bust out with some old-timey stories next year about how Farrell used to punch dudes in the bag for making errors behind him. Or something like that.

The World Series: We could bitch about how long it took to get this series off the ground, but those are wasted words. Suffice to say, we're looking forward to what we think will be a great series. Giants in seven.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fifty-two words on John Farrell

John Farrell pitched 116 Major League games, led Cleveland’s player development department (including its Latin American operations) to become the best organization in baseball, and oversaw the most eclectic pitching staff in MLB history in Boston. Now, he’s about to be named the Blue Jays’ new manager. This is a good thing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In AA we trust, still

I have to confess that in the early stages of the Great 2010 Blue Jays Managerial Search, I didn't even give the name John Farrell a second thought when he was bandied about as one of the 327 candidates on "the list".

A pitching coach? With no managing experience? Anywhere?

Farrell was one of the names that had me raising my eyebrows at the lengths Anthopoulos et al were taking this exhaustive process in replacing Cito (feels good to be able to say it again). I mean, come on guys, I know you're doing your due diligence, but enough is enough. Quit fucking around with these marginal candidates and hire a sexy (in a baseball way) candidate like Timmy Wallach, or Dave Martinez, or hey - Sandy Alomar Jr.!

Then came word that Martinez didn't make the cut. Wallach's daddy didn't event let him interview with those bullies the Blue Jays, apparently. And suddenly, the hot candidate (Alomar Jr) was informed he was out of the running. And Butterfield.....oh, Butter. Was he ever really "in"? Down we were to a pair of Red Sox coaches, the venerable (I have no idea, but sounds right) DeMarlo Hale and the aforementioned Farrell. And then.... we were told that Hale was told he was out.

Welcome to the Toronto Blue Jays, John Farrell.

Say what (the fuck)?

But, y'know, like seemingly everything Anthopoulos has done in the big chair to date - it makes perfect sense. Forget about John Farrell the pitching coach. Embrace John Farrell, the coach tabbed as Francona's heir apparent. Embrace John Farrell, the former Director of Player Development for a Cleveland Indians organization which, under his watch, was tabbed by Baseball America as having the game's top farm system (2003) & made major inroads in Latin America (sound familiar?). Look at where the Blue Jays are in their life cycle - look at the strengths within the system both at the major league level (young starting pitching) and in the recent amateur draft (starting pitching).

A manager with a background as both a pitching coach and in player development? Make more sense now?

But (you knew there was going to be a "but")...... can he manage?

And once again, like everything Anthopoulos has done, it's a move made with an eye to the upside. Perhaps the safe pick would have been a candidate with extensive managing experience (Baylor - ugh). Maybe a long-time bench coach with a history of minor league success (Hale). I don't think anybody would have been outraged had they gone with the internal candidate (Butterfield). But that's not how Anthopoulos works. He's shown that he's willing to gamble on talent with player transactions, and the same holds true with the selection of his manager.

So far, the gambles have paid off, and we've been given no reason to believe the same won't continue to hold true. Sometimes, you've just gotta trust the process.

(....and in the event the Jays can't come to terms with their man Farrell.....he woulda been a lousy pick anyway. Heyo!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Muy Gigante! The Clip Show!

(This post is made up of 94.88% repurposed content. I only have so many brain cells available.)

Via Twitter: I love this Giants team. And it's worth remembering that two years ago, they were written off as a team in disarray.. !!!1

Tweetered in response, by @JonahKeri: @ re disarray, could say same thing about Rays 3 years ago...things change over time

To which we replied (hours later): @ I think that there's been a sense that the Rays have been moving in right direction for 5-6 yrs. Giants were effed up.

Then, there's this blogpost, from Drew: In a Silk Suit Trying Not to Sweat, Hittin' Somersaults Without the Net

To which we said: Don't even bang unless you plan to hit something! (Subreference!!!1)

I acknowledge fully that the Giants' method of building probably wouldn't work in the AL East or anywhere that real baseball is played. Still, I kinda love how Sabean pulled together scraps from hither and yon and made a ball team out of them.

If Cody Ross or Pat the Bat had made their way to Toronto, there would have been cries of "Mencherson!" and riots in the blogiesfear.

Mind you, I don't know how much of this is by design, and how much is pure happenstance, but given my general distaste for Brian Sabean's signings (Aaron Rowand has yet to force me to eat my bacon), I'm assuming the latter.

And I actually disagree with Keri...I think that people saw the Rays as a team headed in the right direction for the past five or six years...The Giants? I would have figured them for last in the NL West.

So what does this mean? Your 2013 NLCS winners are the LA Dodgers. Book it.

So there: Now you're caught up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quick thoughts on the postseason so far

Hey kids! Have you missed your blogging pal? Because we've missed you. For reals.

Seriously, your comments, pageviews, and allegations of "fun-sucking" are generally the things that get us through the day. But now, the Jays' season is over, and we've been dunked and pulled under so deep into our real-life workload that we can't even remember what it feels like to not be breathing water.

(And now, a dramatic pause as you all feel sorry for me, because clearly, my troubles are so astoundingly profound that you wonder how I even make it through the day. And I get drunk from the chalice of your pity. Gulp.)

All of which is an excessively wordy preamble to a series of half-baked mad libs on the playoffs so far. Nevertheless, here goes:

Cody and Aubrey are dreamy dreamboats
Some of the Twitter ladies might find themselves irresistibly drawn to A.J. Burnett. And we understand, because that is how we feel about Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross. We haven't enjoyed a couple of southern-fried dudes this much since the early seasons of the the Dukes of Hazzard.

We have no proof of our prescience, but we actually thought that Ross was a great pickup this season, and were a little shocked that first Saturday afternoon game when we saw him in a San Fran uni. We realize that an OPS that hovers around .800 isn't going to make everyone weak in the knees, but Ross is an above average offensive producer who provides flexibility in the outfield. Most every team could use a guy like him.

As for Huff, his up and down performances over his career have led to us falling in and out of love with him over the years. We always seem to draft him high in fantasy leagues in the years where he falls off the cliff, and we stay far away in the years where he ends up raking. And we figured we'd steeled ourselves and were through with him, but watching him this postseason, we've found our reserve weakening.

Why baseball doesn't need a salary cap
Because when you have all the money in the world, you can't help but spend it on past performance.

Sure, pitching and defense might win championships
But mostly, it's pitching. Have you seen these rotations? And the bullpen depth? You can field a lot of Juan Uribes and Nate Schierholtzes when you have pitchers who can keep the score close against even the most potent lineups. And before anyone gets any ideas about sending some of the Jays' pitching depth here there or anywhere for last decades' DH, maybe we should think about treating those commodities as the precious jewels they are.

Texas has pitchers other than Cliff Lee
We think that the short-reliever-to-inning-eating-quality-starter transition that C.J. Wilson has pulled off this year is pretty wicked. Moreover, seeing Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter pitch a couple of times in recent weeks has given us a far greater appreciation of the Rangers' starting depth. We spent most of the season thinking that they were a bit of a fluke, but getting a better look, we think they could be the AL West rep in the postseason for years to come, even without Lee as their ace.

That's about it
The big bad blue meanies are after your soul hero in his soul mobile, yeah baby! They about to strike. They gonna get us...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How far?

With regards to the Toronto Blue Jays and where they stand heading into the offseason, we know the following:

* The Jays, under the direction of Alex Anthopoulos, made great strides in 2010 toward building their status as legitimate contenders in the brutal AL East, where one could reasonably assume the club is now potentially only a few seasons away.

* Anthopoulos has stated he will be aggressive in pursuing trades this winter, and is unafraid of trading coveted prospects for sure-fire major league ballplayers give the proper circumstances.

* The Jays are deep at a position coveted by every franchise - young starting pitching - both at the major league level and within the system.

* The major league "trading circuit" is shaping up to be intense this winter, with speculation surrounding players such as Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, and Colby Rasmus (to name a few).

Well then, given the above facts, it doesn't take much of a mathematician to put 2 and 2 together in deducing that the Jays could become involved in some pretty high-profile trade talks. The difficult question: should they?

Focusing on the above sampling of names, some are easy to dismiss, but some just might make some sense. In the case of mighty Prince, he does fit the Jays positional need at first base, the spot sure to be abandoned by Lyle Overbay (right?....), but there are just too many checks under the "avoid" column to seriously consider - at least for me. A Boras client with a year to go before free agency, sure to demand Ryan Howard-plus money. That's an albatross-potential contract, and ol' Princey just doesn't seem to fit the profile of athletic, multi-tooled athletes (not to mention cost-controlled) that the Jays front office prefers towards building a consistent contender.

But the other 2 names? Consider me varying degrees of intrigued.

Zack Greinke is a (soon to be) 27 year old pitcher with a Cy Young Award already under his belt, 2 years remaining on a reasonable contract, and the potential to be that undisputed "ace" contending clubs all clamor to acquire.

(though, I personally would argue that a deep, talented staff should always take precedence over one "name" guy, but I digress....)

The Kansas City Royals are also said to be willing to listen in on offers for his services this winter. So what would it take? A Halladay-lite package, perhaps, so start with Kyle Drabek and add pieces from there.

In the case of Rasmus, it seems hard to fathom that the St. Louis Cardinals would consider moving the emerging star, but given the very public dust-up with manager Tony LaRussa last season & LaRussa's near certain return, it might be something the Cards consider. He would also require a king's ransom to move.... but we're talking about a player ready to make an impact now, controllable for the foreseeable future. Again, start with Drabek as a necessary trade-chip.

Both players come with questions. Greinke has always had indisputably dominant "stuff", but only one superstar calibre season. Rasmus has always been labeled a future star, but whispers about his makeup and a less-than-impressed clubhouse following this season's LaRussa "incident" have to at least raise some eyebrows.

So should the Jays get involved? With these or any other players of this calibre who may hit the market? It would be hypocritical of me to bemoan the trading of prospects for established major league stars, given my past rails against the hoarding of prospect porn. Moving the likes of Kyle Drabek and/or Zach Stewart would hurt, but would be offset by the immediately-assisting talent coming back (AA ain't no fool).

Where would I draw the line? For me, that conversation probably begins and ends with Travis Snider. Because he is still going to be a fucking monster.

At the end of the day, this post is all about good times and meaningless speculation - of that I am keenly aware. But until the Jays make the playoffs, what else am I supposed to write about in October? Hotstove, baby!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome to the offseason

Wait.... what? The Blue Jays regular season ended two weeks ago? Seriously? Where have I been? (.... and that's my quasi-apology for being absent. What can I say? An untimely convergence of a busy work schedule, two kids at home, and not a lot on my mind would have resulted in baaaad blogging. Much like we have here & now. Self-heyo!)

(Oh, and as an aside, if you don't think Appetite For Destruction is one of the best albums released in the last 25 years, we probably can't be friends. That's just how I roll.)

So, yes....the offseason, which finds us all consumed in the search for the new manager. And I have to be completely honest here, friends - I have no idea how to feel about the direction the team should take, nor do I feel strongly for any candidate in particular. Does Anthopoulos look for his own Joe Maddon (you have no clue how it pains me to type that), or shoot for a "name" guy with big-league managing experience? Look to hire a bench boss who will accept input from the front office, or hand the reins over completely?

Much has been made of the team interviewing the flamboyant Bobby Valentine, and with the Mariners apparently zeroing in on another potential Jays candidate, Eric Wedge, the internets might just blow right the fuck up with speculation.

And what of the "Cito Recommends" group? Do we have to take this seriously? Does Anthopoulos? Don Baylor? Juan Samuel? Really?

Or how about the "hidden gem" department, which basically includes every bench coach in the major leagues?

Or the internal candidate group, including Butterfield, Leyva, Rivera, and Fasano?

(Hang on, I'm going somewhere with this. Really.)

But wait - we still have the "once managed in the bigs and looking for another crack at it" genre.

And the "somehow affiliated with the Red Sox, so they must be good" category.

If you're getting the impression that I'm worried AA might be casting his net a little too wide, you might be correct. I'm all for due diligence (finance nerd), but it seems to me that Anthopoulos runs the risk of missing out on candidates - like we've already seen with Wedge - as a result of ensuring seemingly everyone and anyone with interest is interviewed.

But again, I just don't know. You'd think I'd feel strongly one way or the other - Valentine! Butterfield! Martinez! - but I don't. Speaking in the vaguest of terms, I suppose I'd like to see a bright baseball mind willing to accede some decision making control to the front office (specifically, with regards to the coaching staff) with fresh (but not batshit crazy tinkering) ideas on how to run a ball club. Is that too much to ask?

.... and about the playoffs
If you can't get into Roy Halladay vs Tim Lincecum, I question your genetic makeup as a baseball fan.

Oh, and fuck the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brian Wilson walks furiously between the raindrops

Or maybe we should say: Brian Wilson tries to throw around the raindrops.

Because if there is one thing that we've gleaned from our first few consecutive nights of watching the Giants douchey bullpen ace, it's that he has a very similar approach to that of the Jays' jarheaded closer: Keep throwing shit off the plate, and pray to your Affliction t-shirted higher power that either the umpire buys in or the hitters can't help themselves.

Not to belabour a point that we've been making all through these playoffs, but if Brian Wilson had to face the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays with any regularity, we doubt that his stature as a Big League Closer would last for long, given their penchant for keeping their bats on their shoulders.

(And if we were handier with Pitch F/X tools, we'd back this assertion up with a graphy-graph. Alas, Brooks Baseball seems to be preoccupied with stuff other than baseball right now.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A One-Sentence Post on...The best aspects of turkey weekend

Here's something we're giving thanks for this weekend: The presence of our sports-fiend father-in-law, because it allows us to watch countless hours of baseball playoff action throughout the weekend - possibly more LDS action than we've seen in years - and still, Mrs. Tao has to give us our proper matrimonial credit for "entertaining" our guests, which makes this a win-win a blowout for your humble scribe.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bruce Dowbiggin is unusually suspect

There's a line we've always loved in the Gandharvas song "Downtime": "Some just want to smear themselves across something beautiful".

It's the first thing that ran through our head as we read Bruce Dowbiggin's column this morning in the Globe and Mail. Because when something kinda marvelous happens, apparently, the best way to react to it is to slap heaping globs of your grumpy old man goo all over it, lest someone enjoy the moment.

Dowbiggin's kinda pissed us off in recent months because of just how ill-suited he seems to be for the media critic role at the Globe. Stepping into the space that William Houston made a consistent must-read, he's done precious little reportage, while generally falling back on a grumpy old white dude routine, asserting that things were all so much better before when stuff was simpler, and we had two channels and a radio station and papers came out in the morning, and we were all happy to just sit and wait for our news and listen to very few authoritative voices. It was all so much better then.

Sorry, we just got a little weepy for a second. Or those tears might be as a result of our gag reflex.

Okay, let's not delay this any further, you guarana-addled, short-attention-span Twitter-gossip-porn-addicts. Walk with us, won't you, as we examine the turd-tacular brilliance that is Dowbiggin.

Halladay’s gem just what baseball ordered

Not "what the Doctor ordered"? Such restraint from the headline writer. How dignified.

Roy Halladay’s historic no-hitter was just the Doctor that baseball ordered.


Certainly the sport needed the jumper cables of Halladay’s gem...

Gems and jumper cables. We never tire of Dowbiggin's ability to mix metaphors.

after another season of declining youth interest.

Ohh! Declining youth interest! Surely, there must be a number that Bruce will quote forthwith to validate such a statement.

TV ratings are stagnant, baseball’s stars don’t transcend the TMZ culture, and the taint of performance-enhancing drugs has left its image tarnished. Fairly or not, baseball has become yesterday’s game.

Okay, seriously. What the fuck is this "TMZ culture" that you speak of? TMZ, or Perez or Deadspin or whatever are just websites that some people occasionally breeze past. It's not an all-encompassing way of life or a worldview.

And moreover: How many sports stars actually "transcend" into that strata of household names? As much as we love sports in general and baseball in particular, these interests have always been niche pursuits. Everybody and your auntie knows and loves George Clooney. Not everybody knows or cares who Albert Pujols. Much like I could not care less about Kyle Somebody who's a NASCAR superstar.

Oh, and we're still waiting for some numbers to back this shit up.

Halladay’s gem in a Philadelphia uniform is, in many ways, a metaphor for the demise of Canadian baseball, which peaked with Toronto’s World Series wins in 1992 and 1993.

A metaphor!!?? Perhaps a mixed metaphor? Or just a bad metaphor?

And really: Can we give it a rest about how popular baseball was in 1993? Given the change in the sporting landscape in Toronto and across the country, it's hard to conceive of a return to that level of popularity. So why bemoan it? That was an extraordinary moment, but you wouldn't say that hockey's popularity dropped off significantly last year after the Olympics because 10 million watched the gold medal game, but only 1.5 million tuned in every week to the 7 pm Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, right?

In this nation, baseball has been reduced to a rump of one MLB club and a scattering of homegrown stars such as Joey Votto and Justin Morneau. Its postseason is largely relegated to cable TV.

What in the fuck does this even mean? A rump? TV numbers were up and have been up for the Blue Jays and baseball over the past few years. And cable TV is not a place to which sports are relegated...IT'S WHERE SPORTS LIVES. Baseball is no more "relegated" to cable than Monday Night Football has been relegated.

It’s a big comedown for a sport that defined the United States and Canada of the 1970s to ’90s. Baseball was a trendsetter that grabbed a generation of fans, popularizing fantasy sports via rotisserie baseball. Revolutionary thinkers such as Bill James were precursors to the blogosphere of today. The advent of free agency in baseball freed the stars of all sports to pursue bigger markets. And filmmakers like Ken Burns and Ron Shelton mythologized the sport through films like Bull Durham, and TV documentaries like Burns’s Baseball and music.

Okay, so we see what you've done here: You've exhausted every bit of baseball's history and its pop culture presence over the past 40 years into one heaping, steaming paragraph, perhaps so that we'll see that all was good and happy before, just as you pull the rug out from under us. Give it your best shot!

To a generation of baby boomers, baseball was hipper than thou.

This is possibly the stupidest sentence ever to appear in the Globe and Mail. And they once accepted content from Rebecca Eckler.

First, Brucey, you're misusing the term "hipper than thou". It's a pejorative, and that's clearly not how you're using it here. And secondly, stop reducing shit to the motherfucking baby boomers versus other generations. That is the most tired line of thought perpetrated by LAZY, ARROGANT, SELF-ABSORBED boomers who can't conceive of a world that they don't define and own.

Go to a fucking ballgame, and look at the make up of the crowd, because you'll find that those of my g-g-g-g-generation outnumber the older crowd significantly. And there are kids, and snot nosed teenagers, and 20-something texters, and all sorts of folks. Look beyond the press box, and beyond your own shoes.

But as the postseason started in 2010, MLB seems a shopworn commodity. While its website is respected, MLB’s media profile lags behind the NFL, NCAA and NBA in stickiness with the celebrity generation.


Again, this argument is in no way backed up with any numbers. And "media profile" seems to be a clever way for Dowbiggin to hide behind vague terms in order to build his straw man argument.

Televised baseball has produced no media stars since Bob Costas and Pete Gammons.

This all depends on how you define "star", because frankly, we put a whole host of names into that realm. Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, Buster Onley, Ken Rosenthal, Matt Vasgergian, Joe Buck...Whether if you care for what they are selling or not, they are recognized faces of the sport amongst the cognoscenti. Plus, Gammons was never a household name beyond sports fans, and Costas made his name by being ubiquitous, not necessarily just as a baseball guy.

And moreover, the game has evolved significantly over the past 20 years, to where the LOCAL tv guys are the stars within their own market. Baseball is a niche, just as every sport is a niche, and within it are 30 other niches, each with their own star system.

Even Burns is kicking the body, blistering the sport over its steroid scandal in a new documentary.

Blah blah blah steroids blah blah blah.

Baseball’s failure to connect is often attributed to the steroid culture that soiled its reputation. In reality, the malaise can better be traced to other causes. Principally, baseball has lost the African-American community. Only 9 per cent of MLB players now are black. Even more crucially, baseball has been passed over by the NBA, NFL and NCAA in the African-American community, a crucial driver of the larger American youth culture. LeBron James’s move to the NBA’s Miami Heat epitomized that void, dominating headlines in the heart of the MLB season.

Baseball is 9 per cent black, in a nation that 13.5 per cent black. There's undoubtedly a discrepancy there, but is the marginal lack of interest amongst one population group is not exactly what we'd be hanging our argument on. (Though we suspect he's done so because it seems like a bit of an unassailable one...Won't someone think of Jackie Robinson's legacy?!)

But what has always bugged us about that discussion around the number of black players is the fact that the true multicultural evolution of the league isn't accurately captured. The Latin and Asian influence are nowhere to be found here.

As well, baseball’s video games are not as sticky with younger generations as those of other pro leagues, which introduce sports to the video/Internet generation.

Again, with the sticky. But we're not seeing anything to back this up. Is this because his kids prefer Madden?

Here's the real crux of the problem with MLB video games: They pulled them out of EA Sports, and now no longer have a decent single game that covers all platforms in the same manner that EA's Madden or NHL games do. So you have people split between two franchises (The Show and 2K), which doesn't allow for that transcendence that Dowboy seems so fond off.

There’s more in the generation gap. The length of baseball games – often pushing four hours – turns off kids who crave the NBA’s accelerated experience. Late TV starts on the Eastern seaboard mean postmidnight finishes. Soccer has replaced baseball as parents’ preferred sport for their kids in many communities. And the relentless Yankees/Red Sox obsession gets a bit old. Which is the best way to describe MLB’s following. Without new stars to transcend the culture, baseball is seen as your father’s game, a sport of yesterday.

Speaking of long, you've probably checked out on this post by now. If you haven't, or if you've returned after a solid five minutes over at Bangbros, then welcome back. Tissue?

This last paragraph is once again a lot of anecdotes that are not connected, but are forcefully mashed together into one heap. All of it amounts to a bunch of vague, unsubstantiated observations used as a club to hammer away at a point where there is no other solid argument available.

Which, to be frank, is what we'd expect from one of those dirty blogging tweeter TMZ types in their basements.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's hard to be bitter after a sweet night like that

If you read our carefully through our whingeing and griping yesterday, you'll see that there was no doubt in our mind that Roy Halladay was capable of a stupendous performance like yesterday's no-hitter of the Reds. And it's not that we wished any ill will towards our one-time hero. (Okay, not much ill will, anyways.)

The crux of it is this: It's a lot easier to get on with life after Doc by just ignoring him and pretending not to notice much of what he's up to. Moreover, it's like daggers to our Blue Jay loving heart every time we hear about Roy's "11-year wait" to get into the playoffs, and how he's finally getting the opportunity that he so richly deserves. How it was so sad that he never got the chance to pitch this sort of game before, and how it is so great that he was able to pick this particular situation to get himself over the top.

Hearing that shit just makes us want leap off a cliff.

And if we're being honest here, we'll confess to being more than a little jealous that our Roy is suddenly becoming everyone else's Roy as well.

But, as our Twitter pal MK Piatkowski quite rightly pointed out last night, we Blue Jays fans had our moment of swiping another franchise's icon away so that he could finally taste glory, so Doc's moment in the spotlight might well be a measured turnabout for what we did to the Milwaukee Brewers with Paul Molitor back in 1993.

In the end, it's really not about us and our sour patch of hurt feelings. It's about watching a guy who gave you so much as a fan continue to burnish his reputation, and make the world see what an extraordinary talent he is. And on that level, there's a certain contentment in seeing Doc shine.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We're happy for Doc. Really.

When Roy Halladay toes the rubber sometime around 5 pm this afternoon, we're sure that we'll feel a twinge of...well...something. Maybe it's anticipatory nostalgia, or maybe it's reluctant happiness for him.

Whatever. Doc set himself up for this moment, and got the postseason berth that he wanted, so we're certain that this means that all is right in the world, and starving children shall be fed, and all that fantastically great stuff. Hooray. Have fun proving that you and your band of Phillies are the class of the Quadruple-A circuit.

This is not unlike the feeling we got whilst attending the wedding of a long-time ex-girlfriend. We thought that the right thing to do was to go and celebrate her, and oh, joy, isn't this swell that everybody gets what they want. But deep down, there's the less-civilized version of your pal Tao who's thinking: "Fuck this noise. Go. Enjoy your fucking life. And fuck you, while you're at it."

So, yeah. Knock 'em dead Doc. Show the world how great you are. And go fuck yourself while you're at it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rosterbatory ramblings

Hey, rosterbation!

Believe it or not, we didn't have much in mind when we casually tossed out a notion on Twitter that Kyle Drabek might not make a return trip to Toronto as a Blue Jay. But now that we've seen what a reaction that we received, it strikes us that stirring the pot is kinda fun. Move over, Damien Cox and Steve Simmons! There's a new coy/cynical/smug shit-disturber in town! Idle speculation kills more trees!!!1

We can't precisely recall who had put the notion in our head that he might be in play, but given what happened with Bret Wallace ("Where's Wallace, String! Where's Wallace!") this summer, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Jays most marketable trade chip move in the offseason.

Which is not to say that we have any sense of what the Jays would be looking for, or who they might target, or what their offseason agenda might be. Although if the Gose trade is anything to go on, we could see AA moving today's future front of the rotation arm for tomorrow's future ace, dealing a 2011 promise for a stronger 2013. (In theory.)

We actually don't think that moving Drabek is the smartest move for the Jays this winter, and we'd prefer to see him as the fourth or fifth starter next season. But the most positive note that we can take out of this hot stove wankery is that the Jays have plenty of good options next season to help build a stronger rotation.

A rotation which, it should be noted, shaved .36 off its starters' ERA this year, even without what's-his-ginger-beard there to lead the way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hugs all around on the close of another year

So, hands up those of you who had 85 wins in the one?

The Jays finish at 85-77, ten games out of the playoffs and 11 back of the AL East title. They never lost more than five games in a row, and never fell more than two games below .500.

We'll have the full winter to go back through the entrails of the season that has passed - and with six months of darkness and cold, you gotta know that we're going to want to think back kindly on the warmer days - so we're not going to go through a full debrief at this point.

But if we could sum it all up in one thought, it would be this: This season was never boring, rarely discouraging, and often enthralling. And as we enter into the long off-season, we are filled with more anticipation for the year to come than at any time in recent memory.

Thank you cards for everyone
We're not sure what Emily Post would say about forgoing hand-written thank you cards in favour of a quick note at the bottom of a blog post, but we also doubt that she'd care for much of what we think of as polite and courteous. But seriously, fuck that bitch.

All this to say: Thank you all once again for reading, commenting, following, tweeting and retweeting, emailing, sharing your thoughts and generally encouraging me (us!) to keep on keeping on with this blog. I can tell you that this past year has offered me more personal and professional challenges that I had anticipated, and there were moments where I felt as though the blog had to take a backseat to what seem in those moments to be more pressing matters. But you readers/commenters were always on my mind, and I truly appreciate your ongoing patronage.

Also, big bro hugs to The Ack, without whom this blog would likely have devolved into an angry screed read only by myself and my team of therapists. Ack is pretty modest about his contributions around here, but I seriously couldn't keep this blog going without his help. His posts this season were amongst the most thoughtful and thought-provoking that I've read anywhere this season, and I feel lucky to have him as a contributor.

To one and all, I hope you had as much fun as I did this year.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A two-sentence post on.... the end of the line

I'm sure at some point shortly after game 162's conclusion I'll have a post of epic proportions in me, lamenting the end of (arguably) the most entertaining non-contending Blue Jay season in recent memory.

But for now, let's just sit back and watch the team slug the ball all over (& out of) the goddamned ballpark one last time, shall we?

Friday, October 1, 2010

That's a nice pitchers park you built, Minny...

...It's a shame for you that the Jays had to go gangsterin' all over it last night and inflate its park factor in the space of a few innings.

If you're like us, you might have found yourself thinking halfway through the Jays' thorough thrashing of the Twins that there's no way that the Twins could ever hang in the AL East. And moreover, that you're sick of all this horseshit about how the Twins play the game "the right way." And that right way, so far as we could tell from last year's ALDS, involves running the bases with the wild abandon of chickens escaping from their coop; throwing the ball hither and yon around the park, but to no one in particular; and generally slapping at the ball and hoping for the best.

And all we can say to those stuffed shirt Twins boosters (in the MSM, in particular) is have fun coming up with your excuses for your early exit again this year.

Max Power!
José Bautista's latest bombs haven't shown up on the always entertaining Hit Tracker website, so we don't have the height and distance and angle and speed of last night's homers. (But if you wanna look, check here. BOOM!) We're not sure which we found more impressive: The grand slam moonshot or Bautista's first opposite field dinger for his 54th of the season.

Either way, it will be an immensely satisfying exhibition to dream about as we head into the long off season to come. And it gives us hope that the show will not stop any time soon. Because we're always happiest when our Dinger Monkey dances on command. More dingers, Dinger Monkey!

(And none of this even starts in on Travis Snider's emergence over the past few weeks. Which has been pretty fun to watch. Dingers of C.C. still count, even if they happen to land in September.)

Friday Rock Out - The Hold Steady's "Chips Ahoy!"
Hey man, we don't wanna bag on Minnesota too much, because we feel a bit of a kinship to them. (Okay, that might be a bit disingenuous. But go with it. We're trying to be nice. And we have a weak spot for Jason Kubel, there's that.)

Anyways, here are some of Minnesota's favourite sons...and since we couldn't find a Replacements song where the embedding was disabled, this isn't a bad second choice.

Enjoy the last weekend of the baseball regular season, kids.