Category Archives: Mets

So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Ricky Romero’s start against the New York Mets could be a big opportunity for the Jays to get back into the winning ways many fans expect from the squad.

STRADER: I would hate to say that Stephen Brunt stole my thunder, ‘cause really, he’s a messiah of sports writing, and I’m, well, a pretender. But he stole my thunder.

I was going to write about how it’s time to see what John Farrell is made of. After Lawrie’s blow up (I don’t think doing it is right, and I certainly think it’s a suspension, but I’m willing to admit I would have thrown the helmet right at Miller…) it became clear to me that it is time for the Jays to calm down.

Umps are petty.

They have too much power.

And for all we know, they don’t face much retribution either, outside of a well-thrown beer.

With the team facing five series in a row against winning clubs, I thought, oh man, this isn’t good. The first one is the Yankees, and it’s Drabek and Hutchison pitching. This could get ugly.

They could pitch well for their respective ages and experience levels, and the squad could still be looking at five losses in a row going into the Mets series – interleague always seems to be a tornado for the Jays – and oh man, the stories would begin about Lawrie disappointing the team, the young staff showing it’s true colours, yadda yadda yadda…

So it was time for Bautista to take a bad call, for Escobar to stop waving at where he believes the running lane is, for Encarnacion to just get punched out.

Shut up and play ball boys. You’re better than that.

And then Drabek goes out and shows why he was such a highly touted prospect.

Hello Yankees. Here’s my nasty sinker. Deal with it.

8-1, you have to be kidding me.

Now, there’s a chance.

A chance that this run against winning squads and first place squads could result in a turnaround for the record, and the standings. Bautista could keep hitting bombs. Tweaks to the lineup could continue to work out.

Can someone please write about how good D’Arnaud is again? ‘Cause everytime it happens, Arencibia goes medieval on the baseball…

And there’s a chance.

This time, I think it falls on Romero.

Hutchison is still so young, so inexperienced, that to expect a Yankee sweep tonight, a win from him – even though he gets lucky and draws Phil Hughes instead of the tilted hat killer – would be asinine. The Yanks are the Yanks. They’re resilient.

A win by the Jays tonight, like so many things with this team this season, has to be considered gravy.

But tomorrow Romero will go against the Mets. Romero has a chance to get this team back on a good train. Dominate, and open up the weekend for Morrow, Alvarez and Drabek again, who will more than likely give us a chance to win when they toe the rubber.

There’s a chance tonight could be 9-1, but don’t listen to the happy voices today, who will immediately be angry voices again tomorrow if it is, set the brim of your cap low, remember that you’re Ricky Damn Romero, and attack.

We need you.

And then there’s a chance.

I’m also emboldened by one other thing. Lawrie is appealing, and it will be heard by the league.

So there’s another chance.

I believe the league made a statement when they handed him four games.

Ok kid, like the genius words of Chris Rock describing OJ Simpson, I wouldn’t have done it, but I understand.

Now, with the appeal, they can make another statement.

What Lawrie did was wrong. But take a game off of his appeal, and you’re also acknowledging that what Miller did was equally as wrong. Major League Baseball can’t punish umpires for bad calls. We can’t have replay for balls and strikes. Managers would begin arguing everything they disagreed with. It’s the nature of competition, and the human umpire is part of the beauty of baseball.

But just like everyone who will scream for a guy to lose his job when he’s hitting .160, Miller didn’t do his job. I don’t care about code, or circumstance.

His job is simple. He is to be an impartial judge to an entire game. No matter his personal feelings.

Getting plunked is part of the code. But it has consequences.

Not stealing a bag in a blowout is part of the code. Do it, and it has consequences.

What Miller did was deliberate. It was intentional.

I acknowledge as a fan of the game that umpires cannot be punished.

But give Lawrie back one game, and there’s a chance Major League Baseball acknowledges, that they understand.

 

 

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Superstitions and Turk Wendell

The oddest of them all, former MLB pitcher Turk Wendell set the standard of weirdness in baseball with his interesting antics and superstitions.

LIVINGSTONE: I love vinyl. No, not what you’ll find on the side of the house – although it does appeal to me as my siding of choice when I become a homeowner – but what the needle drops on. Listening to records helps me relax – or boogie, or blow of steam, depending on the mood – and I happened to be listening to Stevie Wonder’s 1972 release Talking Book tonight when the song Superstitious began blaring from my older-than-my-grandmother record player (it’s not, but it’s sure close).

The song got me thinking about the superstitions of athletes. Jumping over the baselines, tying cleats or skates a certain way, putting on equipment in a specific order, eating a certain piece of fruit before a game, wearing the same pair of underwear in games you pitch (I hope no one actually does the last one), but whatever it is, athletes have them. Hell, baseball in general has a number of superstitions (see: Top 50 Superstitions and rituals in baseball on Bleacherreport.com), followed by players and fans alike.

This brings me the ultimate man of superstition. So ultimate he was named the most superstitious athlete in professional sports by Men’s Fitness magazine. He did a kangaroo-like jump over the baseline every time he ran on and off the field, he brushed his teeth in between innings, he wore number 99 in honour of Rick ‘The Wild Thing’ Vaughan from Major League.

Hell – his contract with the New York Mets was signed for $9,999,999.99 – in honour of his number.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Turk Wendell.

Quirky, outspoken and full of out-there antics, Wendell was a fan favourite wherever he played. Drafted in 1988 by the Atlanta Braves, the eccentric reliever got his major league debut in 1993 with the Chicago Cubs (he was traded in 1991 and pitched two years in the minors). It wasn’t a great start to his career – he pitched in only a handful of games in 1993 and 1994 before coming into his own in 1995. In three years with the Cubs he pitched in 187 games and posted a 3.88 ERA with the club before a late-season trade in 1997 to the New York Mets.

With the Mets, he lead the team in 1999 and 2000 in appearances and in five seasons posted a 3.34 ERA and a 22014 record over 285 appearances.He never did get the elusive championship ring, but came close with the Mets when the team played its crosstown rivals The Yankees in the subway series of 2000. his career began to decline after that series. He landed with the Phillies the following season, was on the DL in 2002 after elbow surgery, pitched for the Phillies in 2003 and then made some short stops with the Colorado Rockies before being cut.

In many ways, Wendell’s antics on the field inspired many young baseball players – well, maybe just me, but who really knows – to pick up some of those superstitious antics and make them their own. Now, I don’t think I would let a baseball thrown by the umpire hit me in the chest – Wendell requested the ump roll the ball to him on the mound, and if he didn’t he would let it go past him, or hit him in the chest.

Yeah, it’s strange, but hey, we’ve got our quirks. Waving to the center fielder waiting for him to wave back before you pitched the start of an inning, yeah, it’s strange, but if I was the center fielder and the game was close, I wouldn’t be messing with Wendell’s routine.

Stats aside, Wendell was a weird dude. Sure, rituals and superstitions are commonplace in the game of baseball, but it seems not as openly strange or visible like the days of Turk. In thinking about what Turk-esque like players are out there in the game today, none really come to mind. Giants closer Brian Wilson might be the closest thing to the Turk – but wearing a Onesie suit to the ESPY and just talking like you’ve been drunk you’re entire life, I don’t think that necessarily counts. He’s just strange.

So to Turk, thank you for making superstitions known to the baseball world. And thanks for making knee-high socks an acceptable thing.

Check out The Bleacher Report’s Top 10 list on Wendell’s antics.

The Bev Oda’s of baseball: three players who need to pay back part of their salaries

McGILLIGAN: Canadian International Development Minister Bev Oda recently came under fire for her lavish spending of taxpayer money on a trip to London.

The expenses included a $16 glass of orange juice, upgrading to a swanky hotel preferred by royalty and a $1,000 per day on limousines, according to media reports. The conference she was attending was to discuss vaccines and immunization for children in developing countries. For the cost of her orange juice, Oda could have immunized a couple of those children, but I guess she needs her Vitamin C.

In response to some criticism of Oda’s spending of the public coffers, the government said the Minister reimbursed taxpayers for a fraction of the spending. I’m thinking we need more back from Oda. Put it this way, until this story came up, I had forgotten she was part of government. The last time I thought of Oda was during the whole document scandal last year.

The only time I think of her is when she’s part of a scandal or spending taxpayer money on lavish orange juice, swanky London hotels and limo’s with drivers named Geeves.  I want my money back Bev, all of it, not a fraction.

With Oda on my mind – this sounds like the worst Willie Nelson song ever –  I began to think: Who are the Bev Oda’s of baseball? Players who should have to give back a portion of the salaries they’re clearly not earning.

Jason Bay

$42,750,000 in salary paid by the New York Mets (including this season’s number). As if getting caught in the Madoff scandal wasn’t bad enough, the team has had to endure three frustrating season from Bay since his big free agency signing. Injuries have plagued the Canadian since he arrived in the Big Apple, but he hasn’t come close to delivering on his deal.

Barry Zito

$80 million is what the San Francisco Giants have shelled out for five seasons of Zito. He’s due to make another $19 million this year bringing his total to $99 million. So how many wins has he produced in five seasons with the Giants – 43. That works out to $1,860,465.11 per victory.

Alex Rodriguez

$98 million is how much A-Rod raked in from the New York Yankees from 2009-11. He was paid $33M (2009), $33M (2010) and the bargain basement $32M (2011) during that span. What did he produce? A-Rod batted .277 with 76 homeruns and 287 RBI. Basically he averaged .277 with 25 home runs and 96 RBI a season. Not bad numbers until you consider his salary and Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young averaged .313 with 18 homers and 88 RBI in that time frame for about $55 million less.

Congrats A-Rod, you’re the MLB equivalent of an old lady drinking OJ Bill Gates can’t afford while riding in a limo to a hotel where royalty stays all under the guise of helping the poor.