Monday, September 22, 2008

Has it really been 15 years already? Time to head to Vegas

It was old news, but it's official now. Not only have the Blue Jays been officially eliminated, but Syracuse has cut the cord on its 31-year AAA affiliation with Toronto.

(Update: And the Jays are goin' to Vegas for the next two years.)

What was interesting was the AP story on the break-up said that Syracuse wanted out because of "its relationship with the Jays (had) suffered through the franchise's long history of losing."

Its long history of losing. Ouch. It has been a long time since the Jays were back-to-back world freakin' champions, hasn't it?

So, in an effort to attach themselves with a true winner Syracuse is now preparing for a hot affair with the Washington Nationals. Yes, that's right, those Washington Nationals.

Update, 1:20 p.m.: Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which has now become this site's favourite newspaper located in a Triple-A city (could have been you, Buffalo News), "The 51s and Toronto Blue Jays have agreed on a two-year player development contract and will announce the deal today in a news conference at Cashman Field.

"The unlikely pair wound up together by default after several major league clubs changed their Triple-A affiliations in the past few weeks."

One gut feeling and two mental pictures come to mind. The gut feeling is that this came about because no highers-up at Rogers really figure it makes any difference where the top farm club is located.

The first mental image is of Paul Godfrey bringing a map of the U.S. into Bob McCown's office, with pushpins denoting the available Triple-A franchises. "Bob, it's your birthday -- you pick where we put our farm team."

The other mental image is of Russ Adams, at 2:32 in the morning, leaving a voice mail for some girl: "Hi, uh, Nikki, this is Russ ... I just called to say that I had a great time... and you should call me tomorrow, or in two days, whatever. Anyway, my number is 213-555-4679 - (the machine beeps). "Hi, Nikki, this is Russ again. I just called cuz it sounded like your machine might've cut me off when I, before I finished leaving my number. Anyway, uh, and, y'know, and also, sorry to call so late, but you were still at the Dresden when I left so I knew I'd get your machine. Anyhow, uh, my number's 21-" (the machine beeps again.)


Duane Rollins said...

(and yes, I understand hat the long history of losing is as much in reference to the AAA W/L column, but that's not what the AP story said. It just talked about the losing. Somewhere Garth Iorg is turning over in his grave. Well, if he was dead that is.)

sager said...

Well, Garth Iorg has been dead to me since the top of the ninth inning at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 3, 1987.

Thanks for putting this up quickly, Duane.

Anyone who says satire is dead need look no farther than the story. Syracuse -- whose operation is straight out of 1973 -- decides the Jays are a loser franchise (23 of 31 seasons, the Chiefs had a losing record with the Jays as their parent).

So who do they end up with? The Washington Nationals? The Expos, Jr.

The Nats are 13th in the NL in attendance despite a new ballpark. Their radio listenership at times is practically immeasurable. Their local TV ratings on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network are below that for WNBA or NHL broadcast in the States.

On the field, Washington's winning percentages, including this almost concluded season, have been .372, .451 and .438.

The "loser" Blue Jays have played .532, .512 and .537 ball. (Yes, the Nats were .500 their first season and the Jays were two games under, but Washington was minus-34 in run differential and the Jays were plus-70.)

That's nothing to hang your retro fitted cap on, but it's a hell of a lot better than what Washington will do -- they're not going to have big-time prospects coming through the 'Cuse -- they will go straight to D.C. to serve up homers to Ryan Howard and David Wright and get embarrassed by Johan Santana.

Yet Syracuse still chose the Washington Nationals. To quote Lisa Simpson, "You can't help but a feel little rejected."

Mike said...

Heard rumours they Jays will now try and move the farm team to Buffalo, any truth to that or is that just rumour? Would be nice to have them closer by. I caught a game at Syracuse during the strike season, sat 3rd row and was fortunate enough to see the likes of Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green play down there. I really felt like that was my first true baseball experience, it felt so...American! And maybe that's what baseball truly is, so I guess that's a good thing. Right up close to the game, small stadium small town feel, loved it!

The game I caught at Fenway Park still ranks at the top of my list but that Syracuse game beats any of my Dome experiences.

sager said...

Buffalo signed a deal with the Mets last week.

The overwhelming suspicion is that the Rogers Jays, who have raised the concept of uninterested ownership to a fine art (hat tip to Dan Rowe, who coined the phrase and lives in Syracuse), figured they could cut-and-run on this.

After all, other than dweebs like me, no one cares where the Triple-A team is located. No one buys a ticket based on that fact.

The biggest thing the Rogers Jays have going for them an apathetic market. They only know that (a) the Jays used to win, a lot (b) they don't do so now so (c) free whine for all if they're not in in first place by 5 games by the middle of May.

The Jays are only committed for 2 years. It does seem astounding that if you wanted to see their top farm team play, the closest place they'll visit is Des Moines, Iowa.

It's not such a big deal. But viewed in the context of Rogers' uninterested ownership, it makes my blood boil.

Duane Rollins said...

From the linked article:

"It is what it is. We're going to make the most of it," 51s president Don Logan said...

That about sums it up, doesn't it.

It is what it is.

DR said...

I'm busy for studying for my qualifying exams and dealing with freshmen worried about their first exam, but some thoughts from Syracuse:

-People here are glad to see the Blue Jays go. They felt neglected by the team and have no connection with the big league team.
-That isn't entirely the Blue Jays fault. If I recall correctly, the Chiefs have a big gala event in the off-season and they always bring in a big name ex-Yankee.
-Syracuse really wanted the Mets and are now mad at Chuck Schumer. I'm not sure why, but that seems like a reasonable reaction to just about anything that goes wrong.
-Syracusans aren't very excited about the Nationals either, but they think the team is rebuilding and might have some young players coming up.
-The Jays have no profile in the U.S. and that's what landed them in Las Vegas. No one wanted them, as Bob McCown said tonight. The only way to get a higher profile is through winning, getting in to the playoffs and occasionally on ESPN. Good luck with that.
-The big sports news here in Syracuse is who is going to replace Greg Robinson as head football coach. Maybe Lane Kiffin, who was at USC at the same time as the current SU AD and is about to get fired by SU alum Al Davis. (Ah, the circle of life.) Or how about Lloyd Carr, who was apparently seen around town last week.