Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jean Paul is a clown in the Media Circus

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Ever since Gibby was fired and Cito Gaston was hired, it seems like the whole Ricciardi/Dunn controversy has been swept under the rug. Well, here we are bringing it to life - coincidently, as the Cincinnati Reds come to town for a 3 game series versus the Blue Jays.

After the initial shock of Dunngate, J.P. has now apologized to Reds GM and Adam Dunn himself for his remarks. Everything is now neat and tidy, and all is apparently forgotten. That is, until Dunn hits 2 or 3 dingers in this series. That’s when the circus will resume and fans will cry “we could have had Dunn, but our GM said he didn’t have a passion for baseball”.

A part of me still thinks that Ricciardi made those comments about Dunn because he knew they were short on tickets sales for the Reds/Jays series, and he needed to build some hype. And if that was the goal, it worked. And if it wasn’t, then he sure pissed off Adam Dunn and/or his agent.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ernie Whitt thinks he’s Muhammad Ali

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One of the forgotten casualties of the John Gibbons firing was first base coach Ernie Whitt. On Sunday, he made his feelings very clear in the Toronto Sun.

“I still feel I’m the best manager Toronto has ever hired.”

Those are some pretty strong words from the former first-base coach and player. Understandably, he was extremely pissed in the article “I’m beyond angry, I’m beyond shock. I am trying to take the high road, but if I did something wrong, I wish they'd explained it to me".

While I do think that Whitt has a right to be angry, he certainly is nowhere near the best manager that the Jays have ever hired (or manager in training they have hired). Because if he was, he would probably still have a job, right?

Welcome Back to 1989

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A wise but grammatically-challenged man once said “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well, last week the Blue Jays tossed out what was broken, and brought in what had worked before.

The firing of John Gibbons was not a surprise to most people; it was his replacement that was the shocker. When it was announced that Cito Gaston would be the new manager for the Blue Jays, I initially thought it was a joke. I didn’t think it was possible that the man who coached the Blue Jays to two World Series titles was returning - but it happened.

Some might say it was a PR move by J.P. Ricciardi, and in fact it may have been. But the truth is that the Blue Jays were already sinking to the bottom of the standings, and could not have been doing much worse. So now, Cito has the daunting task of bringing this team back up to .500, or maybe even a winning record.

I don’t think it was fair that John Gibbons got the axe, but unfortunately he was the fall-guy (along with Marty Peavy and Ernie Whitt). When a club plays as poorly as the Blue Jays have been, someone needs to be held accountable - and in most cases, it’s the head coach. So that means that Cito will also be held to that same standard. If he doesn’t turn this season around, he could be looking for a new job this fall.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It’s Flashback Friday All Over Again

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Did I just jump in a Delorean and floor it 88 miles an hour, and wake up in the year 1991?Cito Gaston is back as the interim Blue Jays manager, and gone is John Gibbons along with Marty Peavy, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo.

We all knew that Gibbons' firing was inevitable - but Cito Gaston? I think that is the biggest shock of all. I'm leaning towards the though that this is partly a publicity stunt from head office to show fans that "they really want to win this year". Unfortunately, bringing back a coach that helped the team win two World Series 15 years ago, doesn't necessarily guarantee success. But on that same note, I'm not entirely against bringing in Gaston either, because things can't really get much worse than they already are. Though, it's going to take a while for me to get used to watching Cito Gaston managing this team.

I have to commend J.P. Ricciardi for at least attempting to make the Blue Jays a better team with this shakeup. For a while there, I was starting to think that maybe Shea Hillenbrand was right about the "sinking ship". And if that's so, John Gibbons is out in the middle of the ocean floating on a piece of driftwood, while Cito Gaston is attempting to bring this ship back above the water.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting swept never looked so good

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If it wasn't for the Jays sudden late-game surge today against the Brewers, I think that John Gibbons would've been given his walking papers today. I was fully expecting a loss today, but I certainly didn't think the Jays would make it interesting. It's kinds of fitting that it was former bluebird Dave Bush that kept the Jays hitless into the 8th inning.

But that's when it started to get interesting.

Lyle Overbay knocked a triple past the diving Ryan Braun, and the Blue Jays eventually clawed their way back to 8-7 only to have Matt Stairs strike out to end the game. The good thing is that we finally saw some life in this team, but unfortunately it was way too late.

If the Brewers kept the Jays even to a few runs, I say that Gibby is on his way back to Texas. But because the Jays showed a little life, I think he's bought himself some time for now.

The Axe is ready to fall

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Last night’s 5-4 loss to the Brewers was pretty much a testament to the Jays season thus far. Initially the bar was set low, then the team gained a bit of momentum only to fall short by grounding into a game-ending double play. that pretty much sounds like the season so far, doesn’t it.

Just like Wilner said, there seems to be a very dark atmosphere surrounding the clubhouse, and all it will take is just a few more losses before something big happens. It’s apparent that John Gibbons will lose his job; which I don’t necessarily agree with, but someone has to be the scapegoat for this disappointing season. It’s just unfortunate that it has to be him.

On the rumour front, we can pretty much take Adam Dunn out the equation for the “big bat” that the Jays plan on signing before the all-star break. On Wednesdays with J.P., Ricciardi called out Dunn saying that he “doesn’t have a passion for baseball”. Well, for someone who doesn’t have a passion for the game, he certainly has a passion for hitting 18 HR’s and 43 RBI’s this season. Those totals are far and above any player so far this season on the Jays. So for someone who doesn’t have a “passion for playing baseball”, I’d willing to deal with that if we can welcome his 30+ HR’s and 100+ RBI’s.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Beer is the liquid that binds us together

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Aside from beer, I pretty much have nothing to go on for the Jays upcoming series vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. Although I did find one nugget of interest; our love for paying for $9.25 beers at the Rogers Centre mirrors the rich heritage of Milwaukee’s breweries.

Basically - they make the beer, and Jays fans drown their sorrows by drinking it. And the circle of life continues …

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daaaaaa Cubs

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Reed Johnson and Ted Lilly make their first visits back to Toronto as the Jays host the Cubbies this weekend for a 3-game set. I’m still a little puzzled as to why MLB set up a Jays/Cubs series for interleague play, but it should be interesting nonetheless.

Luckily, the Jays won’t have to face the Cubs two best starters: Carlos Zambrano (8-2) and Ryan Dempster (8-2). But the Bluebirds will have to find some way to contend with the Cubs’ National League leading offence. After all, there’s a good reason why they have the best record in baseball - that’s because the Chicago Cubs can score runs when they need to. Maybe some of that will rub off on the Jays this weekend.
Cubs win! I mean … Jays win!

Pitching Matchups

Sean Gallagher (3-2) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-6)
Jason Marquis (4-3) vs. Roy Halladay (8-5)
Ted Lilly (6-5) vs. Jesse Litsch (7-2)


Swindling with Seattle

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The book of baseball says “you play well against sub-par teams, and you get lucky if you win against elite teams”. Well, it seems like the Blue Jays are reading it totally backwards. After dropping 2 out of 3 from Baltimore, and 2 out 3 from the worst team in MLB - The Mariners, I am scratching my head trying to find the answers.

On Tuesday, McGowan was incredible. He pitched the first complete game of his career, giving up just one single run against the Mariners. I had the pleasure if watching it all from the 12th row from 1st base. What an incredible game; both Wells and Wilkerson went deep, and the Jays ended up winning 3-1.

But on Wednesday, it was quite the different story. Marcum pitched a gem, going 8 strong innings fanning 9 batters and giving up just a single run. But for some reason, the Blue Jays could not put up a run to save their lives (or the game). Scott Downs and B.J. Ryan were awful, walking 5 batters in 2 innings, letting in the winning run.

I was also at the game that day; but this time in the .500’s. Maybe I should have checked the promotional dates, because it was Teletoon kids day. So I was surrounded by screaming school-children. Throw in a hangover, and it was a horrible, horrible, game.

So now we enter inter-league play; the Jays spend the next two weeks playing teams in the National League, kicking off Friday against the best team in the majors - the Chicago Cubs. There really isn’t any history in this series, so it will be interesting to see where this next 2 weeks takes us. But it really can’t get any worse, right?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Almost A Really O-ful Series

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Well, the baseball gods chose the mightier bird yesterday - and it was the Blue Jay that prevailed over the pesky Oriole.

After looking god-awful in back to back games, the Jays bounced back and managed to win at least one game against the Orioles. Doc settled down and picked up his 8th win of the season. V-Dub was an integral part in the win also, going 3 for 4 with a HR. Can you believe that he's back off the DL already? Initial reports had him at 6-8 weeks, but Wells came back to the team within 4 weeks.

I think all the Jays needed was a solid start from the Doc. The bullpen probably figured they would have the night off, and with Halladay on the mound you know that the chance of a quality start is always very high. B.J. Ryan locked it down in the 9th, and got a little bit of redemption after blowing his previous 2 starts.

So now the blue Jays are back at .500 with a 32-32 record, and tied for 3rd place in the AL East. Not too shabby, but not too great either. Let's hope they turn on the afterburners, and blaze up the rest of June!

Friday, June 6, 2008

BJ Blows His Load ... I Mean Lead, Part Deux

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In the grand scheme of things, 2 blown saves is not really a big deal. But two in a row ...

I remember screaming at my desk as work when Jerry Howarth called the 2-run homer by Giambi to end the painful 4-hour debockle yesterday. And again, I don't place the blame solely on BJ Ryan. The Jays had multiple chances to run up the score against the Yanks, but couldn't capitalize. And that's why that game came back to bite them in the ass in the 9th. We also have to remember that Ryan is barely a year after Tommy John surgery, so let's give him a bit of a break.

On the other hand, let me take this opportunity to shit on Jamie Campbell. Much like the fellas over at Drunk Jays Fans, I was appauled at the way he called the game-ending homerun. Much like Ryan, this is the second time in a week that JC has lost it on a game-losing play for the Blue Jays. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the game, but when it's directed towards the opposite team ... that's bullshit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Joba The Hutt

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There was something strangely satisfying about seeing Joba Chamberlain hauled off the mound last night after only 2 & 1/3 innings into his first major league start. I want to see successful young pitchers as much as the next fan, but my hope was to see Joba crash and burn - and that he did.

I don’t think it was as much a slap in the face to Joba, as it was Hank Steinbrenner. After all, it was he who lobbied for Chamberlain to be on the starting rotation all this time. Chamberlain’s failure was just another ill-failed attempt at getting the Yankees some momentum. It was also bad timing that Roy Halladay was Joba Chamberlain’s opposing pitcher that night. Then Blue Jays offense kicked it into overdrive, and made it a slugfest winning handily 9-3.

I still don’t understand why so many fans have jumped on the Joba bandwagon. I remember that Yankees home opener this season, and he got bigger pops than Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania.

This guy was a SETUP MAN; not a CLOSER, not a STARTER, not even a KEY PLAYER ON THE TEAM. Fuck, I hate Yankees fans.

So now we’ll wait and see what Hank Steinbrenner’s brilliant plan will be to fix the Yankees starting rotation. I bet that he buys up a rotation of ringers, a la Mr. Burns on that episode of the Simpsons. And now that I think of it, there seems to be a lot of correlations between George Steinbrenner and Mr. Burns.

Exxxxcellent.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

BJ Blows His Load ... I Mean, Lead

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It was bound to happen sooner or later ...

B.J. Ryan blew his first save of the year today, giving up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th leading to the Angels beating the Blue Jays 4-3. Prior to today, Ryan was 12 for 12 in save opportunities with a miniscule 0.53 ERA. It was only a matter of time before we had a blown save from Ryan, and to be honest I'm actually surprised he went this long without doing it.

Yes, B.J. was credited with the loss, but as usual the lackluster offense didn't really give him much run support to work with. An off day tomorrow gives the bullpen a chance to rest, after they gave up runs leading to two losses on the weekend.

At least the Blue Jays are still 3 games over .500 with a 31-28 record. I did enjoy the whole 5 games over .500 thing, but it didn't really feel right for some reason. Now that the Jays are back down to earth, it feels more appropriate.
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