Friday, May 23, 2008

And That Happened

Blue Jays 4, Angels 3: Yes, it's a win for Toronto. They'll probably lose tomorrow. This has nothing to do with this game in particular, I've just been meaning to say this for a long time: I find absolutely nothing interesting about the Blue Jays and I have a hard time writing about them. They are mediocre now, and they have been mediocre for 15 straight years. Even worse, they are boring. They have never been bad enough to be interesting. They have never been good enough to be exciting. They just exist in this bland limbo land of nothingness which causes me dull pain to even consider. Their team is blah, their uniforms are blah, their stadium is blah, and two championships notwithstanding, most of their history is blah. Not once since Robby Alomar was playing for them have I thought "hmm, the Blue Jays might be fun to watch tonight." Aside from about five minutes of piqued interest when they first hired Ricciardi and Law, they have existed in a sucking vortex of "meh" from which, at least in my estimation, they have been unable to escape. I can't ponder this team rationally because they simply make me sad. There. I said it. It's been a long time coming. I am but a man and I have biases, and one of those biases is a profound disinterest in almost all things Blue Jays. I just thought you should know that going forward so you can weigh my comments about them appropriately.

Braves 4, Mets 2: Last week I said that if the Mets didn't go 4-2 against the Yankees and Braves, he would be fired. Well, they went 2-4, plus Willie made an ass of himself and his best player called out the team for "going through the motions." Dead man walking, right? Do I have to go to 11:59:30?

Marlins 4, Diamondbacks 0: Wow, the Dbacks' bats are dead, aren't they? I mean, it's not like Andrew Miller and his 5.87 career ERA made them look this bad all by himself, right?

Yankees 2, Orioles 1: Not their finest game, but the Yankees will take six innings of one run ball from Ian Kennedy any day. Girardi was ejected. Description from the game story: "Girardi certainly got his money's worth for his first ejection as Yankees manager -- he twice threw down his hat and kicked it once." I'm sorry Joe, but that's just sad. If you throw your hat down, you don't pick it up and throw it again because that just makes your little rant look calculated and kinda pathetic.

Red Sox 11, Royals 8: The abbreviated length of the Banny Log says it all. Bannister: (5.1 IP, 12 H, 7 ER). So much for the day game theory.

Rangers 8, Twins 7: Josh Hamilton is having a whale of a season ( .335/.378/.614; 53 RBI in 48 games) and played the hero once again, this time with a 10th inning, game-winning homer. The Rangers, by the way, are 14-7 in May. Will they make noise this year? Nah. But they are playing much better baseball than most people think. This time last year they were 18-31.

Tigers 9, Mariners 2: My great aunt lived a long happy life, but towards the end it was pretty nuts. She'd fade, be given last rites, rebound, seem to turn a corner, suffer another setback, rebound again, etc. etc. She messed with us like that for almost two years before she ultimately went along on her merry way. Thankfully Tigers fans will only have to put up with it for about four more months.

Pirates 8, Brewers 4: Milwaukee had 20 base runners and only four runs. Ick.

White Sox 3, Indians 1: If the Cubs had won eight straight like the White Sox have, there would be features on ESPN and covers on SI and questions as to whether they were the best team ever or merely great. The Chisox? Nothin'. Just first place and no pub at all.

Padres 8, Reds 2: San Diego busts out the whuppin' sticks for once. Griffey hits 598, which means we only have another three or four months until he hits 600 and the Reds can officially cut ties with him.

Phillies 7, Astros 5: Anybody watch this game? Was it really necessary for Charlie Manuel to use 19 players, or is he just one of those guys who tinkers for the heck of it because he's a National League manager, and that's what National League managers are supposed to do?


Pete Ridges said...

Don't underestimate how hard it is to be objective about an unAmerican sports franchise. It's not that anyone is being racist about the Blue Jays: it's just that the American media doesn't give them as much attention as they merit, and so they always seem to have a high proportion of players who aren't interesting. Even someone as big as Frank Thomas seemed to disappear for a year, until that little contretemps at the end.

Then again, finishing 3rd 8 times in 10 years is pretty boring.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Just to be clear -- my feelings about the Jays have zero to do with them being Canadian. I mean, I like Pete Toms, and he's Canadian!

Seriously, though, it's 100% a function of them simply being a boring team to me, and yes, all of those third place finishes are largely responsible for that. Bad teams are fun to watch and follow in a perverse way because you can play armchair GM or revel in the terribleness. Good teams are obviously a joy. The Jays have been neither since 1993, and as such I just feel blah about them.

Pete Toms: I will consider giving you your own post as equal time/rebuttal on this if you are so inclined, because I realize I am totally slamming your team.

Dre said...

AZ would have a hard time hitting Little Leaguers right now... I think they're even striking out in batting practice.

Jason said...

The Jays are indeed vanilla. They are just not interesting. Neither good nor bad. They are Jan Brady, the dreaded middle child. They are that member of your group of friends who is always out with you but don't do or say much and rarely buys a round, and never makes a scene. They drive a tan colored, sensibly priced sedan, but spent a bit extra for the leather seating. And every now and they, the remind you that they bagged a hottie back in the early nineties, twice.

Mr. Thursday said...

Watched the Phils game. 19 guys, of course it was unnecessary. Charlie Manuel is very fond of keeping EVERYONE involved as much as possible. As a result, Chris Coste appears in almost every game started by Carlos Ruiz (and thus, almost every game). The four man outfield--Burrell, Victorino, Jenkins, Werth--makes sure to have every man make an appearance almost every game. Taguchi is a popular pinch runner/defensive replacement for Burrell. Oh, and Kendrick is lousy enough that the Phils need plenty of bullpen work for his games (though, admittedly, 5 relievers might be a bit much).

And I concur, mostly, on the Jays, except for that I really, really, like watching Doc Halladay pitch. But their lineup is painful.

Osmodious said...

Craig, Girardi threw down his hat, kicked it and then walked which point the umpire said something else, which prompted Joe to go back after him. He defintely 'got his money's worth', as they say.

The thing is, it was a BS call, certainly, but it appeared like it was prompted by the Orioles catcher...the call was late and came after the catcher said something to the umpire. All Girardi would say is that he was mad at something the umpire said, so we can only conjecture.

As a Yankee fan, though, I can tell you that I loved did the fans in attendance at the stadium. It has NOTHING to do with 'antics', which is what a lot of people have concentrated on (citing Billy Martin, Sweet Lou, etc.). It had EVERYTHING to do with some passion being displayed. This team has played decent, poorly and downright awful...all with an equanimity that is infuriating after awhile. Last night, there was passion, and it looked marvelous to the Yankee fans watching it...

themarksmith said...

The Blue Jays have good pitching ...? Anyway, as a Braves fan, I take special joy/pleasure/ecstasy in seeing the Mets self-destruct/implode/meltdown. It's like kitty-crack.

Eric said...

It's ok Craig, I care enough about the Jays for both of us.

Daniel said...

The thing is, I never thought about the Blue Jays. At all. I guess if I had a blog where I wrote about baseball teams, I would be forced to have an opinion, and I think it would be pretty similar to yours, Craig.

Even Halladay, who is a fantastic pitcher, is probably the most boring fantastic pitcher out there. He doesn't have any ridiculous pitches (Santana's change, Unit's slider, Beckett's fastball), but he has a bunch of good pitches. He'll give you 8 innings of 6-hit, 2 run ball, which of course is excellent, but he's not someone who's a threat to throw a no hitter, or to have a 13 k game. He's good, but unexcitingly good. And he's the Blue Jays' MOST exciting player.

As a side note, they were arguing about the all-time face of the Blue Jays franchise on the Angels radio broadcast last night, and they came up with Dave Stieb. Don't get me wrong, Stieb was very good (career 122 ERA+), but he's still Dave Stieb. Cito Gaston was their second choice.

Pete Toms said...

Oh Craig you big sweetie, I like you too.

Your profound disinterest in the Jays would be right at home here north of our border. Interest in the Jays outside the GTA ( I am outside the GTA ) is scant.

The Jays connundrum is the AL East. BA wrote before the season started that this Jays team would be considered a playoff contender anywhere in the NL and either the AL Central or West ( can't remember which ). And hey, why not? Marcum, Burnett, Halladay, McGowan & Litsch are a good start and this is the era of mediocrity ( woops parity ). But decent doesn't cut it in the AL East ( if the Yanks don't improve perhaps the AL Wild Card team will have a mediocre record this season ).

I said before the season started that this is a watershed season for the Jays. Godfrey rung some more dough out of ROGERS these past 3 seasons to increase payroll. If the Jays are out of it by July....I wonder if they will slash payroll, be a bottom feeder and max out on the revenue sharing $$$$. Re. the FORBES valuations the franchise has increased in value but not at the same robust rate as most of the other franchises. FORBES did point out though that the Jays have value to ROGERS outside of the baseball franchise ( programming for their RSN & naming rights ). In a nutshell I think they are about to conclude that a middle of the pack payroll in the AL East buys nothing more than a lot of 3rd place finishes and they may as well slash payroll, knowing that the hardcores like me will still watch.

Longer term I think the NFL in Toronto could be the beginning of the end of the Jays. Assuming Ed Roski ( don't discount him ) doesn't buy the Bills when Mr. Wilson passes away they are a certainty to move to Toronto ( games are already scheduled in Toronto and tickets are being sold ). This will lead to a BIG stadium problem. ROGERS Centre is shit for baseball ( Toronto just missed out on the HOK / retro ballpark craze ) and not capable of generating enough cash for Mrs Rogers & Tannenbaum to make sense of their $1 billion expenditure for the, what will give? Bulldoze the stadium and start over? The location is perfect, downtown on the waterfront...but the stadium is good for nothing, in fact Rogers bought it for peanuts after the taxpayers of Ontario got screwed funding the construction of it....

Having said all that, a playoff appearance or two does wonders for interest, everybody loves a winner.

I digress but I thought the release of Thomas was a sign that Rogers is watching Ricciardi's expenditures more closely. If you're serious about contending you don't cut a guy in April who hit 26 HR the previous year just to save some dough the next year.

Oh well, the independent CanAm League Ottawa Rapidz debuted here last nite to a crowd of approx 4200 ( don't know how many paid ), so I've got them to root for! And hey, they only made 6 fielding errors! Ramon Nivar hit the only jack of the game for New Jersey.

Stu said...

Yeah man, you're absolutely right. The team with the best pitching staff in the American League is just SOOO boring, SOOO mediocre. Hell, they might even be down right terrible. It's so fortunate that American stations don't give them attention, 'cause if they did, American bloggers might go ahead and make logical assumptions about teams outside of their country.

Oh, and "themarksmith", the Mets absolutely own your Braves, and to question the Blue Jays' pitching staff is just straight retarded. Seeing as our #4 starter, Shaun Marcum, has a better ERA than anybody on your pitching staff except for Smoltz, who only pitched for five games -- you can go fuck yourself.

Speaking of getting fucked, how 'bout that 1992 season?

Pete Toms said...

Stu. Don't know if you read this blog often or not but one of the things I like about it is the tone of the conversations is most often quite civilized. It's just baseball, relax. Take the profane vitriol somewhere else. There's lots of blogs out there where your tone is the norm, go find them. Thankfully this ain't one of them.

Eric said...

Stu does not speak on behalf of the Blue Jays fanbase. Different profane Jays fans (Drunk Jays Fans) tackled this issue on their podcast today. Here's the link.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Thank you Eric and Pete for speaking up for the reasonable among us in my absence.

I didn't delete Stu's comment because, though it was tough to find, there was a kernel of valid analysis or commentary in there, though it was overshadowed by the idiocy. I will not be so generous in the future. this is a nice neighborhood, and we aim to keep it that way.

And really, even if you're going to trash talk, you've gotta bring something better than "how about 1992." Were you even born then?

Pete Ridges said...

Craig wrote:

"Just to be clear -- my feelings about the Jays have zero to do with them being Canadian."

And, at the risk of being overpolite, just to be clear: I wasn't for a minute suggesting that Craig dislikes Canadians, nor that the US media is racist: merely that the media's lack of attention to Canadian teams really does make it a little harder to be interested in them (or to care when they are contracted). But I may be wrong.