Tag Archives: Yankees

Jays fan in a Yankees universe

If there’s one thing that unites most Canadians (other than health care and complaining about the weather) it’s got to be the notion that Americans don’t care to know anything about us and don’t pay any attention to us. I mean, there’s a reason those Talking to Americans specials were so popular, right?

This weird insecurity does extend to many baseball fans as well. It’s most evident in the “why doesn’t ESPN show the Jays on Sunday night?” cries that are heard from time to time.

So when an American does pay attention, it comes as a surprise and, unless the reason is obvious, people usually want to know why. It’s in that vein that this post is, uh, posted. The following was written by Elise Myers, a Californian living in New York who is, somewhat surprisingly, a Blue Jays fan:

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Lunchbox Hero and the Safety Squeezers

One game can make all the difference, can’t it? Coming into tonight’s game against the Yankees, it seemed like people were fixated on the losses to the Red Sox, the slumps the Jays’ sluggers were going through and John Farrell’s seeming insistence on using Octavio Dotel against left-handed batters.

I tuned into tonight’s game during the eighth inning. I can’t speak to what happened before that, but what I saw afterward was pretty inspiring.

The bottom of the ninth. Down two to the Yankees. Mariano Rivera on the mound. This is not a situation many teams have been able to overcome. Ever.

Over the course of his career, Rivera had 566 saves in 615 opportunities. That’s a 92% success rate. That’s a pretty slim chance the Jays are going to win.

But win they did.

Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind: They all reached base. Travis Snider did not.

Escobar scored. Lind moved Bautista to third. Literally everybody’s favourite Blue Jay (if that’s not true, it should be) Johnny Mac comes to the plate.

Beginning the season, when the Jays were doing great, fans everywhere seemed excited about the running game and the willingness of the team under Farrell to take chances. Then, when the Jays started losing, the running game was the first target of many fans’ ire (and, in some cases, rightfully so.)

People criticized Cito Gaston for sticking to his guns, but Farrell does that, too. Last night, with the Prime Minister of Defence at the dish and down a run to the Yankees with Rivera on the mound, John McDonald executed a perfect bunt and Bautista came home to score on a safety squeeze.

Let me say that again: John McDonald laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt against Mariano Rivera to tie the game.

It was a thing of beauty.

Of course, asking for Rivera to take the loss in addition to blowing the save would be too much, and he got out of the inning. Extras. A good enough top of the 10th from Jon Rauch and the Jays again got a chance to end the game.

Ivan Nova comes in and Edwin Encarnacion immediately singles. Jayson Nix and Escobar proceed to hit deep fly outs, but E5, often slammed for a lack of hustle, runs his little heart out on those two flies. The man wanted to win, wanted to be the one to score the run that capped the comeback against the Yankees.

Two outs and Snider, who was 0-for-5 in the game had struck out three times — once apparently breaking his bat over his knee in frustration — comes to the plate. The same Snider who came into the game with a slash line of .151/.250/.245 and who seems to have been touted as a “bust” by impatient Leafs fans for years now.

But since you’re reading this, I assume you’re not one of the Snider doubters.

Snider comes to the plate and what does he do? He justifies your love.

Lunchbox Hero.

If you read this hoping for some kind of insight why what happened happened, I’m sorry. Sometimes when you witness something great, you just need to get it down.

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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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The Toronto Blue Jays are no longer a team to be trifled with

Yesterday was a good day for me in terms of being a Blue Jays fan. Everyone knows about the brawl (JOHNNY MAC PUNCHED GIRARDI IN THE FACE!!!), but on top of (and earlier than) that, Jeff Blair on Prime Time Sports talking about his article that includes quotes from Nadir Mohamed.

It must be noted that Blair didn’t actually speak to Mohamed himself  — the quotes were pulled from an interview another Globe staffer did with him — but Blair and McCown ended their talk by raising the possibility that a $130-million payroll for next year doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility now.

Far-fetched, I know, but it got my hopes up.

And then there was the brawl and my spirit was lifted even higher.

There are only 17 games left. 75% of this season’s been a severe pain to watch, but once the off-season rolls around, I know I’m going to miss it. I’m going to make the best of the time that’s left and enjoy this team while I can.

As for tonight, if I’m Brian Tallet, I drill a Yankee in the 1st and send a message to the league: “The Toronto Blue Jays are no longer a team to be trifled with.”

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The sky is not falling

BASEBALL/Yes, Scott Richmond had a bad start last night. That doesn’t necessarily mean his luck’s run out.

So far this season, Richmond has struggled against left-handed batters. Righties are hitting him for a .172 batting average and an OPS of .419, while lefties have a .304 BA and a 1.020 OPS.

So Richmond dominates righties and gets shelled by lefties. Facing most teams, this is not too much of a problem.The lefties hit Scott, then he works out of trouble by slamming the door on the righties.

The Yankees are a different story.

As MLBastian tweeted: “Yanks had 7 LH hitters (4 switch) in the lineup vs. Richmond tonight. They combined to go 7-10 with 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR against him.”

How many lineups can throw seven lefties at you?

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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.

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Delusional ramblings

sabathia-burnett

Unable to write off the Jays’ season already, I have managed to convince myself that Toronto has a shot at making the playoffs. I’ll get into why the Jays are amazingly awesome in later posts, but here’s a few reasons why the AL East is not as tough as everyone seems to think it is:

Why we don’t need to worry about the Yankees

People say that the Yankees “won” free agency this year. People are also stupid.

Any Jays fan knows that AJ Burnett has a history of only pitching well in contract years. Any Jays fan also knows that Burnett is a head case. And how’s he acclimatizing himself to New York? MacLeod says that AJ’s not doing so hot:

I made the trek into Tampa this morning to check out the zoo that is the New York Yankees and ran into a fellow scribe whilst setting up in the press box here at luxurious George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Of course, I asked him about A.J. Burnett, the former Blue Jays pitcher who bolted Toronto for the dough in the Big Apple.

“He’s an idiot,” came the quick response.

As for the other free agents:

CC Sabathia wanted to stay in California, but came to New York because of the filthy lucre. Anyone interested in seeing how players perform when they’re unhappy with their situation need look no further than Robert Reichel’s tenure with the Maple Leafs.

Mark Teixeira is the only signing that worries me even a bit, but you’ve got to remember that his is one bat attempting to fill the whole left by two (Bobby Abreu and jason Giambi.)

And there’s the little matter of this:

Sitting beside Rodriguez at the head table were Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi. Many of Rodriguez’s teammates watched soberly from the side. The high-powered group included Pettitte, Derek Jeter, A.J. Burnett, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Posada, however, left abruptly during Rodriguez’s opening remarks.

Cancer much? Posada couldn’t even be bothered to stay for the whole press conference!

The Monyeballers out there will say that chemistry means nothing and it’s all about the numbers, but come on. A-Rod is not Reggie Jackson. He won’t be able to handle the fans and the media in New York and mash up to his capabilities.

Why we don’t need to worry about the Rays

They are a talented, young team that has good (if not great) pitching. But Tampa’s likely to regress toward the mean a bit this year, it’s science. Last year, they had lightning in a bottle, it’s unlikely they’ll pull that off two years in a row.

Something else to think about: The last three teams to lose the World Series have failed to make the playoffs in the following year.

(Yes, we’ll just ignore the entire history of baseball previous to the last three years, thanks!)

Why we don’t need to worry about the Red Sox

BASEBALL/

They’re banking on Brad Wilkerson to cover first base.

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