Frank, You Slut!

Thursday, April 24, 2008  |  by 

For me, the easiest way to explain the Frank Thomas transpirings over the last week, is to compare it to dating a girl on the rebound.

Originally, she is very excited to date you; because you are a new face, and offer some things that her previous man didn’t. Like an $8 million dollar promise ring, that you’ll be together for a few years. But after about one year, she eventually gets tired and bored. Then after one big fight, it’s all over; you go your own separate ways. Sadly, you didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.

Then you find out a few days later, that she’s back with her original boyfriend, and she still gets to keep the $8 million dollar promise ring. All of this, while some other guy shows her his slippery salami.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

In Stairsy We Trust

All of a sudden, somewhere within the confines of Disney World, the Blue Jays bats have gone silent. Aside from Matty Stairs’ two dingers last night, the Blue Jays would’ve been held to no runs. I remember watching in horror as Halladay carried a comfortable 3-run lead into the 6th inning. Then all hell broke loose; the Rays rallied to score 4 runs in the 6th, and eventually win the game 5-3.

I realize that sometimes, your Ace is going to get knocked around for some runs. We can’t expect Halladay to pitch shutout baseball every game. But the key to winning games, is the ability to bounce back after bad innings. The Jays were 0-7 with RISP last night, and had base runners in every inning, except for the 9th.

Stairsy was the only batter who kept the Jays in the game last nite; he went 2-4 with 2 HR’s and 3 RBI’s. Right now Stairs is riding an 11 game hit streak in which he’s hitting .405. Now, let’s see Frank Thomas try to do that.

After the split series with the Tigers, it just seems like the air has been let out of the Jays wings for this series. I think a lot of times, people underestimate the Tampa Bay Rays; but if you’re not careful, they can definitely come back to bite you (as seen in last night’s game). And as much as I hate to say it, Eric Hinske has been playing well, too. Bastard.

We're Going to Disney World!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008  |  by 

Usually the celebrations at Disney World are resorted to the team that wins the World Series, but this week the Jays and Rays will enjoy a 3-game set at Disney World's Wide World of Sports. It's taking place at Champion Stadium, which is the usual Spring Training park for the Atlanta Braves.

Not that this is a statistic to be feared, but the Rays a perfect 3-0 at Champion Stadium; and as of tonight, make that 4-0. Originally I laughed when I heard that a mere 9000 fans showed up for the game tonight; but since the park's capacity is 9500, I guess that isn't so bad.

It's a nice change once in a while to play in a different ballpark for once. It seems like this was a tactic by Rays management to draw more fans from the Orlando area that otherwise wouldn't make the trip to St. Petersberg to visit Tropicana Field. Though if that's the case, they're in for quite the surprise when they get to Tropicana ...

Wave Goodbye to the Tank

Monday, April 21, 2008  |  by 

After 171 games, 29 homeruns, and 1 controversial pillow fight, Frank Thomas will no longer be a Toronto Blue Jay.

I honestly thought that people were over-exaggerating the significance of Thomas’ benching on Saturday’s game; but I guess I was wrong. I figured he’d sit a few games, then Gibby would bring him in late in a game this week, and Frank the Tank would be the hero and all would be forgotten. Instead, Frank Thomas is a free agent, and the Jays have some big shoes to fill in their DH spot (literally and figuratively).

Listening to Jays Talk yesterday, Mike Wilner made some really good points about why it was a good idea to let go of Thomas. After the initial shock wore off, I myself am starting to come around to the idea that he’s no longer a Blue Jay. Wilner said that yes, Thomas will hit his stride, but by that time the Yankees or Bosox could have run away with division already. Hitting 4th or 5th, the Jays can’t afford to keep Thomas in the lineup hitting at .167 through 60 at-bats.

Also, reports of Thomas being a “Locker Room Cancer” may also have had something to do with it. Frank Thomas seems like he might have a big ego - and maybe we just never saw some of that on camera. Honestly, I think if Thomas was really in it for the team he would’ve accepted being benched for a while, or being slotted down in the lineup. But instead, he refused to budge - and that’s why he’s a free agent.

Doc Holds Down the Fort

Friday, April 18, 2008  |  by 

After a game where the entire Jays bullpen was depleted, a start from the Doc was the perfect remedy. It was no coincidence that Gibbons let Halladay pitch the complete game; though maybe it was a throwback to Gibbons obsession last year with letting Halladay throw complete games.

Regardless, Halladay went 9 innings giving up 4 ER on 11 hits and 1 walk. It’s really nothing to scoff at, it’s just unfortunate that he couldn’t get the run support to keep the team in the ballgame. I hate to say it, but I’m seeing shades of the ’07 Jays that couldn’t produce runs despite getting quality starts from the starting pitchers. I really hope this is a trend that doesn’t continue.

Now the Jays face the Tigers for a 4-game home stand this weekend. Earlier in the season, I would’ve said that this would be a sweep for the Jays, but now the Tigers seem to have finally found their groove. I imagine this will be a series split; I can’t really see one team dominating the other in the series. I think it will be a see-saw battle for most of the weekend. For my sake, I just hope that the Jays win the series so I can shutup the Tigers fans at the office.

Extra Innings Don’t Lead to Extra Winnings

Thursday, April 17, 2008  |  by 

Last night’s 4 hour 53 minute affair between the Jays and Rangers was the stuff that dreams are made of. That is, if you constantly have nightmares that seemingly last for hours and feel like there’s no end in sight. Yeah - those kinds of dreams.

I have to admit, I drifted in and out of that game from inning to inning. Jamie Campbell’s constant reminders that “the Jays have run out of Pitchers” was especially annoying. Yes, the Blue Jays went through 9 pitchers of the course of 14 innings; but that doesn’t mean they’d have to forfeit the game. Thanks again for that expert analysis, Jamie Campbell.

Give credit to where it is due to Jesse Carlson for holding it down for three innings of relief work. He got himself out of jams on multiple occasions, and gave up just one hit and no runs. I can’t really blame A.J. Burnett for losing the game. It was really the passed ball by Gregg Zaun that lost the game, but I can’t blame him either. Catching a game for 14 innings will eventually take it’s toll; and Zauny just made a mistake.

Really, the Blue Jays shouldn’t have even had a chance at winning that game. A throwing error in the 8th game the Jays new life, as they tied the game. Multiple times in extras they had chances to close it out; even with two base runners and one out.

At what point do you look at your team and say “Now we have to focus at winning tomorrow’s game”. Yes, it’s important to win every game - but at what cost? There’s no point in winning that game in extras, if you deplete your entire bullpen in one night. I’m not saying it was all for nothing, but in the end - you have to look at the big picture.

Reverse Sweep

Friday, April 11, 2008  |  by 

After sweeping the Red Sox three straight, on Monday I felt as if I was at the top of the world. Finally, the Blue Jays were going to make the playoffs this year. Then, like most dreams - it came crashing to halt.

With each three games that the Blue Jays lost, they were either winning or it was a tied game going into the top of the 9th - so it’s not like they never had chances to win. For me, it seemed like it was the utter collapse of the bullpen that did them in.

Watching Brandon League pitch last night, was like watching a lost puppy trying to find his way down an alley in the Bronx. He had almost no control on his pitches, and loaded the bases multiple times. If I were Gibby, I would have next to no confidence in him at this point in the season.

The Blue Jays were outscored 21-7 in the series; and now know what it feels like to be the Boston Red Sox. This is an early reality check for the team this season. Albeit, a series loss to Oakland is not the end of the world, but it is a sign of things to come if the team doesn’t start working better together.

Roid Report - Ed Sprague Confession

Former Jays third basemen Ed Sprague admitted that he used Androstenedione and amphetamines before they were illegal in baseball. When asked, he couldn’t say exactly when he used them, but he indicated it was probably mid to late 90’s. Sprague played with the Jays till ’98, then was bounced around by 5 teams till 2001 before retiring.

Really, none of this surprises me - take a look at his career year:
.247 AVG, 36 HR, 101 RBI

It kind of stands out, considering his season average for HR was around 16. Though, I don’t hold that against him - at the time, it wasn’t illegal. And I’m sure Sosa and McGwire were using at the time too. I just wish that they made the amphetamines in tobacco form - then that would’ve explained everything.

Blame Youtube!

Jays CEO Paul Godfrey credits the recent drunken fights at the Rogers Centre, to users posting the videos on Youtube. Apparently he asked to have several videos yanked from the website, that might promote people to come to the ballgame and streak or pick a fight. He says the sudden increase in this unruly behavior is because folks want to be famous on the internet.

Well, don’t we all?

You can’t say this kind of stuff didn’t happen until this year. There have always been drunken idiots at the ballgame - it’s just until recent years that you can watch them make idiots of themselves on the internet.

Prohibition in the Nosebleeds

Thursday, April 10, 2008  |  by 

Much like the fellas over at Drunk Jays Fans, I was outraged when I heard that Paul Godfrey announced that alcohol would no longer be served in the 500 section during $2 Tuesday games at the Rogers Centre. Much like anything in life, leave it up to a few douchebags to ruin it for everyone else.

Apparently over 100 people were ejected from the game on Tuesday for being drunk assholes (which I think is part of a requirement to watch the game, but anyway). Godfrey also said he might consider banning the promotion all together, if this kind of behavior continues in the future.

Part of the appeal of the $2 Tuesday games is that since your ticket is so dirt cheap, then you spend the money you normally would on a ticket, on overpriced beer. But now, those are just memories. That just means the fans will still be drunk, but now they move down a section.

More bad news for DJF’s, security is apparently going to be increased in the stands, and fans could be subjected to random searches. Well hey, so long as each one comes with a complimentary cigarette after the search, I’m all for it.

Run Support Too Little to Late

Wednesday, April 9, 2008  |  by 

We were treated last night to our first light-up of the year of A.J. Burnett; he was lit up for 6 runs in just 4.1 innings pitched. Early on, I figured that the Jays would feast on A’s starter Chad Gaudin. V-Dub homered early, to make it a 3-1 ballgame in the 1st inning. Little did I know, Burnett would get rocked the following inning.

I don’t want to be blamed for abandoning my team when the going gets tough - but I did abandon this game twice. Sadly, one time was to watch “Beauty and the Geek” - the other was for “Big Brother”. Now usually, I don’t turn away from a Jays game when they’re losing. But last night, I saw shades of A.J. Burnett that reflected his struggles from last season. Pitch control was a big issue for him last night.

Though, I do have to credit the Jays offence for making it a very interesting game. Frank Thomas’ dinger in the 8th got me up off of my couch screaming like a little girl. I am starting to really appreciate the Big Hurt’s “golf-like” homerun swing, which was almost identical to his Grand Slam swing on Sunday. When he does it, it looks like he’s about 2 inches from falling flat on his ass, and dislocating his shoulder - that’s how you can tell Frank the Tank is going deep.

Although it was for a losing cause, I really have to give props for the Blue Jays bats for keeping the team in a game that should have been lost by a much larger margin. Aaron Hill went 4 for 4, and both Wells and Thomas used the long ball to make things interesting.

As a side note, as games continue to be broadcast on TSN my hatred for Rod Black is growing faster thank his would-be moustache hairs. His constant need to point out the obvious, and admiration for opposing players is quite annoying. The Rod Black cliché writing department also deserves a mushroom slap for their idiotic comments they write for Black. I never in my life thought I’d be so happy to see Jamie Campbell in my life.

References to Sweeps are as common as Fights in the 500’s

Monday, April 7, 2008  |  by 

It really was a very exciting weekend for Jays fans - 3 wins against the World Series Champs the Boston Red Sox really proved that they have what it takes to contend in 2008. The combination of quality starts and timely offence propelled the Blue Jays to outscore the BoSox 23-9 in the series.

On Friday, my landlord was probably convinced there was a young woman being skinned because I was screaming so loudly (and high pitched for some reason). There was also a lot of clapping over the weekend, thanks to clutch hits from V-Dub and Frank the Tank.

As of this week, I am back on the V-Dub Club - I honestly wasn’t sure if he would bounce back right away. But by posting a .286 average with 2 homeruns and 5 RBI’s in the first week of the MLB season, I think it’s safe to say that the Vernon Wells of old has returned.

There was also very exciting news on Friday; with the announcements of Alex Rios and Aaron Hill contract extensions. Though, I’m still a little confused as to why the Jays chose to sign Rios for so long. In the last two off-seasons, they have shopped him to several clubs - but maybe this year they finally realized he is their future franchise player.

Jays are home to the A’s for three this week, then on the road for 3 in Texas starting on Friday. Let’s turn this 3-game win streak into a 9-game streak, shall we!?

There’s No Place Like Home Opener

Friday, April 4, 2008  |  by 

Buried beneath all the headlines, and all the hype, tonight the Toronto Blue Jays play their inaugural game of the 2008 season at Rogers Centre tonight.

I like the home opener because there’s fireworks, overproduced video montages, large amounts of alcohol - and oh yeah, some baseball. There’s something special about the home opener every season; I can never quiet explain what the fascination is, but I am excited nonetheless.

Tonight, we receive an extra special treat when Roberto Alomar will be entered into the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre. I don’t know what took them so long either - Joe Carter and Cito Gaston were inducted way back in ’99, so who the hell knows.

It would be super-great if the Jays can beat the overzealous Red Sox tonight - just to shut up those annoying members of Red Sox nation. If the Jays can consistently hit to left field, they’ll have no problem outrunning Manny Ramirez’ girly arm.

In a page from the playbook of the Drunk Jays Fans, I will be sharing my drink of choice tonight: the fine English Cider; Strongbow. Or as I prefer to call it after I’ve had 6 of them, “the mighty Urine of Zeus”.

Cheers Jays Fans!

Yankee Stadium’s Magical Strike Zone

Aside from the annoying Yankee fans, the other thing that was fairly consistent during the Yankees-Jays series was the Umpires complete and utter lack of vision when it comes to calling strikes.

It’s not often that Frank Thomas gets tossed from games, (the last was in Minnesota last year when he hit career homer 500), so when he does - you know it’s for a good reason. In the 4th inning on Thursday night, Thomas sprinted down to first base after he was convinced that he was drawn a walk. Subsequently, he got in the ump’s face and got ejected.

The incident last night just proved a theory I have been developing; the strike zone at Yankee Stadium is dips into an alternate dimension where balls are called strikes, and strikes are called balls.

Yes, we saw calls go both ways for both teams throughout the series, but it seems like the Blue Jays got the really raw end of the deal. The other two incidents that stand out in my mind were Vernon Well’s strikeout in the 7th on Tuesday, and Lyle Overbay’s strikeout in the 8th.

I’m all for favouring calls for the home team; but this was absolutely ridiculous. Yes, I could blame the losses on the Jays lack of offense, but I choose to make the umpires at Yankee Stadium the scapegoats - because that makes it much easier to deal with the pain.

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