Train Rides after Witnessing a Unicorn wearing a Big Johnson Shirt.

I turned 37 yesterday. I still haven’t really figured anything out. I guess you just keep on doing things that you love to do, and hang out with the people that you enjoy hanging out with. Is it that simple?
Saturday was my birthday pub crawl in Downtown Kitchener. Had a grand old time with friends and family. My actual birthday was a day of re-hydration and Swiss Chalet.

The Jays have made massive moves to improve the team. I wasn’t completely sold on the Tulowitzki trade. That is until they pulled off the David Price trade. Dickey and Buerhle have been pitching lights out recently as well. I am not sure if they can catch the Yanks, but they should be in the one game playoff.

Super Meat Boy is a game. It’s a very popular game. You compete levels and blood puddles on the screen in areas that you are dragging your meat boy body around. This is the type of thing that needs to be created if you would like to become rich.

The local theatre is showing a Counter-strike tournament on the big screen. You don’t play. You watch people playing a video game. Are people going to illegally record this on a camera and put it on YouTube? I don’t know what’s cool anymore?

Top 3 most nervous times in the childhood of Daryl Smith.

1. Facing Mike Tyson in the final match in Punchout. My face was 2 feet from the TV screen, and my hands would shake with the fear of getting “knocked the fu** out.”
2. Having to go to the front of the class in Grade 2 and do a book report on James and the Giant Peach without actually reading the book.
3. Being extremely close to having to wear head gear at school. Who invented this? Did it have to be so gigantic?

After going to the dentist recently, I was told that I generated an awful lot of saliva. I was confused whether this was good or bad; so I just said thank-you.

Train Wreck – 8.9/10
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 5.7/10

Train Wreck is excellent. Amy Schumur is fantastic, and extremely refreshing in this role. Just watching somebody putting together an actual realistic comedy with a few spurts of romance is a thing of beauty when done properly. Bill Hader is solid, and Lebron is actually very good as well. Great movie.

Stepping on Lego does suck. Why does it always have to happen at 6:25 am? I no longer have to worry about these things, but a simple reminder to have your children put their Lego away.

Zero interest in hot air balloons. A man with colitis and a fear of heights does not do well in these situations.

You need to have a certain look to be a local mechanic. Grizzled, straight talking, and in between the heights of 5’5” and 5’8”. Being able to smoke a pack a day is a bonus point.

I actually witnessed somebody wearing a Big Johnson shirt. It was a mint condition shirt, tucked into jean shorts. It was like watching a beautiful stallion within a herd of Holstein cattle.

big-jhonson

Tame Impala has a new album out. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s a danceable psychedelic medley. 9.4/10.

There are still people that are using the push/pull lawn mower. It feels like there should be more people using this. Especially with houses being built with exactly 7 square feet of lawn.

They are producing Chuck Taylor’s with better insoles. They are about 25% more expensive. One of the experiences about wearing Chuck Taylor’s is the feeling of just strapping cardboard to your foot.

Recently in the UK a man drugged his girlfriend so that he could continue to play video games. George and Jerry, action figures, anybody, Bueller, Bueller.

ceila

I am amazed by people with artistic skills. The humans that I draw always either have arms coming out of their neck or have weird rubber, circular arms.

It is very hipster, but I would like my next birthday to be a train ride to Stratford to visit the brewery, and to see a play. I know, better be careful, what an animal.

The Growth of Aaron Sanchez

This is the Aaron Sanchez that as a Jays fan I thought was getting.  The most important starter currently in the Blue Jays rotation. He is also the biggest wild card.  He has grown leaps and bounds in just a handful of starts.  Realizing that he doesn’t need to clock it up to 97 every time that he wants to get somebody out.  Whether it’s been Russell Martin, Pete Walker, or maturation, it really doesn’t matter.  Sanchez is learning how to pitch.

Sanchez is the one guy in this starting 5 that can match up with another ace and go toe to toe in a must win game.  Hutchison is going to be a dependable starter, but is not a true ace.  And you can’t roll out Dickey or Beurhle in a winner take all game.  So it will fall onto the shoulders of a 22 year old starter.  It was a beautifully executed game against the first-place Astros yesterday.  Knowing that this is an all or nothing team.  If you can throw strikes, and not give up the long ball they will struggle.  The Jays had a perfect game plan put in place, and it was executed flawlessly.  Sanchez was constantly getting ahead in the count.  Keeping the Astros off balance.  Not trying to over power them; giving them nothing that they could knock out of the park.

Even against the Nats the starting pitching was out in full force.  Dickey was a hard luck loser against Jordan Zimmerman, but he pitched well enough to win that game.   Beurhle has thrown complete games in three of the past four starts. The rotation is beginning to come around.  Estrada and Hutchison have been consistently throwing 6-7 innings each start.  This game becomes easy when you have a rotation that continually gives you quality starts.  Slowly, this team is starting to gain confidence that they don’t need to win every game 10-8.  Knowing that any pitcher that takes the mound can throw up some zeroes after they have put up a few runs on the board makes a world of difference.  The walks have been cut down, which stops the big innings from happening.  It can be a beautiful game when you throw strike one.

As bad as the pitching has been prior to the past two weeks, they actually measure up against each starting rotation in the division fairly well.

New York Yankees:  CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Adam Warren

Baltimore Orioles:  Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Mike Wright

Tampa Bay Rays:  Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez, Nate Karns, and Alex Colome

Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, and Eduardo Rodriguez

Toronto Blue Jays:  R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Mark Beurhle, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada

When you compare all of these starting rotations you don’t see much difference talent wise.  You see a couple of aces on the Yankees in Pineda and Tanaka, and another ace in Archer in Tampa, and that’s about it.  The Jays and the Red Sox have far and away the best two offenses in the AL East.  If these quality starts continue by the starting 5, the Jays could be right there in September.

There isn’t much waiting in the wings as far as pitching goes. Daniel Norris is pitching fairly well in Buffalo, and would be the call-up in case of injury. But it pretty much ends there.   It would be really nice to see J.A. Happ in a Jays uniform right now.  This is the rotation that will need to get the Jays there.  Will it be enough to get them into a wild card game, or a division win?  I have about as much confidence in that as I do in Ricky Romero to throw a strike.

Toronto Blue Jays minus the off season of 2012

Miami Marlins send Jose Reyes, Mark Beurhle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolino, Jeff Mathis, and Jake Marisnick.

The New York Mets send R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays for Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, and Wuilmer Becerra.

With Syndergaard about to make his MLB debut we must look back upon the two trades that will cost the Jays for years to come. One of the main reasons that fair weather fans do not run MLB teams is the fact that everybody thought that these were terrific trades. Fans were screaming from the highest roof tops in Toronto that this was their year. Vegas had the Jays as the odds on favourite to win it all. There was no way that this could backfire.

Not only did the Jays take back over 100 million in salary. We cleaned out the cupboard of prospects that were masterfully obtained. The Jays were going for it. Having Jose Bautista clamoring for more presence in the lineup and staff probably didn’t help. Antholopous showed an extreme amount of patience for years. He traded away Halladay in a no-win situation. Drafting high ceiling prospects. Making smart signing decisions. Not blowing the budget on any one player. Toronto is a city of we want it all now. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it. Antholopous thought they had a chance at making that jump before they were ready. Witnessing a decline in both the Red Sox and the Yankees after years of chasing them.
Let’s have a look at the lineup without these two trades being executed. This isn’t exact. It’s what I believe the smartest moves would have been. Yunel Escobar will not be included in this. He would not have been back with the Jays regardless.

1. Travis – 2B
2. Cabrera – LF
3. Bautista – RF
4. Encarnacion – 1B
5. Donaldson – 3B
6. Lind – DH
7. d’Arnaud – C
8. Pillar – CF
9. Hechavarria – SS

Starting Pitchers:
1. Marcus Stroman
2. Drew Hutchison
3. Henderson Alvarez
4. Anthony DeSclafani
5. Noah Syndergaard

The lineup doesn’t look stronger on first appearance. What it does have is a bunch of players with huge upside and a lot of room to add payroll. No need to bring in Martin at a huge price tag. The Donaldson trade might not need to happen either. Adam Lind could still be their DH rather than thriving in Milwaukee. Melky Cabrera could have come back. Nearly every one of the prospects that were involved in both trades are now contributing members with major league teams. This isn’t a told you so. I was on board with both deals. The Dickey trade not quite as much, but I would have made the same trade. Teams that are thriving in ball now are the teams that are able to grow up together. The bringing in high price talent hasn’t worked for about a decade now. Look at the SF Giants and St Louis Cardinals. Nearly every player on both of those teams were drafted by the club. Terrific coaching, and great scouting is now the key to a championship team.

Maybe it’s the being in the AL East that makes it tough for the Jays not to ride it out. You see the Red Sox and Yankees just throwing around money. The Jays if anything should use the Tampa Bay type of strategy. Grow the talent. One thing that the Jays have that the Rays don’t, is fans. People come to their games. They might even be able to keep the talent after they develop it. Keeping up with the Jones’ has been the Jays moto for the past 20 years. It has come with zero playoff appearances.

What do you do now? Unfortunately start over. Encarnacion should have a few more monster years in him. Donaldson will be solid (he will want big money soon.) Travis looks like the real deal. Their young pitching needs a bit more development, but it should be untouchable. They were taken advantage by two National League teams. The quick fix didn’t work. Eat the mistake, and get what you can for Dickey, Beurhle, and Reyes. I would also look at dealing Bautista. He is an aging superstar that is going to have a sharp drop off. You need to develop pitching. Every team that have won rings has had that one ace. You need to start to stock pile pitching talent to find that next Gray, Harvey, Fernandez, or Cole. They might have it in Stroman or Sanchez, but they need more options. Teams have been winning with average lineups, but great pitching. Again the Rays style of play.

Iit’s going to be a lengthy process. It’s not Toronto Maple Leaf lengthy, but it will be about 3 years before they see progress. They have some pieces in place. Their young pitchers are coming along. Do they have the right guys in place to develop them though? As a fan you need to look at the teams that are constantly in the races until the end. What do they have that the Jays do not? It comes down to the right person behind the controls. After witnessing the past three years, do you think they have the right people in charge?