Monday, December 17, 2012


"Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."

Did I just start the first post in nearly two months on this shitty little blog by ripping a line from Shawshank, one of the hackiest moves in the Book of Blogging? I guess I just did. No, I am not better than that.

I'm all about being honest, be it here, be it on twitter, whatever. So I am going to be honest with all of you who take the time to read this...

For a very long time, let's call it a few years after the glory seasons of '92-'93, I've been comfortable in my existence as a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, perennial also-rans. I would bitch and moan like the rest, sure, but it was pretty easy, this no-pressure existence. My heart was rarely broken because seldom were expectations anything beyond a comfortable 3rd place finish (4th A.D. (after Devil Rays) ).

"Well, what are you gonna do? The damn Yankees and the Red Sox, with their smug pitching coach, will just spend spend spend.  Can't compete with that."

"Well of course the Rays are great, they were bound to be eventually, what with their plethora of first overall picks and so on and so forth."

The ascension of Alex Anthopoulos and his willingness to engage us all in the prospect smut game added a new dimension to this hopeless hope.  Now we had a GM who wasn't willing to simply roll out a D-level copy of the AL East superpowers' gameplan (see eras of Ryan, BJ and Burnett, AJ), we had a man with a plan, and damnit, this just might work. Some day. But let's not get worked up just yet... we're talking years away, friends. Elite farm systems weren't built overnight.

And wouldn't you know it... through clever trades and arb offers, through risky drafting and international spending... the farm system did indeed become elite.

But let's face it, cheap-ass Rogers will never allow Anthopoulos to supplement the minor league talent with costly impact veterans through free agency. And Anthopoulos will never deal the crown jewels of the system for "win-now" players.

Well, I'll be damned.

It all happened. It really happened.

It's everything Blue Jay fans have long dreamed would occur - a minor league system developed to supplement the major league club, and the plan has been executed beyond any fan's reasonable expectation. Trading for and extending RA Dickey - along with acquiring Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Melky Cabrera - !!!!! - at a time when the Yanks and Sox appear vulnerable appears to be the ultimate domino trail, and with it comes a whole new set of expectations.

Playoffs. Now.

And that's the beauty and terror of this winter. Trading the likes of Marisnick, Nicolino, Hechavarria, d'Arnaud, and Syndergaard represents trading that comfortable "someday" hope for the future in exchange for the high pressure and expectation of winning now. 3rd place has moved from moral victory to abject failure in the span of a few winter weeks.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This whole, sordid affair

I've seen a lot of words written from a lot of different folks saying they don't understand the sentiment, don't understand all the anger, can't figure out why so many of us are so twisted up about an underperforming manager who talked his way out of one job and into another.

I can't say that I'm one of those folks capable of pulling off such a nonchalant attitude about John Farrell begging his way out of Toronto and into his "dream job".  I'm not saying that I'm right and they're wrong, far from it.  In fact, I wish that I could be so dispassionate about a move that won't affect the club's future fortunes anywhere near as much the transactions that need to take place over the course of the upcoming winter will.

And taking it a step further - being logical and rational - why should I feel such bitter disappointment towards the departure of a man who, in hindsight, didn't appear to be a great fit with this team, in this time.  Shouldn't I feel sympathetic to his plight? - the job he truly wanted was right there for his taking.  A chance to "come home" and shine under the bright lights of one of baseball's biggest media markets, with only a year left on an unextended contract owed to a team he didn't really feel up to managing anymore - reporting to a front office who was probably just as happy to see him go - standing in his way?

So why the hard feelings?

Because fuck John Farrell, that's why.

Maybe it's because his hiring but two short (actually, brutally long) seasons ago represented more than just bringing on another field boss, pulling the same old strings, sitting in the same old corner of the dugout.   Farrell wasn't supposed to be just another manager; he represented a new way of doing baseball business - a thinking man's manager, with a background in player development and a career of on-field experience to boot.  And he left Boston for us!  As the story goes, ol' Johnny boy turned down plenty of opportunities to pursue managerial positions, waiting for "the right one".  And the "right one", said John, was the Blue Jays. 

We were thrilled.  Proud, even. 

What a bunch of damn suckers he played us all for.

It was Boston all along for Farrell, and it feels like we should have known it.  Two seasons spent cutting his teeth and learning on the job to prepare him for what he has always felt was his destiny.  Hell, read the presser notes.  He said almost exactly as much.

Or maybe it's because it feels like just another example of the big boys of the AL East pushing those little joke Blue Jays aside and taking what they wanted.  That's the popular sentiment, isn't it?  I don't know if that's the primary factor driving my slow burn, but it doesn't help.  No tampering, huh Ben Cherington?  I suppose the prolific amount of virtual ink spilled last offseason pre-Valentine and this month pre-trade were a mere coincidence.  Yes, a coincidence, that must be all that was.

Or maybe - and this is the tough one, friends - maybe it's because this forces us to look yet again at the direction of the franchise and whether this really is or ever will come together.  John Farrell was to be a big part of where this team was going.  John Farrell is no longer a Blue Jay.  The stable of young arms - Alvarez, Drabek, Hutchison, et al were supposed to compliment a terrific one-two in Romero-Morrow... and those young arms have either regressed or shredded.  Young bats led by Lawrie, Rasmus and Arencibia were supposed to solidify the lineup... and not only has that yet to happen, but the team has to hope that the 2012 regression across the board was but a blip on the radar.

Maybe it's one of the above reasons.  Maybe it's a little of column A, a little of column B.  Perhaps it's all of it thrown into a blender.  Very likely it's at least in part an overreaction by fans (like this one) with an emotional over-investment in the Toronto Blue Jays. 

One thing is certain: the fanbase is rattled - a good chunk of it, anyway.  Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos are left with the unenviable task of rebuilding that confidence over the course of the winter ahead, which will necessarily have to be a full reversal of course from the offseason past.

And it will have to be without John Farrell. 

Fuck him, anyway.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

(Not) On Yunel and the state of this blog

I'm not even going to bother mailing in a post on the Yunel fiasco.  I've started and deleted and started over and deleted again, and.... I just don't want to.  I don't have it in me.  I have opinions on this, you bet I do.  But this topic is so polarizing and brings out the absolute worst in folks on both sides of this ugly fence, and quite frankly, I don't have the stomach for it.

Does that make me a coward?  I don't know.  Maybe some will say that it does.  I'd like to think it makes me nothing more than a guy with a blog (he neglects... more later) who doesn't believe he has anything to add that hasn't already been written much better elsewhere.  To add to the virtual ink, at this point, would feel like nothing more than your friend the Ack standing on his soapbox for no other reason than to align with one side or the other.

The implication of the above, I suppose, is that... just what in the fuck am I doing here, anyway?  If that's the prevailing attitude of your dude, then why bother carrying on with this little page?

I don't know the answer to that one, friends.  I do know that I started this blog with the grandest (& humblest... what?) of intentions.  That is, pick up where I left off with my old pal the Tao of Stieb, bang out a post per week or whenever the mood strikes or or or...

And yet the mood rarely strikes.  I don't know if it's this heartbreaking disaster of a season or adjusting to a busier life chasing my two very mobile kids around or if I've just lost whatever it was I had, or the massive amounts of Blue Jays coverage and opinion already out there... or what.

What I do know is that I feel a vague sense of disappointment that I haven't gotten around to making this page any more than it is.  Not in a sense of "bigger and better", but more along the lines of reasonable quality and quantity of discussion.  No question I've been somewhat of a failure at this game.

So where to from here?  Not sure yet.  I've considered giving up the "character" altogether, deleting the page, my twitter profile, the whole bit.  While I've never actually "met" anyone - save for Tao and Parkes - I think I'd miss a lot of you and my twitter bros something awful. 

Flip the switch and go full disclosure?  Well, that would be weird at this point, since I've been at it for a number of years now and quite literally nobody in my "real life" knows that I do this (except the wife, who only has the vaguest of interest and/or understanding.  And maybe the odd drunken confessional with my Blue Jay buds, conversations long forgotten and quite likely never remembered).

So I don't know.  I suppose I'll ask you to bear with me while I figure this existential blogging crisis out.  Maybe I'll get prolific again one day.  Maybe I will actually succeed in achieving my initial internal goal of making this a destination page.

I'll keep you posted and hopefully, um, post again soon - this time on a topic of relevance surrounding this club. 

Until then, see you on twitter, friends.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


This is, first and foremost, a Blue Jays baseball blog.  I'd like to think that most of you who stop by to have a read enjoy the perspective (or, you know, vehemently disagree) and feel comfortable enough to leave your thoughts, maybe engage in a little banter, whatever.

This post is not really about baseball.  Nor is it all that comfortable.

If you're a Blue Jay fan, you might not necessarily know Omar Malave, but surely you know of him.  A loyal soldier to the organization for 30+ years, and by all accounts a good & humble man, his stamp is all over the franchise.

But like all of these players & coaches, when the games are done they slip into their street clothes and carry on with their "real" lives away from the park.  And life away from the park has not been easy these past few years for Omar Malave and his family.

Maybe it's because Bob Elliott had me holding back the tears at my desk this morning (damn you, Elliott!).

Maybe it's because I remember reading about Omar and marveling at his loyalty & years of service to this franchise we all love & follow.

Maybe it's because I'm a dad too.

In any event, Omar Malave and his family are dealing with the toughest of times right now, while not yet recovered from grieving the absolute worst imaginable.  Not that you would ever "recover", such a silly word to use in these circumstances.

The Malaves need help, and I'm just sentimental enough to believe that dropping a "#Malave" on twitter or just sending your thoughts means something, even if it seems insignificant.  Or, if you're so inclined, a little hand-up can be given here.

If nothing else, spare a thought tonight for Omar and baby Elisse.

Hug your kids.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rocking the boat

At various points during my blogging "career" (cue laugh track...), I've been accused of being an Anthopoulos fanboy, lapping up his every move and refusing to criticize even the smallest of missteps. 

And you know, there's perhaps an ugly element of truth to that in the sense that I've believed for quite some time that he's earned the benefit of the doubt from past transactions of brilliance (the Vernon Wells contract, the Rasmus trade, gaming the system with the Olivo deal, etc) in the sense that even if some moves didn't quite work out (Francisco vs Napoli), you could understand the logic going into the deals.

I have, however, always maintained that when I saw moves or trends I didn't like, surely I wouldn't hesitate to say so.  As if that means anything.  I'm just a fan like any of you reading this.  But friends, I can't shake the feeling that I might be staring dead into that moment even if I'm afraid to acknowledge it.

And it's not even about the Snider trade, or more specifically, the handling of Snider throughout his career with AA being the one dealt the unfortunate duty of finally putting ol' Lunchbox out of his Blue Jay misery.  It's not necessarily about trades he didn't make at the deadline either, because how the hell do I know what was out there, you know?  Maybe Theo said "I need all of the Lansing 3 for Garza or no deal."  I'd walk away from that conversation too.  And I know that's where this entire line of thought I'm confessing probably breaks down, probably maybe.

But I'm starting to question just what exactly is the plan or philosophy - or maybe timeline - in putting together the playoff team that we've all craved since 1993.  And that's big for me, because it's never even crossed my mind that there wasn't a grand vision in place to pull this thing together.

Build the system into one of the game's best, lock up the talent, then supplement the roster to championship calibre through trades (using said system) and free agency to add the final "over the top" pieces.  From where I sit, it kinda sorta maybe seems like that plan - which is perfect in it's obvious simplicity - is starting to break down.

The seeds were planted last winter, when mismanaged messages from the entire Blue Jays organization allowed the rabid fanbase to believe that there was money to spend and spend they would.  Perhaps not necessarily through fault of their own - though the "money will be there" line of talk from Beeston rang in our ears - the mainstream media jumped all over it and the Jays did nothing to quell that false hope until it was too late.

But that's OK, there was still the trade route, stated as the preferred method of building this roster.  Free agency was the last step in adding the final piece anyway.  Aaaand the winter meetings came and went with nary a splash (save for Santos).  But that's OK, the team preferred to make moves in-season, with teams being ready to deal at the trade deadline, a time more conducive to pushing around pieces of the puzzle.

And here we are.  Where exactly are we again?

Seemingly not yet willing to spend and not willing to pay the premiums in prospect currency through trade.  Neither nearer nor further from contention, in my humble estimation.  A rotation full of holes, a few big bats missing in left field and first base/DH, and a question mark at second base.  The bullpen has been worked and reworked again, and we can count on cornerstone everyday players like Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion (who knew?)... and Jose Bautista.  Of course, the great 32 year old Jose Bautista.  The same age as Roy Halladay when he begged his way out of town, deeming the team too far from contention.

Make no mistake, I'm still in the can for Alex Anthopoulos.  He's among the brightest of lights in league exec offices and I wouldn't trade his chair for any other in the league.  There are still a whole lot of positives in the organization, at the big league level and down on the farm.  Surely there's enough already to build the base of the next Toronto Blue Jays playoff team... at some point down the road.

But 32 year old superstars typically don't have that many superstar years left in them, and what a shame that would be to waste another prime like this one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough to make a guy emerge from a summer hibernation

I mean, it's been a month, so I truly & honestly have no clue whether there are still folks who will bother to click the link here... but if nothing else, it's online therapy for this guy to talk it out, right?...

Words on the Trade

The first tweet that emerged (after a tense evening awaiting news on the fate of Travis Snider (more below)) was along the lines of "Blue Jays announce 10-player trade..." aaaaand there goes my work day.  At least it was on a Friday.

I suppose I don't get the opposition to the deal.  I don't care for the "junk for junk" label so conveniently attached, even if we can all agree it's probably not a trade of tremendous future consequence.  The Jays received some pitching help now in J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon (and maaaaybe a useful arm for later in David Carpenter), a fact and need too easily dismissed by many, in my estimation.

Those aren't sexy parts (in a baseball sense, guys.. c'mon) but they are roster requirements.  They aren't likely to be the players to push the Jays nearer playoff contention, but an unpopular truth is the club has to compete it's way through the remainder of the schedule.  Treading water it may very well be, but nobody wants to see the club drown in waves of Robert Coellos and Jesse Chavezs. 

And hey - not many clubs have rotations consisting solely of ones and twos, and Happ's multiple years of control mean that maybe the team has a player who can slot into the back of the rotation for multiple seasons.  Time will tell if the new fella can cut it in the big boy division, but competent arms are needed more than ever in Blue Jay land with effective seasons lost from the likes of Drabek, Hutchison et al.  We (ok, ok..."they") could probably do worse.

The flip side of any trade coin - what did the team give up?  At the major league level, it's addition by subtraction in saying goodbye to Francisco Cordero and Benny Francisco, whether by ineffectiveness or a largely unused roster spot.  Benny Fresh, we hardly knew you.  No, literally.  What did he get, like 30 at-bats?  And Coco, well.... let's just pretend this half-season didn't happen.

But it's the prospect talent loss that seems to have drawn the most gnashing of teeth.  But what exactly is lost here?  A-ball arms deemed by management to be back-end starters at best, with middle relief a more realistic outcome, and no assurance at all of ever seeing the bigs.  Sure, there's value in upside and control, but loss of control of a probable marginal outcome isn't a loss worth losing sleep over.  There's also value in the sure thing, and both Happ and Lyon are major leaguers right now, even if they aren't going to set the baseball world on fire.

In this day and age of internet-promoted prospect porn (hey - we're all guilty), it's a natural reaction to hold our breath and gasp as the future Blue Jays of our dreams are dealt for kinda sorta blah guys today.  But neither Asher Woj nor Joe Musgrove were anywhere near the top of the Jays prospect rankings, sure to be leapfrogged in the years ahead by the Sanchezes, Syndegaards, Nicolinos, Norrises, et al (I could go on) of the system.   Carlos Perez is an interesting young player, but in a system stacked with catchers, an average defending backstop with limited power was always likely to be squeezed out.  And neither Asher Woj nor Joe Musgrove would be seen as bright enough prospects to headline deals bringing back impact talent. 

So if they were neither likely to emerge as future star-level Blue Jays nor bring back the same in trade, what's a proper use of the asset?

Trades like these.  And here we are.

Words on Travis Snider

There's nothing wrong with having an unusually strong attachment to the once and future savior of the middle of the order.  Safe to say you can count me among the hordes.  Snider did his time in Vegas with nary a peep of discontent uttered from his meat-loving lips, and did about all a player could do to prove he was "fixed" in the offensively inflated PCL.

And now he's back and past grievances can be forgotten. 

Just make it work, Lunchbox.  For all of us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Step off the ledge (but in which direction?)

Unless your club is a damn juggernaut, there is going to come a point in every baseball team's season where a decision has to be made by all parties involved... are you in, or are you out?

After losing two-fifths of the starting rotation and getting swept by the Washington Nationals  (ed note: this is a bro/clown joke free zone) - on home field, no less - it looks like now is that time of the season for fans and management of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yo fans - are you in or are you out? 

Do you have what it takes to endure a lengthy slide and accept that this might not be the breakthrough season we all pined for?  Did the burden of expectation placed on the Jays as the uber trendy super sexy preseason "sleeper" pick ruin anything less than a wildcard playoff spot for you?

Are we going to start calling for John Farrell's head?  Walton's?  Murph's?  Oh wait, that call has already been placed.  What about Alex Anthopoulos - honeymoon over yet?  "WHAT HAS HE DONE?"  Oh nothing, besides turn over the roster and build a foundation of young talent set to feed the big club for years.  But don't ask me, I'm not a damn scout.  I'll leave that confirmation for the pros (not bros).

How long before the "Trade Bautista!  Trade Romero!" calls come out?  When does the countdown to "I'm done with this shitty team!" start?  How many more losses, guys?

But what if the club turns it around and puts together a serious second half charge.  Statement not a question.  Will you be back then?  Claim you never left?  Because fuck it, friends.  I'm in.  It sucks to lose but I'm in regardless.  What other choice do I have?  Abandon the belief I have in the club?  Disregard the potential coming up through the ranks?  And even if there was none, pretend I haven't been a Jays nerd for the last 30 years?  No, I'm in.  Streaks and frustrating play and bouts of bad baseball and all.

But that's only half the issue...

Yo front office - are you in or are you out?

This club you're fielding every day - is this the core?  Are the only roster shuffles in the foreseeable future going to come from within?  Will the collection of highly coveted prospects be hoarded and developed, with the best of the best forming the next wave?  Or will the old Anthopoulos adage of "they aren't all gonna play up here" hold true with some of those tantalizing youngsters packaged off for proven major league talent?

Time will tell.  I've long maintained that I think AA still has that signature deal in him (if we haven't seen it already) - that Fernandez-McGriff for Alomar-Carter trade - and maybe this is the season Anthopoulos pulls the trigger.  But maybe he sees a roster with more holes than plugs, more potential than results, and lets the soup simmer for another season.  It's tough to argue against either direction, quite frankly.

Either way... it feels like we're at that point of the season where the twitter talk and call-in shows are about to turn nasty. 

So I guess we all have to make that decision... and I know what mine is.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


So Indians closer Chris Perez went off on his own team's fanbase the other day, calling them out for their boo-happy ways and the team's home attendance ranking (dead last).

"Asked if it bothered him to get booed at home, Perez said, "It doesn't bother me, it p----s me off. I don't think they have a reason to boo me." "

And despite his horrible beard, the dude is right.  Maybe it's my own personal bias showing here, but it's generally accepted that booing the home team is poor form at best and assholish at worst.  It breaks the fan code.  My fan code, anyway.  Unless a player is openly dogging it on the field, or is caught punching a puppy in the face away from the park, it's a distasteful practice.  I'm sorry (I'm really not) if you're a booer and the above offends you, but what... you're going to scream at a player's talent level relative to the competition?

"Hey Overbay, you're middling power at first base is offensive to me!  Booo!  Booooo!"

"Vernon Wells!  Your biweekly paycheque is not commensurate with the level of production you are showing on the field!  Your tireless community improvement charity work and playing through injury doesn't cut it with me!  Screw your tenure and model behavior on this team!  BOOOOO!"

"Rios, failing to fulfill your poten..." nevermind, because Rios didn't give a fuck so let him have it.  There are exceptions to rules, y'know.

But back to the matter at hand.... if we can agree (I know we don't) that booing the home team is distasteful, why is it then OK to rip a player apart via twitter?  This whole post was borne from Ricky Romero's twitter bomb the other night following his shaky (generous!) start vs the damn Rays.

And no, I don't care to link to it, because quite frankly, I'm hurt by your words, Rick.  In case you missed it, after chastising the hatas out there, Romero concluded that none of it mattered because he plays for his teammates and his family.  As I noted on twitter, for those of you who follow, it felt like a big F-U to the fanbase.

But can you blame him?  Can you blame Chris Perez, who made similar comments (and maybe Mr. Rick followed that story more closely than we think...)

"It's a business. You didn't choose to get drafted by Cleveland. I'm in it for my family. Who knows? I could throw my last pitch tomorrow.

"At the same time, I'm here. I'm here to win. I'm here for my teammates and I want to bring a championship to Cleveland, to do my job and help the team win. I think I do a pretty good job of showing that on the field. I don't think I bring any undue attention to myself. I'm out there for the team. In big wins, I get excited and I'm like a kid again, because it's fun."

It's the downside of social media.  Twitter at it's best brings fans closer to athletes; it gives us a window into their lives, personalities, and in some cases, their intimate thoughts.  That's also the downside.  It allows parasites to flap their yaps in their direction and drive a wedge between the player and the fans in general, even if 95% are well meaning.

I don't want Romero and the boys to be mad at us.  So cut it out, jerks.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whither Adam Lind?

(If the post title sounds familiar, it probably should.)

See, I hate this side of the game.

I'm as guilty as the next guy about pining for a better option at first base than the struggling incumbent, but when you're pining for that more productive bat, you're not really thinking in the context of a lifelong Blue Jay losing his place on the team.  Are you?  I know I'm not.

Who hopes for that?  "Hey!  I hope that human piece of baseball garbage Adam Lind is optioned to AAA and outrighted right off the damn 40-man roster!"  C'mon.

Maybe it's just me... it's very likely to be just me, even... but I can't always separate the human side of the game.  Yeah yeah yeah... here comes the Ack, bringing his maudlin shit to the internet again, crying crocodile tears for a millionaire athlete who's time in the Toronto sun just might be over.  Boo hoo, wipe your tears with the millions still owed Lind, right?

Well, forget about the money for a moment.

Adam Lind was a guy we watched grow up in the organization, from highly touted hitting prospect, to the major league boy wonder, to the Silver Slugging first baseman who'd man the position for years to come.  No worries!  Or so we thought.  Think of it in terms of today... imagine if Travis Snider is recalled and finally lives up to the hype.  Dominates for a few seasons.  Then falls right the fuck off the map to the point where he's designated. 

You wouldn't feel a little sentimental about that?  Who isn't pulling for Snider?

Before you answer that, remember there was a time when we all pulled for Adam Lind, too, and he made it. 

So you'll forgive me if I'm having a little bit of a hard time just walking away from that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The "Incident"

A few quick points of order, as tonight's banging of the gong has pulled me from the doldrums of self-imposed exile (is anyone reading this, anyway?)...

1. You can't defend the helmet-toss, you just can't.  Those were some egregiously bad strike calls, reeking of horse-shittery and show-uppery of the first degree by venerable old Billy Miller, but you can't bounce the lid off his leg.  That's instant suspension zone, and I'd be surprised if it was less than 5 games (equally surprised if it exceeds 10).

Truth is I know nothing of the ump, but now I've got him squarely in the Bob Davidson category of umpiring.  Way to steal the show, boss.  I know that I dedicate countless hours of my life just waiting for the boys in blue to make highlight of the night.

2.  ... and yet - are you surprised?  I might be inclined to say I'm surprised it's taken this long for Brett Lawrie to explode/implode, given the way he plays the game and lives life in general (my assumption only).

3.  As bad as it was - and you can't explain away the optics of it all, because they are terrible - I ain't mad at ya, Brett.  To each his own when it comes to perspective, but Brett Lawrie is a fun guy to watch play the game, and you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to an animal athlete who walks that very fine line between going all-out... and being out of control.

4.  I think my next post might be on the Jays' collective swag... where has it gone, will it come back (maybe this is the spark?), and do we want it to come back?  But I could be talked out of it.  Let me know, friends. 

Until then...


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Intangibles? You talkin' intangibles? Intangibles?

(editor's note (that's me): didn't mean for there to be such a delay between posts, but sometimes "real life" gets in the way.  Remember, no promises!)

(ed note pt II: sorry for ripping off the pic from your twitter feed, Rick... but I believe it's for the greater good and I'm not pimping anything around here.  Hit me up on twitter if you want me to yank it.)

(ed note pt III: yeah, right...)

So this is the post that probably sets me aside as an outcast among hardcore Jays fans.  You see... it's not that I'm against advanced statistical analysis.  It's fascinating stuff.  I'll admit that some of the measurements out there float more than just above my head, and I'll doubly admit that I've invested some time in attempting to understand them all before giving up out of confusion... or boredom.

Here's the gist of it: I want there to be a romantic side of baseball.  I want to believe there's more that goes into becoming a successful team than a simple accumulation of the most statistically attractive athletes.  We've all heard the argument that "I don't care if it's a roster of 25 unlikeable assholes - as long as they win".  I may have agreed with such statements in the past, but my heart wasn't really into it, man.

Isn't it more fun this way, rooting for a team that clearly roots for each other?  Isn't it more gratifying to know there's joy in the dugout and locker room after each win, with the boys slappin' backs and dishing out the praise amongst peers?  You don't care if the old adage of "25 guys/25 cabs" applies so long as the club wins 95 games?  You want to cheer for the 2011 Boston Red Sox?

Well, pardon my language, but fuck all that.   Of course I want 95 wins too, but I want the team to want it for each other as well, and not just for contractual purposes.

Am I an old fool for this?  I dunno.  What I do know is that I chuckle every time I see Brett Lawrie run through his intricate routine of personalized handshakes with each teammate in the dugout, I laugh when Jose and Edwin flex their muscles after a big fly, I enjoy reading Ricky Romero tell Drabek "Shut up Kyle!" over twitter.

I look at and manipulate numbers every day to earn my keep in life; you'd think a stats-based view of this game would be right up my alley.  But sometimes it feels like death by overanalysis.  I'm not saying I'm right, but I guess I'm saying it's time to get back to fun.  I'll leave the advanced metrics to the front office.


Sometimes you run across a post that feels like God's work - whoever your God may be, if you choose to believe in one.  And if you don't, just call it full-on nails.  You can find such words here.  As I type this, my 20 month old boy is wearing his Blue Jays cap with the curved peak pulled down low, just like his dad does.  That's just proper parenting, friends.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A two-sentence post on... the ups and downs of baseball

(note: yeah, I guess I'm totally ripping off my old 2-sentence post shtick from days past, but this is the kind of hacktastic nonsense the Tao has abandoned, leaving for the dregs of blogging society... ie: this guy.  So there you go.  Carry on...)

Sometimes, after especially difficult losses such as last night's giveaway game to the Seattle Ichiros, you feel like throwing your laptop through the damn TV before lighting fire to all the team merch you once loved and cherished. 

Then you wake up the next morning, and the sun is shining, and you're checking the guide (on the same TV you chose not to smash) to see when the next one is on, and curse the hours leading up because you can't hardly wait... and that is why I love baseball.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Apologies in Advance

I figure before the Blue Jays lose even one more game, I need to do one of two things: quit twitter altogether, or apologize in advance to those I'm about to lose my shit on.

You see... quitting twitter isn't really an option, since I enjoy the interaction with fellow fans and friends, and in this day and age of instant information, it's a source I just couldn't do without.  So that leaves me with no other choice....

I'm sorry, friends and fellow Blue Jay "fans", for any hurtful, insulting, or demeaning words I may throw your way in the days and weeks ahead.  I mean no long-term offence, and I'm sure you're not just a mindless, mouth-breathing, keyboard warrior bandwagon jumping doucher.  I'd like to think that I'm typically a pretty pleasant & agreeable dude, and we'd probably get along famously in "real life" should our paths ever cross, but you see, I'm getting tired.  Frustrated.  Borderline maddened (if there is such a word, and if not, may I coin the phrase?).

Maybe it's because I'm getting older (mid-30's, FRIG OFF).  Maybe it's because I'm raising two kids and was forced to learn that valuable life lesson: "patience is a virtue".  Maybe it's because I tell my 5 year old daughter that things don't always go your way, and that's life.

Or maybe it's because I have more than an ounce of damn sense in my head and am able to realize that it's ridiculous to make lunatic judgments and assertions based on one shitty - albeit extremely shitty - series early on in baseball's 162 game schedule.

Yunel Escobar has not proven that Atlanta was smart to trade him.  This latest bout of petulance was not a welcome addition to his lost hitting stroke to start the year, on this we agree - but give your heads a shake if you think the Jays are better off without him and BRING BACK THE PMoD.

Jose Bautista has not turned into a baseball pumpkin overnight.  Are his usually "must-see" plate appearance a little hard to watch right now?  Yeah, they are a little painful.  But guys in their prime and coming off back-to-back .995/1.056 OPS seasons don't forget how to be good baseball players over the course of a Dominican winter.  Oh, and that "terrible" 2nd half he endured last season?  .896 OPS.  Not so terrible.

And can we please leave Eric Thames alone, since we're here and talking about things?  I understand the whole Team Snider dynamic - I get that, I really do... meats don't clash baby, and I want him rocking that beautiful new/old Blue Jay uniform set too... but the pendulum seems to have swung so far in the pro-Snider camp that we're in anti-Thames territory, hoping for him to fail, which is just a touch counter intuitive to bemoaning the team's recent struggles, don't you think?

I could go on, but I think we've reached the point in this here little rant where I'm just banging the drum for the sake of noise.

So, I'm sorry.  I really am.  I expect we'll be able to be friends again when the Jays rip off any semblance of a winning streak. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So... here I am again

I'll ask the question before you get a chance... why exactly am I doing this again?  And why should anyone care?

The second question is the easier of the two to answer, and quite simply & honestly, I don't know that anyone will.  I won't pretend to play it super cool and say "...and it doesn't matter to me anyway", because let's be honest here - I could just start an old fashioned pen & paper diary if I wasn't looking for at least some interaction.

To answer the first is, well, difficult.  I would assume it's safe to say that if you've found this post, you follow me on twitter, and you're probably following me on twitter because I used to blog (weekend party host, baby) for this little page called the Tao of Stieb.  I gave up that gig because the pay sucked and Tao was an unruly tyrant, ever more demanding of my valuable time.   Jokes!  I kid, Tao, I kid!

But in all seriousness now, friends, Tao moved on to bigger and better things (you may have seen his name splashed across Jays broadcasts, and published in that little thing called Sportsnet Magazine), and to be honest, I was content to fade into the background and, basically, not fuck it all up.  I quite simply do not aspire to be anything more than I am, an honest dude with a career and a family "in real life" with a bit of a Blue Jay obsession, only now I'm finding I have things I want to say again.

So what can I promise you with this blog?  Not much in the way of hard and fast guarantees, I'm afraid.  No fixed posting schedule.  No minimum posts/week guarantees.  No advanced sabremetrics (I'm borderline dumb that way).  No gifs (pronounced hard-g, by the way), and zero photoshop skills.

I can tell you I'll blog about the Blue Jays, my takes and feelings, not always supported by empirical evidence, and very likely to often leave myself open for ridicule.  But again, with the honesty... I don't really give a damn there either, because I'm nothing more than an unabashed fan of the team - of the game - and it's pretty probable that is how I'll come across.  I think I'm at my best (humblebrag loser) when I'm "writing" (feels awkward to say that) with more emotion than reason, so that's what you might see. 

Honestly, the last thing I felt good about posting on the damned internet might not have even been a Tao post, but rather this take on my beloved Winnipeg Jets (thanks Nav).  Or the weepy Roy Halladay stuff I bared my soul with (still luv u, Doc).

So read along and comment away, if you're so inclined.  Let's have some fun and be total Blue Jay homers together, with a sprinkle of reasonable opinion mixed in.  It might take some time but with practice, we'll find just the right balance of rational sense and blind optimism.

(Except when it comes to the Red Sox, because fuck those guys, y'know?)

Next blog post will be about baseball, I promise.

(Oh, and I spent literally five (5) minutes customizing the template, as you can all plainly see if you have any semblance of eyesight whatsoever.  I'll get around to cleaning that shit up to make it more visually appealing, add a blogroll, all the niceties you would see on any halfway decent blog.  Eventually.  Probably.  Hey - I've got kids man, what do you want from me - blood?)