Time to ‘Catch the Taste’ again in Toronto


Kevin Barrett | Out of WriteField

So former Blue Jay Lyle Overbay is a Yankee.

That may cinch it.

The Jays may be back.

Thanks to a hilarious, albeit short-lived, commercial career, Overbay became my favorite Toronto Blue Jay since, well, when they were relevant.

Overbay once promoted himself in the third person in a radio spoof that drew attention to his incredible ability to crank out doubles while with the Jays.

It helped to keep an average Jays player on an average Jays team prevalent, but now, after an off-season highlighted by spending a boatload of Rogers Cable money, it is time for the Jays to stop hitting those doubles and finally crank out a home run.

Goodbye Lyle; Hello Melkey. See video here:

No pressure Mr. Knuckleball Dickey or Mr. Jose Reyes, but it’s been an excessively tough ride for Jays fans since the last World Series conquest.

Not Mets-fans bad and certainly not Leafs-fans bad but just average beyond belief.

Maybe Lyle’s move to the Big Apple will transform the Yanks into Toronto average and, given the ambitious antics of GM Alex Anthopoulos, could good times be ahead in the Big Smoke?

Let’s hope so.

It’s been a lean run.

Hitters came and went. Pitchers produced lofty ERAs. Managers were axed, rehired and departed again.

Not once since Joe Carter touched them all with his Series winning shot against the Phillies in ‘93 have the Jays hit the 90-win plateau.

Their best attempt came with 88 victories in 1998, when they finished third in the AL East, 26 FREAKING GAMES back of the Yankees.

In 2008, Overbay and crew were gaining recognition, in parts because of ads like this: See video here:

Yet, they went 86-76, finished 11 games out, making the commercials more memorable than the club.

Oh, there have been stars like Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, now also a Yankee by the way, Shawn Greene, Aaron Hill and Alex Rios.

There have been catchers, like Darrin Fletcher, Charlie O’Brien, Lance Parrish, Gregg Zaun and one of the fabulous Molina brothers. How about Jose Canseco’s one year run in 1998? He slammed 46 homers and drove in 107 but is best known for controversy, which is still going strong.

Then there was the whole Troy Glaus experience. The Scott Rolen experiment. The Frank Thomas fiasco.

Canadians Matt Stairs (impressive total 32 homers over two years of DH and pinch-hit duty) and Corey Koskie (less than 32 HRs in his time) have suited up.

There were some of rather undistinguished abilities – Frank Catalanotto, Eric Hinske, Woody Williams and Dustin McGowan to name a few.

Oh where have you gone Raul Mondesi?

Pitchers, well some were awesome before they departed – Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter.

 There was the moody A.J. Burnett, Ted Lilly and the hard-throwing Billy Koch.

 The Rocket went 41-13 in two years in Toronto, which included regular ‘visits’ from his personal trainer.

 We also had Joey Hamilton (14-17), Eric Hanson (13-20) and Danny Darwin (1-8 with the Jays).

Certainly, some of the positive starts out of spring training boosted the optimism some years, lighting fuel in April, only to fizzle when it got truly hot in August.

Cito left, came back. Buck Martinez sandwiched media gigs between a two-year stint as manager. John Gibbons was hired, fired and now is back.

Is this the year the teasing stops?

Is this the year they get back on track and provide marketing opportunities for their stars like this classic: See video here

In the Jays’ championship era, Roberto Alomar might have been the most widely known player – thanks in part to this ad.

All these years later, ‘Catch the taste’ sticks in my head. That is probably because the Jays haven’t done much to whet my appetite since.

 With a wild off season of free agent signings, and Overbay’s journey to the Big Apple to join Wells, maybe, just maybe, there will be a new jingle in town.

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