Joe Buck and his wonderful day in upstate New York with Alcides Escobar

The Jays are out. It was a heartbreaking defeat. They were beat by the better team. Unfortunately in playoff baseball you can’t live and die by the long ball. And that’s exactly what they tried to do. Situational hitting is a must at this level. Jose Bautista tried to will the team to victory with home run after home run in big spots. This team would be long gone if it wasn’t for his efforts.

Top 3 things Fox announcers are doing after the Royals put out the Jays.

1. Joe Buck is going for a nice evening with Alcides Escobar in the wine region of New York. They will reminisce on his brilliant over-reactions to seeing-eye singles while riding side by side on horseback. It will just be a superb day.
2. Harold Reynolds will go back to staring at the wall until the next game starts.
3. Fox has announced that each fan in the outfield must grow an Amish beard as a salute to a great American hero.

It’s amusing to look at all the Facebook posts after the election took place. Every PC backer talks about money, and, well, that’s it. Every NDP backer says, well at least it’s not Harper. And the rest of the world is talking about how gorgeous Justin is.

There was never really a time that I enjoyed going to gym class less then when we had to learn how to line dance. There were 2 – 1 hour sessions of my life that I will never get back. And that fact that I know how to line dance a bit is a feeling I will have to live with the rest of my life.

Pizza Pops did quite of damage to me as a child. There was nothing you could do once that pizza goo was in your mouth and it was 300 degrees Celsius. You were done. You tried to create saliva as fast as possible, but you ended up just getting burning hot pizza goo onto your chin. Thinking back now – why didn’t I use a knife and fork?

All the years of golf that I have played, and I have never bagged myself trying to hit a golf ball in between two trees.

I was a goaltender in hockey when I was growing up. That’s all, I thought I would just bring that up. Oh, and I was bagged a lot then.

Why weren’t clear braces made up until a decade ago? It was bad enough that I had to wear pieces of metal in my mouth, but did you have to make it look like my mouth was part of a Terminator movie?

When you looked in somebody’s fridge growing up there was always two jugs of things that looked like orange juice. One was Tang and one was actually orange juice. I never thought to open it up to smell it; so I always just picked the one that had the most unnatural orange colour. I think that I ran a 98% mark of getting Tang. After thinking about this now, that wasn’t all that impressive.

One of these days I would like to complain about the rain; because I just had the car washed.

Harold Reynolds and his mission to ruin Thanksgiving in Canada

Happy Thanksgiving – sometimes I wish I had one of those families that had that uncle that was going through a divorce, had a little too much to drink, and starts spilling all the beans on the family business.  Unfortunately, my family is pretty normal.

Top 3 creepy things you can do while at the Thanksgiving parade

  1.  Eat an ice cream cone by yourself, but eat it at a much slower pace than usual, and look around at the crowd while doing it.
  2. Cheer out of control for things.  Whether it be candy or just a float with advertising on it.  Uncontrollable cheering will always be appreciated.
  3. Take off your shirt and wrap it around your waist while sporting a decent pair of ’80s villain shades.  Then continue to weave in and out of the crowd, gently bumping into people.

When you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back asleep some of things that you think about are weird.  I was debating getting up and putting some potato chips in the freezer.  I remember them tasting much better after doing that.

Thanksgiving Tacos – is this a thing for anyone?  I understand that Turkey is the thing, but since most of us go to multiple Thanksgivings; we could maybe throw this into the mix.  Ground turkey, cilantro, onion, spinach, salsa, and sour cream.

The aging process will always hit you the same way when you are in your mid-30s.  You will begin to walk outside in the fall and just marvel at the beauty of the trees.  Any other time of your life, you either complain about Winter coming or that you have to clean up the leaves on the yard.

The Martian – 9.0/10

This is an extremely realistic look at a man being abandoned on Mars and having to try to survive.  It’s so realistic that many people took to the Twitter world and asked if this was based on a true story.  74% of these people are also voting PC this election.

I have faith in the Toronto Blue Jays and the Green Bay Packers.  I cannot say the same for the Philadelphia Flyers.  They stink!  They might struggle in a game against the Listowel Jr. “B” Cyclones.

Work sent me to Orlando recently.  Unlike Vegas, it is nearly impossible to get into trouble near Disney.  “Oh sir, the nightlife is everywhere here.  There is a great wings restaurant that is open till 10pm.  They have margarita’s and hot wings.  That is if you are really living on the edge.”

Everybody is upset with Harold Reynolds.  He stated during the Jays game last night the following.  “There’s not a lot of people playing baseball in Canada.  They’re not used to catching a lot of balls in the stands.”  Hopefully this goes to 5 games so we can say not very nice things to him and pelt him with Timbits.  Then apologize after.

The nectar of the Gods is available at Innocente Brewery.  It’s called their Charcoal Porter.

If you wear tighter shirts your muscles do look larger.  But you have to be careful.  Your beer gut also appears to be larger as well.  Maybe I will get a shirt that is tight up top, but loose on the bottom.  Wait, that’s a dress.

The board game Pandemic should state in the rules that if you have had 6 beers or more that your brain would be better suited to play Ticket to Ride.  After 12, it’s Snakes and Ladders.

If I ever received a phone call and somebody was using the voice box on the other line.  I would just hang up.  I can guarantee that whatever you say is not a good deal for me.

Gowron raising money for his Kickstarter campaign in Port Dover

Blue Jay fans are completely on the bandwagon. We had to buy tickets a month out for the Red Sox series recently. I do think scalpers deserve this though. It’s been twenty years of trading September Blue Jay tickets for Raul Mondesi 3rd year Topps near mint condition cards.

Finally went for a haircut. When the hardest part of your life is trying to find a time with your hairdresser; because of your 9-5 schedule, you are probably doing alright.

I know you want your child’s name to be unique. I realize you want them to feel special. They will thank you if you just give them a name that is easy to spell. Rebekkah has wasted 379 hours spelling her name to strangers in the future.

In Montreal they are changing some of the Liberal signs to Klingon Gowron signs due to its dark colours. I approve.

gowron

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – 8.7/10
Terminator: Genysis shithead from the future that goes back in time as part-machine – 2.1/10

If you are not watching Sense8, you should be. One of the best character developed scifi shows that I have seen in years. It’s on Netflix, and available on all things jail-broken.

When I was a young lad I always remember one of my birthdays in particular. I had received a present that was a squirt gun that contained purple liquid that my mother thought would stain the entire house. She watched in complete horror as it was sprayed all over the house with giddiness by young children. It was consumed with delight as it looked like purple kool-aid. This was the best and worst birthday gift of all time. It did stain the house, and we had to sell the house at a reduced value afterwards.

After working in retail for many years I can now safely say that the worst joke to say to somebody working in retail is when they ask if you need a hand – is to clap.

The feeling of getting a brown envelope in your mail box is either fantastic or terrible. There is no in between.

If women want to bike topless – go ahead. I’ve had to see many of men walking in downtown Kitchener with a smoke in their mouth, jean shorts on, with their Motley Crue shirt around their waste. It would be a nice change of pace.

I prefer not to discuss politics in my blog. But Orange Crush is a very tasty soda.

Now thinking back of going to the driving range, I kind of feel bad about aiming at the dude on the tractor that was rounding up all the golf balls. That was a dick move by Smith, and I apologize if it has any lingering effects on your adult life. You did get 500 made-up points for hitting the tractor though.

One of my few talents is to look like I am really trying hard to lift something heavy when there is 4 people lifting something into a truck. Really, I am just doing enough so it doesn’t hit the ground.

I joined a gym. I joined Movati. Which used to be called the Athletic Club. I never thought this day would ever happen. I am pretty sure I owe somebody ten bucks from my home town.

Did everybody enjoy Boot’s and Hearts a couple of weekends ago? I would rather have a full pickle jar thrown at my grown by David Price from 7 feet away than go to that festival.

Sara and I were recently in the Port Dover area. We visited a couple of breweries and wineries; had a little lunch in the Dover, and then ventured back home. We tried to fit in Home Depot, but we just didn’t have time.

Thong sandals feel like a violation on my toes.

Some people like the idea of breakfast in bed. Until it actually happens. You are eating pancakes drenched over syrup on a small table, over a $300.00 white duvet. “Kids, I just really want to eat with you guys in the kitchen.”

Just recently Sara and I went to our first Kickstarter campaign. It involved a free dinner, a couple of free drinks, and an iPad win for Daryl. Just another Sunday night for the Smith-Dhooma team.

The Bullpen Organism

After watching the highly entertaining Jays/Orioles series we witnessed a battle of strengths.  We watched the Jays offense strike at a Orioles pitching staff.  We observed the Orioles relievers shutting down Toronto’s big bats.  What was the end result?  It doesn’t matter how many runs you score, when the pen can’t hold the lead.   Their bullpen is leaky.  Not one pitcher on the back end can get consistent outs.  Many of the best teams now want to be able to shorten the game.  One of the biggest reasons that the Royals made it as far as they did last year is because they were able to play a 6 inning game.  As soon as you hit the 7th teams know that they’re going to have to face Herrera, Davis, and Holland.   Game over!

What this causes is batters to really put pressure on themselves to put up some runs to prevent the bullpen from coming into the game.  Your mentality completely shifts.  You don’t have the first time through the order against the starter to feel him out.  You need to jump on him early and often.  What does this cause?  Lack of patience and overly-aggressive swings.  Why do you think Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Blanton ,and Chris Young can start for this team?  Starting pitchers for playoff teams are asked to do less and less.  Just give them a solid 5 or 6 innings, and they can turn it over to the bullpen.  Even the way that the relievers are constructed is important.  If you look at the Orioles they have a bunch of parts thrown together to make their bullpen.  Smart managing and scouting have been their key.  Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton are not household names.  But they have their purpose.  O’Day’s unorthodox delivery can lead directly into Britton’s sinker.  Changing eye levels and leaving the hitter adjusting constantly at the plate.  Even Chaz Roe has been a pleasant surprise.  His slider gives the players something else to think about.  The pen is nearly as important as the starters in today’s MLB.

The mentality of the bullpen is almost as important as the talent.  It is an organism.  You will see all pitchers do well or all pitchers struggle.  Pitchers feel comfortable in certain roles, but completely uncomfortable in others.  The most talented guy doesn’t necessarily need to be the closer.  It’s the player that has that closer mentality that is key.  Confidence and an intimidating presence are nearly as important as stuff.  Trevor Hoffman threw change-up after change-up, and he was the best in the business for a decade.  You do need an out-pitch as a closer though.  Something that the player can’t foul off constantly until he gets something to hit.   An arsenal that includes a weapon that has a 95 mark in a video game rating.

There are multiple closers on the market this year in baseball.  Chapman, Rodriguez, Papelbon, and Clippard are all available for the right price.  You now see many teams load up on closers for the post season.  Throwing them in the 7th and 8th innings.  Trying to emulate what the Royals did last year.  Sometimes they will be planted into the organism and be rejected.  You need the perfect fit for the rare species.  These are players that spend the majority of the game sitting together, doing very little for nearly the entire game.  They might only be called upon for one batter. You might need a side-armer that throws 86mph, with a devastating slider.  Or you might need a herky-jerky left handed specialist with a loopy curve-ball.  It’s not an exact science.  Not every team can afford 3 would-be closers like the Royals have.  Sometimes you just have to plug pitchers in to see what works.  The one thing that I can guarantee is that the two teams that will be in the World Series will not have question marks in their bullpen.

Will Ferrell and his attempt at a fatality in Mortal Kombat

The Blue Jays have had quite the run recently. Does it remind anybody of a couple of years ago? This is the same pitching staff that they had at the start of the season when we were calling for heads to roll. Minus Aaron Sanchez. The team will come back down to earth. They can still compete, but don’t expect them to run away with the division. We will see what type of team that they have when they hit a rough patch.

A man with colitis wins $25.00 worth of toilet paper. This isn’t a joke, this happened to me.

The look of a teenager having to cut the grass of a huge yard in the afternoon of a beautiful spring day is the same look after Liam Neeson found out his daughter was Taken.

There are many local legends in downtown Kitchener. You already know about the guy with the shopping cart. Another fellow that is usually in the same area has a bucket and a drum stick. He usually has one pant leg pulled up. He plays this bucket with the same intensity of Neil Peart. He doesn’t even have anything to throw change in. Playing the bucket is his part-time job. He usually plays for a couple of hours at a time. This has been another segment of local legends.

Honeymoon – 8.1/10
Coherence – 8.7/10

Couple of beauties here. Both have the same intense build up without the gore or boogeyman tactic. If you can understand Coherence without having to look up some of the details online; you will receive a round of applause from me.

The PC ads that are currently out are even more dumbed down than usual. Ripping on Justin Trudeau about his hair and wanting to send jackets to Syria. Pretty soon it’s going to be that he orders daiquiris and dislikes Rush.

There is something out called the Sustainable Market. It allows you to order fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, flowers, herbs, and all things garden related online. You can then pick up your order from a place in Waterloo or Guelph. With people not really having time to shop properly, this is a great way to get your core ingredients. Wonderful idea.

http://sustainablemarket.ca/

Game of Thrones is done for another season. And with that, you can start to enjoy your summer. Something about that show makes me want to drink a giant stout, grow a beard, and learn how to sword fight.

At least 3 other people could have fit on that dragon.

Chicago Blackhawks won another cup. It’s really hard to dislike this team. They have the best leader in hockey, and are an extremely humble team. If I hear that Chelseadagger song one more time though…

In all my years of existence I have never thrown a dish with food on it before. It seems like this is a regular occurrence on TV. It seems fairly stupid to me. If you throw it at another person, it seems unlikely that they will clean up the mess. If you are just angry about something else, then you will have to clean up the mess. It seems as though any way that you slice it that you are have work to do.

I really enjoy driving slowly. Not to the point that you are angering the person that is behind you, but just a good pace where I am not stressing anybody out. I always envision people that weave in and out of lanes as people that sit in cubicles and throw footballs to each other in the office while taking other people’s money.

Sufjan Stevens new album is terrific. It might be his best. Illinoise is tough to beat, but have a listen to Carrie and Lowell, it might be Neo from the Matrix. 9.3/10

Mortal Kombat taught us that fatal ways to die are better than just dying regularly.

Everybody always had that cousin that loved to climb everything. They would go to the top of a tree and everybody would be cheering them on. “Yes, that small branch there. The one that looks like a twig. That should be able to support 94 pounds. Give it a shot.” Then you would hear the crunch of the branch, while they attempted to plant the first foot. “Oh maybe not, maybe you should come down.” They would try it again with a more tender foot, and hear a softer crunch. “Maybe go for it now. It seems to be stabilizing?”

Here’s hoping that Will Ferrell doesn’t become the new Adam Sandler. Sweat pants, fart noises, and Rob Schneider playing every ethnic origin. His last few movies have been awfully suspect. Is he getting into that dangerous old man comedian area where you have lost the crowd? You just keep going back to the dried up well. The next project due out is about a washed up ball player that becomes a mascot to try to get back in the good graces of the ball team that cut him.

Intentionally injuring yourself so you don’t have to go to a hockey game; to continue drinking at a buddy’s place seemed to be a logical choice made by an acquaintance at the time.

The trade that could help the Jays make the playoffs.

The Jays are on a roll. This might an understatement. They are on absolute fire. Everything on this team is clicking right now. When you have Ryan Goins belting three-run homeruns in key times you know things are going just a little too smoothly. Up and down this lineup everything is firing on all cylinders. You know at some point that this has to slow down. They have holes on this team that will hopefully be filled before the gravy train of runs out of steam.

What do the Jays require to make a real run at a division title? They need a top level starter, a closer, and a utility player. Reyes is injury prone. Bautista still doesn’t look right throwing. Colabello is a sore spot in the field. There is a team in the American League that have all of these things, and could be selling at the deadline. The Oakland A’s.

Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard, and Ben Zobrist all in the final year of their contracts. The A’s are a miserable 13 games under .500 and could be looking to deal. Kazmir would instantly become the Jays ace. He has been extremely reliable over his time in Oakland, and can match-up with any pitcher in the AL East currently. Clippard is a solid closer. He throws strikes, and has had a history of closing over the past two years in Oakland and Washington. Zobrist is an ultimate utility player. He can play nearly every position on the field. Having a high on-base percentage and can hit in every part of the lineup. Best part about it. You don’t have to take on that much salary. Reasonable contracts without any term.

What do the Jays have to give up? Well, these are three valuable pieces. This would be a costly trade. It wouldn’t cost them Stroman or Sanchez. But it might cost them Norris, Pompey, and Hoffman. I know that’s a huge return. But look at last year’s deadline and what yielded Lester, Price, and Samardzija? Addison Russell was one of the top prospects in baseball. Drew Smyly is going to be a top of the rotation pitcher, and Yoenis Cespedes was a proven all-star. This is an awful lot to give up though. Especially if they end up not making the playoffs. What’s the alternative though? Aaron Harang from Philadelphia? Kyle Lohse from Milwaukee? How much better are these guys then what you already have? Then there are Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto. They would cost the Jays two to three top prospects on their own.

Say this trade does go down and they end up losing all three players to free agency. What do they receive? The Jays would receive compensatory picks. It could be 3 first round picks. Or 2 first round picks, and a second. Regardless, it’s not all for nothing if you don’t make the playoffs. Is this worth the investment? Hoffman could be a potential ace. Pompey a starting outfielder, and Norris a middle of the rotation guy. I am not sure if I would make this deal. But it’s what it would take to get those 3 players out of Oakland. With so many teams having a shot at post season play it becomes more and more difficult to find rental players. Which is why they have become so expensive. The one thing that I do know is that Scott Kazmir versus David Price sounds a lot more appetizing than Drew Hutchison versus David Price as a Jays fan.

Blue Jays playing small ball to win

Bottom of the ninth, runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. 0-2 count, Colabello has looked lost at the plate, and in the field the whole day. The runners take off, the pitch is in the dirt, blocked by Conger. No play at either base. This isn’t the Jays that I am use to. The well-executed double steal on a 0-2 pitch that you know Gregerson was going to bury to try to get Colabello to strike out. What happens after this? What does this create? Sacrifice fly or wild pitch ties the game, and a single or better wins it. Knowing that Gregerson isn’t a dominating closer by any means, Gibbons played the odds, and won. If I was watching this game a month ago it would have gone like this. Colabello strikes out on a pitch in the dirt. Reyes and Bautista are still at first and second.

This isn’t the John Gibbons that I am usually writing about. The guy that I am usually watching is the laid-back manager that is waiting for the long ball to get the win. In the Astros series I witnessed a change in these Jays. Sacrifice bunts, steals, and hit and runs were key to a lot of the victories over the weekend. Sweeping a first place Houston club out of Toronto. It was exciting baseball to watch. The fans were engaged, and so were the players.

Toronto was able to overcome a key error by Donaldson, and multiple walks in key situations by the pitching staff yesterday. This is rare to say about the Jays, but they are learning how to win. Sometimes you need to go after runs. You need to press the defense of the opposing team. Keep on manufacturing runs, and do not stop until the game is over. It’s complacency that has gotten the Jays into trouble before. They know they have a great offense with an abundance of power. It was the record that was just being put on over and over again by Gibbons. Things will turn around. These players will get hot. This weekend showed that they are not going to wait around anymore. Bautista is red-hot. Other than him we have players doing what they have always done. What’s the difference than? Timely hitting, decent pitching, and smart managing. During the games over the last two days there have been multiple times that I have said to myself. “Smart move or gutsy call.” All of Gibbons moves have produced, catching teams off-guard.

It’s nice to see the Jays playing this way. At the start of last year you were seeing a team that couldn’t maintain what they were doing. They were hitting home-runs at an outrageous pace, and Beurhle was looking like a Cy Young candidate. Everybody was playing at the top of their game. You just knew that the bottom was going to fall out once a few players cooled down, and injuries would happen to key pieces. This team is still a few games under .500, but you can see the tide turning.

It’s easy to go back to bad habits. If they get thrown out a couple of times in key areas, or hit into outs while trying to start a hit and run. They could just go back to what we are accustomed to watching. Big swings in key areas, when all they need is a single. Hopefully they realize that this isn’t a fluke. This is an exciting team when things are in motion. I have to give credit to Gibbons. He has made all the right moves recently. Maybe we are seeing an enlightened man that is managing to the style that is required to win? Or maybe we are seeing a man managing for his job? Either way, it looks like this team has been woken out of its slumber. Let’s see if they can continue this streak against a couple of very beatable teams in the Marlins and Mets. Is this a new Jays team? Doing whatever it takes to get the win. Let’s hope so. If this is the new brand of baseball in Toronto, I am completely on-board.

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.

The Evolution of the MLB Superstar

Thinking back a few years ago, and watching Bryce Harper struggle; he was a 21 year old slugger. There were whispers that he could never fulfill the prophecy that was stowed upon him. Murmurs of a bust. This is a 21 year old player. How did we get to this point to expect so much out of such a young man?

It’s a mixture of the media and fantasy sports. Over hype, expecting the player to become the franchise’s savior. Years back it was common for an early draft pick to play in the minors for the first five or six years of his pro career. Gain his stripes and come up seasoned. Ready to produce at the pro level. The ages and expectations have become ridiculous.

Baseball is the rare sport where you generally can’t come straight out of your draft year and begin to produce. The NBA has draft picks that have the ability to carry a team to a playoff position. The NHL have instant producers. We don’t generally see first round picks carry the team, but we do see them produce from day one. In the NFL they throw the 1st round picks directly into the fire. I am positive that the NFL has wrecked multiple quarterback’s by just dropping them off of a cliff and seeing if they could fly. Teams are so desperate to find the next Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Russell Wilson.

MLB hasn’t quite become the same as the previous three, but you do see the odd player come straight to the major leagues without any seasoning. Mike Leake didn’t play one minor league ball game. Was Bryce Harper ready 3 years ago when he came up? I don’t think he was. He was arrogant and cocky, and was getting thrown out of ball games when things didn’t go his way. Harper not only had the pressure that he put on himself, but had the pressure of the entire city. The media and fans made him out to be the chosen one. The one that would bring championships to Washington. This could have wrecked him. Harper seems to be thriving now, but you see many superstars come into situations and fail to produce. They just can’t handle the pressure. They are not ready for that type of burden. They are only 20 years old.

I relate a lot of this to the movie Bull Durham. Arrogant and cocky pitcher is sent down to the minors to be taught by the veteran catcher to play the right way. Ends up coming back up into the pro level and thrives. I am not sure how much this happens now. So much money is wrapped up in this player that they need him producing right away. There is no question that a lot of players are ready to contribute much sooner than in years past. But how good would Harper have been if he had some time to grow up a bit? You play with fire when you put a world of pressure onto a kid of that age. Generally they are pretty well equipped to handle it. Being brought up from a young age knowing that they were going to be a star. You do see it backfire from time to time. Brett Lawrie came into Toronto as a fire cracker. Canadian boy that had a world of talent. His face was all over Toronto. Injuries and the constant pressure got to him. He was dealt to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson trade, and is still trying to figure things out. Jason Heyward was the next big thing for Atlanta. Brought up to the majors at the age of 19. He has scuffled, and was dealt in the Shelby Miller deal. Heyward is now struggling at the bottom of the order in St. Louis. Some players will thrive in this type of atmosphere and some will be buried. Why not see what you have for a few years? Allow them to develop in every way. They will generally produce straight out of the gate. Not having those years that they are doubting themselves. This is the way that it’s always been done. Impatience can cost you. Just ask all of those former first round QB’s that are just thrown into the recycle bin.

What the Josh Donaldson home-run meant to the Jays season

That game winning home run that was hit last night didn’t feel just like a game winning home run. It felt like a wake-up call to a team that has under-performed for the past three years. One of the most important things that I took from last night’s game was that they were for once able to get by a terrible start from a starting rotation member. Usually this is the type of game that the Jays lose. Dickey gets roughed up. Ruin a night of production from both Bautista and Donaldson. This changed with one swing of the bat.

Now we have seen what Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin can do for the Toronto Blue Jays. They lead by example. Show intensity when it’s required. Battle with each and every pitch. It’s a confidence that hasn’t been seen with the Jays for quite a while. A couple of proven playoff performers. They know how to get there, and are trying to get the Jays back into the race.
There is nothing more infuriating as a Jays fan than watching a bunch of high priced talent goofing around in the dugout when the team is five games under .500. Watching a player flip his bat after a long home run when the team is down by five, or watching the outfield jump into each other after their lone win on a 1-5 home-stand. There is a time for playful fun in baseball. When Donaldson cracks a game winning home run to start a bit of a winning streak is a great time for that. This is a team sport and the Jays have been playing as individuals for far too long.

I am cautiously optimistic. Keeping tabs on other teams in the AL East it seems as though this division is winnable. Even with a mediocre record it is ripe for the taking. Every team in the AL East is floating right around .500. Injuries are piling up for multiple teams. The Red Sox already fired their pitching coach. If the Jays can pull off any kind of run they can play some meaningful games in September. They really need the starting pitching to put up a streak of quality outings. You know the offense will be there.

We have sung this tune before. The Jays are always a game away from a complete over haul of the lineup or a player away from competing for the division. Again they are at the same crossroads. If they don’t feel as though they can compete in September then they have to start dealing. As a fan I just want some consistency. I don’t want to hear Dickey talk for three years about how he is just about there. I don’t want Bautista to whine about the strike zone. A stuttering John Gibbons having a non-chalant interview that starts with his over-used “well.” Just shut up and start winning. Have some owner ship over what’s expected of this team. One thing that I do know is that Martin and Donaldson have both been there before. They are battle-tested. You are starting to see the mark that they are putting on this team. Here’s hoping that other players will continue to follow their lead and the Jays can make a bit of a run.