Nerd alert: You might remember that this proprietor of this site is the owner of the all-time Toronto Blue Jays team — the ATJs — in the Seamheads.com Historical Baseball Sim League. If no one objects, there will be some periodic updates.
Competing in the AL East is a cakewalk compared to facing teams that can draw from a history that goes back decades.
It was back to reality for the ATJs in their home opener, as they slipped to 2-2 after an 8-3 thumping in their home opener against Joe Posnanski's loaded Cleveland Indians. The 50,437 on hand at Rogers Centre expressed their displeasure through public intoxication and property damage and the Toronto sportwriters are already writing this team off.
For heaven's sake, it's four games in. In the words of Paul Maurice, "Go home. Drink some tea." Poz's Tribe has a top of the order of Napoleon Lajoie, Tris Speaker and Shoeless Joe Jackson. The ATJs have a third-base platoon which includes Rance Mulliniks. Let's have some perspective, shall we? Lajoie, the Grey Eagle and Shoeless Joe went 10-for-14, helping give ATJs starter Dave Stieb got an even rougher ride than he did from Cy Young Award voters in the mid-1980s, giving up six runs over an inning and a third.
The opening series in Seattle went a little better. Not unlike the real-life Jays, they took the first two of a series but couldn't get the sweep, as the all-time Mariners (ATMs) touched up Jimmy Key and Duane Ward in an 8-4 romp.
However, Roger Clemens — hey, a team which has only been around 32 seasons doesn't have the luxury of being selective — and Harry Leroy Halladay, were a more dangerous combination than Jack Daniels and I.W. Harper. Dumb and Doctor, as some wags have dubbed them, each held Seattle to a single, solitary run.
Doc pitched a complete-game, 8-1 win and even contributed a RBI single to open the floodgates (there's no DH in this league). George Bell, thanks to some fine table-setting by Roberto Alomar (.500 OBP with six steals in the first four games) and others, had five RBI with a double and a home run.
Clemens went eight strong, striking out 12, in the 3-1 win on Opening Day. He finished off striking out his last three hitters, Jay Buhner, Ichiro Suzuki and Edgar Martinez in home half of the eighth. The bluebirds responded with two in the ninth, working a double steal for the go-ahead run after Ernie Whitt worked a leadoff walk off shaky reliever Mike Schooler and Alex Rios went to third on Mulliniks' pinch-hit single. Rance's younger self took off for second and Rios scored when the throw sailed into centrefield, since Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez had failed to cover the bag after becoming transfixed by his own picture on the Safeco Field video screen.
The D-Rox (the Diamondbacks and Rockies) are off to a 4-0 start to take the early lead in the Expansion Three division, which includes the ATJs, Seattle and Florida/Tampa Bay Marlins/Rays.
Alomar has been on base 10 of his first 20 times up to pace the offence. The media has also questioned the choice to go with Lloyd Moseby as the Opening Day centrefielder and the Shaker, installed in the leadoff spot, is off to a 3-for-18 start. He seemed like a good compromise between no offence, all defence Devon White and some offence, some defence Vernon Wells. Moseby just needs a month to prove himself, gosh darnit.