Tag Archives: Roy Halladay

Don’t make Doc the new Sundin

What’s the difference between Roy Halladay and Mats Sundin?

Doc wants to win.

(Sorry, eyebleaf, I know Mats wanted to win, too, but stick with me.)

At the top of their professions, both guys were stuck on mediocre Toronto-based teams. Both guys were coveted by basically every team in their leagues. Both guys had no-trade clauses. Both guys seemingly wanted to finish their careers in Toronto. Both guys were subjects of hysterical trade rumours. Neither guy wanted any part of the media circus. And now, with the latest out of Doc’s camp, neither player is willing to be a rental during the last year of their contract.

If you can believe Doc’s agent, Halladay will approve a trade during the off-season. But if he starts spring training as a Blue Jay, he’ll end the season as a Blue Jay.

That, as ESPN’s Buster Olney says in the link above, means the Jays will only get two draft picks in compensation instead of whatever haul a trade would bring in. He also says it’s now “less than 50-50” that a trade will happen in the off-season because Doc’s contract expires after 2010. Guess he hasn’t heard that the Jays are allowing a window for potential trade partners to negotiate an extension.

Personally, I hope Anthopoulos gets a deal done ASAP. Doc will get a chance to win and the Jays will get something more than draft picks in return. I’ll miss Doc, and it would be cool to see him carve up Toronto’s opponents for one more year, but he deserves better than the idiocy Sundin had to deal with during his last year in Toronto.

Link Dump

• Griffin sets the record straight on what went down last season in regards to Doc and how Ricciardi didn’t botch the trade talks.

• No surprise here, but A.J. wants his bestest bud in the whole world to join him in New York.

• Think this Halladay situation is bad? Imagine you’re a Twins fan. Not only is Mauer arguably the most valuable player in all of baseball, he’s from the Twin Cities.

• Matt Stairs now has a street named after him in his hometown of Fredericton, N.B.  The street is right outside Royals Field, where Stairs got his start with the Fredericton Royals of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League.

• As Bud Selig gets ready to step down, Federal Baseball says good riddance. And they’re right. The way he treated the Expos was disgraceful.

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The only thing that could possibly make me cheer for the Yankees

If the Jays don’t pull out some kind of miracle season next year — which, let’s be honest, they won’t — and Bob Elliot is right that that Roy Halladay will follow the path of David Cone and Roger Clemens to New York, then I’m in for one of the shittiest baseball seasons ever in 2010.

I can’t root for the Yankees, but I can’t not root for Doc.

Maybe if the Yanks get Doc they’ll also unload Jeter, A-Roid and Pussada. Then I wouldn’t have to be so conflicted.

Fuck building long-term. Build a winner now so Doc’ll stick around.

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Doc should stay in blue (or why Vin Scully deserves another Series)

As I’ve said before, if the Jays are out of it next season and Doc is no longer a Jay, I’ll be cheering for whichever team he’s playing for (even if it’s the Yankees or Red Sox) because nobody deserves to win more than Doc.

But if Roy Halladay has to be traded before the trade deadline next season, I really do hope that the Dodgers pony up the right package to pry Doc away. It’s not that I really prefer the Dodgers to any other of the team — in fact, I’d pick the Giants as a second team if I had to — it’s that there’s something I really want to hear, and time is running out.

When the Phillies eliminated the Dodgers in the NLCS this year, it saddened me a bit. To understand why, you’ve got to understand that when I watch baseball, I typically listen to the radio broadcast whenever possible. Sure, I have the TV on, but most television announcers are bad enough that I’ll suffer the slight audio-visual syncing problems that come with streaming a radio broadcast through MLB’s buggy Gameday Audio service.

Vin ScullyThe Dodgers being eliminated saddened me because, when it comes down to watching teams I don’t care about, I’d much rather have Vin Scully calling the game.

The problem I have with most play-by-play guys and their colour commentators is that they don’t know when to shut up. It’s like they’re afraid that if they let a second go by without saying something, viewers will change the channel, so the announcers just spew out whatever insipid garbage enters their minds.

Vin Scully does not do this. Vin Scully works alone and stops talking when it’s more effective to let the crowd noise carry the moment. And when he does talk, the man had the knack for saying the right things. Just listen to the following clip. You’ll hear two jokers call Hank Aaron’s home run to pass Babe Ruth. Then you’ll hear how Vin Scully called the same play. If you don’t already know how great Scully is, you will after listening to this:

Scully calls Aaron’s record

And yeah, Scully’s been around that long. He started calling Dodgers games in 1950 — when the team was still in Brooklyn.

Anyway, the point is that Scully has recently said that he’ll call Dodgers games next year, but that might be his last. Faced with having Joe Buck, Chip Caray and Rick Sutcliffe rammed into my ears by the geniuses behind television broadcasts, I’d love to have the Dodgers in the Series so that I can hear a real pro call the games one last time.

As Jays fans, we all know that Doc could put the Dodgers over the top. So if he’s got to go, I really do hope he goes to L.A., stays in a blue uniform and lets a legend call his Series-clinching win.

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Coping with loss

grief

Any time a traumatic event happens in someone’s life, their mental makeup can be shaken. Personalities change: Normally friendly people can lash out at everyone and everything; some seek solace in the bottle; some lock themselves in their parents’ basements for even longer periods than usual.

Normally going through the five stages of grief is reserved for major events like the loss of a family member or the news of a loved one coming down with a disease like cancer, but it struck me recently that the Jays blogosphere has, since Kenny Ken Ken Rosenthal tried to convince everyone that Roy Halladay is going to be traded, really been exhibiting the five stages of grief.

1. Denial

Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of situations and individuals that will be left behind after death.

Stoeten of the Drunks got the process started when he said:

Fuck. Off.

This is not news.

I know those maybe sound like the words of a Jays fan fiercely in denial, but they’re really not. This is just fucking tiresome. How many times over the years has Ricciardi said—about not just Halladay, but any player—that “if something makes sense, we at least have to listen”?

Of fucking course he’ll listen! Is that seriously all you’ve got???

To be fair, he does make some good points as to why it’s not news and at the time, especially given the way things regarding Doc trade talk have gone in the past, but it turns out that this time, there was a bit more to it.

And yes, this may be a case of Rosenthal being the boy who cried wolf, but I’m cherry picking here to make this work.

2. Anger

Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.

The Tao jumped all over this stage, unleashing a professional-sounding form of anger. And you know what, I still think he’s right: It’s all J.P.’s fault.

And Stoeten pretty much nails it in a post he appropriately titled A Quick Word About The Most Frustrating Thing Ever.

Of course, if you want to see the worst side of the anger surrounding this topic, just read the comment sections of any of the blogs.

3. Bargaining

The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the person is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time…”

You don’t even have to leave this blog to see a prime example of this step. Let’s solve the Halladay dilemma by making the Vernon Wells problem worse! That’s the ticket! Right.

4. Depression

During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect themself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer an individual up that is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

Ghostrunner’s Drew couldn’t even manage to keep his chin up. That’s saying something.

Ian the Blue Jay Hunter admitted to feeling like his heart’s breaking at the thought of Halladay pitching for another team.

5. Acceptance

This final stage comes with peace and understanding of the death that is approaching. Generally, the person in the fifth stage will want to be left alone. Additionally, feelings and physical pain may be non-existent. This stage has also been described as the end of the dying struggle.

The Tao is the shining example of this stage, with two particular posts in mind.

One reminds us that “There are still some pretty good players – and people – on the roster of this ballclub that we can get behind. The Globe’s Jeff Blair hammers the point home within this great read on Aaron Hill.”

And the other (and proving that the stages don’t necessarily go in order, it was posted before the anger post linked above) is just a great read.

So what’s the point of all this?

Nothing really. Just something I noticed. Personally, I’m ready to move on. Doc’s a great pitcher and we’re lucky to have had him here for as long as we have. But if he’s going to test free agency after 2010, as J.P. has said (see MLBastian’s twitter if you missed that), then Doc’s got to be moved for the best package that can be had. The team can’t afford to let him walk with nothing but draft picks in return.

So tonight I’m going re-read Mop Up Duty’s excellent post on Roy Halladay’s career, then I’m going to go down to the Rogers Centre and cheer for Roy Halladay as best I can. And when he leaves the game, whether it’s after a complete game win or being yanked in the first without getting an out, I’m going to give him the standing ovation he deserves. It may be the last chance I have and I don’t want to miss out on doing the little bit that I can to let him know that I appreciate what he’s done for this team.

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Uncle B.J.’s Wild Ride shuts down

B.J. Ryan, I hope you find a team to play for that will let you pitch, even if it’s in the minors. I believe you can get your stuff back. Even if you’re never the dominating pitcher you used to be, I believe you can still be effective somewhere. And that’s why I think J.P. and Co. made a big mistake in letting you go.

You talked about reinventing yourself as a pitcher. I’m on board with that. It’s what you need, it’s what whoever you end up itching for needs. You said you need to pitch more to be able to reinvent yoruself. It makes perfect sense. I’m sure you know that the best way to accomplish these goals is, right?

Take a minor league assignment!

I really, really hope, for the sake of my sanity, that J.P. offered you a trip to the minors and you said no, forcing their hand. I really hope so.

Throwing away the Frank Thomas money was bad. Throwing away the Frank Thomas money and your money, Beej, well, that’s just abominable.

Throughout J.P.’s tenure, I’ve always been a supporter of his. He’s managed to build a solid team in a tough division with a relatively small payroll. That’s pretty impressive.

The thing is, when he’s got payroll issues, he really can’t afford to be throwing money away like he has been. The Big Hurt and the Beej contracts are bad enough, let’s not even talk about Vernon Wells.

The thing I do want to mention though — and I really don’t think there’s near as much to the Halladay trade rumours as those in the media seem to think — is this disturbing quote J.P. fired out there the other day while talking to the New York Post: “We have kept him from free agency twice and I don’t think we have the resources to keep him from free agency a third time.”

If the worst comes to pass, and the Doc leaves via trade — or worse, as a free agent — I know there will be temptation to set the Vernon Wells Hatred Advisory System to some unimaginable level. But really, don’t take the anger out on VW.

It’ll be J.P.’s fault. Not only for throwing the money at VW, but for wasting it on B.J. Ryan and Frank Thomas.

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In Doc we trust

roy halladayThe job that pays me (hint: not this blog) requires me to work inconvenient hours. I knew when entering the field there’d be a good chance of me working the hours I do, but I chose to do it anyway. Generally, this is not a decision I regret. Then days like today come along.

AJ Burnett’s return. The fans are going to torture him. The hitters are going to destroy him.

Roy Halladay’s going to school him.

And I have to work.

This is nobody’s fault except my own. But it has got me thinking.

Most statutory holidays are based around some sort of religious event. People are given the day off work — with pay — to honour their beliefs.

But what about those of us who aren’t religious? For a large group of people I know, sports would seem to be the closest thing to a religion. For me, it’s baseball.

And Halladay vs. Burnett, Toronto vs. New York, is the closest you’re going to get to the classic good vs. evil battle perpetuated by most religions.

So, is there anybody out there who knows anything about having a religion recognized by the government? I’d love to be able to take tonight off for “religious reasons.”

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Showdown at the SkyDome corral

A wild, immature pitcher with an “electric arm” travels north following the money. When he arrives in the baseball’s hinterland, he meets an almost mythical talent, a man who, despite residing in said hinterland and having no real exposure to the American masses, has managed to become widely accepted as one of, if not, the best pitchers in the game.

aj burnettAfter three mostly disappointing years in the hinterland, the “electric arm” cites some contractual mumbo jumbo to leave and again chases the money. This time it takes him to the bright lights of the big city; a place where the sense of entitlement is such that a championship is expected every year.

But a funny thing happened after the wild one left in search of even greater riches: The team from the hinterland improved by leaps and bounds, while the pinstriped lads from the big city are struggling to even win as many games as they lose.

And so it comes to pass. Tomorrow night, the pinstriped boys from the big city will arrive in the hinterland to do battle with the squad that has assumed the leading role of the league. And the man with the electric arm is scheduled to take the mound. Too bad for him.

AJ, the Doctor will see you now.

73394596CC025_Toronto_Blue_

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Thoughts on the weekend sweep

Everybody loves Aaron

Everybody loves Aaron

Friday and Saturday past were my first two chances to get out to the Rogers SkyDome Centre this season. Of course I used the opportunity to drink a little too much, but here are some thoughts from those two games that I had at the time and somehow managed to remember:

Friday’s 8-4 win (or The good Doctor cures the Jays of the runs)

• Coming off the dismal series against the Royals, I was a little worried at what was going to transpire in this weekend series. Doc’s first inning on Friday (specifically the Nick Markakis dinger) did nothing to make me feel better. Doc’s next seven innings, and the performance of the offence in general, relieved me of any worries I had.

• Crowd cheering Gregg Zaun in his first at bat of the weekend? Classy. Crowd treating Zaunn like he’s a Yankee after that first at bat? Horseshit. Whatever you think of Zaunn, this is a guy who loved playing Toronto and didn’t want to leave. He doesn’t deserve the hate.

• Details from the rest of the game are a bit hazy, but I do remember Adam Lind hitting a mammoth bomb to straight away centre and I remember that Scott Downs finished out the game.

Saturday’s 5-4 11-inning win (or Aaron Hill toys with Baltimore then crushes it)

• Going in: “I hope Rob Ray gives us enough to win.”

First inning: “Home run to the second deck in left? Rob Ray is not doing so well.”

Innings 2-4: “The Orioles are hitting this Ray kid pretty damn hard. This does not look good.”

Fifth inning: “Ray got through this inning pretty quickly. Hmm.”

Sixth inning: “Hey, he’s striking people out now! Must’ve just been nerves earlier on.”

By the end of his 5-2/3 innings, Ray had gone a long way toward winning me over. Like his ice-bound namesake, he seems pretty scrappy. Fighting through some awful innings in a major league debut to put in an overall good performance (4 hits, 4 walks, 3 ER), I hope this guy gets another shot.

• Hey, Cito, I know you make the team win and I like that, but I’ve got a question for you: Why the hell do you stick with your lineups through thick and thin, never pinch hitting because it might destroy confidence, etc… Why do you employ that philosophy and then, in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded in a tie game, you pinch hit for Overbay?

Seriously, does Millar give you something Overbay doesn’t? What, he does. He gives you a downgrade defensively when he doesn’t come through at the plate and the game goes into extras.

And what is Overbay supposed to take from being pinch hit for? Cito’s apparently got faith in every other hitter on the team, but not him. Or is Lyle just so mentally tough that it won’t get to him at all?

I don’t get it.

• Seriously, why do the Jays fans boo Zaunnie?

• Aaron Hill: On his way to becoming Greatest Blue Jay Ever. I’m convinced he screwed up that play at second just so he would have the chance to tie the game with a dinger in the 10th and then drive in the winning run in the 11th.

Sunday’s 4-3 win (Sweep!)

• I didn’t see this game, but I didn’t have to. With Scott (Captain Canada) Richmond on the mound, you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get. Opponents score three runs, Jays win. Bingo Bango.

Leftovers

• That may have been Toronto’s first series against the AL East, but Baltimore doesn’t really count, does it?

• Scutaro apparently knows a thing or two about which stats people should be paying attention to.

• Today is May 4. The Toronto Blue Jays are 18-9. The Toronto Blue Jays are leading the AL East by two full games. The Toronto Blue Jays are not going to be jinxed by me saying the P-word. Not today.

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The Sammy Sosa

Because real life has been getting in my way so far this season, I’ve not yet been able to watch a Jays game from beginning to end. In fact, I think I’ve only been able to take in a total of maybe five innings.

On top of that, the happier of the real-life distractions had me out of the country and unable to really stay on top of the goings on at the SkyDome Rogers Centre.

All I can say about the Jays right now is that I hope my return to paying attention doesn’t bring a crashing halt to their early-season success. (And then Doc takes his first loss in the first game I was able to even somewhat pay attention to.)

They say their national sport is baseball

800px-flag_of_the_dominican_republicAs mentioned above, one of the things keeping me out of the loop was of the happy variety. What was this distraction? A trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m not writing about this to brag — in fact I’d prefer that random internet people weren’t aware of my vacation habits — I’m writing because the Dominicans are said to love baseball. Wikipedia even backs up this claim.

Great, I told myself, I’ll be able to check out some high quality baseball played by people who are playing purely for a love of the game.

Did that happen?

Did I even see a baseball diamond?

Of course not. But I did see a lot of people playing basketball.

One night during the trip I was walking around the resort, drinking some sort of concoction featuring 151 and wondering if all the major leaguers from the Dominican weren’t from a different Dominican than the one I was in. As I was pondering this, I walked by a bingo game (they have to entertain the old people, too) where the guy calling numbers, obviously excited about his job, wasn’t calling the numbers, he was calling player jersey numbers.

“This next number is very good Dominican player. Sammy Sosa!” Then after a pause, “Sammy Sosa is number 21.”

I got a little excited when I heard this, so I went to order another drink. Arriving at the bar, I heard someone order a “Sammy Sosa.” I thought I might be going a little crazy, but it kept happening. Turns out that besides being a great power hitter with questionable ethics, Sammy Sosa is also a girl drink.

Sammy Sosa recipe:

Pina Colada layer (with rum)
Blue Curacao and lime layer
Grenadine layer.

Blend each layer with ice. Then when you pour layer on top of layer do it slowly.

If you want to make it even more authentic, I suggest adding a cork.

And that, apart from seeing a local wear a Red Sox cap, was the extent of my exposure to local baseball in the Dominican. It makes me wonder, if all they care about is Sammy Sosa, and nobody actually plays the game, where do all the Dominicans in the majors come from?

Sammy Sosa: Girl-drink drunk?

Sammy Sosa: Girl-drink drunk?

Shout out to Air Canada

Offering Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey as part of your in-flight entertainment options? Excellent work.

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