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.

Handbags and the need for Spamalot to star Tom Cruise

I have not watched Mad Max yet. All I know is that the reviews are through the roof on it. I am willing to admit that I thought it looked terrible in the previews. I have only been fooled one other time in the history of my career of movie watching. That was on Guardians of the Galaxy. We all know how that turned out.

Mad Men is over. I thought it ended brilliantly. Terrific show like nothing else on TV right at the moment. Mad Men was all about character building through realistic story-telling. It’s one of the few shows that doesn’t go into the dramatic soap opera type stories to get ratings. See every CW show for details. Farewell to Don Draper and the glorious characters. It was a good run.

Game of Thrones is taking quite a bit of heat for this past episode (I won’t spoil it.) If you realistically can’t believe that this would happen than maybe you have been desensitized to everything else that happens within this show. Constant death and torture. There are no rules when it comes to Martin’s books or the TV show. Have you not figured this out yet?

The fire John Gibbons rants have started. If you watch baseball and believe that every time that the Blue Jays step on the field and are not at a disadvantage; I would like to challenge you to a duel. You give me who you believe is the worst manager in baseball, and I will bet you they would have a better record at the end of the year than the John Gibbons managed team. Former Listowel Legionnaires managers are also included in this.

Going Clear Scientology and the Prison of Belief – 9.3/10

This is a maddening and sometimes hilarious documentary on the outrageous belief in Scientology. If the only reason that you watch it is because of your hatred for Tom Cruise you will not be disappointed.

Have you ever watched what a pitchers arm does in slow-motion, when a pitcher uncorks a 95MPH fastball? It’s actually a bit disgusting. You can understand all of the Tommy John going on.

Top 3 stories that I have heard about hiking recently that makes me wonder about people.

1. A kid from Arizona was beginning his hike on the PCT (This is a 2650 mile journey) had to be airlifted out 12 hours into the hike. He was starting to feel dehydrated and was almost running out of water. He couldn’t find any water and didn’t pack enough.
2. 22 year old man was killed by a bear in NJ while trying to take a selfie with it approaching him.
3. I was walking through Rattlesnake Point and witnessed a woman with a man trying to do the hike in high heels. She must have thought she was at the Cannes Film Festival.

To the people that write graffiti on the walls of bathroom stalls. We are not paying attention anymore. We have our phones. You can stop it.

Has anybody seen Spamalot? Sara and I are thinking about going this week. I love everything to do with Monty Python, but balk at musicals.

The most dangerous place I have been recently is on the next hole over at River Edge Golf Course when 4 guys were teeing off with out of control swings that created a wicked slice off of an elevated tee block. They had the get around a big belly swing.

I think when parents say to their child. “Are you pleased with yourself” in a certain tone; 50% of the time the child is pleased with themselves, but will not say it due to the fact that they might receive further punishment.

Handbags? What is the deal? What do I not understand about them? How could they possibly cost $500? Why can’t you use a $25.00 handbag to carry whatever you carry in them? These are questions to the women or men that love handbags.

Silicon Valley is back. They created a character I believe you get to meet in episode 3 of the second season that is brilliant. You will know instantly who I am talking about once you meet them.

I am not a huge fan of CGI. Especially if the scene can be made without using it. I feel like this is how the world is now. If we can find something easier and cheaper than the real thing than let’s do that. Food is probably the biggest culprit.

Nascar had another near death from their drivers. You know that any professional sports that have concussion issues are fine until they decide to ban this sport.

You never really understand those laundry commercials that have people smelling their clothing until you actually use one of those detergents. Yes, my apartment does smell like a spring day with golden haired girl that looks like she is from the ‘50s running around my backyard trying to catch the golden lab with a tennis ball in it’s mouth.