Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seinfeld Jays: The Blue Jays as Seinfeld Characters


A few weeks ago, I proclaimed on Twitter that if the Blue Jays won a series at Tropicana Field, I would write a 1,000 word article on a topic of choice. To my surprise, the Blue Jays won their first series in Tampa Bay since 2007. Here is my penance for that bet.

A baseball team is a cast of characters; a mash-up of many different personalities all united for one common goal ... and that's to win.

A television show also is a cast of characters, but in the case of the classic comedy Seinfeld, the goal for its main characters was to cause as much pain and torment as possible.

It's a given that most of the characters on Seinfeld displayed neurotic tendencies, so I'm not connotating that any of the Blue Jays players are disturbed individuals by any means.

However, but for the purposes of this post, some of the Blue Jays may be linked to people they otherwise have no business being compared to. Evidently, this exercise turned out to be much more difficult than I imagined, so there are a limited number of comparisons.

Jose Bautista as Jerry

Jerry Seinfeld is of course the star of the show "Seinfeld", and for all intents and purposes, Jose Bautista is the star of the show when it comes to the Toronto Blue Jays. They are both the face of their respective franchises.

Jerry is a comedian by trade, and on occasion, Bautista has also shown that he too has a sense of humour. Despite being kind of self-obsessed, Jerry overall comes off as a likeable guy. Bautista doesn't come without his faults either, but the fans still love him.

The bottom line is both guys are very good at what they do; Jerry tells jokes, Jose hits home runs. And of course, both can seemingly grow a beard and/or moustache within a matter of mere hours.

Everyone knows that every time you shave, it comes in thicker, fuller and darker.

Brett Lawrie as Kramer

Erratic, overly energetic, unpredictable, at times perhaps a little too "amped up" ... sound familiar? I wouldn't expect Brett Lawrie to come up with any harebrained schemes any time soon, but he and Cosmo Kramer display many of the same personality traits.

At any given moment, Brett Lawrie may have 2-3 Red Bulls coursing through his system, and judging by the way he barges through Jerry's apartment door, you'd have to assume that Kramer knocks back more than a few Red Bulls himself.

I also considered Jimmy as a potential comparison for Brett Lawrie, as I'm sure he'd likely be the only member on the Blue Jays roster to refer to himself in the third person.

John Gibbons as Mr. Kruger

Aside from the fact that they kind of look the same (and have nearly identical facial expressions above), John Gibbons and Mr. Kruger (the president of Kruger Industrial Smoothing) sort of have identical laxed attitudes when it comes to running a team.

I envision Gibby as a very laid back kind of man, but every so often there's just something that sets him off like a Roman Candle (see the Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand incidents).

To be honest, I'm not really sure what Kruger Industrial Smoothing does, and in the same sense, the exact duties of a Major League manager aren't entirely clear either. But when it doubt, just make a sizable donation to the "Human Fund".

Colby Rasmus as David Puddy

During his time in Toronto, Colby Rasmus has become one of the most beloved Blue Jays players. God love Colby, but he seems like a simple man. Enter David Puddy.

Puddy quickly made his way up the ranks at the dealership as a former grease monkey and found himself high atop the hill as a car salesman. Rasmus also quickly made his way up the ranks as one of the most talented centre fielders in baseball.

We kind also kind of hearken David Puddy's on-again/off-again relationship with Elaine Benes to Colby Rasmus' relationship with the Blue Jays. However unlike Puddy and Elaine, I don't get the sense that Colby and the Blue Jays will eventually be together forever.

Also, through thick and thin, Puddy is a devout New Jersey Devils fan. And though his ride with the Blue Jays has been a bit of a tumultuous one, Colby has remained a "fan" of the Blue Jays (or at least his teammates).

One last thing; Colby Rasmus has an apparent fondness for chicken hot dogs and David Puddy loves himself some Arby's. Which proves there's no greater common bond than an affinity for processed meats.

R.A. Dickey as Tim Whatley

R.A. Dickey has a beard. The early incarnations of everybody's favourite dentist had a beard ... that's about all I've got. Except that Whatley has a doctorate in dentistry and Dickey received an honourary degree from the University of Toronto.

Edwin Encarnacion as Keith Hernandez

What a stretch, right? Comparing a baseball player to a baseball player. With Edwin Encarnacion and Keith Hernandez, it isn't as simple as apples to apples.

Aside from them both being incredible baseball specimens, they actually have much more in common than one would think. Much like Hernandez, Edwin quietly goes about his business in an orderly fashion.

Keith Hernandez might possibly be the most unselfish character in Seinfeld history, and the same redeeming quality goes for Edwin Encarnacion and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jose Reyes as Bob Cobb AKA "The Maestro"

Admittedly, this is where it starts to be a stretch to find similarities between the Blue Jays and Seinfeld. The Maestro is of course a talented conductor and beyond being an All-Star shortstop, Jose Reyes has a budding music career.

Although his real name is Bob Cobb, everyone is supposed to address him as "The Maestro". One wonders if that's the same case with Jose Reyes and his musical persona, "La Melaza".

Mark Buehrle as Mr. Ross

Not much is really known about the very secretive Henry Ross, but gives the impression that all he really wants is to be left with his thoughts and retreat to his cabin in the woods. The same goes for Mark Buehrle, except he'd bring along his pitbulls.

Munenori Kawasaki as Kenny Bania

Kawasaki as Bania? Hear me out on this one; both clearly aren't the most talented guys at what they do, but boy do they ever try hard as anybody. Kenny Bania looks up to Jerry as his mentor, and Munenori Kawasaki looks up to ... well ... everybody.

Sure, they have their faults, but for all that they do, both Bania and Kawasaki are actually pretty likeable people. Their acts may not kill with traditional audiences, but they're not totally horrible either. Kind of like Ovaltine ... or should I say ... Roundtine?

J.A. Happ as Milos

The crux of Milos' character is of course that he's convinced people he's very good at something, when he in fact he isn't. And J.A. Happ? Well ...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday: Kathie Becomes a Blue Jays Booster on "Kids in the Hall"


Sometimes it's easy to forget exactly how big the Toronto Blue Jays were in the early 90's. The team basically transcended all boundaries and showed up everywhere; on cassettes and CD's, magazines, every sort of paraphernalia imaginable, and even television.

And while many of us grew up cheering for those World Series Champion teams, so too did one particular character from a Canadian cult classic TV show. For this week's Flashback Friday, we take a look back at the "Becoming a Booster" sketch from Kids in the Hall.

In it, the quirky and yet loyal office dweller Kathie describes how she became a fan of the boys of summer, the Toronto Blue Jays. Admittedly, one of the things she likes most about the team is their "big bats".

Kathie also shares her particular attraction to then Blue Jays third baseman, Kelly Gruber. So much so, that she has a picture of him on her desk. In many subsequent Kathie sketches, you can spot numerous pieces of Blue Jays strewn around the office.

Kathie reminds us that although home runs may be flashy, there's nothing wrong with aspiring to be a solid single.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Game in GIFs: Blue Jays 8, Cubs 0


This may or may not be a one-off feature, but it just so happens this evening's game had plenty of GIFable moments. The game was memorable for a slew of reasons, Marcus Stroman being the main one.

But the game nearly had a disastrious start as the Blue Jays young star narrowly avoided being struck in the head by a line drive.

And then after he dodged that bullet, he decided to put on a fielding clinic. A very Brett Lawrie/Derek Jeter-esque jump throw.

Marcus Stroman wasn't the only one who had a banner evening, as Jose Bautista collected his 200th home run in a Blue Jays uniform. And he hit it in a rather convincing fashion into the 200 level of the Rogers Centre.

Bautista joins the illustrious company of George Bell, Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells as the only others to have more than 200 home runs as a Blue Jay.

And since he's been spending an awful lot of time on the bench lately, Colby Rasmus kept himself occupied during the game by doing the entire OK Blue Jays dance routine.

Marcus Stroman's two-seam fastball is one of his best pitches, but the bottom just absolutely drops out of his spike curveball.

And then Ryan Goins punctuated the end of the game by finishing off the Cubs with this incredible barehanded leaping throw.

Image courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

3 Up 3 Down: Melky's Injury, Colby the Pinch Hitter and Bautista's On Fire


It wasn't enough that the Blue Jays blew the game in dramatic fashion on Friday evening against the Red Sox; they also happened to lose one of their best hitters for the rest of the season. Basically, the equivalent of a punch to the gut and a kick to the groin.

And although they dropped two of three at Fenway Park, the Blue Jays ultimately had a fairly successful road trip through Tampa Bay and Boston, compiling a 4-2 record.

Any team would be more than happy with those results, but the sad reality is the Blue Jays need to play much better than .666 baseball the rest of the way to even have a sniff at the playoffs.

The Melk Man Goes Down

Going into Friday night, miraculously Melky Cabrera had managed to go the entire season as one of the Blue Jays most durable and consistent hitters in the starting lineup. And after an innocent slide back into first base, just like that, he's done for the year.

I'm not exactly sure how this injury will impact whether or not he'll re-sign with Toronto (another topic for another day), but it just muddies what is already a very murky situation for Melky and Blue Jays this offseason.

Many would say that the loss of Melky effectively ends the Blue Jays season; I wouldn't go quite that far, but for a team that already had very little margin for error, losing one of the pillars in their starting lineup doesn't bode very well for them down the stretch.

Colby Rasmus: Professional Pinch Hitter

Even with the injury to Melky Cabrera, one thing became very evident over the weekend; Colby Rasmus will ride out the rest of the season on the bench. But like any good artist faced with adversity, Colby has managed to reinvent himself as a clutch pinch hitter.

It's probably not the way he envisioned his time with the Blue Jays coming to an end, but Rasmus is certainly making the most of the rare opportunities he's been getting the past few games.

Colby was the hero on Thursday night as he hit a game-winning pinch hit home run against the Rays, and he connected again and went deep for his second home run in three at bats off the bench.

If this was somehow the Blue Jays' diabolical plan to somehow get Colby Rasmus to hit, it's definitely working. Colby Rasmus has now tied the Blue Jays club record for pinch hit home runs in a single season with 3, a title he shares with Willie Greene.

In fact, Colby is just one off the franchise record for total pinch hit home runs, a title owned by Jesse Barfield and Ernie Whitt with 4 apiece.

Joey Bats is On Fire

Perhaps this has been overshadowed amidst the Colby Rasmus controversy, the bullpen implosion on Friday and Melky Cabrera out for the season, but is there a hotter hitter in baseball right now than Jose Bautista?

Not only did he hit home runs in five consecutive games last week, but he picked up two more over the weekend at Fenway Park; bringing his last 11 game total to 7 home runs, 16 hits and 12 RBI's. Not to mention, Bautista slugged .826 over that stretch.

He may not be having a 2010 or even 2011-like season, but Jose Bautista is quietly putting forth one of the strongest seasons of his career.

We have this stat courtesy of Ben Nicholson-Smith from Sportsnet that Jose Bautista is on pace for his best season since 2012:

And now with Melky gone for the season, the contributions from Jose Bautista suddenly become even more crucial to the Blue Jays lineup. It's also become more and more imperative that the Blue Jays need Bautista to stick around beyond 2016.

Whether that's feasible or not all depends on payroll, but if the cash is there, then the Blue Jays would be best served to set aside a good chunk for a Jose Bautista contract extension in the future.

Images courtesy of Jim Rogash/Getty Images Sport
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