Friday, August 29, 2008

OMFG Like Is It Rilly True OMFG?!?!?!?!

Seriously? Here I was all ready to go with a bit about how I love optimism and hope as though it were a tremulous pink flower, fragrant, precious, unique, etc. but even I have to admit that, heck, it's just about September and they've dropped 2 of 3 to Tampa and really, though I might try to squint at the standings and make them say what I want them to, it's just about over for this tease of a baseball team, but hey, at least they have a winning record, and maybe the reason to watch in September will be to see just how winning they'll end up (Cito's .500 + 10? Better? Worse?) and how the call ups fare. But this call up? Never did I dream!

Maybe that's JP's thinking -- keep 'em glued. I mean, I'll watch baseball anyway, at any time, contention be damned (I'm still tuning into M's games when Sportsnet deigns to show them, fer chrissakes), but now, well now I have to watch. Because either it'll be amazing and Snider will rake like Redford in that movie and we'll all think this is exactly what we had all hoped for, or he'll struggle and I'll watch through my fingers thinking, Jesus, Toronto, did you just ruin this phenom's career by bringing him up to early? Either way, high drama.

I'll miss Stairs like that badass uncle who livens up an otherwise staid family gathering by drinking too many Lakeports and talking to you about chicks, but then leaves early because he's got another barbeque to 'hit', but I'm comforted by the thought that maybe he'll find himself in the playoffs this season.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Believing is Art

Few things on this Earth can prove as consistently satisfying as watching Roy Halladay pitch a baseball game. It is like poetry. Terse, spare poetry.

I regret not having been alive to watch Roberto Clemente patrol right at Forbes Field. I regret not being wealthy and living in Seattle and thus being unable to buy M's season tickets to watch Ichiro's greatness unfold over a whole season.

But I can watch Roy (thanks, Sportsnet!) every time he pitches, and that is a beautiful human experience. I admit to perhaps taking his skill and efficiency for granted before this year, but things are different now, and I will never be guilty of that again. Cy Young or not, this is perhaps his best season, and even if Toronto fails to make a run at the Wild Card, I will have enjoyed 2008 for Halladay's performance alone. It is my fondest wish that Halladay should retire a Blue Jay.

Take last night, for example. Even when he got in a jam in the 6th, he was unflappable, and I never doubted he would get the job done.

How incredible is it to have a pitcher who surprises you when he doesn't go the full 9?

And now, if you will excuse me, I must build a shrine to this man.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another Weekend Gone

Well, damn. Sunday felt kind of like the long, grueling payback for Saturday's excesses, didn't it?

The '08 Jays are kind of like that party-addled friend you had back in your early twenties -- good for a laugh, and capable of some amazing stuff, but maybe, probably, likely, not there for you when it counted. Two steps forward, two steps back.

But maybe, like a bad buddy comedy, he pulls if off in the end? With every passing series, the odds the Jays can arrange that kind of miraculous ending grow increasingly remote.

Still, those were some good times, weren't they?

Marcum Demoted?

Wha?I'm beginning to suspect that the Toronto brass has different sense of what the minors are for than many of the rest of us. Are they teaching Marcum a lesson, or does he have mechanical troubles similar to those that got Litsch sent down (and, of course, his were miraculously cured -- we can hope for a repeat). Cheer up, Shaun, Syracuse is a hell of a town.

The Olympics are Stupid and I Can Prove It

Baseball is no longer an Olympic sport, but BMX racing is? Seriously? I understand the ratings boost that beach volleyball might provide, but BMX?

Oh, and congrats to South Korea.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The Jays are laying a hurt on the Yanks as I write this (13-0) behind Doc, and it feels pretty good to be a Jays fan right now. I know that there's a hell of a way to go, and that blind optimism is foolhardy, and that this club has done its level best to tinge all enthusiasm in hues reminiscent of caution tape, but I'll be fucked if I can't say that right now, I think this team has a real chance. Outside shot, sure, but maybe they're the '08 version of the '07 Rockies? Only with less God-chatter, mehopes.

I've been kept away from the laptop though I've been yearning to write about the team for the last week+. (Actually, the laptop was handy, it was the satellite TV that hadn't yet been installed, meaning that my only baseball fix came via the wireless, and that makes for a less informed commentator, I figure.) Last weekend? How great was that? Doc eats lesser men and craps them toward the cellar of the AL East. The Beantown Beatdown was a hundred different varieties of sweet. And tonight? Tonight is Valhalla. Tonight is a well-stocked paradise. Tonight is 2-for-1 beers night at your local. Tonight is your first time and your wedding night and the birth of your first and your retirement party all rolled into one. Beating anybody is lovely, but punishing the Yankees for simply being the Yankees is bliss. By watching that third inning, I became a better person.

I know, I know, this team is a longshot. A lot of teams stand between them and the postseason, and I'll probably be full of expletives and invective come mid-September, but part of fandom is playing the role, right?

Go Jays.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I know we've all said this fourteen dozen times this year, but this series is a damn crucial one for the Jays (as are the next several, while we're at it -- as the Reverend of Ghostrunners fame points out, 27 of their last 40 games are against the competition in the AL East). This is the kind of series you await with jitters; the kind of series that causes shitty sportswriters to invoke the phrase 'gut-check time.' The fact that the first game is a rainout feels just about right for this team this year.

Who ever said love was easy?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Holy Crap!

Three in a row! But barely! Rios boots one! Downs is hurt! And Wells cranks a grand salami! Holy!


Seattle dangles Ibanez in front of JP's salivating maw at the deadline, then pulls back, only to maybe, probably trade him into our division. Crap!

Holy Crap! The National League Edition

Holy crap! Talk about runs -- didja see what the Cubbies did to the Bravies in today's day-night doubleheader? An aggregate of 18-2! Yowsa!

But then, the Cubs had better reel off some wins, what with the undefeated-as-a-Brewer CC Sabathia intent on dragging Milwaukee into the playoffs for the first time since I began my public school education! Holy crap!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Have Seen the Future

If all shakes down right, the outfield we're seeing now should be the Jays' starting outfield for years to come. As long as, you know, Vernon stops landing on himself funny and Rios maintains a consistent grip on his stroke. But Lind looks great, doesn't he?

For real, major league rosters are fluid things, and there's really no telling what the starting L-C-R trio will be in 2010 or beyond, but if all three of those guys play to their potential (matching, or even approaching, career bests for Wells and Rios, while Lind becomes the kind of player we've all been waiting for him to become, and sorta like he looks right now), then I like the hell out of our outfield. I'd put it up against anybody's.

If, on the other hand, Lind fizzles, Wells continues to play tag with the DL (and generally suck it up when he is healthy), and Rios seems more interested in his neat-o RC helicopters than with crushing hanging breakers, well then we're saddled with a sorry bunch. (These either/or scenarios make baseball interesting, don't they?) But hey, I hear Shannon Stewart's available.

And about that... Keeping Stewart coming out of Spring Training made sense. The fact that it didn't work out does not ipso facto mean that it was a bad move. And just because Reed Johnson hasn't dragged the Chicago Cubs down into oblivion does not indicate that JP went with the wrong guy. The Jays played the numbers. In the end, all they needed was a placeholder for Lind, anyway. Lind's in, Shannon's out and Reed's in Wrigleyville. All seems fine to me.

The Litsch is Back

Jesse returns from the 'Cuse to start Thursday, pushing poster boy for Canadian politeness Scott Richmond ("Want me to miss the Olympics? Okay. The bullpen? I'll defer to your experience here, sir.") to the bullpen. Cito says that the issues that Jesse was sent down to work on (like, say, blowing a tire as May rolled over into June) have been resolved. We'll see. You have to wonder, when a starter hits a shitty streak like Litsch did, how much is mechanics and how much is mental. Might have been Litsch's youth showing. I was a "Jesse for 5th Starter" standard bearer out of Dunedin, and I think he's a number five guy going forward, so long as he can avoid streaks like the one he suffered through. Or maybe history will see that I'm wrong. Who frigging knows?

And Another Thing

They played a game last night... and won! Take a look at that box score. A thing of beauty, no? RBIs for Rios, Wells, Stairs, Barajas (3!) and Lind. Good lines from Marcum, League, Downs and Ryan. Things working as they should. Had they not been swept by the Indians (!), we might be looking at some real momentum here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh God, You Devil

This hurts. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

You can argue that Rolen's offensive numbers this year don't compare favourably to Glaus' from last year, and that the trade therefore didn't make sense for the Jays, especially given that Rolen has hit the DL for the very shoulder that represented the deal's big question mark. But then there's the defense. And then, then there's the fact that, as far as I'm concerned, it is without question more enjoyable to watch a team which features Scott Rolen. I hate to invoke intangibles here, but there's something about Rolen's head-down, mouth-shut posture, his workmanlike attitude, that rubs me the right way. Oh, and watching him play third base. Hot damn, I love to watch the man play third base.

Get well soon, Mr. Rolen. Because, as much as I'd love to see this team go on a tear and work themselves into contention, I'd also like to simply enjoy watching them, and I'm not sure seeing Scutaro at third will give me quite the same feeling (even if Johnny Mac is playing immediately to his left).