It was twofold. Sportsnet, as Drunk Jays Fans pointed out, was doing an interview with an ex-Leafs hockey player and thus ignored the super-prospect's first at-bat. Secondly, the lack of a warm welcome when Snider came up was described as "shameful." (Miked Up.)
For a diehard fan, there's only so much you shrug off before you want to get your Billy Jack on: It's only a silly baseball team which hasn't been in the playoffs since I was in Grade 11, and I want you to know, that I try. When well-meaning family members and friends say that "it's only baseball" and tell me that I'm supposed to control my violent temper, and be passive and nonviolent, I try. I really try. Though when I see Travis Snider ... who is so special to us we (ought to) call him 'God's gift of sunshine' ... and I think of the number of years that he's going to have to carry in his memory ... the savagery of this idiotic moment of yours... I just go BERSERK!
No one's asking for the kind of saturation coverage TSN gives to hockey players who roughly the same age as the 20-year-old Snider. However, when the best homegrown hitting prospect the Jays have developed in relevant memory comes up to bat in his home stadium for the first time, pretty please with sugar on top and you can make this a Christmas and birthday present, focus on his at-bat. Don't talk over the play by doing an interview with ex-Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph, which is what happened.
Granted, the broadcasters might not have even noticed Snider was up to bat. As Mike Wilner pointed out on the radio and on his blog, he got roughly, oh, three-one thousandths of the reaction elicited when the "gameday crew" at the world's largest Rogers Video store brings out the T-shirt shooter. It was pathetic.
Perhaps the ignorance and indifference is no surprise, when you consider how little evident fanfare the Rogers-owned network dedicated to the up-and-coming star of the Rogers-owned baseball team.
As someone whom, admittedly, can zone out on baseball for hours on end, it's hard to get wrapped around what is so hard to understand. What are sports consumers in the Centre of the Universe apparently incapable of seeing with their own eyes?
Any 20-year-old who smokes a line-drive single off a 3-and-2 slider from Joe Nathan, Minnesota's lights-out closer, with two out in the ninth inning when it's his first week in the majors pretty much has the baseball world by the tail. Typically, in that situation, most hitters expect a fastball, and if they get anything else, they need a miracle in a worse way than Ricky did in that Trailer Park Boys episode when he couldn't smoke or swear in a courtroom. Experienced major-league hitters, including a few on the Jays, will swing and miss or produce a weak groundball out if Joe Nathan throws them a slider in that two-strike situation. (Not that anyone is naming names, Vernon Wells.)
That's what makes the indifference so galling, as Wilner articulated on air:
I have to say, (I'm) very disappointed in the crowd of 21 and a half thousand people that when Travis Snider came to the plate for his major-league at-bat at home -- nothing. Quiet, polite applause, no different than the applause for Lyle Overbay or Marco Scutaro ... you know what? And I mentioned to somebody before off the air and they said, 'That's what you get in this city. People just don't understand.' And I try my best not to give in to the people who say Toronto's not a baseball-savvy town and the fans don't understand baseball and you know, whatever. But that showed me something. And that was just terrible -- terrible! Everyone who was at the ballpark tonight should be ashamed of themselves for not giving Travis Snider a better welcome to the big leagues."I can see where it's possible Wilner laid it on a bit thick. It was the Wednesday after Labour Day. The tourist crowd who make a point to come see a game or two each season are gone. Everyone there was probably on freebie tickets.
The newspaper reporters got it right and made Snider the focus of their game stories (although saying that Snider and John McDonald are in any kind of "similar situation" as hitters is more than a stretch. The only similarity between Snider and the .540-OPSin' McGlovin as hitters as that they each use a bat).
Ultimately, though, this is what you get in a market where how baseball is presented and absorbed is affected by Rogers' uninterested ownership (hat tip to Dan Rowe). When you have big corporations that don't care about the stuff they own, is it really any shocker people don't show any love to God's Gift of Sunshine?
Anywho, it's dumbfounding that Sportsnet couldn't save the softball questions for CuJo for the next half-inning. Meantime, for fans, start getting to know Travis Snider, AKA God's Gift of Sunshine. Not next summer, after he does a six-week or so turn at
Going to a Jays game and not clueing in about Travis Snider is like going to a hockey game and not knowing it's played on ice. Sorry for the rant, but someone had to say it.