Monday, March 31, 2008

Home plate fan

Hi…you don’t know me, but I’m waving to you. Actually I’m not waving to you at all, but to my two giggling buddies watching at home. I’m also talking to them on my cellphone, if you’ll notice. Now, because of me, you not only have to hear Jesse Barfield saying insightful things like “He’s a real professional hitter,” but you also have to watch me desperately seek attention. Now I’m waving and talking to my ex-girlfriend. I’ll bet when she dumped me six months ago she had no idea that one day I’d be getting seats like this from my uncle who works at Rogers. Hey…who’s the dude talking to her in the background?

Now I’m high-fiving my giggling friend sitting next to me. You wanna know why? I’m not sure either, since I have no idea what just happened on the last pitch. I’m probably never going to have my 15 minutes of fame, so I’m settling for 9 innings of really annoying people who don’t give a crap about who I am. Make that 5 ½ or 6 innings, since I didn’t get here ‘til the 3rd and will probably leave by the eighth…I had to have a few Bud Lights at Casey’s and I wanted to meet up with the two guys I was waving to before so we could discuss my seats and how they’d be able to see me the whole game. Then I gotta get home in time to watch Keys to the VIP and see what Steve Kouleas has to say about the Leafs. Anyway, back to the game...who’s this guy pitching? Roy who? Do they still name people that nowadays? Holiday? Haha, I’m gonna chant “Doc,” all game long, I’ll bet nobody’s thought of that one before. Man, this waitress is pretty hot, and she’s gotta be impressed with these seats. Good thing I wore enough aftershave to drown out the smell of the sausage the old dude next to me is eating. Oh man, I just noticed that there are a bunch of mics around here, so you just might be able to hear me all game. “Doc!....Doc!...way to uhh….throw….Doc!” This is awesome!

Playin' hookey

I've always said that working's for losers, and on days like today(meaning, a day on which I would not have been expecting a paycheque in the past) that mantra actually makes sense. It all starts today, whatever "it" might be.

You hear a lot of talk at this time of year about "every team having the same record" and "hope springing eternal" and some other crap like that. I admit that there usually is a sense of optimism surrounding the fans of all teams, but do Pirates fans really think they're coming within Sid Bream's left foot of a playoff spot? Doubtful. In Jays land, as well, there doesn't seem to be much optimism. I think most assume the Jays will finish 3rd yet again. It's almost like it's been beaten into us that something dramatic would have to happen along the lines of an earthquake or a plane crash for the Jays to beat out the Yanks and Sox. Sure, there are some "ifs" and "maybes" being floated around, but really, deep down, most of us Jays fans assume the worst. And that's okay. That way, if the Jays do make a legitimate run(and not their usual teasing late season run that saves management jobs every season) then we can be surprised. Anyway, it all starts today, and the Jays have some ground to make up, since the Sox are already 500 percentage points ahead of them in the standings.

I just wanted to say...and sadly it's probably not a good thing that I have to say this...but thank god for Shannon Stewart. Todays Globe says this about Matt Stairs. If his injury is worse than expected, then Shannon might be playing every day. Having Reed Johnson and his whiffle bat against righties every day would have been as painful to watch as Troy Glaus walking to first base.(Oh wait...Troy Glaus never walked...good thing sine it would have been painful to see).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Issue resolved... least part of one of my issues has been resolved. Casey Janssen ain't proving anything this season, since he won't be pitching during it.

While he was probably their most valuable reliever last season, this is a loss the Jays can absorb, provided Brandon League and B.J. Ryan can get back to their own healthy selves. The Jays have also stocked up on unspectacular albeit semi-serviceable bullpen arms, like yesterday's acquisition, Armondo Benitez, so if an injury had to happen somewhere, the bullpen was the best place.

And somewhere in private, Jesse Litsch is jumping up and down and trying not to choke on his lollipop. Barring a trade or something else weird happening, he'll be breaking camp with the big club as the fifth starter. He'd also like it known that he's looking to trade his Bulbasaur card for a Charmeleon.

I should note, however, that since the injury announcement came from J.P, and he said it was "pretty straightforward", we might want to wait to hear it from someone else before we believe it.

Edit: Just to show how much the Jays think of Gustavo Chacin, despite this injury, they still optioned him to AAA today. Syracuse just got a whole lot sweeter smelling.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I got issues

So as you can probably guess from my last post...whoever "you" are since no one has looked at this blog from what my sitemeter says, I'm already tired of spring training. I'm looking out my window at a half-blizzard, and baseball is being played on some faraway planet that I can't even watch because I hate paying for stuff on the internet. I thought watching the Hoyas today would ease some of my anxiety, but I kept wanting to flip the channel over the ball game. Of course, if there was a game to switch to, I would have gotten annoyed watching Joey A-Ball getting bombed by Bobby Bush-League and flipped the channel back to being annoyed by Georgetown lazing away another turnover. Best to be annoyed by just one game at a time. I don't always sound like such an asshole, I promise.

Have i become jaded? Maybe. I was pumped about spring training when it started, but now I want it to be over. It's like the first act of a movie or the first chapter of a book that you know and you've seen already, and you want to skip ahead to the good stuff. Obviously, I don't know how the season is going to shake down, but I know that what's going on right now is hardly "the good stuff." There are just two many intriguing stories and questions with the Jays this year that won't be told and won't be answered in spring training. Sure, someone might say, "spring training's where it all begins, it sets the stage, blah blah blah.". To which I say, "Bullshit." Who were the Jays 3rd, 4th, and 5th starters coming out of the spring a year ago? Sure not the same guys who finished the season there. Don't get me wrong, spring training is a necessary evil for teams to get in shape and try out players. I get this. I guess I'm just tired of all the noise and excitement that surrounds these most meaningless of games, when there are so many stories for the coming season. Here are the ones I'm thinking of, in no particular order.

1. Young guys looking to improve on last season's success: McGowan, Marcum, Janssen and Litsch all have something to prove this season. Litsch might be proving it in Syracuse, depending on how the Beej situation shakes down, but he should get a few starts in the show even if he doesn't break camp with the team. Is McGowan going to start his ascension as the heir apparent, or is he going to burn out from overuse? Will Marcum keep defying logic and keep getting hitters out? Janssen doesn't even know where he's going to be when the season starts, but it's probably safe to say that if he starts in the bullpen, he'll be in the rotation at some point this season when the Beej is eventually back(more proof that spring training is about a lot of hyped up bullshit competitions).

2. Injured guys coming back: Wells, Overbay, the Beej, Johnson, Rolen-who knows how all these guys will respond. Johnson might not even end the spring with the team. Rolen hasn't been healthy since Gregg Zaun last wrote a blank cheque, Wells' shoulder wasn't an excuse for swinging at pitches over his head, and Overbay wasn't lighting it up before he got hurt last season. For this story, and for the young guys story, chances are not all will fail, but they won't all succeed completely either.

3. Rios-is he gonna break out this season, or is he going to be just another 25-90 guy who gets a lot of chicks? It's weird to think he's only 2 years younger than Wells. By the time Vernon was his age, he'd already put up an MVP calibre season. Rios hasn't done so yet, although he does have the infection excuse. This is a put-up or shut-up year, I think(and hope)

4. Old dudes-Matt Stairs squeezed an improbable season out his ancient Jasper-like bones last season. What's he gonna do this year? I have a bad feeling he's going to regress big-time, and the Adam Lind era might begin sooner than planned, which would be fine with me. I like Matt Stairs, but last season seems to defy all logic to me. He'd be a great pinch-hitter though. Frank Thomas creaked through as well last season with a semi-successful one, but again, one year older often means one year crappier at his age. He's a better player than Matt Stairs ever was though, and doesn't have to play the field, so I'm thinking with the extra preparation he's apparently doing this spring, he'll have a similar season to last, although maybe with higher numbers after getting better prepared for early-season play.

5. Managerial hotseats-If the team falters early, is Gibby gone? Or as my daughter says, is he Gonzo? Is Japes gonzo too? Who knows. Would they really hire Ernie Whitt as a replacement during the season? Would he get his own pre-game buffet table?

6. Jamie Campbell-with his hair, when is someone going to nickname him "Pubes?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back to this one...

So… there were a few formatting problems with the other blog I I'm back to this one. I copied and pasted it from Word and it didn’t put in the proper punctuation or the paragraph breaks. I edited it to fix those, but that didn’t work for some reason. Oh well. A good version of the article I posted on the other site is available at: Since nobody's reading this anyway...I'm not sure it matters.

I haven’t seen a single pitch of spring training, and it’s not bothering me at all. I like any kind of baseball, don’t get my wrong, but my initial excitement for the first signs of summer usually wains when I see the likes of some guy named Carlson pitching in the 9th. Reading and following spring training is like shaving with no hot water as well. Buck Coats, by all accounts, has had a fine spring…but he’s not making the team. Anyone remember Eddie Schunk? No? My point exactly. Just once I’d love to read an article about a player who says he “isn’t in shape yet, even for this point in the spring” and “really, I feel worse this year at this point than I’ve ever felt in the past,” or how about, “the team’s not looking good, I can’t picture us beating the Yanks and Sox this year unless both teams catch the Dengue Fever from Daisuke and Wang”

Thought of the day: There’s a lot of talk about the Rays being a much improved/dark horse/sleeper/potential surprise/etc…team this season. I have nothing concrete for comparison, and it could just be that I’m unwilling to accept a change in the universe so large that it would result in Tampa Bay being competitive, but I just have a feeling that the Rays are on the verge of becoming the Pheonix Cardinals of baseball. They’ll get this stuff said about them every year, and every year they’ll fall flat on their faces. I would enjoy this. If not, I’ll pull out my old Devil Rays t-shirt that I got when they entered the league because I wanted to be the only one I knew who had one, and pretend like I knew their juvenation was only a matter of time.