The Trade Deadline Looms for Jose Bautista

Saturday, July 31, 2010  |  by 

Here we are just under seven hours away from the 4pm non-waiver Trade Deadline, and I can't help but think Alex Anthopoulos isn't quite finished his work.

As most fellow Bautista Appreciation Society members, I'm hoping, praying and wishing that the Blue Jays don't trade Jose Bautista.

In his second straight game, he reached base in every at bat - but more importantly, Jose clubbed his 31st home run of the season and just the second grand slam for the Jays this season.

This could be me being a little ambivalent here, but do you think it's possible Jose Bautista drove his asking price so high this week that other teams couldn't afford him?

Not saying that one week of play determines a players value, yet for teams desperate to acquire some power ... how could  you go wrong with MLB's home run leader?

At the same time, Alex Anthopoulos is likely thinking the Blue Jays would be best served to keep Jose Bautista - at least for the short term. As Mike Wilner said, if the Jays do in fact deal Jose, it's probably going to be for guys we've never heard of before. It isn't going to be a top level prospect, but merely a couple of no-name prospects.

In my mind, I think it's safer to stick with the quantifiable talent rather than roll the dice on a couple of prospects. I've said this before about Bautista, but even if his power drops off significantly next year, his defensive prowess will still be there. He'll still be able to gun down runners at the plate and he'll still be able to throw out runners on a line right to third base.

And it's also funny how the 29 year old journeyman from the Dominican Republic has suddenly turned into one of the character guys in the clubhouse. Uncle Jose is stepping into the mentor position for guys like Yunel Escobar, and you can't really put a price tag on that.

When the 4pm Trade Deadline looms, I'll be watching the clock like a hawk hoping that nothing happens to Jose Bautista. Because I would hate for the Bautista Appreciation Society to have to pack up and move it's things to another city.

A Trade Deadline Distraction: Blue Jays Party Bus Stripper Pole Fail

Friday, July 30, 2010  |  by 

Need a break from all the Trade Deadline madness? Here's a video that's sure to take your mind off losing Brett Wallace.

Trust me, watch the entire thing to the VERY END because it's totally worth it.

Now, while this video doesn't have anything to do with the Blue Jays persae, everyone is decked out in Blue Jays gear and they appear to be on their way to a Jays game.

And what better way to kill time on the way to the game than to test the strength of the stripper pole installed on the interior of a party bus?

All I can say is ... this is exactly why we should leave the pole dancing up to the experts because someone could seriously get hurt.

Acid Flashback Friday: Travis Snider's First Game

Where were you on August 29th, 2008? If you were a hapless Blue Jays devotee, your posterior was likely parked on your favourite sitting aparatus with cold beverage in hand to watch the future of the franchise unfold before your very eyes.

For this week's Acid Flashback Friday we take a look back at Travis Snider's very first big league game.

The circumstances surrounding Travis Snider's callup on August 29th, 2008 was fueled by a trade made a few days prior. It was none other than Matt Stairs being trade to the Philadelphia Phillies that opened up the roster spot.

Out of all the places to make his big league debut, there could not have been a grander stage for Travis Snider to display his skills: the bright lights at Yankee Stadium.

Cito Gaston parked Snider out in left field and it didn't take long for him to make his presence felt. As shown to the left, Snider flashed the leather and made an incredible leaping play next to the wall. Even the folks in the stands at Yankee Stadium couldn't help but watch in amazement.

Then Travis Snider contributed with his bat: in the top of the sixth he swatted a ball off Carl Pavano to deep left-centre field for a ground rule double. Snider would eventually score and that would be the only run the Jays scored in a 2-1 loss to the Yankees.

When I think back to that game, it seems like so long ago ... when it actuality, it really wasn't. Although Travis Snider has spent time with the Jays these past three years, he's only actually played 134 games in the majors.

Just as Travis Snider makes his long awaited return to the Blue Jays tonight, it reminds me of how excited folks were to see the Great Big Giant Pasty White Hope for the first time back on August 29th, 2008 at Yankee Stadium.

Bye Bye Brett Wallace

Thursday, July 29, 2010  |  by 

Everyone said that Brett Wallace was going to be the future first baseman of the Toronto Blue Jays. Now, he's going to be the future first baseman for the Houston Astros.

In a shocking move, the Blue Jays flipped their highly touted first baseman prospect Brett Wallace to the Houston Astros for outfielder Anthony Gose.

When I first heard of the trade, my initial thought was "has Alex Anthopoulos lost his mind?" But now that I've had a little bit of time to cool off and collect my thoughts, on the surface it might not be so bad.

First, let's start with Brett Wallace. I was looking forward to seeing him mash major league pitching as much as the next guy, yet I think there's something here that the Blue Jays weren't telling us about.

Keep in mind this is the third time Wallace has been traded in the span of one year, so you'd think that if he was such a coveted prospect that those teams would rather hang onto him than trade him.

The Blue Jays never officially said anything about this, but there were rumblings that Brett Wallace wasn't exactly having the smoothest transition from third base to third base. I've never seen Wallace field so I can't really judge, but that must have been taken into consideration.

Now let's talk about Anthony Gose. It sounds like Alex Anthopoulos has been pretty enamored with him since the Winter Meetings as the Blue Jays originally requested he be included in the Roy Halladay trade.

It's difficult to say what kind of player Gose might develop into, but one thing he has going for him is something this organization is sorely lacking: speed. He had 76 stolen bases last season in A Ball and has swiped 36 bags this season.

I think the reason why this trade has so many people up in arms is because it didn't seem necessary. Brett Wallace was sitting there in the starting gates ready to get the call, and he seemed like the slugging first baseman that would provide some power in the middle of the lineup.

Now it feels like the Blue Jays have taken one step backward as they have to figure out how to fill the hole next year at first base. I don't suspect Alex Anthopoulos is done making all his trade deadline moves by a long shot, and that solution may come as early as Saturday.

When it all boils down to it, neither of these guys have had a lick of major league experience and are still playing in the minors. Brett Wallace could very well have been the next Carlos Delgado. On the other hand, he could also have been the next Eric Hinske.

Whether it's good or bad, we won't know the full repercussions of this trade for another 10 years or so. Hopefully by that time, the Blue Jays will have assembled a winning team.

And if not, we'll all be wondering if Brett Wallace was a piece of the puzzle that got left behind.

Anything But General Mills

Image courtesy of Daylife
He came, he saw, he conquered, then he took the red-eye back to Las Vegas.

Brad Mills may not have spent very much time in Toronto this trip around, but his short-lived spot start left a lasting impression.

The young lefty did exactly what the Blue Jays asked of him, and then he delivered a little more. For some reason, I had visions of Brad Mills coming out and no-hitting the Baltimore Orioles, and he actually wasn't too far off.

Last night I said something to the effect of the Baltimore Orioles make any opposing pitcher look good. While that may be true, I take back what I said and give full credit to Brad Mills. The Orioles have some very talented hitters in that lineup, and he had no problem mowing them down.

After all, didn't Stephen Strasburg make his big league debut against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates? Basically, I came to the revelation that a great pitching performance is a great pitching performance - it doesn't matter how horrible the opponent is.

I know it was just one start, but now Brad Mills makes the Blue Jays starting five picture even more complicated over the next few years. Now the Jays have to choose between Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, Marc Rzepczynski, Brad Mills and possibly even Kyle Drabek and pair it down to five starters.

Obviously there just isn't enough room for all of them in the starting rotation, so one would have to assume that Alex Anthopoulos is getting ready to package one of those arms in a trade, or he'll be shopping them at the Winter Meetings.

It's a nice problem for the Blue Jays to have, as I'm sure other organizations would kill to have the level of talented young pitchers that Toronto is so fortunate to have.

But I digress ... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and I'm sure Alex Anthopoulos will find some way to capitalize on the arms surplus in the Blue Jays organization and turn it into some position players or he'll stock up the relief corps.

As Brad Mills enjoyed his late night flight back to Sin City ... watching an unbearable in-flight movie like "Cop Out", I hope he realized that it definitely won't be the last time he'll be back in Toronto ... not by a long shot.

Breaking Down Jose Bautista's 30 Bombs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010  |  by 

Either Jose Bautista is putting on hell of an audition for his new team, or he's making a very convincing argument for the Toronto Blue Jays to hang onto him.

Bautista blasted his 29th and 30th home runs last night against the Baltimore Orioles and became the first player this season to even come remotely close to breaking the 30 home run plateau. At a clip of a home run per 13.96 plate appearances, Jose Bautista is on pace to hit 49 home runs this season.

Just as a comparison, the first Blue Jay on the roster to clear 30 home runs was Aaron Hill, and it took him 536 plate appearances to reach that mark. Jose Bautista managed to do it in 355 plate appearances - almost 200 less plate appearances than Hill.

Now while it may be a bit of a stretch to say he'll hit close to 50 bombs this year, even at the All-Star Break many had Bautista pegged to barely even clear 30 home runs before season's end.

It barely took Jose Bautista four months to join the 30 Home Run Club, but here's a breakdown of how and where he hit all his bombs:

Bomb # Date Pitcher Count Distance (feet)
1 11-Apr-10 Kevin Millwood (1-2) 372
2 19-Apr-10 Brian Bannister (0-0) 383
3 19-Apr-10 Luis Mendoza (0-0) 413
4 26-Apr-10 Josh Beckett (0-0) 401
5 3-May-10 Mitch Talbot (0-1) 411
6 4-May-10 Jake Westbrook (1-0) 409
7 10-May-10 John Lackey (1-1) 450
8 15-May-10 Scott Feldman (0-1) 367
9 15-May-10 Darren O'Day (2-1) 404
10 16-May-10 Colby Lewis (1-1) 392
11 17-May-10 Kevin Slowey (3-2) 376
12 20-May-10 Jason Vargas (2-1) 377
13 21-May-10 Dan Haren (1-1) 404
14 23-May-10 Billy Buckner (1-1) 391
15 25-May-10 Ervin Santana (0-0) 404
16 30-May-10 Will Ohman (0-0) 408
17 4-Jun-10 A.J. Burnett (3-2) 441
18 4-Jun-10 A.J. Burnett (2-0) 440
19 22-Jun-10 Jaime Garcia (3-0) 450
20 22-Jun-10 Kyle McClellan (1-1) 353
21 3-Jul-10 Andy Pettitte (2-0) 424
22 7-Jul-10 Kevin Slowey (1-2) 348
23 8-Jul-10 Ron Mahay (2-1) 404
24 10-Jul-10 Ramon Ramirez (1-0) 406
25 17-Jul-10 Jason Berken (1-0) 434
26 20-Jul-10 Anthony Lerew (2-2) 435
27 25-Jul-10 Jeremy Bonderman (0-0) 366
28 26-Jul-10 Brad Bergesen (0-1) 428
29 27-Jul-10 Kevin Millwood (1-0) 436
30 27-Jul-10 Alfredo Simon (2-2) 397

Here are some other interesting tidbits about Jose Bautista's 30 home runs.

Home runs by month: April (4), May (12), June (4), July (10)
Home runs at home: 18
Home runs on the road: 12
Average distance: 404 feet

Home runs with men on base: 20
Home runs without men on base: 10

Home runs before the 7th inning: 20
Home runs 7th inning or later: 10

Home runs against left-handed pitchers: 4
Home runs against right-handed pitchers: 26

Home runs when ahead or even in the count: 25
Home runs when behind in the count: 5
First pitch home runs: 6

With the current incarnate of the Blue Jays with their "grip it and rip it" hitting philosophy, one might assume that a great deal of Jose Bautista's home runs could be attributed to being aggressive right out of the gate. Surprisingly, only six in total or 20 percent of his home runs were swinging at the first pitch.

For the most part, Bautista does a phenomenal job of being patient and sitting back and waiting for an opposing pitcher to leave something on the inside part of the plate for him to crush.

Not a lot of folks talk about it, but his ability to draw the walk is another deadly part of Bautista's game. He currently ranks third in the American League for walks with 57.

Jose Bautista's ability to not only force a base on balls combined with his slugging power make him a huge threat to any opposing pitcher. His .915 OPS ranks 8th in the league and he's in good company with perennial heavy hitters like Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Morneau.

While he may not be one of those household names I just mentioned, Jose Bautista is very quickly making a name for himself across the league and staking a reputation as a big slugger.

Not too shabby for a player who was once cast aside by three organizations in a single season. Along with the Orioles, Rays, Royals and Pirates, I bet they all wish they renewed their Bautista Appreciation Society memberships before he hit the jackpot.

AL East Sibling Rivalry with the Orioles

Tuesday, July 27, 2010  |  by 

Remember a few months back when I talked about how the Blue Jays and Rays have a bit of an AL East Sibling Rivalry going on?

It was as if the younger brother of the American League had grown taller, faster and stronger and could now easily overpower its older brother.

Well, imagine if there was one kid in the family who not only got picked on and teased as a child, but grew up and still somehow managed to get picked on and teased as an adult. That would be the Baltimore Orioles.

This year especially, the Blue Jays have the Orioles number. They have beat them in ten straight games, outscored them 57-21 and out-homered them 21-1.

One can't help but feel pity for a team that's 37 games under .500 and was basically out of the running for playoff consideration as early as mid-May.

I particularly enjoyed the quote Jordan Bastian snagged from Jose Bautista on whether he feels bad for the Baltimore Orioles.
"I'm sure somebody is going to beat up on us, so it's nice to be able to beat somebody every time we play them."
Bautista could not be more right with that quote. While the Jays are still undefeated against the lowly Orioles, they have a combined 8-16 record against other American League East opponents.

But you know what? No matter how easy things might look against the Orioles, you should never underestimate them. Last night was a perfect example - the Blue Jays took their foot off the gas pedal for a few innings, and it lead to the tying run coming to the plate.

If you ever played softball as a kid, it's like being one run away from the mercy rule, then your team dogs it the rest of the game and you almost end up losing it because that eight run lead seemed pretty comfortable at the time.

After all, don't feel bad for the Baltimore Orioles ... because they probably feel bad enough for themselves.

Random Thoughts from the Double Dip

Monday, July 26, 2010  |  by 

Typically, like the character Timmy from the Seinfeld episode "The Implant", I would suggest to just take one dip and end it. However, mother nature got in the way on Friday and the Jays and Tigers were forced to play a double dip on Sunday to make up for the rainout.

After a combined 5 hours and 27 minutes of baseball over the course of two games (in other words, a typical Yankees/Red Sox game), here are a few random thoughts from yesterday's double dip:

Who would've ever guessed that Lyle Overbay was going to be the hero in the first game of the double header? Overbay isn't your prototypical slugging first baseman, but he very quietly gets the job done yet takes a lot of flack from fans.

Defense is something we almost always take for granted. This isn't any knock on Brett Wallace or anything, but I have a feeling we're going to miss Lyle Overbay's glove the first few seasons that Wallace takes over first base.

Jim Leyland fielded nine rookies in the second game of the double header. That's right ... NINE. It makes me wonder who would win in a seven game series - that Tigers roster or the current incarnation of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Scott Downs has not allowed a run since June 6th, or his last 15 innings of work. Downs trade value just keeps getting higher and higher as the trade deadline approaches, and I wonder if Alex Anthopoulos is just waiting until the off day on Thursday to unload all his trades.

Compared to Brian Tallet, how good does Jesse Carlson look right about now? In his last 10 games with the Las Vegas 51's, Jesse Carlson has a 1.46 ERA and has give up 2 earned runs. Brian Tallet on the other hand has given up 16 earned runs in his last 10 games to the tune of a 8.64 ERA.

I posted on Friday how Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler have been coordinating their wardrobe over the course of the road trip. Well, Sam Cossentino picked up where Buck left off and they ended the series with another matching effort.

Window Shopping in Detroit

Sunday, July 25, 2010  |  by 

In the span of just a single game, the trade deadline priorities of the Detroit Tigers suddenly changed.

Luckily they were playing against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team which is full of players who are just waiting to be plucked up. Call it roster "window shopping" if you will ... Detroit's opportunity to see some trade targets up close and personal.

Oddly enough, the Tigers have been scouting John Buck and acquiring him would help provide some veteran stability to their catching position. The combination of Gerald Laird and Alex Avila doesn't exactly scream consistency for the Tigers.

Now while the Tigers may not have needed an outfielder at the beginning of last night's game, they certainly needed one after. With Magglio Ordonez out 6-8 weeks with a fractured ankle, Jose Bautista is looking pretty good right now.

Just a heads up for the shoppers in Detroit thought ... there is no bartering on the players displayed in the window. I'm sure Alex Anthopoulos will verify that the price you see is the price you get.

And if you don't like it, then you can take your business elsewhere to Macy's or Target.

Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler as Shirt Twins

Friday, July 23, 2010  |  by 

I'm not sure if you guys have noticed something kind of funny about the Blue Jays broadcasts on Rogers Sportsnet during the current road trip, but I have.

It appears as though Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler are either sharing the exact same wardrobe, or they're really really big fans of the silk button-up short sleeved shirts.

At first I thought their luggage might have gotten lost and they had to stock up on shirts in Baltimore at a nearby Target, but this pattern has continued on for the past seven games. Here's the proof below:

July 16th vs. Baltimore Orioles

July 17th vs. Baltimore Orioles

July 18th vs. Baltimore Orioles

July 19th vs. Kansas City Royals

July 20th vs. Kansas City Royals

July 21st vs. Kansas City Royals

July 22nd vs. Detroit Tigers

My personal favourite? The salmon coloured shirts Buck and Pat wore during the second game of the Orioles series. The pink really brings out the flesh tones in Buck's skin.

It's not my sense of style, but hey ... if it worked for Frank Costanza, it can certainly for Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler - for 10 straight games.

Acid Flashback Friday: The Blue Jays Lose the Pennant at Tiger Stadium in 1987

If you're a Blue Jays fan, you have several reasons to have a little disdain for the Detroit Tigers.

First of all, up until 1998 the Jays and Tigers were division rivals and were only separated by 400 some odd kilometres, making them the only true rivals within the region.

However, most Jays fans probably look back at the Detroit Tigers with a little contempt thanks to three fateful games. For this week's Acid Flashback Friday, we take a trip down memory lane and relive the final series of the 1987 season against the Detroit Tigers.

Going into Tiger Stadium, the Blue Jays had a very narrow one game lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Jays were sending two of their best starting pitchers to the hill in the series, Jimmy Key and Jim Clancy.

The Blue Jays got off to a bad start, losing the series opener in a close one 4-3. Try as they may, their bats just could not solve Doyle Alexander - who after giving up three runs in the top of the second inning, settled down and shut out the Jays the following five innings.

The next day facing off against Jack Morris, Mike Flanagan turned in what could possibly be the gutsiest pitching performance in Blue Jays franchise history that you'll never hear about. Flanagan started Saturday's game and tossed 11 innings and surrendered just a single run.

He was yanked after 11 innings, and Jeff Musselman promptly got the first out of the 12th before giving up back to back singles, then walking the bases loaded.

Mark Eichorn tried to clean up the mess, but they very next batter Alan Trammel (pictured left) drove in the winning run and the Tigers won 3-2 in 12 innings.

With the final game of the season at hand, the Blue Jays needed to win just to force a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs. And they couldn't have asked for a better guy to guide them to victory, Jimmy Key.

It was a pitcher's duel the entire way between Key and Frank Tanana. Jimmy Key gave up just three hits the entire game, but the big one was a solo home run off the bat of Larry Herndon.

In fact, Key gave up just one fly ball the entire game, which was the home run to Herndon - and it only missed the fence by a few inches. The picture at the top of this post is that very home run.

Sadly, the closest the Blue Jays would come to crossing home plate that day was in the top of the fourth when Cecil Fielder singled but with Manny Lee in the batter's box, he was thrown out trying to steal second. Lee then hit a triple, but it was all for not as the next hitter flied out and the threat was erased.

The Blue Jays would lose the final game of the season in a heart breaker 1-0 to the Tigers. Now, I may not have been around for the collapse of 1987, but we are still feeling the effects over 20 years later wondering if the Jays might have won another World Series.

Admittedly, my disdain for the Detroit Tigers is a little misplaced, as it was the Blue Jays who lost their final seven games of the season, and the final three by one run. A stud during the rest of the regular season, George Bell was all but absent in that stretch going 2 for 26.

Yet every time the Blue Jays head back to Motown, I can't help but remember how the Blue Jays lost the pennant at Tiger Stadium during the final series of 1987.

Bautista up on the Trading Block?

Thursday, July 22, 2010  |  by 

Image courtesy of Getty Images
It's hard to believe there are only nine days until the MLB Trade Deadline, and with each passing minute I'm getting increasingly paranoid about what's going to happen to Jose Bautista.

With trade talks heating up and interested teams circling Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays, one has to wonder if he will in fact be dealt or if he's going to stay with the club.

Yesterday, trade rumours really caught wind thanks in part to a bevy of posts surrounding Jose Bautista on MLB Trade Rumors. Much of it had to do surrounding Buster Olney's video blog below:

Perhaps the thing that stands out the most is the claim that rival executives speculate that Jose Bautista could hit more than $10 million dollars if he goes to arbitration in the off-season.

Even if Bautista clears 40 home runs, I think it will be difficult to justify spending more than $10 million dollars on him. Just as a quick comparison, in 2008 Ryan Howard was awarded $10 million in arbitration after he just won the NL MVP award and the NL Rookie of the Year award the year prior.

I realize these circumstances are about as different as apples and oranges, but you get the idea. Jose Bautista hasn't consistently had the offensive numbers to justify that price tag in salary arbitration.

I asked the trade guru himself Tim from MLB Trade Rumors what he thinks Jose Bautista might fetch if the Blue Jays go to salary arbitration, and what the Jays should do as an alternative to avoid arb altogether:
"I asked a team exec about this and he said $6-8 million, no way $10-12 mil. For the most part Bautista is still going to be compared to guys in the same service time class.

I think the Jays should make a team-friendly extension offer, something guaranteeing maybe two years with a club option"
This is just my gut feeling, but I don't think Jose Bautista is going anywhere. Although Alex Anthopolous is usually pretty good at keeping any trade speculation close to his chest, when AA was asked by Jeff Blair last week if Bautista fits into the long term plans of this team, he answered "yes".

Again, this is just my suspicion ... but if the Blue Jays hang onto Jose Bautista past the trade deadline, I don't think it's even going to get close to arbitration. As Tim indicated, hopefully they will offer him a 2-3 year extension.

I hate to use the "hometown discount" cliche, but how else could the Jays convince him to re-sign for the exact same salary two years in a row and avoiding arbitration, when he would almost certainly be awarded more that $2.4 million?

Personally, I think it's in the best interest of the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista to hammer out some sort of contract extension in the off-season and forget arbitration court altogether. Besides, nobody enjoys going there and unless it's Judge Judy behind the bench, there isn't any sort of comic relief.

The Blue Jays have every right to have a high asking price for Jose Bautista, and maybe that's all part of the strategy. It could very well be that Alex Anthopoulous doesn't have any intention of dealing Bautista anyway.

Playing the part of the savvy businessman, AA doesn't want to deem Jose as "untouchable" just in case another team gets desperate for a big bat close to the trade deadline and suddenly offers up those top level prospects the Blue Jays are looking for.

So opposing teams, feel free to show all the interest you want in Jose Bautista because you're either barking up the wrong tree, or you're getting into a bidding war and driving up the price for him.

This Calls For a Celebration

Wednesday, July 21, 2010  |  by 

In the midst of the Blue Jays 13-1 romping over the Kansas City Royals, something magical happened to one player in particular.

We've all been eagerly anticipating this event since the beginning of the season, but with his three hits last night, Aaron Hill climbed above the Mendoza Line for the first time since May 9th.

It may have taken 56 games for Hill to break the .200 plateau once again, and hopefully he can keep his head above that mark for the duration of the season.

In the meantime, let's bask in the glory and enjoy this Al Gore-sized celebration.

The People vs. Jose Bautista


Before I delve too far into this, let me explain what's written below. A few months ago, I had the idea to qualify Jose Bautista's monster start to the season, and I was convinced that he was the "real deal".

Admittedly a homer for one of my favourite players, I thought it was only fair to get someone from the other side of the argument in on the issue. I was going to play the part of the defense while Drew from Ghostrunner on First would be the prosecutor.

Needless to say, it's hard to argue against a player who leads the league in home runs. However, I didn't want my side of the argument to go silent - so I hereby present you folks with the defense's side of "The People vs. Jose Bautista".

Opening Statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: let me begin today's proceedings by asking you all a question. What is "real"?

Is it something you can hold in the palm of your hand? It is something that's measurable, tangible, and something that can be explained?

The dictionary defines "real" as being or occurring in fact or actuality, having verifiable existence and to be true or actual. Well, I'm here today to show you that Jose Bautista is all of those things.

It's easy to write off his late-season success as a fluke. It's easy to even say Jose Bautista had a bit of a cakewalk against opponents in the early stages of the season. However, now we're getting into the heart of the schedule and he's still putting up phenomenal numbers.

With the most home runs this season out of anybody in the major leagues, and even the most since last September, there is no denying that Jose Bautista is real.

Exhibit A - Offense

One the widely publicized chinks in Jose Bautista's armour was that he's a notoriously dreadful hitter against right-handed pitching. Then what does he do? Hits all but four of his 26 home runs this season against right-handed pitchers. If there was any criticism of his ability to hit off righties, Bautista has all but silenced his critics.

How can one argue against the current major league leader in home runs? Whether those dingers were hit off of mediocre pitching or not, home runs are still home runs.

Yes, Jose Bautista has a batting average that is something less than to be desired. Frankly, Bautista doesn't need to have a batting average over .300 so long as he's continually hitting balls out of the park.

Exhibit B - Defense

There is no question that defensively Jose Bautista is one of the best fielders on the Toronto Blue Jays roster. He makes one hell of a solid third basemen, and his defensive prowess in the outfield is unparalled. Last year, he led the league with 11 outfield assists and only played 84 games split between the three outfield positions.

It's no secret that Edwin Encarnacion holding down the hot corner but he's handled ground balls as badly as he does Roman Candles. EE has made 9 throwing errors from third base this season alone, and 16 in total since coming over to the Blue Jays last year.

Jose Bautista on the other hand has played 61 games at third base for the Jays since 2008 and only committed 6 errors in total. To me, it seems like a no-brainer as to who to start at third base.

Exhibit C - Overall Worth

At a meager salary of just $2.4 million dollars, Jose Bautista is worth it for the defense alone. Then you add in his offensive contributions to the team and he's one of the best bargains contract-wise in baseball.

The only problem I foresee is Bautista's value skyrocketing so high that the Blue Jays will not be able to afford his services when it comes time to renew his contract. And that's if the Blue Jays hang on to him past the trade deadline.

The third base position is seemingly the only hole in the Alex Anthopolous' plan to rebuild this team, so why not give Jose Bautista a crack at becoming the full-time third basemen for the next few seasons?

He's still under team control through 2011, and by then the Blue Jays can re-evaluate whether there is a suitable replacement in the minors or if they should sign Bautista to a 2-3 year deal in the interim.

Closing Statement

Ladies and gentlemen, let me ask you once again: what is real?
Are Jose Bautista's 26 home runs this season real? Are his abilities to play both corner outfield spots and third base real? Is Jose Bautista's value real?

I'll be the first to admit Jose Bautista isn't the perfect baseball specimen. He's no Albert Pujols. He's no Alex Rodriguez.
But right now, Jose Bautista has more home runs this season than both of those players.

After all the evidence presented today, one can't help but answer yes to all those questions asked above. I truly believe that Jose Bautista is the real deal. And you should too. Thank you.

Gregarious on Gregg

Tuesday, July 20, 2010  |  by 

Sometimes, even the most effective prophylactics fail. With an effectiveness percentage of 84, every once in a while ... so too does Kevin Gregg. 

21 out of 25 times, Gregg has deployed the Optic Blast and picked up the Cyclops Save. His job is to protect a lead of three runs or less, and occasionally opponents get the best of him. Surprisingly, he's only blown four saves this year although sometimes it seems like ten or more.

Not to sound like a Kevin Gregg apologist, but it's easy to peg this loss on him simply because he was the last guy out there.

Unlike Saturday evening's game against the Orioles, Kevin Gregg did an okay job of finding the strike zone. The only real big mistake he made was walking Jose Guillen on four straight pitches to put the go-ahead run on base with two outs.

Other than that, the Royals nickel and dimed him for a couple of ground ball singles ... and frankly, that could've happened to any other reliever in the bullpen, not just Kevin Gregg. Things like that are bound to happen when you're playing against the squad with the highest team batting average in the majors.

As an aside, check this out: 73 % of all the Royals hits have been for singles. The Blue Jays on the other hand have 55 % of their total bases as singles. What does this mean exactly? I'm not totally sure, but it probably equates to the Royals nickle and diming plenty of other teams as well.

Cito was correct when he said the team didn't play good fundamentals. The play that stands out in my mind was in the top of the fourth when Adam Lind got nailed at third base trying to advance on a sac fly.

Since he was tagged out before Wells reached the plate, Lind's third out negated what would've been a run by Vernon. Had Adam Lind just stood there at second base, Wells probably scores on the sac fly and there are still two out.

Instead, Lind got a little too aggressive trying to draw the throw away from home plate and it cost him dearly. It's just baseball fundamentals that you don't make the third out of an inning at third base, and that's especially true on a sac fly play.

In a strange way, I don't feel all too badly about handing that game to the Kansas City Royals because it's not like they have much to celebrate these days. It was only their second walk-off win of the season.

Let them pile up at home plate and use it as a lesson for the future. Don't tag up and go second to third base unless you're absolutely sure you'll get there.

We Love Yu

Monday, July 19, 2010  |  by 

There was one thing very apparent the minute I checked into Archi's liveblog of the Jays/Orioles series finale: people are already falling in love with Yunel Escobar.

And you know what? There's already a lineup to get to the front of the Yuney Fanclub.

Even though the Blue Jays have had absolutely no problem launching home run after home run, the one thing that alluded them was a grand slam. Leave it up to Escobar to break that streak and also hit his very first home run in of the season.

After just three games with the club, part of me wants to keep saying "small sample size, whatever whatever" and not get too excited about Yunel's tremendous start.

However, the other side wanted to scream "HOLY SHIT YUNEL ESCOBAR JUST KILLED A BALL!" as I started salivating like a 12-year old suffering from Bieber Fever.

I think it's safe to say most of us are optimistic about what Yunel Escobar will bring to the table for the Blue Jays in the next few years. Maybe he really did need a change of scenery, but I brought this up in the comments a few days ago.

Often times, athletes can be misunderstood and things can easily get lost in translation and people might misconstrue these players as being "difficult" when really it's just them not able to convey themselves in a language other than their native tongue.

Callum from Mop Up Duty made a great point: Roberto Alomar was a "flamboyant" player, and look where it got him ... just steps away from being enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After yesterday, consider me officially on board as a member of the Yuney Fanclub. As a trio of wise Canadian poets once said, "I Love Yu".

Did Kevin Gregg get squeezed ... again?

Saturday, July 17, 2010  |  by 

Just over a month ago, Kevin Gregg unequivocally got squeezed against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was an epic fail of an inning, but the set of circumstances that lead to that particular situation were even more atrocious.

This time however, I have to give credit to the manager Cito Gaston because he did the absolutely right thing. He gave his closer a little bit of rope, but not enough to let him hang himself and yanked him after walking the bases loaded in a one-run game.

It's funny because a month ago, I don't think Cito could have even fathomed yanking his closer out of the game in a save situation, no matter how ugly things got. Yet for some reason, Kevin Greg yipped back at his manager as though Gregg was completely in control of things when he clearly wasn't.

So did Kevin Gregg get squeezed by home plate ump Jim Reynolds? Let's take a look at the Pitch F/X below, courtesy of the always fantastic Brooks Baseball.

Adam Jones: First Walk

Kevin Gregg quickly retired Ty Wigginton on three straight pitches, but then ran into a little bit of trouble with Adam Jones. The only real questionable call was the second pitch on the outside corner, but it's debatable. In a game of inches, you can't really argue a pitch that close to the zone.

Felix Pie: Second Walk

The very next batter, left-hander Felix Pie steps in and Gregg feeds him a steady diet of outside pitches, sprinkled with a couple on the inner part of the plate. The fourth pitch was a 87 MPH slider inside which was called a ball, and it could have easily gone either way.

That pitch however was much closer to being a strike than the second pitch to Adam Jones.

Julio Lugo: Third Walk

Following the Pie walk, Kevin Gregg quickly gets Scott Moore to fly out to left field and then goes to work against Julio Lugo. Gregg gets the first pitch strike, but then subsequently lets four pitches go for balls. There was just one on the outside corner that could have been deemed either a ball or strike.

However small or big of an injustice you may think some of these calls were, perhaps the biggest one of all is below.

Cesar Izturis: Ground Out

If you thought that Shawn Camp received a gift of a call on his very first pitch out of the bullpen, you're right. Look at how far it's off the strike zone ... it's not even close. But hey, maybe that was a "compensatory call" after Kevin Gregg missed a couple on the corner.


It's difficult to discern whether or not Kevin Gregg truly got squeezed or not. When a pitcher is having trouble throwing strikes in the first place, he doesn't really do himself any favours in the mind of the home plate umpire.

That being said, if Gregg wasn't getting those calls he should've adjusted accordingly, rather than let things get out of hand and walk the bases loaded. Fortunately, his manager had the sense of mind to see what was happening and took him out of the game at the perfect time.

This one could have been really messy, but the Blue Jays squeaked out a close one against the Orioles. Even though the Blue Jays came out on the winning end, I have a feeling we'll be talking about this one for a while.

Blue Jay Hunter Feedback Survey

When I wrote my first post on this blog back on August 27th 2007, I could have never imagined that more than two people (who may have been misdirected looking for "The Milf Hunter") would ever read it.

Over the past  three years, I have been gracious for any readers and commenters that have stopped by this website to speak their mind, and even those who prefer to sit in the shadows and watch us beat each other up.

I would be grateful if you could just take a few minutes to fill out the survey below and help me make this site better for you. All feedback will remain anonymous. Thanks!

Hey! New Guy!

He bunts, he turns double plays, he hauls down line drives, and he even twirls his bat in the batter's box. Welcome the new guy, Yunel Escobar.

He didn't take very long to make his impression on the team either, as Escobar looked very comfortable out there both on the field and at the dish.

He even decided to take matters into his own hands on his very first at bat as a Blue Jay, bunting for a single. Cito Gaston later admitted that he didn't call for that play and Escobar just did it on his own. Way to be proactive, Yuney!

Not to be overshadowed, Ricky Romero was back in fine form after being roughed up his two previous starts where he gave up 13 runs in just 5 innings combined. Nothing like a start against the lowly Baltimore Orioles to cure what ails the soul.

And not to get too ahead of myself here, but with his 3 hits against the Orioles, Aaron Hill's batting average climbed back up to .196. If he continues hitting like this, Hill could finally climb back over the Mendoza Line for the first time since May 6th.

Again, nothing like the OrioLOLs to help break a player out of their funk.

Acid Flashback Friday: Bobby Cox as Blue Jays Manager

Friday, July 16, 2010  |  by 

Believe it or not, aside from meeting in the 1992 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves have some deep ties.

One of them happens to be the current manager of the Atlanta Braves, and former skipper of the Blue Jays. For this week's Acid Flashback Friday, we take a look back at Bobby Cox's tenure as manager for the Blue Jays.

Cast aside from the Atlanta Braves following four straight seasons of finishing fourth or worse in the NL West Division, Bobby Cox came to Toronto hoping to get his second wind. Bobby quickly turned things around for the club and helped them soar to a 78-84 record in 1982.

The two following seasons, Bobby Cox guided the young franchise to consecutive seasons with a winning record. His crowing achievement with the the team was a first place finish in 1985 when the Blue Jays captured the pennant thanks in part to 99 wins.

We all know too well that the Blue Jays ended up losing the ALCS in a heartbreaking seven games to the Kansas City Royals, and maybe no one felt the sting of that more than Bobby Cox.

He may have enjoyed success in Toronto during his four seasons as manager, but it was obvious his heart was with Atlanta and he subsequently returned to the Braves organization as General Manager and would eventually take over as skipper two years later.

In an era of baseball in which managers are all too often painted as the scapegoats for seasons gone wrong, it's nice to see that the Atlanta Braves organization stood behind Bobby Cox even though he only brought the Braves one World Series ring.

Oddly enough, Bobby Cox and Cito Gaston spent four seasons together on the Blue Jays Coaching staff: Cox as manager and Cito as the hitting coach. However, both will be hanging up their managerial caps for good at the end of the 2010 season. 

Cox helped steer the Braves to 14 playoff appearances in 15 years, and all indications seem to point to a 15th trip to the post season under the guidance of Bobby Cox as his final swan song.

Bonus footage: Don't ask me how, but I came across this McDonald's commercial from back in the day featuring Bobby Cox in his full out Blue Jays gear. Enjoy!

The Other Side of the Tomahawk

Thursday, July 15, 2010  |  by 

Yunel Escobar is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, and many of us are wondering what exactly we can expect from this highly touted 27 year old shortstop.

I wanted to get a perspective from the other side of the trade, so Kris from the Atlanta Braves blog Tomahawk Take was gracious enough to provide his thoughts and weigh in on the deal:
"I really liked Escobar coming into the season, but he has been underwhelming this year offensively yet solid defensively. There have been a lot of reports of his perceived bad attitude and I think that absolutely played into this trade.

Rumor was that he wasn't well liked in the locker room and typically you don't stick with the Braves long if that happens.I think the Braves were reluctant to commit big money to him through arbitration when they may not have been happy with his work ethic.

I like Escobar still and can't really understand his struggles this season, but I think a change of scenery will do him wonders."
The circumstances with the Braves surrounding Yunel Escobar feel all to familiar compared to what the Blue Jays went with in regards to Alex Rios.

Both organizations were hoping these guys would become cornerstones of the future, but instead they became more of a liability than a benefit and that's probably why both Escobar and Rios are in different uniforms.

That being said, the Atlanta Braves are loading up for a pennant run and I wish them all the best in their quest for the playoffs. Hopefully, the Blue Jays will meet them again in October some day soon.

The Blue Jays Clearance Sale Begins

Wednesday, July 14, 2010  |  by 

If Alex Anthopoulos barely took any time off for a honeymoon this year, you know for damn sure he wasn't doing to be quiet and sit on his hands during the All-Star Break.

The Blue Jays and the Braves got the ball rolling with the biggest trade of the year so far involving major league ready players, as the Blue Jays shipped Alex Gonzalez and prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to Atlanta, receiving Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes in return.

At first glance, this appears to be a great "buy low, sell high move" for the Blue Jays. Alex Gonzalez could not be more valuable at this point, and somehow the Blue Jays managed to pry away Yunel Escobar from the Braves.

On the downside, the Blue Jays may have inherited a player with some issues, but that's why the Blue Jays got him on the cheap. Prior to the beginning of the season, Escobar was projected as one of the best defensive shortstops in the majors.

So even though they may have given away a bit of power at the shortstop position in the short term, it looks like the Jays have actually upgraded on defense in the long term.

With a fresh start in Toronto under the guidance of Cito Gaston and his coaching staff, maybe Yunel will turn things around under this regime with a "grip it and rip it" free-flowing philosophy. Better yet, at just 27 years old, Escobar is under team control until the end of 2013.

Another plus for the Blue Jays, as Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press indicates, the Blue Jays have an ace in the hole with Jose Bautista to help Yunel Escobar translate/transition into the Jays clubhouse.

Personally, I think this is a phenomenal move for the Blue Jays and now they've managed to shore up the shortstop position for a very long time. Anthopolous was smart to sign both Alex Gonzalez and John McDonald to patrol the middle infield, then work backwards and sign Adeiny Hechavarria.

Now with Yunel Escobar, the Blue Jays have someone to bridge the gap between those two eras.

After reading the reaction posts on Fangraphs and MLB Trade Rumors, the only thing Jays fans are most upset about is losing Tim Collins.

Honestly, I'm not all that familiar with Tiny Tim and hadn't heard of him until I saw his profile on Mop Up Duty's Prospect Watch post, but more importantly until I saw how tiny he was compared to Trystan Magnuson.

Ultimately, you have to give something up to get something in return. Besides, the Blue Jays have drafted and signed an ample amount of pitchers, so it's not like the club will be hurting for arms any time soon.

Buck Captains Late Inning Rally by American League in ASG

Image courtesy of Jack Dempsey/AP Images for Captain Morgan
Alright, so maybe John Buck didn't have as prolific of an All-Star Game as the title would suggest, but basically I was just looking for an excuse to post this picture of him hanging out with his long-lost brother, Captain Morgan.

In all seriousness though, Buck had a great All-Star Game and represented the Toronto Blue Jays extremely well. No passed balls, four innings of solid catching, and a couple of hits to boot.

And if it weren't for a slow-footed David Ortiz, John Buck could have been the captain for some late-inning heroics once again by the American League. Fangraphs does a great job of breaking down the play, and calculates what chance they AL would've had to win had Ortiz been safe at second base.

If anything, maybe a potential suitor liked what they say at the All-Star Game, and are even more interested in trading for John Buck.

All in all though, it was great to see three Blue Jays out there on the field at once, representing Canada's only major league baseball team proudly.

I kind of wish Jose Bautista would've had a chance to swing the bat more than once, as I was eagerly anticipating him all evening. Everything was set for him to be the hero and club a game-tying home run, but unfortunately he popped out into foul territory and that was all for the AL in the bottom of the eighth inning.

As far as All-Star Games go, I don't know if I'd classify this one as a "classic", as nothing really stood out in my mind as noteworthy. It's funny because in the NHL All-Star Game, its usually the goalies that get lit up and are made to look like fools, but last night it was the pitchers who made the hitters look silly.

Without Bautista, Home Run Derby falls short

Tuesday, July 13, 2010  |  by 

They may not have gone about it the right way, but ultimately Major League Baseball got what they wanted out of the Home Run Derby: a fan favourite like David Ortiz winning the contest.

I won't try and dissect the Derby too much, but there were certain things that crept up during the night that must be addressed.

Aside from Chris Berman and Joe Morgan's incessant dribble, the broadcast is as always, about 90 minutes too long. And at times, it felt like an infomercial for State Farm and Gatorade with the amount of product placement and sponsor mentions.

I still find it shocking that viewers prefer to watch the Home Run Derby instead of the MLB All-Star Game itself. Now I can see that the casual baseball fan or stopper by would prefer to watch a dinger parade, but man ... does it ever get old fast.

It seems like I go through the same thing ever year: I promise that I'm not going to subject myself to the Home Run Derby, but then I always cave in fear that I might miss that great Home Run Derby moment. Fortunately, there wasn't really earth-shattering that happened this year.

Vernon Wells didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball, but he wasn't the worst participant either. Maybe part of that had to do with his anxiousness at the plate, as he didn't take too many pitches and didn't really take his time setting up for his home runs. And by the way, wasn't John Buck supposed to pitch to Wells?

Just a few more thoughts on the Home Run Derby in relation to Jose Bautista before I finally close the book on this issue.

Kudos to Fox for almost completely managing to ignore Bautista altogether. I don't know if that was at the direction of MLB executives, but it really did seem like the major league leader in home runs was being completely overlooked during the broadcast.

Aside from a Freudian Slip by Bobby Valentine calling David Ortiz "Jose Ortiz" and Joe Morgan briefly mentioning Bautista as merely an obstacle standing in the way of Miguel Cabrera winning the American League triple crown, Jose Bautista was nowhere to be seen or heard.

Although they didn't outright say it, you could sense from the Home Run Derby broadcast team that there were better options out there for participants.

When Chris Berman even introduced Nick Swisher as "leading the league in fun", you know the competition is losing its luster when even the broadcasters are grasping at straws to justify why Swisher was there in the first place.

Moustache Clad All-Stars: The Best Staches of the First Half

Monday, July 12, 2010  |  by 

Once again, baseball fans have been privy to some momentous occasions during the first half of the 2010 season. There were Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden's perfect games, and of course Ubaldo Jimenez and Edwin Jackson's no-hitters.

However, all of them pale in comparison to some of the follicle treats and moustache arts we've experienced up until the All-Star Break. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you ... the best staches of the first half, or better known as your Moustache Clad All-Stars.

Lyle Overbay: Toronto Blue Jays

This moustache was relitavely short-lived, as it only survived the first week of the season. Overbay sported his handlebars at the Blue Jays Home Opener and then shaved it off the following night.

After that, the Blue Jays first baseman was marred in a month-long slump that saw him hit .191 in 27 games. Lesson learned: don't mess with the 'stache.

John Axford: Milwaukee Brewers

It's no coincidence that shortly after he was called up to pitch in the Brewers bullpen, he took over for Trevor Hoffman as the closer. Notice Axford's acute attention to detail with the waxed tips of his moustache. Rollie Fingers would definitely be proud.

Carl Pavano: Minnesota Twins

Prior to this season, Pavano has struggled to regain his form from 2004 when he won 18 games with the Florida Marlins. Now, sporting a sick 'stache, Pavano is among some of the best starting pitchers in the American League.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but Carl Pavano either looks like Super Mario, Luigi, or their arch enemy Wario.

Corky Miller: Cincinnati Reds

Playing for the NL Central leading Reds, Miller is enjoying a sense of stability in the majors as their backup catcher. It's very similar to another infamous moustache clad journeyman catcher, Sal Fasano.

In my estimation, this means Corky Miller is destined to eventually be a manager for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Brian Fuentes: Los Angeles Angels

This is one of the rare occasions where the moustache has not made the man better. Fuentes rocked a moustache earlier this season, and yet his ERA has hovered around 5.00 for almost the entire first half of the season.

Maybe the Angels closer should leave the 'stache to guys like John Axford from the Brewers who can get the job done while donning a cookie duster.

Ryan Doumit/ Bobby Crosby/ Ronny Cedeno: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates had a very interesting "Stachesperiment" earlier this year: all the players grew moustaches for as long as their win streak continued.

Now while some lip sweaters were more impressive than others, Ronny Cedeno was one of the lone soldiers who was a little folically challenged above the lip, so he decided to fashion a 'stache out of blackout.

While most of the team has gone back to their clean-shaven ways, Ryan Doumit and Bobby Crosby have chosen to carry on the tradition. Crosby in particular is currently wearing one wicked looking handlebar moustache that would make even Paul Sr. from West Coast Choppers a little envious.

Brendan Ryan: St. Louis Cardinals

Every time I see Brendan Ryan out on the field or in the batter's box, I can't help but think he's going to break out into a verse of "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby".

If you saw him on the streets, you might think Ryan was a member of a St. Louis barbershop quartet or he could also be mistaken for one of those old time door-to-door sarsaparilla salesman.

Images and inspiration courtesy of:

Rum Bunter
Garden of Halos 
Baseball Junk 
American Mustache Institute

Bautista Snubbed for Home Run Derby

Sunday, July 11, 2010  |  by 

Hey Bud Selig, riddle me this: how is it that the Major League leader in home runs will not be participating in the HOME RUN DERBY?

Among the rest of the BAS collective, I was shocked to learn that Nick Swisher from the New York Yankees had been selected as the final participant for MLB's Home Run Derby over MLB's home run leader, Jose Bautista.

Initially I thought Jose had been overlooked because he turned down the invitation to sock some dingers in the derby. However, Bautista didn't get the chance to say no because he was actually never asked in the first place.

Then I assumed that MLB didn't want to have two participants competing from the same team, in order to spread things out across as many teams as possible. But that theory went out the window once I discovered they have in fact had two people from the same team hit in Home Run Derbys past.

So why the snub for Jose Bautista? My theory is that Bud Selig needs to get someone from the World Champion New York Yankees in there to help boost the ratings since the Yankees and the Red Sox are the cash cows of the league.

They probably assumed baseball fans would much rather watch a "household name" like Nick Swisher attempt to hit home runs rather than someone who has already hit 24 in the first half of the season.

Bautista's Home Run Derby snub also upsets me because as I stated last week in the Trade Bait post, the Derby could have been Jose Bautista's coming out party. I think most people who follow baseball are now aware of his power, but by being on display at the Home Run Derby, Bautista could have garnered him that name brand recognition he's been looking for his entire career.

While he may not have necessarily increased his trade value by performing well at the Home Run Derby, Jose Bautista certainly would've made some more people take notice.

It just seems like a very poor decision to not have the player who has the most home runs out of anybody to not be participating in contest to hit home runs. That's like having someone other than David Price starting the game for the American League team.

Some might argue that a relative unknown like Jose Bautista in the Home Run Derby doesn't make for good television. I beg to differ: doesn't that make for an even more compelling storyline because Bautista is a career journeyman finally having success with a full-time position?

Since it's really out of Jose Bautista's hands at this point, I hope Vernon Wells does what some folks on Twitted suggested he should do, and hand the bat over to Jose at the Home Run Derby. Not only would it make for great television, but it would basically be a giant middle finger to Bud Selig and Major League Baseball for having snubbed him in the first place.

I realize I might be making a mountain out of a molehill here, but it's just the principal behind this decision that I can't let go of. It's very simple: someone who currently is better than anybody else at hitting home runs should be participating in the Home Run Derby, no question.

I don't know why MLB can't wrap their heads around that concept. And you know what? It's their loss. Jose Bautista could have hit some huge home runs at Angel Stadium, but now they'll never know what it's like to see those Bautista Bombs in person.

How To Deal With An 11 Run Loss: DRINK!

Friday, July 9, 2010  |  by 

People deal with hardships in different ways. For the Blue Jays 11 run loss to the Red Sox, I chose to delve into the alcohol. But then, a funny thing happened ... so did everyone else!

@Spankadia chose to go with something a little stronger, Sambuca.

@TaoofStieb on the other hand resorted to the good old Kronenbough.

@ArchiZuber would've partaken in the festivities, but they're only allowed bottled water in the edit bay. Poor guy.

@mererog turned to Heineken for some comfort after the Jays were behind by 14 runs in just the fourth inning.

@ILBlueJay grabbed for an ice cold Miller Lite, and usually after about 10 or so of them, Cito's decisions start to look pretty good.

@s_findlay choose a bit of a different route going non-alcoholic with a tea, but a great choice nonetheless because nothing like an Earl Grey to calm those nerves after watching Romero implode.

@DrewGROF brought some backup for the Blue Jays in the form of champagne. This one's for my homeys.

@BKBlades ensures me this was just some Dr. Pepper and melted ice, but this snifter look and awfuly lot like Courvoisier specially from the liquor cabinet of Leon Phelps the Ladies Man.

@PowerofGiggle continued the soft drink theme, going with a Coca-Cola Classic to ease the pain.

@_L_Jay_ dipped into the liquor cabinet for some Prince Igor vodka accompanied by the Blue Jays shot glass.

@powder_blue was there to watch the entire game go down from start to finish at the Rogers Centre, and it took a few brews to even make this one bearable.

@MichelleEddie and @SandyMacLeod accompanied tonight's game with a couple of Stella Artois.

@Roll_Fizzlebeef missed out on the action, but here is an artist's rendition of what would've gone down.

@heyscottsmith sipped on some sake to help numb the pain of what was a pretty tough game from the Blue Jays fans perspective.

It just goes to show you that even during blowout losses, there are still some thing to celebrate. Cheers!

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