Thursday, April 30, 2009


Man, that KC offense is a real meat grinder for opposing pitchers, huh? After making Brian Tallet look completely awkward, they totally made Brian Burres appear to be a marginal pitcher with no business being on a major league roster. Lucky for Doc he avoids that whirring blade of humiliation and ERA inflation. I pity the next staff to face the mighty Royals bats, unless it's the Yankees.

I'm just brightsiding here, but hitting into six double plays and still score six runs will win you a game most of the time. Most of the time when Brian Burres isn't pitching.


  • Because I'm a complete shut-in, I'm a little jazzed by the news that the Mariners will be paying tribute to the '39 Seattle Rainiers (PCL champs, dontcha know) on Saturday by wearing Rainiers throwbacks (they should be similar to the '41 version seen here). I want one.
  • Related: Shame Lucky Lohrke won't be around to see it. Do yourself a favour and read Larry Stone's piece about Lorhke and his insane life. The things he survived are staggering; a movie made about this man's life would be a thousand times better than Benjamin Button (best Best Picture winner since Braveheart!).
  • Quasi-related (to the first bullet): Hey, tomorrow's another Flashback Friday, right? Bring on the embarrassing pajama unis! Who looks the most uncomfortable in them things? Bajaras? Snider (who's too young to remember powder blue road uniforms)? Votes? Anybody?
  • Completely unrelated: If I come across one more lazy journalist phoning it in with a story about "staycations," I'll be very, very displeased. Easily the most annoying and over-abused trope of 2009. Hell, it even made the list! Desist!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alright, I'm On Board

I'm convinced. Scott Richmond is a quality starter, a fine addition to this largely ragtag rotation. A lot of question marks, but right now I feel great about Doc, and pretty damn good about both Richmond and Tallet.

As for facing the unhittable Zack Greinke, I think the Jays hitters welcome the challenge. It'll be a shame to put a dent in his Cy Young hopes, but we all know who the rightful owner of that piece of hardware is anyway.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The Windy City, indeed.

Well, that was fun, wasn't it? I can't help but think that they should have saved some of those runs to support Burres today, though (you know what they say: "Halladay, then, er, Richmond, and then, um, Tallett, and then pray for rain."). With offensive output like that, and a few more boots by Alexei Ramirez, things might keep rolling.

I know it's too soon to start such talk, but with the way the Jays and Royals are playing I'm tempted to think about it: wouldn't a rematch of the '85 ALCS be nice? Revenge would be sweet.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thanking Whatever Deity Might Be Responsible For These Wins

Litsch, BJ and Romero on the DL, and still this team finds ways to win. One of those ways is named Scott Richmond, who doesn't do it pretty, but he does it pretty well. Not sure we'll be saying the same thing about Brian Burres, though. Yeah, I'm worried about that. I won't suggest doing something rash like ponying up the cash that Pedro's asking for, but if this team is still in first place in May, maybe the Rogers braintrust loosens the pursestrings for a run?

And now, because while I do love The Tao, I could never really get behind the Gandharvas (and also because Roberto Suzuki ain't my real name), here's a little something for a sun-drenched Friday afternoon spent waiting for a game (somewhere, anywhere!) to start -- 'Andrew' by the Crystal Antlers:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Will It Take to Anger Alex Rios?

Notwithstanding tonight's decent performance, Alex Rios looks listless in '09. Maybe tonight's game will prove to be a turning point, but if it's not I have to wonder what it takes to piss this man off. Most of the time after he weakly grounds to short or lofts a lazy fly to centre with runners on and two out, he looks like he's thinking, "Whatevs, I'm pretty. And I will seek solace for my moderate shame in the beautiful arcs drawn in the sky by my expensive R/C helicopters." I can't help but think he needs some sort of motivation, and anger seems to work a treat for Roy "Don't Cross Me Twice" Halladay. Alex might be wise to emulate.

So get mad, pretty boy.


Hey, let's get Aaron Hill voted into the ASG. Just for kicks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What a Weekend

Too soon to dub him Ricky "ROY" Romero? 'Cause damn.

Walkoffs, one-run games, converted starters and .714 winning percentages. Yes, it is a good time to be us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Apology

Since I added Rolen to the roster of my fantasy team, Dooley Womack's Seattle Pilots, he's 0 for 7. Clearly this is my fault, and I'm truly sorry.

On the plus side of the ledger, today we get to see what kind of a starter Brian Tallet makes. He's clearly a smart man, having recognized the void we've suffered since the departure of Sal Fasano, and stepping in with his own extravagant 'tache to claim the title of Jays' Best Facial Hair. Witness:

Mad, mad props to Ian at Blue Jay Hunter for that photo. Minor quibble, but I kind of think of the hirsute Mr. Tallet as more of a "We don't need no stinking badges!" kind of guy. Nevertheless, Ian is the best photoshopper in the Jays blogging community. Support your local artist.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reining In That Enthusiasm

There's a chance I got a bit ahead of myself last night when, drunk on offense, I declared that short of Rios' slow start things were just this side of perfect in Jaysland. In fact there are several areas of concern, as we all know, starting with Rios, but encompassing Money Earnin', too, who's looking a tad slower in CF, and at times a tad befuddled at the plate. Add the misadventures of the closer, the loss of the most experienced non-Halladavian starter, and the great probability that this .727 clip won't last all season long (if it did they'd end up winning 117 games, which is a wonderful thing to contemplate), and you are left with the conclusion that our current high can't possibly last. But it's also worth remembering that strong seasons are very rarely built on the backs of weak Aprils; if the miraculous should happen and the Jays find themselves playing meaningful games in September, then having these games in their pocket might provide the crucial difference between contention and disappointment.

And then there's Seattle, who were picked by most to dwell in the nether-regions of the AL West again this season, but who have started off hot. The same caveat applies to them: they probably aren't as good as they look right now, but with Griffey back at Safeco, Ichiro healthy and breaking records, and the M's actually winning, there are a lot of reasons to pay attention. If'n I were a Seattlite (which has been a sort of a fantasy of mine, off and on for years, for a variety of reasons I won't bore you with here), I'd be at the park every night, I think. "A New Day," goes the team's new ad line, and aside from conjuring unfortunate memories of a lesser Paula Abdul single (pray God they don't play that song at the park as the hometowners charge out of the dugout), it just might be apt. Also, tonight's Ichiro bobblehead night, so there's that.

Finally, whichever part of my head or heart is responsible for schadenfreude went into overdrive yesterday afternoon when the Indians helped the Yankees open the new Yankee Stadium by handing them a 10-2 spanking. Delicious. Whatever goodwill I experienced last season has long since evaporated. Once again I truly do hate the Yankees.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's a Good Time to Be Us

Holy shit, this is fun. If only Rios would remember what the hell to do with that stick they keep putting in his pretty, pretty hands, things'd be just about perfect. There are few things as brutal and precise as what Roy Halladay did in that bottom of the fifth. Cold, calculating. Jesus god, the man amazes. The fantasy league I'm in has a provision that your pitching staff must put in a minimum of 25 innings in a week for any of your pitching stats to count; this isn't a problem for me, because I have Halladay, and he averages 25.1 innings a start.

Elsewhere: Ichiro! Last night, downtrodden because he had been unable to help his (first place!) teammates from the DL, the Human Awesome decided to play catch up, collecting the maximum number of RBI in an AB. Still restless, tonight he attempts to become the hittingest Japanese man of all time. Impressive!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Working Full Time

One of the things I'm loving about this '09 Jays team (and there's a lot to love) is the fact that they play all the time. Last year it felt like 8 guys would wait around for another guy to start something. This year? This year everybody's been startin' something, old dogs and young lions alike. First pitch to last of the ninth (or extras, as is the case tonight), they play. Even the bench has been there; that catch Millar just made in the tenth? Huge.

One of the talking smirks on TSN's morning highlight loop said something like "People are breaking their arms hopping on the Jays bandwagon." What the what? How are arms even involved there? What's a bandwagon look like? Does it have high sides that you need to use your arms to vault over? I always kind of thought it was more like a haywagon, i.e. just a flatbed sort of deal. In that case, you'd really just need to do one of those things where you make a little hop and then turn your ass in midair, thereby landing in a seated position, no arms necessary. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

At any rate, my point is: that's stupid. People are right to be pleasantly surprised (so far) by this team's record. Surprised and pleased. Ain't a damn thing wrong with that. People enjoy watching good baseball, and right about now the Jays are playing real good baseball. When you watch games like these, you talk about it.

I'm not saying that when the Jays hit one of their inevitable rough patches that folks won't go right back to ignoring them, and I reserve the right to be annoyed by the prevailing air of fickleness. 'Sides, the NHL playoffs start tomorrow, so even if Lind and Snider continue to rake at bonkers rates, the JV rotation strikes our every batter they face from now 'til Victoria Day, and "Canada's team" racks up a crazy AL East lead that they never relinquish, the whole package will be buried behind hockey highlights or at the back of the classified section, right next to Family Circus. We northern baseball fans are strangers in a strange land. Deal with it, and enjoy watching this team right now, whether or not the softbellies at the watercooler are paying attention.


  • Sad to hear of Harry Kalas' death. I remember him most vividly as the voice of NFL Films, which I used to watch on Sunday mornings before the day's games began. His was the perfect voice to lend an appropriate sense of gravity, drama and import to sport. In recent years I was always happy to have the chance to tune into a Phils game on MLB Audio, just to hear him do what he did best. Kalas died in the booth, doing what he loved. We should all be so lucky.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


We are officially 1/27th of the way through the 2009 season, which might be a bit early to get excited about this team, but I'm not sure I can help myself. Holy goddamn, this is great. Like, really friggingly amazingly awesome.

Yes, BJ is off to a rocky start. But I think BJ's earned some patience. The Jays are in the enviable position of having a few fallback plans, but for now I think Ryan's best hope (heh) is to work things out on the mound in Toronto (or wherever Toronto's playing -- you know what I mean) and not in some backwater minor league town.

As a side note, wouldn't it be awesome if BJ and Brian Tallet hooked up to star in a buddy comedy (called BJ and The Bear, obvs.) about a pair of bullpen mates who got into crazy adventures? Can somebody less lazy than me please photoshop that? Here are the ingredients:

(Couldn't find one with the extravagant 'tache BT's currently sporting -- mind photoshopping that, too? Thanks in advance.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Afternoon Delight

Oh, yes, I love afternoon baseball, especially when I'm present (and snapping pictures -- you like?), and our debuting first round pitcher beats their debuting first round pitcher. That's a lovely thing to behold. Only downside being the get-out-of-town-for-the-holiday-weekend traffic on the DVP and 401. (Next time: train.)

Baseball on TV is good, of course (I believe I'll be indulging in some this afternoon), but nothing beats the ballpark, if only for the opportunity it affords to engage in baseball-themed conversation with a perfect stranger. In this case, Mike from Jamestown, NY, who found himself with a day off work and so made the drive up for the afternoon. It was nice talking to you, Michael. Hope your drive home was a safe one.

The only thing the afternoon lacked was a replay on that Rios ball-off-head incident. What happened there?


Incredibly sad news out of Anaheim. I hadn't heard about Adenhart's death until an announcement at Rogers Centre, which was followed by an appropriately somber moment of silence (even the videoboards went black), before yesterday's game. The BotO's thoughts are with Adenheart's family, friends and teammates. MLB made the right move in postponing last night's Angels-A's game.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Goodbye, Perfect Season

Haven't seen the Mockingbird's chart-y breakdown yet, but I'd say Litsch hung a few too many meatballs out there last night.

Oh, well, 162-0 would've only raised expectations to an unreasonably high level heading into the playoffs.

P'rhaps this afternoon they get back on track. Ready, Mr. Romero?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

First of all, that game was beautiful. Shame we couldn't watch it, Sportsnet, but at least we could listen (more on that in a minute). Purcey did about as much as you could ask (short of controlling a pair of nutty throws), and yes, I have accepted Scott Rolen as my personal Lord and Savior, with Aaron Hill as his favoured apostle.

Ryan? Well, "one bad pitch" (to Brandon Inge?) is what they're saying about BJ's performance. Er, we'll see.

But now, the reason for that image above... we're lucky to have Alan Ashby. I caught him briefly on The Fan with McCown yesterday, casually deferring the oportunity to offer a win total prediction for the Jays, and they man is all class, in addition to knowing his shit. I use the hell out of the MLB Gameday Audio, listening to games from all over the place -- Chicago, Seattle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, wherever -- and I have to say that in Jerry and Alan we've got about the best radio team in the game. Just a pleasure to listen to.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Wasn't that beautiful? I mean, aside from Doc's 7th inning aberration (and let's assume that's a blip, shall we?). Lind and Snider look more than ready, I'd say. We said we wanted offense, and offense we got. Rakes!

There were nearly as many good vibes floating around snowy Toronto yesterday as there were during last month's US-Canada love-in, and the home team delivered with 4 (four!) two out runs in the first. Maybe it's a bit early to project a 162 win season, but that's kind of how it felt last night. It was all lovely until a few amateur fans decided to make themselves the story. Stay home, guys. The beer's cheaper.

In the lead up to the big event, I was all a-tingle, ready to celebrate the Secular Christmas Day (er, moreso) in fine fashion. Snacks, drinks, the proper attire... and I had in my head the words of the poet of the Jays blogging community, The Tao of Stieb:

Certainly, if you are focused on the the short term, and the wins and losses in the next six weeks or six months, you may be disappointed by the latest incarnation of the Blue Jays. But for those of us who have been following this narrative word for word, line by line and chapter after chapter, this is an incredibly exciting time.

Now, we watch the next heroes step out of the shadows and into the limelight. And if that is not the fodder for the fondest of dreams, then what is?


Monday, April 6, 2009

Once Again My Life Has Meaning

Well, thank god that's over. Winter, I mean, though as I write this a crystalline gale whirls above a once again white ground. But baseball starts today (or last night, I suppose, if you want to split hairs), and that means life resumes. Our lengthy and unpleasant stasis has an endpoint: 7:15PM EDT tonight.

So yeah, you can formulate your fancy predictions, even in the face of an organization bent on fostering diminished expectations. Realists? In the front office? But yeah, probably this team regresses to the .500 mark, give or take, before surging in '10, right? Right?

It'll be fun to watch, though, once we're stripped of the illusion of competitiveness. That's a false hope that can only rend hearts asunder, leave them pulpy, squishy messes on the concrete ramps of Rogers Centre. Abandon that fool's dream and instead focus on the meat of this season: the development of our youth. And Halladay, of course. And, once again, can Rios put it all together? And will Vernon budge from CF? And then there's watching Rolen ensnare everything hit his way. Hopefully a full season of Hill. All that and a cuss-word-slingin' manager? Jesus, seems to me there's plenty of reasons to pay attention in '09.

Enjoy Opening Night, those of you headed to the dome. Bellow an "Atta boy, Roy!" for me, and down a $9 beer, won't you? I might make it down later in the week, but tonight it'll be me, a couch, and Jamie Campbell. Or Jamie Campbell on mute with a little Cotton Mather playing over top.


  • I'll consider buying your t-shirt, Lloyd, if it comes in powder blue, but not black.
  • My heart cries! Ichiro's ulcer bleeds! A galactic calamity. No Opening Day start? DL? The Human Awesome bucks in his restraints, needs to play! Cannot be held down! Will return to punish opposition teams, still collect 200 hits, run with swiftness, embody success. Rescue Mariners? Not as yet; his plan requires more time.
  • Another dream dies in Ottawa, as the Can-Am League abandons plans to run the newly-minted Voyageurs in the wake of ownership instability in Atlantic City. Too bad; I was looking forward to an evening or two at the park this summer, maybe even watching Oil Can toss. The good news is that with the glacial pace of decisions in Ottawa municipal governance, there will in all likelihood still be a ballpark around next year, should Miles Wolff and the Can-Am folks be successful in reviving the team. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tick Tock

Home stretch. I know, in less than a week we get this thing started. About time, because I've got the shakes up in here. That WBC helped to tide me over, but in the last week or so I've had the jones bad, checking and rechecking my fantasy lineup (get well soon, Chairman Mauer!), trying on the caps (frontwards or backwards?), and generally making a pest of myself around the house. Turns out my two year-old daughter doesn't really care who the Jays slot into the fifth spot...

Tick tock...