Saturday, June 07, 2008

Zen Dayley: To mould a new reality, closer to the heart

Observing the sleep-on-it rule seems to be the best way to avoid saying, "The Jays will go as far as John Gibbons will take them." Talk about one cruel evenout, losing four straight... but Vernon Wells is back, Roy Halladay throws on Sunday and then the lousy Mariners come to town.
  • Discuss among yourselves: A.J. Burnett is a straw man for everyone in Toronto who craps on the Blue Jays to avoid having to say what they really think about the Leafs.

    Burnett -- who tipped his cap to booing fans after getting jocked today -- and Roy Halladay have each made 13 starts this season. Burnett's given up four or more earned runs four times; Halladay's given up four or more earned runs five times. His little gesture -- which might have sent the message, relax people, it's only a game -- had a point.
  • Jeff Blair noted that draft day is when Rogers Communications' uninterested ownership shines through: "Time for the Blue Jays to get with the flow and go over slot like everybody else."

    Over slot is Seamhead-speak for paying a high draft choice more than MLB's suggested signing boni, which tend to fall on te low side. More teams are realizing that lavishing a big bonus on a top-end prospect is cheap at twice the price, since there are ceilings on young players' salaries. Damn whatever the knee-jerkers say about giving $2.5 million to a high school shortstop or a college left-handed starter.

    Rogers' corporate cynicism dictates that you raise the major league club's payroll just high enough to defeat any charges of not wanting to win. "But the payroll is $100-million!" Add anyone who was pretty good back in 2003 and whom casual fans know from years of sports highlights and their fantasy league, and stir. Granted, that's what you would expect in Toronto, where sports franchises set out to win press conferences, not championships.

    There's nothing miraculous about why the Tampa Bay Rays are so good all of a sudden. They shelled out for to find players at the grass-roots, and now they're (knock on wood) headed to the playoffs.
  • This never happens if George Steinbrenner was still alive ... 6-6 tie in the seventh iinning, bases drunk with Kansas City Royals ... Joe Girardi opted to leave Andy Pettitte to pitch to José Guillén. Never mind that Guillén had a .952 OPS this season vs. lefties, compared to .648 vs. righties, the first swollen considerably by a homer off Pettitte, who had thrown more than 100 pitches.

    Boom, grand slam. Back in the day, King George would have fired the manager before the plate umpire fished a new ball out of his pocket.

    (The Yankees, won 12-11, but when you have to score 12 runs to win, to quote Dave Smart, "You've lost already.")

  • It's cold comfort to know that Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi at least has good taste when it comes to unrequited crushes.

    Tim Lincecum, whom the Jays were trying to get in the winter, is vying to be in the all-time, top 5 for pitchers who had the best years pitching for terrible teams. He has a 2.15 ERA, twice as good as the 4.68 for the rest of the San Francisco Giants staff. The Giants are 10-3 in his starts and 16-32 the rest of the time.

    No one's ever going to touch Steve Carlton's 1972 season, going 27-10, 1.97 for a last-place team. (He started in 29 of the Phillies' 59 wins.)
  • Geddy Lee from Rush is the closest thing the Jays have to a celebrity fan, which makes it less of a surprise that he would be a benefactor for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Lee donated more than 200 balls autographed by Negro Leaguers, many of whom are long dead, to the museum.
  • Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley is apparently a Jays fan.
Yes, losing two straight to the Baltimore Orioles is especially teeth-gnashing. The Red Sox and Yankees have money and brains. The Rays have brains. The Orioles organization is patchwork quilt that has neither.


an urban chemist said...

May I ask what prompted your last comment on the Orioles? I realize that as you are not a fan of the team, you do not follow its happenings closely, but your statement seems to be based on ancient history and big media assertations. After the 2004 season, new scouting director Joe Jordan stepped in, and the Orioles' past few drafts have produced fairly good pitching talent, most of which is currently in the lower minor leagues. They haven't done so well with position players, but did go over slot to sign catcher Matt Weiters in last year's draft, and he could be in Baltimore by late next season. Andy MacPhail took over as general manager (not his exact title, but basically what he does) last year, and has (finally) moved the Orioles down the rebuilding path. He conceded over the offseason that this year's team might hit a few bumps (to prepare us fans for major suckage), but look, they are 31-31. MacPhail traded Miguel Tejada (the day before the Mitchell Report's release) and Erik Bedard for ten players, five of whom are currently contributing to the success of the big league team. And in a landmark victory for disheartened Orioles fans everywhere, the O's cut Jay Gibbons before the season started, eating the rest of his ridiculous contract and giving the roster spot to a more deserving player.

The admission that the O's sucked and needed to rebuild was long overdue, but it happened. I read your blog because I think you are insightful and a good writer, but to pretend that the O's attempts to build a better team are going nowhere is something I would expect from ESPN. Finally, I would dispute that the O's lack money. While they certainly can't compete with the Yankees, it has frustrated us for years that the O's spent so much money ($80-90 mil) on teams of Jay Gibbonses and Sidney Ponsons. They have money. They are finally getting around to spending it more wisely.

sager said...

Fair enough ... that comment was prompted out of frustration. I take it back. The Jays had lost four straight (blowing late leads twice), it's 90 degrees outside and I don't have air conditioning in your home, so I snapped a little.

It was a weak moment and you're right to call me out. That's not a fair comment about your Orioles. I apologize; I take it back.

A better to way to put it would have been that the impression, which you deftly sliced up, exists that the Orioles aren't a great organization.

Tampa and Boston have a better reputation for bringing players through the system, and the Yankees and Bosox each have more money. That's where it came from -- my mistake for not digging a little deeper. Sorry.

Your O's are getting by quite well ... Guthrie and Sherrill were great pickups from the free talent pool. The guys they have know are helping stabilize things. Luke Scott and Adam Jones seem to be good pickups.

I see (see now) that Matt Wieters is putting up great numbers in the Carolina League ... plus Chorye Spoone (gotta root for him just on spelling alone) is one to keep tabs on down in the Eastern League and the IL.

(I didn't even have to mention Mr. Markakis.)

I'll do better next time.

Anonymous said...

Thank god some people are finally calling Neate out on for his pretentious horseshit. I've been coming here for more than a year waiting to see when people would finally tell that guy he's full of shit, he doesn't know what he's talking about, and he'll never be a real sportswriter, except in his dreams ... if you know so much, Neate, go and try to get a job at newspaper, I bet they laugh in your face.