July 15, 2009
I haven’t been around for a while… but I had to come back for this. I have been a Blue Jays fan all my life, I can’t help it. It good years and in bad years and in strike years I have been a fan. Through the Jimmy Key years (see earlier posts for praise of Jimmy) to the now Roy Halladay years I have been buying tickets and attending games.
I even had the chance to have a one on one sit down with JP once to talk baseball. And even though I may not agree with his judgment very much (we’ll get to that soon) it was pretty cool as a fan to get to talk to the man running my team.
The reason I’m here today is 2 pointed. Point 1 is Roy Halladay. And point 2 is JP’s judgment.
We all know that Roy Halladay is on the block. The whole world knows this now, and Bob Costas even introduced him with the fact that he may not be with the Jays for long. It makes me sad, it makes me a little angry and it scares me. This guy is one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the game.
Side note: I know that Roy gave up all 3 of the NL runs at the All-Star game, but I’ll forgive him for that.
I don’t want to see Roy in another teams’ jersey. I will cheer for him if he pitches in the play-offs… but I always hoped it would be for us. I also day dream sometimes about his Hall of Fame induction speech when he goes in as a Blue Jay. But if he goes to another team, wins another 100 games and a World Series or 2, maybe he goes in with another hat. That makes me sad.
Point 2, as we said, is JP’s judgment. I’m scared to death that JP is foolish enough to trade Doc to the Yankees or Red Sox. Hell anywhere in the American League makes me squirm. Just thinking about the chance I might have to cheer against him hurts.
I have JP’s email address at home, and I’m ready to dig it out and make it public if JP makes a bad trade with Roy involved. I’ll judge it bad based on low levels of talent received in return, team he’s sent to, or just cause I’m pissed off. But I can tell you that if I’m pissed off I will make noise.
I’m asking you to help me make noise. Help me tell Paul Beeston that it’s time to ditch JP. Help me tell the world that we have been screwed over by this guy and that’s why we’re still in 4th place in the East while Tampa charges toward the play-offs again.
Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that JP leaves on his own and Roy signs an extension. But prepare for the worst my friends… prepare to fight back.
February 18, 2009
Kaberle moving from the Toronto Maple Leafs probably depends on whether or not the Florida Panthers move Jay Bouwmeester.
As outlined in many articles and pieces by NHL experts and insiders, Tomas Kaberle has a no trade clause in his contract, wants to stay in the Eastern Conference and is “underpaid” by NHL standards for a puck moving defenseman.
Kaberle is also an All-Star, and justifiably so. And, he is only being paid $4.25 million for each of the next 2 seasons. But isn’t in the same class as far as age, profile and possibility that Jay Bouwmeester is. There are teams lined up out the door wishing to have Jay Bouwmeester as part of their line-up, Toronto included. The only thing is, only 1 team will employ Mr. Bouwmeester after March 4th. Leading up to the trade deadline on March 4th General Managers will be told that they are not offering enough to land Bouwmeester. They will also be looking for a Plan B. Montreal has already gone out to get old-timer Mathieu Schneider as their new Power Play pointman. So they are probably off of the buyers list. But were probably also one of the 10 proposed teams that Kaberle agreed to go to if he is indeed traded.
Brian Burke should be paying just as much attention to who is offering what for Bouwmeester and who is being told no, as he is to who is making offers on Kaberle or even Pavel Kubina. He’s a smart guy, a shrewd GM and he should know that Kaberle is going to be Plan B for somebody. And he should make his decisions accordingly.
He’s not going to be able to replace Kaberle for $4.25 million this summer, so if he decides to pull the trigger he had better get something that Leaf fans can cheer for an appreciate over the next few years.
Good luck Mr. Burke.
February 13, 2009
Yesterday I read a story about Alex Rodriguez and the steroid controversy. But it wasn’t like others that I’d read, and it didn’t make me feel sad about baseball or angry at A-Rod like others have. This one was about Commissioner Bud Selig commenting on the Rodriguez story. Bud says that A-Rod “shamed the game”. This may be true. But, I ask every baseball fan if they think that Bud Selig has the right to say anything like that after everything that he has done that has shamed baseball.
Bud Selig started in his role of “acting Commissioner” in 1992 and was named “official Commissioner” in 1998. He continues his role today and has been at the helm for some of the most embarrassing moments in MLB’s history.
It all started really in 1994 when Bud wasn’t yet official. He was “the man” during the strike that cost baseball a World Series and put a black mark on the game. It took fans years to forgive and return to the game and some fans will never forgive. My mother proclaimed that she would never go to a game again because of the strike, and now, 15 years later, she hasn’t.
More embarrassment and shame followed, especially for Canadian baseball fans. In 2001 Montreal Expos owner and douchebag, Jeffrey Loria decided that the Expos were a sinking ship, but instead of making a decision to work with the team, or even move the team himself for the greater good, he pussied out and Major League Baseball took over. But it didn’t stop there. The Selig led Major League Baseball allowed Loria to purchase the Florida Marlins and then stood by and watched Loria take everything except the Olympic Stadium kitchen sink. He was permitted to take his coaching staff, scouting staff and reports and even the Expos’ computers leaving them with nothing. Nothing except a bare bones roster of players.
Bud was also embarrassed when he tried to contract 2 teams, largely believed to be the Expos and the Minnesota Twins, but he couldn’t. He had to continue to run the Expos and then watched as the Twins became a miracle team, competing against richer teams and making the play-offs.
In the end, the Expos leaving Montreal probably was going to happen at some point. The fans stopped coming after the roster started being shipped away in the mid-90’s. And for the greater good of Major League Baseball the team needed to be moved. So, while not blaming it all on Bud, I do think it’s a sham that Loria was able to run the Expos into the ground and then buy the Marlins, win a World Series and start selling his best players instead of paying them just like in Montreal.
My favourite Bud Selig embarrassing moment came at the 2002 All-Star Game. Bud got to host the game in his home town of Millwaukee. With the game tied at 7 after the 11th inning Bud Selig decided to call the game a tie. The fans in Millwaukee booed the Commissioner’s decision and writers and fans all over the world commented on the farce.
And through it all, since day one of his reign as Commissioner of Baseball, the steroid scandal has been present. It wasn’t a scandal when he started, because the outside world didn’t know about it. But Bud was an owner, Bud has the ear of every other owner and the owners have the ear of Presidents, General Managers, Managers and heck, even the players. You can’t tell me that Bud didn’t know that something was going on. Bud Selig needed the summer of 1998 and the great home run chase. He didn’t care if Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were clean, as long as TV ratings went up and people started buying tickets again 4 seasons after the strike.
Bud isn’t a stupid man. He has made changes to the game that some people don’t like and some people are in favour of. Bud was in charge during the realignment of the leagues and the introduction of the Wild Card play-off format. Interleague play was introduced under Bud’s guidance and the All-Star Game “This time it counts” campaign started giving the winning League home field advantage in the World Series. Revenue sharing has also increased under Bud’s guidance which I do believe is good for the game. But even with all the changes that have been made, I still believe that Bud has been a cancer on the game of Baseball.
Bud’s current contract runs until 2012 after which he has said that he will retire. I’m not sure who will take over, I’m not sure what they can do to fix things and I’m not sure if some of the things that have happened can even be fixed. But I have to believe that in 3 years, at the end of this contract, things can change, things will change and things will get better. I have to have hope. I have to, you have to, and we all have to.
And until then, Boo Bud Selig!
February 12, 2009
Good morning folks. It’s another gross, grey, rainy and now windy day. But I hope that your morning is going well
I have a serious thing that I’d like to get out of the way here before we get to anything nice and frilly.
My thoughts and prayers go out to former Toronto Blue Jays great Roberto Alomar. I have to admit that it is partially for selfish reasons. But I’m praying none the less. Robbie Alomar is one of my childhood heroes. And I honestly feel that I was a lucky boy to be able to watch him both in person and on TV when he was the best second baseman in baseball. There are those that will argue on both sides that he either is or isn’t the best second baseman of all time and the numbers will support their arguments. But that has nothing to do with why I’m writing today.
Yesterday, February 11 2009, a report surfaced that an ex-girlfriend of Alomar’s has launched a $15 million lawsuit against him. The basis of the suit, that Alomar repeatedly had unprotected sex with the woman while he allegedly was, and knew he was HIV positive. The report also goes on to allege that Alomar now has “full blown AIDS”. I hope for everyone’s sake that this woman’s claims are unfounded. She has tested negative for HIV and AIDS on numerous occasions, so I don’t feel bad about hoping that she is lying. I also hope that the reports are false because I wouldn’t wish AIDS on anybody. It’s a terrible, ugly, mean disease that I hope will be cured sometime in my lifetime.
And the last reason that I hope these claims and this lawsuit is unfounded and incorrect, my childhood memories. There comes a time in every boy or girls life when they realize that their parents aren’t perfect, that their teachers aren’t perfect, and perhaps even their heroes aren’t perfect. But I never really asked for perfection. What I don’t want to see is one of my heroes, the man responsible for joyous memories and dreams come true in my youth, turned into a monster by this woman and the media, and a shell of himself by this awful disease.
I’ve never really prayed for athletes or sports outcomes or things of that ilk. But today I pray for Roberto Alomar.
With that out of the way I have a couple of nice, frilly, warm feelings to pass along.
1. The Toronto Raptors have won 2 games in a row and somehow got past the San Antontio Spurs without Chris Bosh or Jose Calderon. (Maybe it was the fact that the Spurs only got 15 points from players not named: Duncan, Parker or Ginobili)
2. The NBA trade deadline is now only 7 days away and I’m anxiously waiting to see what happens with names like Stoudamire, Marion, O’Neal and Howard on the board.
3. The NHL trade deadline is now 3 weeks away and there are a ton of names, rumours and heck even ideas in my head that I’d love to see come to fruition.
4. Spring Training starts in the next few days for pitchers and catchers around the MLB. I love this time of year, it’s like the first Robin, it means Spring is just around the corner.
That’s all for today friends.
February 10, 2009
Good morning sports fans. I trust that everyone has been enjoying the recent up and down weather in the GTA (and where ever else you may be reading this) It reminds me a little of the up and down play I’ve seen from many of my favourite sports teams lately.
In Montreal, mes Canadiens haven’t done anything worth talking about other than losing. It’s gotten so bad that my younger brother asked me what’s wrong with Carey “Jesus” Price. The only answer I had for him is, I don’t know. We even joked about inviting him over to our old back yard pond to play around but we agreed that we are far too skilled and may ruin his confidence forever.
There’s also the Alex Kovalev controversy about whether or not he can play without the “C” on his chest now that he’s had a taste of it. Personally I don’t care who gets a letter on their jersey as long as we win a freaking game. There are 11 free agents on this team and as far as I’m concerned none of them should be looking at summer contracts worth talking about if they can’t get this team into the play-offs. It’s time for les Habitants to man up.
In Toronto all the talk is about rebuilding. Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina have offered to waive their no trade clauses and could net something in return. Kaberle’s contract takes him through 2 more seasons at a manageable 4.25 million cap hit per season. A team like Montreal or even Ottawa could use a puck moving defenseman and that could be Kaberle. As for other Leafs that could be gone either before the deadline or the start of the 2009-2010 season we can start the list with Nik Antrpov, Dominic Moore, Vesa Toskala, Jason Blake and Alexie Ponikarovsky. I ran into Al Strachan yesterday at a book store in Toronto and heard him talking about the Canucks looking to move the Sedin twins before they walk away as UFA’s this summer. How about a package of Antropov, Ponikarovsky and Kaberle for the twins? Maybe Toronto has to throw in a pick or a prospect, but Vancouver is also faced with the possibility of losing defenseman Mattius Ohlund as a free agent it could look good to them to get Kaberle now instead of scrambling to replace a guy like that this summer.
How about this for a thought, Brian Burke moves Vesa Toskala for a forward and a pick and brings Ray Emery back from Russia and goes with an Emery/ Pogge tandem next year.
In Raptor news, we suck. Whether S. A. Smith is blowing smoke or fanning a fire with all the Chris Bosh talk, this is a ship that is in danger of sinking. The coach (though I like him) can’t get the team to finish a game, which was one of the last coach’s problems as well, our point guard is great, but looks like a health risk (which was why we picked him over TJ Ford if I remember correctly) and we don’t have a wing player that strikes fear in anyone’s heart outside of the EuroLeague.
The team is in trouble, the season is far worse than that, and I’m not even sure what a desktop GM like me would do to fix it.
The good news is that Spring Training Starts next week in Dunedin for the Toronto Blue Jays. The bad news is that we’re not sure what the heck is going to happen once the real season happens. Keep your fingers crossed though folks. It’s a long schedule and pretty much anything can happen.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m starting to feel both sad and angry.
February 3, 2009
Good day friends, I hope that you don’t have Superbowl hang-overs. I don’t, but I had a fantastic night!
I got home from work and my special friend was there with some groceries ready for a Super Sunday feast. The original plan had been for some wings and maybe a couple beers. However, the actual spread ended up including BBQ Chicken Wings, Taquitos, Crinkle Cut French Fries, fresh Celery with Ranch dressing and 6 Tall Boys of Coors Light. It was more than a simple boy could have imagined or hoped for.
Celery and Ranch were presented first to snack on while the hot food cooked in the oven. (Which we never use because here is no temperature gauge on the thing at all) The fries were then ready so we sprinkled some salt and vinegar on them, poured some Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce on the plate and ate like kings with our first beer. After the fries were wholly consumed we used the same plate to pile on the wings. The entire box of wings went on the plate and we started eating once again. Bones dropped into a cereal bowl at an almost alarming rate and beer being swallowed to quench thirsts and supplement taste. The last course was the Taquitos. I’m not sure I’d ever had them before, but I can tell you right now that I will have them again. Little tacos wrapped tightly in a cigar type shape, beef and cheese filled and tasty down to the very last bite. We dipped them in Queso Cheese and enjoyed while we moved on to beers number 2 and 3.
Meanwhile, there was a game going on of course. And it was a good one. I was cheering for the Steelers and thought that things were going pretty well for the good guys, but it got dicey there for a few minutes in the fourth quarter. I also said aloud that the under (46.5) was looking good even in the third quarter, but hey, what do I know. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any money riding on things.
The game ended fantastically with Santonio Holmes making a ballet inspired catch in the back corner of the end zone to put the Steelers ahead in the final minute of play and a Steelers fumble recovery with only 5 seconds left to seal the deal.
Overall I can’t say that I wasn’t happy with any part of Superbowl Sunday. It’s a holiday as far as I and many other people are concerned, and a good one at that.
January 28, 2009
So here I sit watching the snow fall outside and I wonder what’s going on in the world of sports. As I previously stated I am a Montreal Canadiens fan, so the loss last night to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game back from the All-Star break was a kick in the pants. But really makes me scratch my head is what went on with the Leafs last night. They brought up Justin Pogge to start in goal against the Minnesota Wild and quickly said that no matter what happens he would be sent back down to the AHL Marlies after the game. The game didn’t start out too badly; I turned Sportsnet on just in time to see Jason Blake score to make the game 1-1 and promptly changed the channel. By the time I channel surfed to the NHL Network for NHL on the Fly and the Leaf score came across on the ticker the score was 4-1. I changed the channel back to Sportsnet and was baffled to see Pogge still in goal after giving up 3 goals in 3 minutes.
Now, I’ve seen the replays and I will admit that the goals were not all the fault of the goaltender. The defensive effort wasn’t fantastic on any of the plays that resulted in goals, as has been the case in Toronto no matter who happens to be in goal. But why leave the kid in there? I know that he wants to play with the big club, and I know that Toronto must have his reasons. But what good does it do leaving a kid in there to be slaughtered and then making him pack his bags after the game. Why not let him shower early and pack while the team was on the ice for the third period so he could at least get himself out of the way?
In other head scratching news, the Toronto Raptors still haven’t made any moves after all of the talk that’s gone on lately. Jermaine O’Neal remains a Raptor and didn’t look bad coming off of the bench as the 6th man. And now I see Anthony Parker’s name mentioned on the ESPN NBA insider with no details of course because I’m not an insider. The only rumours that I can find online that have Parker’s name attached to them have Andrea Bargnani packaged with him for Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard and some spare parts. At this time I say nay. Barney has started to show that he can be a legit starting centre in the Eastern Conference when he has depth behind him that can bang and crash and pick up a few fouls while he rests his legs. If Parker has to be moved, so be it. He’s a former Euroleague MVP, maybe we can remind some poor GM of that and get something for he and Jason Kapono.
I think that’s all for today. My coffee is getting cold and the phone keeps ringing.
January 22, 2009
I’ve waited all week for something in the sporting world to motivate me to write. The problem is, there isn’t a sports story that even comes close to what went on in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.
Rumours have surfaced regarding a Jermaine O’Neal for Shawn Marion trade that would be a great immediate help to the Raptors and clear up space under the salary cap for the summer of 2009, but not the summer of 2010 when Bosh, James, Wade and company will be looking for new deals. Personally, I’m tired of losing, so I say do it now. I also think that while Andrea Bargnani may have some trouble guarding the elite Centres in the NBA, he’s a steadier and more dynamic player than O’Neal and deserves starters minutes. If nothing else we need to see what he can do long term and look at him as a building block and hopefully a major part of things to come for this team.
The Toronto Blue Jays have also put pen to paper on a few contracts this week, avoiding arbitration with RHP Brandon League, RHP Jason Fraser, RHP Jeremy Accardo and INF Jose Bautista. I like the signings, the money isn’t crippling and our bullpen stays intact and should be ready to recreate some of last years success. I really hope that they can because otherwise our pitching may be screwed.
In hockey, the 57th annual NHL All-Star game takes place in Montreal this weekend. Now, I’m going to admit for the first time on this website that I am a Montreal Canadiens fan. And, while I understand that hockey fans in every Eastern Conference city outside of Montreal are crying foul with regards to the All-Star voting process, I ask you to cut it out. Come on, I mean it’s a gosh darn All-Star game. It means nothing. A millionaire will win a car for being game MVP. The fans will get to see star players skating and passing and shooting and scoring. But if you as hockey fans want to be babies and cry in your milk because Mike Komisarek is a starting defenseman I think you should just stop watching NHL hockey for the rest of the year. I promise to tell you who wins the Stanley Cup.
I guess that’s it for now. Maybe there was more to write about this week than I thought. But it does all pale in comparison to the swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. And if you want it to be a sports story, here you go: The man loves basketball, he wrote about his love for the game in his first book “Dreams From My Father” and plans on replacing the bowling lanes at the White House with a basketball court that the NBA has volunteered to pay for. He is also pushing for a play-off system in U.S. College Football to determine a true National Champion. And to top it all off, he’s a huge Chicago White Sox fan. And while I may not agree with that last one, he’s a sports fan. And that’s cool by me.
January 14, 2009
Breaking news from new Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Joshua Murray.
Vernon Wells has been traded to the Texas Rangers for All-Star Short Stop Michael Young.
Young had previously requested a trade from the Rangers because the club wanted him to move from his natural position to Third base. The Blue Jays will be able to plug Young into the everyday line-up at short and use Marco Scutaro as a utility man.
The move also sheds some of the payroll that ownership in Toronto has been fretting over during the current economic climate. Wells is entering the 3rd year of his 7 year, 126 million dollar contract, while Young is beginning a 5 year contract extension worth 80 million dollars.
There is no official word what this change will do to the batting order in Toronto as rumours still swirl with regards to Scott Rolan and Lyle Overbay. But Young is a capable hitter and should fit well around Adam Lind, Aaron Hill and Alex Rios.
During today’s announcement GM Murray said “Bringing Michael Young back to the Blue Jays is a happy moment for me. I’m glad to begin my legacy with such a grand move”
He also added “While we are sad to see Vernon go, but sometimes to make big steps up you have to make big changes”
Big changes indeed. Some believe that a move to Texas will be perfect for Wells who will get to spend more time near his home and family.
It’s only January, and pitchers and catchers are still a few weeks away from reporting to Spring Training. But at least for now, there’s buzz in Toronto about baseball. And this writer likes it
January 13, 2009
by Joshua Murray…
Paul Haywood got me thinking the other day, and for that I say thank you Mr. Haywood. The thoughts started coming after I read his Doc or Dave article. And while I’m not sure that the article made me think of things that he was hoping me it would, it made me think none the less. While I do hold Roy Halladay in the highest of regards. And I was in the building for his 22nd victory in his Cy Young winning season of 2003, this post will not be making mention of him moving forward.
Who I would like to touch on is my all time favourite Blue Jays pitcher. A man that I always felt an afinity for and connection to due to my left handedness. I also liked the fact that he was a quiet guy, a guy who went about his business and did the best job that he could. And I was the happiest kid in Canada when in 1992 he was the winning pitcher in 2 games of the World Series over the Atlanta Braves. In game 4 he started and gave up only 1 run in 7 2/3 innings. And then in game 6 the clinching game of the series, in a move that made Randy Johnson a World Series legend, he came into the game to pitch the 10th and 11th innings to earn another victory.
Jimmy Key was drafted in 1982 and 2 years later made his Major League debut. Even now, with more teams and more pitchers on more rosters, it’s a story when a pitcher makes that kind of leap. He was part of the first Blue Jays team ever to make the post season in 1985. Was there still in 1989, 1991 and finally got his ring in 1992 when the Toronto Blue Jays legend Dave Stieb was barely still in uniform.
And while I know that part of being a legend is spending your entire career with one team, Jimmy Key did move on to the New York Yankees. Now, this isn’t the same as A.J. Burnett moving to the Yankees now. In 1993 the Yankees were not the Beast of the East, Toronto was. I was only 10 years old in 1992, but I can remember fondly the slight tip of the cap that Jimmy Key gave as he left the mound in Game 4 of the World Series. Looking back at it now, it almost seemed like a goodbye.
And while I know that hometown fans are always higher on their own guys when it comes to looking back I’m not going to try to tell you that Jimmy Key should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. All I want to say is that when arguments are being made about Blue Jays pitchers in history and what they’ve contributed and accomplished, Jimmy Key should be in those conversations.