Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
Today's 5-4 loss in Oakland was a tough one. But there was something about this game that was different though. I had a premonition.
Going into extra innings, I had a flashback of the 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay when Carl Crawford hit that walk-off homer in extra innings. Today, I pictured Jason Frasor giving up a walk-off homer against the A's. Well, Scutaro was mere feet away from hitting a walk-off homer in the 11th. Only the next batter later, Scott Downs would give up the game winning hit to Jack Hannahan.
Could it be possible that I'm psychic? No ... I'm a Jays fan. I've just come to expect things like these.
Sometimes all it takes is a few days away to refresh your mind. But in a long 162 game schedule, those days off can be few and far between.
I took a few days off to see the sights of Toronto this past weekend, and found it was just the rest I needed as a Jays fan. With this season’s emotional highs and lows, sometimes it’s good to take a break. Unfortunately, the players themselves don’t get that same luxury. Any days off are usually spent resting after a long road trip.
Looking at the big picture, losing one game here and there really doesn’t count for much. But if you’re the Blue Jays - it IS a big deal. They have played 45 one-run games; which leads the majors. On the other hand, the Blue Jays lead the MLB in team ERA since the All-Star Break.
So am I saying that the Blue Jays need a vacation? No - that is impossible. Some players on the team have been mentally on vacation for parts of the season.
Though it was good to see John Gibbons put Vernon Wells back in the leadoff spot. Vernon has been most productive in the leadoff spot, and putting him back there is a great decision to spark the Jays offense.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
Vernon Wells may not be the only Gold Glover on the team by year’s end - if fans have any say in it. I am of course, talking about recent phenom John McDonald. Otherwise known as the “Minister of Defense”.
It seems like Johnny Mac is on the highlight reel every night, with an amazing play. He has really come into his own at shortstop, and is proving to be one of the best in the league. Even in losing causes, John McDonald is always firing on all cylinders.
The biggest compliment for John McDonald would be to receive the Gold Glove Award. This award is voted on my coaches and fellow players. The winner of this award last year at shortstop was Derek Jeter. Jeter currently has a .970 fielding percentage, as opposed to John McDonald’s .985 fielding percentage.
Johnny Mac should definitely be a lock for a Gold Glove, but the problem is that voters generally favor veteran players (i.e. Jeter, Cabrera, etc). But, I think that the MLB is turning a new leaf, and really promoting the “feel good stories” in baseball this year. Rick Ankiel is another example of a great baseball success story.
Regardless of whether John McDonald wins the Gold Glove or not, more importantly he will have the shortstop starting job next year in Toronto. It is very well deserved, but having that Gold Glove in has back pocket might give him a little more leigh way in negotiations.
By now, most Jays fans know that beer, food, and souvenirs are overpriced; yet you pay for them anyway. I am guilty of all three in most visits to the Rogers Centre. I enjoy my “Big Swing combo”; which is a ballpark dog, those badass French fries, and a ginormous Coke for 10 bucks. Not too bad, considering you can get a tallboy beer for 10 dollars.
Then I always waltz my way to the Jays shop, to see which Blue Jays merchandise I will talk myself into purchasing. Somehow, this time I managed to walk away without buying anything. Most likely it’s because I know I’m coming back to Toronto in a week.
So after I’m all situated, I sit down for the game. But I have to tell you about these stupid things.
Those damn Juniors Jays kids that dance on the dugout every Saturday. Who the hell cares? That music drives me nuts, and them prancing around on top of the dugout is clearly a time killer between innings. Poor kids.
Some people may call me a horrible person, but for some reason I’m not a big fan of the “OK Blue Jays” song. Maybe it’s because every time I’m at a game, some old woman in front of me decides it’s her time to audition for “So You Think You Can Dance”, and looks like a total idiot. I’m more of a traditionalist, and enjoy “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” much more.
For me, a game at the Rogers Centre is much more than just what happens on the field; it’s about the food, the heckling, the atmosphere, and the entire experience that goes with it. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t completely devastated when the Jays lost 5-3.
Friday, August 17, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
I never thought I’d find myself criticizing the Blue Jays for taking 2 out of 3 from an AL West Division leader. Well, here I am about to tear on the Jays.
Over 3 games they scored a whopping total of 9 runs. But thanks in part to solid starting and relief pitching, the Blue Jays won their series against the Angels. The story was the same, as it has been for the last 2 series; lack of run production. Over the last 6 games, the Jays have scored an average of 3 runs per game. 3 measly runs.
Even with the Jays winning, it’s very frustrating to watch the Blue Jays strand so many runners on base, and fail to score with runners in scoring position.
I think it’s time for John Gibbons to shake the lineup again, and put Vernon Wells back in the leadoff spot. It seems like a strange move; but Vernon had his most success this year batting number one. Either that, or there needs to be a clubhouse meeting with the boys, and JP needs to reiterate “fellas, you need to start putting up runs, or I’m going to call you out”.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
If you remember the feel-good baseball movie of the 90's, you nearly cried when you saw the entire stadium flapping their wings in the film classic "Angels in the Outfield". Well tonight, I nearly cried at the gem of a game that Roy Halladay pitched.
The Doc pitched his 5th complete game of the season; 1 ER, 5 hits and 2 K's over 9 innings. You can't ask for more from the anchor of the Jays starting rotation. And the Jays bats even decided to show up for an inning. The only runs the Jays scored were in the 1st inning.
That being said, I can't help but think that some of the Jays' hits tonight were carried by angels in the outfield. Or maybe that's the Rogers Centre draft - who knows?
What happens when the Toronto Blue Jays’ bats so silent? You split a four game series with the Kansas City Royals. Okay, that was a lame attempt at a joke - but the Jays offense in this past series was an even bigger joke.
Standing out like a sore thumb; only 9 total runs scored over 4 games. Keep in mind, that last week in ONE GAME, the Jays scored 15 runs against the Yankees. If it weren’t for the Jays stellar starting pitching, they would have been swept by the KC Royals - one of the American League’s bottom feeding teams.
On Friday, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that Shaun Marcum’s 6 inning no hitter was going to be squandered away by a lackluster offense. A.J. Burnett’s return was spectacular - you would have never guessed that he’s been on DL twice this year, watching the way he pitched on Sunday.
Thursday, August 9, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
No, I’m not talking about Barry Bonds hitting elusive homerun number 756. I’m talking about A-Rod getting drilled in the leg by a Josh Towers pitch.
It was bound to happen. For a while there, I didn’t think the Jays were going to retaliate because of the “ha” incident, but indeed it happened this week. It may have taken 2 months, but Alex Rodriguez finally got what he deserved. Luckily, I managed to watch it all unfold live; and sadly, that was the most exciting part of the Jays 9-2 loss to the Yankees.
In baseball, there is this “unwritten code” that allows pitchers to hit batters with a wild pitch as a means of revenge. And Josh Towers did exactly that; he got even with A-Rod. The unfortunate thing is that walk cost the Jays. The very next batter, A-Rod scored to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead, in an eventual 9-2 win.
Maybe I am biased, but I think Clemens plunking Alex Rios in the 7th was uncalled for. Given, he did get tossed for the play, but still. The entire Yankees dugout knew that A-Rod was going to get tossed at eventually; and the Jays finally cashed in their revenge chips. At that point, everything was even and square, but Clemens had to take it one step further.
The Jays may have lost the game, but I think it was more so a chance to bury the hatchet - so to speak. The team finally paid A-Rod back for his antics at Rogers Centre in May. Now, the Jays can focus on winning, and getting back in the Wild Card race.
And by the way - if I’m going into a fight, I definitely want Matt Stairs on my side. Just saying.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | by Ian Hunter
In 2010, there was an onset of Blue Jays players that entered the foray into social networking. Here's a guide to following your favourite Blue Jays on Twitter.
The Best Blue Jays Moustaches of All Time
There have been countless epic moustaches in Blue Jays franchise history. Here are the Top 20 that made the cut, so to speak.
The Best Moustaches in Baseball Part Three
It's the "Return of the Jedi" of baseball moustaches. Featuring epic moustaches from Dennis Lamp, Pete Vuckovich and Bill Buckner.
How the Bautista Appreciation Society Was Born
Back in July of 2009, the Bautista Appreciation Society (aka BAS) was born. This is an account of how this unheralded utility player grew to be blog hero.
An Audio and Visual Tribute to Bautista's 49 Home Runs
Jose Bautista rewrote the Blue Jays record books in 2010, and here is an audio and visual collection of those first 48 home runs.
Who is the Quintessential Blue Jay?
There are many players who have left their mark playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, but there can only be one quintessential Blue Jay. Find out who it is!
Meats Don't Clash
Ever wonder where Travis Snider's signature phrase stemmed from? It was an online Nacho review which I somehow unearthed one evening.
Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler as Shirt Twins
For about a week in July, it looked like Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler were shopping at the exact same department store. Maybe they lost their luggage on that road trip or something.
The Best Staches from the First Half of 2010
Taking a look at some of the best moustaches in baseball from the first half of the 2010 season. Featuring lip sweaters from Lyle Overbay, John Axford and Carl Pavano.
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Recap
A full summary with audio from the 2010 Induction Ceremony at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario. With audio from Roberto Alomar and Paul Quantrill.
The Best Moustaches in Baseball Part Two
It's the "Empire Strikes Back" of baseball moustaches. In this sequel, there are appearances by Keith Hernandez, Sal Fasano and Al Hrabosky.
A Year in Retrospect with Scott Richmond
In an exclusive interview with the Blue Jays own Scott Richmond, he reflects on his first full season in the major leagues as a member of the starting rotation.
Rob Ducey: The Cambridge Kid
After a chance meeting at Applebee's, I decide to dig further into the legend of Rob Ducey and his humble beginnings from Cambridge, Ontario.
The All You Can Eat Guide to Gluttony
In this how-go guide, I put my health and pride on the line to provide tips on how to get the most bang for your buck at the "All You Can Eat" weekend at the Rogers Centre.
Scott Rolen's Top Ten Defensive Gems
Scott Rolen made a great impression on Blue Jays fans and the city of Toronto. We take a look at how he dazzled in the infield during his tenure in Toronto.
Know Thy Enemy: A Guide to the Boston Red Sox
It's always best to know what you're getting into, and thanks to Texy at the Red Sox blog "Out in Center Field", we discover what to expect from our AL East rivals.
Resolve Well and Persevere: The Scott Richmond Story
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Bob Richmond, father of Blue Jays starter Scott Richmond about his son's upbringing and long journey to the major leagues.
10 Questions with Tim from MLB Trade Rumors
Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com answers ten questions about what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.
Rejected Blue Jays Giveaway Days
Before there were "Free Jays T-Shirt" to the first 10,000 fans, the Blue Jays marketing department came up with some other ideas for giveaways. These are the ones that didn't quite make the cut.
A Final Goodbye to A.J. Burnett
For those who had a difficult time letting go of A.J. Burnett, maybe watching this video I made will make the loss a little easier. Featuring Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn".
The Best Moustaches in Baseball
I think the only sport that had more moustaches per capita was bowling. Take a look at some of the most famous staches in baseball.
2008 Blue Jays Year in Review
Listen to my 6 part audio review of the 2008 season for the Toronto Blue Jays. Featuring interviews with Mike Wilner from The Fan, and Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com.
A Heckler's Guide to Slandering Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is one of the most hated men at the Rogers Centre. Read this guide to heckling A-Rod to make the most out heckling one of the most recognizable faces in baseball.
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Definitely Not Jays Talk
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Ghostrunner on First (RIP)
Go Jays Go
House of the Bluebird
MLB Trade Rumors - Blue Jays Page
Mop Up Duty
Sports and the City
The Hills Are Alive
The North Side of the Diamond
The Tao of Stieb
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"The Blue Jay Hunter" is all about Canada's baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. It is a place where the team itself, and baseball in Canada is constantly under the crosshairs.
I can't exactly pinpoint where the name "The Blue Jay Hunter" stemmed from, but I think I was trying to capitalize on the fame of The Crocodile Hunter back in 2007 and have a similar namesake. Not the most clever name ... but we've come this far, right?
The Blue Jay Hunter has been featured on Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard", ESPN.com, Grantland, the Huffington Post and MLB Trade Rumors. And somehow, my Roy Halladay/Carlos Ruiz at promo Photoshop pic made it onto NBC Hardball Talk and SI.com's Hot Clicks.
The earliest memory I have of going to a Blue Jays game was October 3rd, 1992. At the time, I didn't realize the significance of the game, but it was the day that the Toronto Blue Jays clinched the pennant.
To make the game even more memorable, my childhood hero Joe Carter hit his 34th homerun of the season that day and that would prove to be the eventual game-winning run over the Detroit Tigers.
Admittedly, I had a brief hiatus from Blue Jays fandom after the 1994 baseball strike until around 2005. Unfortunately I missed the Carlos Delgado golden years, but luckily rekindled my love for the Blue Jays at the tail end of the Roy Halladay era.
Fast forward to today, and I am older (not necessarily wiser), but I still have that same passion for the Toronto Blue Jays. When I'm not listening to the game on the radio or watching it on TV, I 'm usually blogging about it or searching for GIFable game highlights.
Like I say ... give me cold beer, a pulled pork sandwich, the Blue Jays game on the big screen and nobody gets hurt.
Favourite Blue Jays (then): Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Duane Ward, Pat Hentgen, Roy Halladay
Favourite Blue Jays (now): Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie
Favourite Blue Jay memories (then): Blue Jays win the pennant (October 3, 1992), and of course Joe Carter's walk-off home run from the 1993 World Series
Favourite Blue Jay memories (now): Aaron Hill steals home (2007), Dustin McGowan's near no-hitter (2007), Roy Halladay vs. A.J. Burnett (2009), Jose Bautista's 2 home run game vs. Yankees (2010)