Monday, September 29, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
After seeing Godfrey's interview a few weeks back on Off the Record, I pretty much assumed that he would not be returning next year as president of the Jays. I'm not really sure how much this affects the Blue Jays, since it's J.P. Ricciardi that pretty much pulls the strings on all the day-to-day moves.
Paul I will miss your quasi half-beard, arms folded poses, and Tommy Hilfiger ties. So long, as best of luck in your future endeavors.
Sunday, September 28, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
So the '08 Jays finish with a 86-76 record, a 6 game improvement over their 83-79 record just one year ago. In the coming days, I'll recap what went right and what went wrong on the 2008 Blue Jays Year in Review show. More details to come about where and when you can catch the show. Till then, let's just watch the post season unfold and reflect on the season that was.
Thank you, Blue Jays! PLAYOFFS (next year, hopefully).
Friday, September 26, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Tonight's Jamie Campbell "WTF Comment of the Night" came mid game. I can't remember exactly, because I had the game on in the background, but I remember Jamie Campbell saying something to the effect of "You can be pretty sure that Derek Jeter has the starting job at shortstop next year for the Yankees". Yeah, Jeter better watch out - Cody Ransom could challenge him for the SS position next year.
I apologize in advance for the lack of updates to come in the next week or so. I'm currently hard at work on a 2008 Blue Jays Year in Review show that will hopefully be airing next week. It will basically be a highlights show with lots of clips, and interviews with Mike Wilner and Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com. More details to come about air dates, and hopefully I can find some way to post it on the blog if you'd like to hear it.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
It can be argued that the best the Blue Jays can finish in 2008 is a piddly fourth place in the American League East. Need I remind you, that this division is the toughest in baseball - so fourth place is nothing to be ashamed of.
But this week at the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays are playing for third place as they host the Yankees for 3 games. Currently 2 games back, the Jays can overtake the Yankees for 3rd place if they sweep the series. Anything less than that, and we’ll have to hope that the Red Sox can pound on the Yankees this weekend.
There are some other interesting races in other divisions as well; over in the American League Central, it’s do or die time for the Minnesota Twins. Also, if the Twins sweep the White Sox this week, they will move back into first place. Then the Twins face the Royals to finish out the regular season, and the White Sox battle the Indians. It should be interesting to see what happens down the wire, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Twins.
I feel bad for the Milwaukee Brewers, who are on the brink of losing their playoff spot. They fired their manager, had a huge lead and have almost squandered it circa 2007 New York Mets.
Speaking of the Mets, they’re living on a prayer over in the National League West clinging to a 1 game lead in the Wild Card. The Mets have a series against the Cubbies, followed by the Marlins - so this also should be a test to see if they have what it takes. I have a feeling their “card-house” reliable bullpen will let them down this week … again. Even if the Mets do make it into the playoffs, I don’t see them getting into the National League Championship series anyway.
Just for fun, I’ll hazard some guesses as to how the playoffs will go down:
Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox (Winner: Boston Red Sox)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox / Minnesota Twins (Winner: Tampa Bay Rays)
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Winner: Philadelphia Phillies)
Chicago Cubs vs. NY Mets (Winner: Chicago Cubs)
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Winner: Boston Red Sox)
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs (Winner: Philadelphia Phillies)
Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Winner: Boston Red Sox)
Sunday, September 21, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
I pretty much figured this would be an easy win for the Red Sox since Scott Richmond was pitching, but they couldn't even give him one damn run in support. I feel bad for poor Scott Richmond, who is still looking for his first big league win. The problem today was that he was up against the Big Bad Red Sox. It also didn't help, that the Jays only managed two hits all day.
Much like Travis Snider in this picture, today the Blue Jays watched their playoff hopes sail overhead for yet another year. It's been a tough last few days for the Jays - as their priorities for the 2009 season have shifted from signing a big bat, to restoring the starting pitching.
On Jays Talk today, Mike Wilner mirrored my thoughts that the Jays need to sign a "placeholder" in the starting rotation like Derek Lowe. Surprisingly, he hasn't pitched all that bad this year. With a 14-11 record, and 3.41 ERA. Yes, this is the same guy who had a 21-8 record with the Boston Red Sox in 2002. It looks like it might not take a boatload of money to sign him - anywhere around 10-12 million a year will probably do it. But the kicker is that Derek Lowe has the Soul Reaver as his agent. Yeesh.
Friday, September 19, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our worst fears have been confirmed: Shaun Marcum will undergo Tommy John surgery and likely miss all of the 2009 season, and not rejoin the Jays until 2010.
It’s very unfortunate because with the apparent exit of Burnett it looked like Marcum could possibly take over the #2 spot in the rotation. But now that’s all up in the air, because of these latest developments.
Yesterday it was reported that J.P. might actually be willing to offer A.J. the big bucks to keep him in Toronto. Now, that seems even more possible since Marcum is gone till 2010. Ricciardi must have known that the news about Marcum was bad, otherwise why would he suddenly change his tune about Burnett? Maybe that’s why J.P.’s blackberry was ringing like a motherfucker on “Wednesday’s with J.P.”
Moving forward, the starting rotation for the 2009 Blue Jays is very questionable. Obviously there is Roy Halladay and Jesse Litsch - but after that, who fills the remaining spots? David Purcey is very likely to take one of those spots - which would leave the remaining two between Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, John Parrish, or maybe even Brett Cecil.
So at this point, J.P. Ricciardi has to know he is fucked unless he can sign A.J. Burnett, or scoop up another arm like Derek Lowe or Carl Pavano. I think that keeping Burnett in Toronto should now be the #1 priority for this team, followed by finding a new DH. The Jays have the best pitching in the league, and it should stay that way.
It’s getting to the point where the Jays are getting desperate for arms for 2009. And maybe they just might have to call JT to save the day.
What do you think the Jays should do about the 2009 Starting Rotation? Leave your thoughts in the comment section and let me know!
Thursday, September 18, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Anyway, Paul Godfrey, and even the Griffster made an appearance on the program all taking about the Blue Jays. You could sense Griffin’s “Beard of Hatred” towards Godfrey, and even former Jays play-by-play commentator Warren Sawkiw chimed in every once in a while to make a stupid argument. For example, that Scott Richmond would rather play for Canada’s baseball team at the Olympics than play in the majors. It makes you wonder why we only worked for the Jays for one season.
Griffin actually made a pretty good point on the show; that Cito is now the face of the franchise, and J.P. Ricciardi is no longer the GM that fans swooned over. So was this Griffin’s way of saying “Toss Ricciardi, because Cito is bringing in the bucks”?
Amongst all these reports that Cito Gaston and J.P. Ricciardi will be back next year, I really got the sense from Godfrey that he will not be back next year as president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays. He seemed very apprehensive about answering questions about his future with the club, and his demeanor came across as nonchalant towards the club.
Again, this is just my hunch but I think Paul Godfrey is out as CEO at the end of this year. So Ricciardi’s job may be secure under Paul Godfrey, but if Godfrey steps down then J.P.’s job could be in jeopardy once again.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
They go on to interview Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, and for some reason … Sean Casey of the Red Sox about their thoughts on the Blue Jays. Maddon says the Jays have the best pitching in the majors (which they do), and Casey basically says that the Blue Jays missed their window earlier in the season to be in contention for the playoffs.
Maybe that will change in 2009, because it appears that both Ricciardi and Cito will likely be back for another year. We basically already knew Cito was coming back, but it was likely that 10-0 run that saved J.P.’s job for another year.
I remember hearing a caller on Jays Talk on Saturday afternoon that asked Mike Wilner: “Does assembling the best pitching staff in baseball really warrant firing the General Manager?” Touche.
At this point, I think the team should be looking forward to next year. No manager ever wants to raise the white flag on a season, but they really need to start building to content for next season. Since Shaun Marcum hurt himself again last night, I don’t think there’s any point in bringing him back out with just 2 weeks left in the season. Shut Marcum down for the year, because the Jays will need all the starting pitching they can get when Opening Day 2009 rolls around.
Monday, September 15, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
- Really? People are seriously considering Daisuke Matsuzaka for the American League Cy Young award? Tonight for instance, Dice-K lasted 5 innings and threw 100 pitches. So this supposed "Cy Young" contender on average pitches just over half a game? I'm pretty sure Roy Halladay could pitch 18 innings straight if Cito lead him. So it's fucking ridiculous to think that Daisuke is even close to being considered. If Cliff Lee suddenly goes missing for 12 days, the Cy Young still goes to Roy Halladay.
- Over in the NL, voters will have a shitshorm trying to figure out who to vote for the Cy Young. It's pretty much whittled down to a two horse race between C.C. Sabathia and Tim Lincecum. Again, it's another argument between an established veteran, and a young hurler. Lincecum just pitched his first complete game on Saturday, but that pales in comparison to C.C.'s 7 CG's.
- Apparently I am not the only one who shares hatred for MLB Umpire Doug Edding. In fact, someone created a blog devoted solely to hurling insults towards him. It is very aptly titled "Doug Edding is a Douche". But as critical as fans are, maybe being an umpire isn't as easy as we think it is. I saw an episode of Sport Science on the weekend which broke down how quickly umpires have to make decisions regarding calls, etc. Check it out here.
Sunday, September 14, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Joe Inglett !!!
Congratulations Joe, you have displayed the best manicured facial hair under your bottom lip, thus winning the best soul patch on the Toronto Blue Jays. Joe secured 66 % of the vote, and fought off some tough competition from runner-up Shaun Marcum at 23 % of the vote.
Joe, you are entitled to a $10 off coupon courtesy of First Choice Haircutters. Congratulations, and try not to spend it all in one place!
Doug Eddings, did you happen to notice that Lyle Overbay is left-handed and that his left hand hit the bag before Pedroia even tagged him? No, because you were watching from the wrong angle and thought Pedroia tagged Overbay on the right. I do realize that calls go both ways, but there was no call that was more important during today's game, than that one.
It would've been nice to shut those Massholes up in their own ballpark by lighting up their precious closer, but unfortunately we had to settle for 1 out of 4. Consider yourself lucky Red Sox - because you come into our town on Friday, and don't expect those umpires to fuck up calls in your favour again.
UPDATE: It looks like Jays bloggers across the blogosphere were in cahoots when the Jays lost yesterday. Go Jays Go, Ghostrunner on First and Tao of Stieb all feature the same above photo of Overbay being super pissed, and Pedroia being super-douche.
Friday, September 12, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Here are your pitching matchups for this weekend. It's noted that Cito has elected to pitch both A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch, and Roy Halladay on 3 days rest; otherwise Doc probably would not have event pitched in this series. That means that Cito means fucking business, and that the Jays are not going down unless it's with their best arms on the mound.
Friday - David Purcey (3-5) vs. Tim Wakefield (8-10)
Saturday AM - A.J. Burnett (17-10) vs. Paul Byrd (11-11)
Saturday PM - Jesse Litsch (11-8) vs. Bartolo Colon (4-2)
Sunday - Roy Halladay (18-10) vs. Jon Lester (14-5)
I don't want to be the one to scream PLAYOFFS!, but I think the Jays chances this weekend are pretty good. Purcey has been lights out his last two starts, and the Jays have feasted on Wakefield's knuckleballs as if they were meatballs.
Saturday's afternoon game should be quite the duel between Burnett and Byrd. The little Byrdie that flew the nest from Cleveland has been 3-1 in his last 4 starts versus the Jays.
Saturday's night cap will probably be a run-fest. For some reason, whenever there is a double header there is always at least one game where it's a complete blowout. And you can almost count on pitching from somebody with the last name that's Colon, to be shitty.
And then of course, it's the Doc going for his 19th win on Sunday afternoon. You can guarantee that Halladay will certainly bounce back from his worst outing of the season against the White Sox last week.
Now, bring on those Massholes!
Although he’s recorded the save in the last 4 of his 5 opportunities, it has not been an open and shut case for B.J. Ryan. I realize the guy is just over one year removed from Tommy John surgery, but lately every save situation has been a nervous one. It seems like his command has been off lately and that he’s had trouble finding the strike zone. Luckily, B.J. usually finds away to dig himself out of the hole. I understand that every closer will blow saves, and have meltdowns. But when you can’t rely on your closer, who can you trust?
This opens up the debate as to whether the Jays should trade Ryan in the offseason. If that’s the case, there are many relievers on the team that could easily take his place; Brandon League, Scott Downs, Jesse Carlson, and even Jeremy Accardo has done it before (with 30 saves in ’07). So why pay $10 million for a reliever, when you can get away with paying someone $400,000?
Thursday, September 11, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
As if things couldn’t get any worse, the Jays 10-game win streak came to an end last night.Out of all pitchers, it was Roy Halladay who gave up 5 runs in route to the 6-5 loss. Though the game was actually a lot closer than we saw throughout the first 7 innings. Mark Burle handicapped the Jays throughout 8 innings, but then the bluebirds feasted on the bullpen for 5 runs to make it close.
I think I really only have myself to blame for the streak ending last night; I thought I would support my team by wearing my Jays hat and shirt in hopes that the streak would continue. In fact, it could have been the jinx that made it all come crashing down. Maybe it was the fact that it was a Jays shirt with Glaus’ number on the back. And didn’t he just get injured too? I should’ve known that would be a bad omen.
Maybe some of those Taco Bell Doritos would help ease the pain.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
But unfortunately, it's a little too late if they are looking to make the playoffs. Despite going on such a rabid tear over the past few weeks, the Jays are still 7 back of the Boston Red Sox for the American League Wild Card. This just goes to show you how long of a baseball season it is. Boston and Tampa have both played consistently well over the season. The Jays on the other hand have played average all year, but suddenly kicked it into overdrive.
But the late season surge may not be enough, because the Red Sox and Rays have already gained so much momentum, that it will be tough to push them off the top of the standings. I don't want to give up hope, but at the same time this winning streak is incredible and has got a lot of people believing they can pull a 2007 Colorado Rockies.
For now, I'll be rooting for the Rays to beat down the Red Sox this week so that the Jays can swoop into Fenway Park on Friday and finish off the kill. And so far they are already 1 for 2 in assisting the Blue Jays. Thank you!
Monday, September 8, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Hundreds upon hundreds of fans backed the outside of the Rogers Centre, and rushed their way to Gate 6A to get something signed by JC. I overheard that some folks had been waiting since 1pm - so showing up at 5:30pm simply didn't cut it. After walking up 2 levels past other folks, I pretty much knew that there was no chance in hell I was going to get Joe's autograph. But thankfully some of the ushers let us know that he was leaving soon, so if we wanted to take a few photos we should hurry down before he leaves.
Below is a quick video I shot close to the end of the signing. It was pretty funny, just before he left you can hear the crowd chanting "Stay Joe, Stay". Even one guy in front of me was pretty understanding, yelling out to JC "It's not your fault, Joe!".
It was just amazing to see Joe Carter in person - even if it was from afar. The truth is, the city of Toronto and Blue Jays fans will always love Joe Carter. When they showed a video highlight reel of his career, the Rogers Centre rose to thunderous applause when they replayed his most famous walkoff home in the '93 World Series.
Although Joe didn't play, my favourite active player Alex Rios did not disappoint that night - hitting 2 homeruns on Friday. I can say that Alex easily made up for not getting a single hit in any of the Blue Jays games I have been to previously this season. Let's say it was an unofficial "passing of the torch" - Carter to Rios, one future Hall Of Famer to another (hopefully).
At least for next year, if Joe Carter does do another Flashback Friday I'll be sure to show up super super early. Until then, I guess I will have to dream what it will be like to have something signed by Touch 'em All Joe. I guess , either that or I can use my left hand to sign something and trick myself that it was signed by Joe!
Friday, September 5, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
So after doing a little research, I’ve discovered that it’s not very likely that I will be able to get a picture with JC. Considering the amount of people that will be there, they will probably want to get through them as quick as possible. It also looks like autographs will be limited to one per person.
Honestly, I’ve never been more excited for a Blue Jays game in my life. That’s even counting the Jays/Tigers game I was at on September 2nd, 1992 when the Blue Jays clinched the pennant. I think the atmosphere tonight at the Rogers Centre should be incredible. Especially since the Jays just swept the Twins, and Roy Halladay is also pitching tonight.
With the 9-0 thromping last night, the Blue Jays are now 7 games above .500 and only sit 1.5 games behind the Yankees. As I’ve said for the past few weeks, I think it would be incredible if the Blue Jays could finish ahead of the Yankees this year. Because the next best thing to making the playoffs would be to see the Yankees slip down into 4th place.
Joe Carter updates to come later this weekend - hopefully I don’t get a restraining order.
Thursday, September 4, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
I will try to attempt to utter a few words to Joe Carter when I step up to the table, but I imagine that I will barely be able to even mutter "thank you". It also looks to be a great game, with the Jays taking on the Rays. Roy Halladay (17-9) goes up against Andy Sonnanstine (13-6). All I can say is that it will be an incredible game, and I can't wait to witness my first Flashback Friday game in person. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
Blogger has rolled out a new feature called "Following" - in which you can follow your favourite blogs by subscribing to the blog feed. If you're a fan of the Blue Jay Hunter, just become a follower - the link is in the top right corner of the page. Just sign in with your google account and the blogs will be automatically uploaded to your Google Reader.
Also, just a reminder to vote on the "Which Blue Jay has the best soul patch?" poll! Currently Joe Inglett has the runaway lead, but you can make a difference if your favourite facial-haired Blue Jay is not in the lead. Vote early, and vote often.
*** This message approved by Fidel Castro.
Holy long ball last night against the twins: Bautista, Rios and Overbay all went deep after David Purcey shit the bed, and the Jays squeaked by with another come from behind victory. Unbelievably, the bullpen gave up just 2 hits the remainder of the game and B.J. Ryan fist-pumped his way to his 26th save of the year.
Your Jamie Campbell "WTF Comment of the Night" came in the 2nd inning, when Rance and Jamie were talking about how great the Minnesota Twins lineup is. When discussing Nick Punto and his .289 average compared to the rest of the team, Campbell joked "maybe they should send him down to the minors". Jamie, just leave the sarcastic remarks for disgruntled Jays Talk callers and statistically-obsessed baseball bloggers.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | by Ian Hunter
The Twins success in the 2008 season has basically been overshadowed by the Rays Cinderella season, and the Cubbies Quest for glory. But quietly the Minnesota Twins have put together a solid team that currently sits in first place in the American League Central. And this is even after they dealt away their ace Johan Santana in the offseason.
At this point, the Jays are playing for third place while the Twins are playing for a playoff spot. So watch for a lot of hustle from this young twins team hungry for the post season. Speaking of hungry, someone feed Mary-Kate and Ashley - they're looking kind of starved.
In other Blue Jays news, the team is now 75 % less gritty and spunky with the trade of David Eckstein. He was shipped off to the Arizona Diamondbacks in hopes he will actually have a hope in hell to play for a playoff spot. I myself am indifferent about the move; I never really thought it was necessary to sign Eckstein in the first place. This should send the message to J.P. Ricciardi that John Macdonald should be the starting shortstop no matter what. That is unless we can upgrade with one of these two guys in the offseason.