Saturday, January 31, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
But out of all the names, I think there is one dark horse candidate that will surprise everyone. This is my official endorsement for Scott Richmond as the fifth starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, and here are my reasons why.
1.) He already has the experience
Although Scott might only have 5 major league starts under his belt, that's five more than Ricky Romero or Brett Cecil. I realize that Matt Clement has pitched in the majors for 9 years, but he hasn't had a big league start in over 2 years. That's a really long time to be away from the big show. Mike Maroth is coming off of shoulder surgery, and has a career ERA of 5.02. Scott Richmond is the freshest and has had the most recent experience as a starting pitcher.
2.) Brett Cecil probably isn't ready yet
I'm not saying that Cecil isn't going to be next ace of the Blue Jays, I just think that he's not ready to be thrown into the fire just yet. We're all waiting for Cecil to be the next David Price, but J.P. Ricciardi has said on numerous occasions that he doesn't want to push some of the younger players too fast. This would give Scott Richmond the leg up on Brett Cecil.
3.) The World Baseball Classic will be Richmond's coming-out party
Rich Harden is out and Jeff Francis is out, so the weight of Team Canada's pitching staff will be on Scott Richmond's shoulders. I am hoping that Scott does really well at the World Baseball Classic, and performing well will definitely give him an advantage over the other candidates vying for the final spot in the Jays rotation.
4.) He's Canadian
Since the Blue Jays are "Canada's baseball team", there is an unwritten rule that there has to be a token Canadian on the team. With the departure of Matt Stairs, the Blue Jays are lacking in Canadian Content (Cancon for you media folks). Scott Richmond would probably fill those shoes very well. Although he might not be into hockey, I'm sure Scott could pick up the slack by playing some Roch Voisine and Rush in the Blue Jays clubhouse.
Friday, January 30, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Yahoo Sports released their list of 50 Worst Sports Announcers, and somehow Campbell was spared from the list. I’m considering contacting Jay Busbee to let him know that our Blue Jays TV commentator Jamie Campbell should be a write-in candidate, but I guess compared to some of the announcers on that list, Campbell isn’t totally inept.
Representing baseball’s worst were Chris Berman, Joe Morgan, and John Kruk. I don’t really have any issues with John Kruk, and Joe Morgan is obviously bad. But Chris Berman is especially annoying every year at the Homerun Derby. Hearing “back, back, back” every 5 seconds makes me want to go “back, back, back” in time and punch Berman’s father in the testicles, to prevent him from ever being born.
Also, just a quick reminder that the Live Blog will still be taking place on Tuesday at 9pm. Anyone is welcome to join, and there will be rough agenda that I’ll be working from. We’ll be talking about the starting rotation, possible batting orders, and who might possibly streak this year at Opening Day.
Thursday, January 29, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
I can’t remember when this one-sided love affair began, but I believe it was sometime around June 2006 when Alex was leading the league in batting average. It was something about his young spirit that captured me, and he looked to be the new franchise player for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ever since then, he was grown into a very talented young ballplayer, who has an extremely bright future.
I find that Alex is an easy player to like because he is deadly in all angles of the game; he has the arm like a cannon, the speed of a mongoose, and when he wants to, Alex can pull the ball for some power. Although he lacks the personality and entertainment value of say a Manny Ramirez, Alex does most of his entertaining on the field.
Alex also seems like a very down-to-earth person. We learned last year that he enjoys flying model helicopters, and seducing young women in hotel rooms. Rios also caught the eye of reporters at spring training last year when he sported a mohawk, so we know that he has a keen sense of fashion. And I’m pretty sure after that interview, he banged Kathryn Humphries from CityTV.
I’ll admit that I was convinced to go to the July 27th game at the Rogers Centre because of the fact that it was “Alex Rios Figurine Day”. Once a player is immortalized in figurine form, you know that they’re the real deal.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Just as a sidenote, my favourite song "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey has been used as song of hope for the 2005 Chicago White Sox, the 2006 Detroit Tigers, as well as the 2008 Los Angeles Dodgers. Now would be a great time to proclaim the same tune as the rally cry for the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays. If anything, we can at least give Steve Perry some kickass royalty cheques.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
I think we're going to try something a little different next week. On Thursday February 3rd at 9pm EST, I'll be hosting a Live Blog where all readers and fellow bloggers are welcome to come chat about the Toronto Blue Jays. If you've ever seen Tim's live blog at MLB Trade Rumors, it will be very similar to that. I guess it will really be more of a chat than anything else. You won't need any special accounts or anything, just check back here next Tuesday and it will be ready at 9pm.
I'm not really sure if it will be more of a Q & A, or more of an off season venting session. Either way, I welcome you all to join me on Thursday starting at 9pm Eastern Standard time. Depending on how things go, I might chat for 30 minutes to an hour.
If you're like me and have the memory retention of a goldfish, just enter your email into the event reminder below and you'll be sent an email alert. If there are any particular topics you'd like to discuss or any questions you have, feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can also email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to cover them during the live blog.
I hope to see you here - 9pm on Tuesday February 3rd for a Toronto Blue Jays Live Blog!
Monday, January 26, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
I imagine that Manny will most likely end up taking the 2 year/$45 million dollar contract from the Dodgers, but Scott Boras is trying to pry as much money as humanly possible from whichever team eventually signs Ramirez. I know the “Manny as a Jay” fantasies have been beaten to a death, but it would be cool to see the price drop enough so that J.P. Ricciardi could throw an offer on the table.
The trend seems to be going that way at least. Jason Giambi signed for $5 million a season. Pat Burrell signed for $8 million a season. Adam Dunn will likely sign around the $6 million a season range, so why not Manny too? I guess for now, we'll have to settle for Jason Lane and Brandon Fahey.
Friday, January 23, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
He says that despite the rough outlook for this season, Jays fans should be happy because they have the best team in town compared to the Raptors and Leafs. Over the past four years the Blue Jays have the best record, and also score bonus points for competing in the toughest division in baseball.
But I'm not really sure if this is a title that the Blue Jays should be proud of. Isn’t being the best sports team in Toronto kind of like winning the gold medal at the Special Olympics? You may be the best in the field, but at the end of the day ... you still have to take the short bus home.
Thursday, January 22, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
"More than likely I would've been a cop when I grew up, hence the mustache".
He looks like a natural. Go get 'em, Jeffy.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
As Parkes at Drunk Jays Fans suggests, it looks like Scott Richmond just might be the ace for Team Canada. Maybe this will be Scotty's chance for redemption after he turned down the chance to play for Team Canada at the 2008 Olympics in lieu of starting for the Blue Jays.
So is there a possibility that Richmond could now earn the new title "The Canadian Roy Halladay"?
To make the summaries of these events more interesting for myself, I picture the Blue Jays hierarchy as the villains from one of my favourites cartoon shows as a kid, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. Now before I go any further, let me reiterate that in no way am I insinuating that any of these people are evil creatures, it is merely just convenient for this example.
There is LB (portrayed by coach Cito Gaston), Tweeg (played by General Manager J.P. Ricciardi), and Quellor - The Supreme Oppressor of the Monsters and Villains Organization (portrayed by interim President Paul Beeston).
Amongst all the things that Tweeg said at this meeting, he plans on making Casey Janssen the 4th starter on the team, and the 5th spot is basically up for grabs between Brett Cecil, Scott Richmond, Matt Clement, and Mike Maroth.
LB said that he projects Lyle Overbay will be back to his 2006 self, hitting somewhere between 20-25 homeruns this season. Apparently Scott Rolen will hit 25-30 dingers in 2009. I know LB is just trying to be optimistic, but I think those are some pretty lofty expectations from players who have been injury-proned over the past few seasons.
If anything, over these past few days we have learned that it's important to keep hope for the 2009 season, and really all that Blue Jays fans want at this point are answers. It's only fair for season-ticket holders to have high expectations for the team, and it should also be fair of Blue Jays management to have realistic expectations for this season.
I guess in the meantime, I'll just reminisce with those episodes of Teddy Ruxpin.
Monday, January 19, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Just like the 1992 USA Basketball Dream Team, the 2009 USA WBC roster is also stacked. It's full of All Stars like Dustin Pedroia, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Scott Kazmir and Grady Sizemore. Blue Jays Vernon Wells and B.J. Ryan will be wearing the additional red and white to their regular blue uniforms. Alex Rios signed on to the Puerto Rican Team, and Rod Barajas will backstop for Team Mexico.
I have a feeling this WBC will be much better than the last. So long as Canada doesn't get eliminated by a technicality.
I dreamt that I was at a Jays/Cubs game at the Rogers Centre, and I was at field level hoping to get an autograph from one of the players. All of a sudden, I see Ryan Dempster come up, so I ask him for his autograph. He kindly accepts, and signs my baseball as we are chit-chatting about Canadian culture and whatnot. I then shake his hand, and he goes in for a hug (which at the moment, seemed eerily normal).
Anyway, after he leaves I look at my baseball and notice that he has signed it "Ryan Braun". What a joker, that guy.
We'll find out for sure if Ryan Dempster will be on the roster as World Baseball Classic rosters will be announced this evening at 6pm.
In the meantime, I guess I will just daydream about other possible roster spots for Team Canada. Jason Bay, you're next!
Friday, January 16, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
"The way he goes about the daily grind of playing baseball is going to be great for our younger service-time players to watch."
Of course after hearing John Gibbons and J.P. Ricciardi sing the praises of Eckstein last year, I understand that this previous statement actually translates to this:
"That Eckstein is a short motherf*cker, so good for him."
Eckstein is a short guy at 5'7", I get it. But don't recall anyone describing Dustin Pedroia as "gritty", and he's around the same height. Just don't confuse "grit" with "lack of height". Grit is not a substitute for talent, it's just an excuse for why a player hasn't had an All-Star season since 2006.
Thursday, January 15, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
These are the days I thank heaven for NES Emulators. Through the grace of technology and the magic of the interweb, I can relive my childhood days of playing my favourite baseball game of all time - Bases Loaded for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Don't get me wrong, Bases Loaded is not the very best NES baseball game around. RBI Baseball and Baseball Stars are far better, but for some reason one day my parents brought me home Bases Loaded, and I was hooked ever since.
Bases Loaded features 12 teams in total, some of which emulate real big-league teams. Unless you're familiar with the game, it's always a crap shoot choosing your team. Each team has it's pros and cons, and I always bounced from team to team as I remember not really having a favourite.
I discovered a few interesting features about the game after the fact. One, there are certain batters that a pitcher can provoke to charge the mound. There is also a stipulation that you can't hit more than two home runs in one game.
Another obvious case of programmers screwing around with the game, were the names of the umpires. You might remember that they were named Yuk, Dum, Boo, and Bum. This could be because the umps sit on their asses the entire game.
As far as the hitters in the game go, I really couldn't recall any players in particular. I just grouped them into 3 different types; fat guy, skinny guy, and Scott Rolen guy. For some reason, I always envisioned the skinny guy as John Olerud, and the fat guy as John Kruk.
One thing that sets Bases Loaded apart from many of the baseball games on the NES is the wealth of statistics. Each hitter has statistics (such as AVG and HR), and pitchers have win-loss records and and ERA. Another great feature of the game is the music. For it's time, Bases Loaded had a great array of sound effects and music. In fact, the music is so good that I sometimes wish it would play in the background as I watch Blue Jays games on TV.
My only real issue with the game is the degree of difficulty when fielding in the outfield. Fly balls are tough to judge, as I often found myself either coming up short (that's what she said), or would watch the ball bounce over my head into the outfield wall.
Monday, January 12, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Last week, the Blue Jays announced their 2009 giveaway days. Although many of us are very excited about receiving our Blue Jays Webkinz, let's take a look at some of the giveaway days that didn't make the cut.
Blue Jays Snuggie Giveaway
I can't take total credit for this ingenious idea, but I did pick up the suggestion after looking through the comments on Drunk Jays Fans. Imagine 10,000 fans draped in their official Toronto Blue Jays Snuggie! Since the commercial even suggests that it's completely normal to wear these at sporting events, why not take the lead make this a giveaway day? Maybe instead of the 7th inning stretch, fans can participate in a mid game Gregorian chant.
Aramark Vendor T-Shirt Giveaway
At this giveaway, the first 15,000 fans would be given a free yellow Aramark t-shirt so they could all look like their most famous former employee Wayne McMahon. Hilarity would ensue after everybody assumes every body is a beer vendor, and fights erupt mostly in the 500 section.
Aaron Hill Concussion Bobble Head Giveaway
Aaron Hill may not recall his famous collision with David Eckstein last season, but you can remember it for years to come with this commemorative bobble head.
Surprisingly enough, the Blue Jays instead chose to have a Lyle Overbay bobble head giveaway day on April 19th. Here's just a quick suggestion to the Blue Jays marketing department; maybe don't have a promotional day focused on a player who has been talked about being trade bait. Maybe that way, we can avoid the whole Frank Thomas bobble head day fiasco.
J.P. Ricciardi Disguise Giveaway Day
Since fans constantly enjoy criticizing the Blue Jays GM's every move, they can spend a day inside his nose during J.P. Ricciardi Disguise Giveaway Day. If this giveaway day is held on a Wednesday, fans will be welcome to join Mike Wilner in the Fan590 booth to answer questions on "Wednesdays with J.P.", but must be done with a bawston accent. Not pictured here, also comes with a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.
Saturday, January 10, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
In other free agent signing news, it appears that the Boston Red Sox are attempting to sign every Japanese pitcher in the league by adding reliever Takashi Saito. It's a bit of a gamble, as Saito was sidelined for a good part of the second half of the season with a right elbow injury. I guess the Los Angeles Dodgers figured he was too much of a risk as closer this season. Although the Red Sox now have 4 Japanese pitchers on the team, I'm still waiting for them to sign more players with moustaches.
Thursday, January 8, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
As General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, Ricciardi does control player transactions such as trades and free agent signings. But if Rogers limits his spending (as it is widely publicized this off season), then there is really nothing he can do about it.
As the face of the Blue Jays front office, Ricciardi gets a lot of unwarranted criticism. But after scorning him for not signing Jason Giambi, I understand that there is probably nothing more that J.P. wanted than to have another Oakland Athletic alumni under his wing.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Even if the Jays could trade Lyle Overbay, Giambi could still play first and hit in the heart of the Jays order. But instead, they will have to face off against him when the A's come to town on April 17th at the Rogers Centre.
I wouldn't expect the Blue Jays to sign anyone to a Milton Bradley or Pat Burrel-type contract, but $4.5 million for one year is a huge discount compared to the $24 million that Giambi made in 2008.
I'm sure the female fans in Toronto would've also appreciated Jason Giambi's moustache rides. I guess for now, they'll have to settle for Joe Inglett's soul patch.
Monday, January 5, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Now that it appears the Tampa Bay Rays have signed Pat Burrell, and the Cubbies have locked up Milton Bradley. So now the DH pool is getting shallower and shallower by the week. Here is a look at some of the big bats that are still available - none of which the Blue Jays will be going after, unfortunately.
Manny Ramirez (37 HR, 121 RBI)
Probable Suitors: Dodgers, Giants
Ramirez is a Scott Boras client, so of course whatever team signs Manny is going to get f*cked financially (just picture a dollar sign giving it to them from behind). Ultimately, I think Manny will just float back to the Dodgers because so far they have offered him the most money. There is a possibility that he might travel across the bay to the Dodgers, but I think it's unlikely.
Jason Giambi (32 HR, 96 RBI)
Probable Suitor: Athletics
If Giambi gets his way, he just might return to the team where he discovered the magic of HGH. Watch for him to take a huge pay cut this season, as there is no way in hell he will make anywhere close to the $23 million he was paid in 2009.
Adam Dunn (40 HR, 100 RBI)
Probable Suitors: Nationals, Orioles
Did you know that Adam Dunn doesn’t even like baseball? Did you also know that he also tried out for the Mousekateers when he was a child, but the producer said he looked like a lumberjack? Regardless of that, it looks like Dunn will either sign with the Cubs or Nationals. Basically, whatever team didn't land Milton Bradley will pick up Adam Dunn. Plus, the Nationals would probably be willing to spend a shitload on Dunn since they were the original favourite to sign Mark Teixeira.
Bobby Abreu (20 HR, 100 RBI)
Probable Suitor: Dodgers, Athletics
Abreu is probably the least talked-about big bat that should be paid attention to. In the last 6 seasons, he has quietly hit 100+ RBI’s and has hit 20+ HR in 5 of his last 6 years. Abreu’s name gets lost among the talk about ManRam and Bradley, but Bobby is truly a solid player. Whichever team signs him will likely get him at a discount, too.
Friday, January 2, 2009 | by Ian Hunter
Bright Spot - The Bullpen
Bright Spot - The Doc
Bright Spot - A Full Year of Cito
Low Light - Starting Rotation
Low Light - Who’s the DH?
Low Light - Lack of Cash
Overall, there are a lot of things to look forward to this year, but there are also a lot of things to keep in mind. The American League East is the toughest division in baseball, but loading up on the most talented free agents does not always guarantee success. As we saw with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, almost anything is possible. And we are certainly putting a lot of hope that the same is also possible also for the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays.