Roy Halladay Is Pretty Awesome

So, maybe it deserves an * because it was against a Red Sox line-up that had maybe 3 good hitters in it.

And, yes, it meant nothing in the grand scheme of things as Boston had already clinched their trip to Anaheim.

But if that was the last start Roy Halladay makes in a Toronto Blue Jay uniform (and I hope to hell that it isn't), what a way to go out.

Maybe the highlight of the year was seeing him bean Ortiz. How could you not love that? He's one of the best pitchers in baseball and maybe the best player in team history, he doesn't have to do that. None of his teammates and none of the fans would have lost any respect for him if he had just went about his business. But there he was, sticking up for Adam Lind after that bullshit with Papelbon the night before.

He's not going to win the Cy Young this year (again), although I think you could make a decent case for him, but if that was his Blue Jay swansong, well, it was pretty fucking awesome.

4 Million Memories

I'm not exactly sure where this video came from and how it came into my possession, but it's always fun to take a walk down memory lane.

The video is narrated by Tom Cheek, so that's always good to hear. The tape starts with Joe Carter's injury in the 1991 ALCS and how that ended the team's chances of beating the Twins and going to the World Series.

Back to before the start of the season, Cheek talks about Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar trade and how that came about (Padres GM Joe McIlvaine is wearing a Toronto All-Star Game cap) and the media's reaction to it at the time (they liked the big trade and having something interesting to write about at the Winter Meetings).

Following this is Spring training footage, and Cheek mentions the acquisition of Devon White while some other players and Cito Gaston talk about how excited they are about the upcoming season. Standard stuff that you'd hear at any team's Spring Training here.

We get some sweet cheesy early 90s music accompanies opening series footage (including Pat Tabler's 1st SkyDome homer!). Also shown is Mark Whiten's walk-off home run on April 12 against the Brewers (boxscore), the reaction is much different than today, it's rather subdued at home plate. I don't know when the throw-your-helmet-off dogpiles that we see today started, but it's interesting to see how ho-hum they were about something like that back then.

They cover Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter in Texas, but follow it up by showing the Jays beat him in Toronto a week later.

A segment talking about how Duane Ward did a good job as closer while Henke was out is next. Ward felt that being a middle reliever or set-up guy was just as important as being a closer. This leads into Henke coming back from injury as he went 16 for 16 in save chances after returning ('Terminator 2 was even better than the original' says Cheek. I disagree.).

On May 29th, attendance reached 1,000,000 and Carter, White, and Alomar all had good games and they beat the A's (the tape says it was a sweep, but looking at the game log, it was the middle game of a 3 game set and it was the only game the Jays won in the series).

Next up, we see David Wells doing well as a starter as the Jays move into first place in June, including his first career complete game against the Angels.

Dave Stieb's injury is covered, and Cheek talks about how the Jays had to rely on Jimmy Key as the ace now, Key describes what that was like and how he performed, including a June 13 2-hit complete game in Cleveland.

This leads into Juan Guzman's call-up as a 24 year old, Pat Gillick describes the situation around his call-up (Stieb's injury mostly), while we see clips of him pitching well.

Staying with the youngsters, a segment on 23 year-old John Olerud and how he helped the team in June and July that season, again with clips of both his offense and defense.

Next up, they talk about Joe Carter's season and how he just had fun out there (smiled a lot), followed by clips of his offense (and a few nice catches in the outfield), Carter describes his hitting style and how he had a great June that year to help the team.

This segues into how the Jays trade for Tom Candiotti, he talks about how he was nervous at first, moving to a first place team and how he got over that by embracing the big crowds and the modern stadium that he didn't have in Cleveland, this being in the days before the Jake.

On July 3, everything is right with the world. The Jays pass 2,000,000 in attendance (fastest in history), Candiotti wins, Jays have 4.5 game lead in the division. This leads into a good run into the All-Star Game (clips of that, more cheesy music) and the team takes 5.5 lead into the break.

We get some All-Star Game footage including Fan Fest, Joe Carter having fun being an All-Star for the first time, Home Run Derby clips of Ripken winning and a few long 450+ foot bombs by Cecil Fielder and then some game clips highlighting the Jays contributions (Key the winner) and the nice reaction Alomar got as the only Blue Jay in the starting line-up.

This leads into an Alomar segment as Carter talks about his feelings on Alomar (felt he was the biggest part of the trade) and how he's the best 2B in baseball and he has good MVP chances. Tom Cheek then talks about how Alomar made the shift from natural grass to Astroturf without a problem and Alomar even mentions how the turf probably helped him, which is weird to hear today after all the bitching there seems to be about the stuff these days (even the updated FieldTurf).

Next up, we move into the season's second half, we see Rance Mulliniks inside the park home run against the Rangers on July 11.

After taking 3 of 4 from the Rangers, the Jays would make a trip down to Kansas City. On July 15 against the Royals, the had a bases loaded, no-one out situation in the bottom of the 11th. Mike Timlin got out of the jam with 2 force outs at the plate and then a runner was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch, and the Jays win in the 12th with Henke nailing it down, and the Jays have an 8 game lead.

This leads us into some clips of great Jays defensive plays through the year, which segues into Devon White segment, highlighting his defense as well as his hitting. Joe Carter talks about how he loves watching him play CF, Key gives him credit for helping the pitching staff, and Pat Gillick talks about how he'd have been happy if White hit .240 and did what he did in centre field, but he exceeded that by hitting .280 with 17 homers out of the lead-off spot.

We move on to August 1, and the Jays are 6 games up on the Tigers for the AL East lead, around which time, Tom Henke saves 25 games in a row for the team. Henke talks about how he'll be proud of it once he's retired, but during the streak, he was just concerned with playing.

The shrinking division lead is covered now, as the Jays get swept by Red Sox at home and their lead starts to shrink as the pitching faltered. A 7 game losing streak ensues and the division lead is only 2 games. Todd Stottlemyre beat the Brewers and things started to turn around. In a short Stottlemyre segment, Cheek talks about how he was starting to deliver on the promise he showed coming up, and Stottlemyre talks about how he liked being seen as a stopper, even though it's not really great being on a team that's going through a prolonged losing streak.

The Candy Maldonodo trade is mentioned next, and he talks about how he felt getting traded to a first place team and how it was a big change.

On August 20, the Jays become the fastest team to reach 3,000,000 in attend, Henke closes out a win, the team's third in a row, and the division lead is 2.5 games. This goes into Cito Gaston's back injury and how Gene Tenace took over as manager when Cito was in the hospital.

We get a segment on how the Tigers were closing in on the Jays (to within 1 game), while the Jays have a series against the Yankees. Alomar wins a game on August 23 in the bottom of the 9th, but the Tigers tie it up the next day. Jays win the last game against New York, and they're still tied for first with Detroit.

The Jays start to turn it around with a series in Baltimore, as Jimmy Key wins his 100th career game, and go to Yankee Stadium and beat the Yankees as part of a 5 game win streak. They go back to Toronto and beat the O's with some late clutch hits and regain a 3 game lead in the division on September 4th.

Next up, we see them go to Cleveland, beat up on the Indians in a 4 game sweep and shake off the Tigers. On a side note, there are lots of Jays fans at the games in Cleveland.

The Tigers falling off the pace let the Red Sox come back against the Jays and the Jays lead over Boston shrunk to 0.5 games while Jays were having trouble on west coast, losing games against the Mariners and A's. Boston was about to tie the Jays, but Jeff Reardon blew a save for the Sox against the Yankees in Fenway while the Jays turned it around in Anaheim and went back home with a 2.5 lead.

On October 2, the Jays become the first team to reach 4,000,000 mark in attendance and Jays win in an exciting bottom of the 9th after the bullpen blows Candiotti's lead and clinch the division with a win over the Angels.

We see the players talk about how great the fan support is (knowing 50,000 are going to be at every game), but this is the end of the video, as the playoffs aren't brought up again (for good reason, I guess).

A nice enough retrospective on a great year, it probably glosses over some of the negative moments of the season (I was 8 at the time, so I can't say I remember much), but it's always nice to take a look back. And, hey, hearing Tom Cheek's voice again is always great.


Sign Jason Marquis

Now, hear me out.

Yes, he's likely to get slaughtered in the AL East (or, the American League, in general).

And, yes, the Jays probably (hopefully) won't need to fill a rotation slot next season if every thing goes right and everyone who's supposed to be healthy is actually healthy.

Why then, should the Blue Jays sign a pitcher who's put up mediocre numbers while pitching in the National League his entire career?

Well, because the teams that Jason Marquis has played for have never missed the playoffs.

Starting with the Braves from 2000 through to 2003, the Cardinals in '04, '05, and '06, and the Cubs in '07 and '08, if/when the Rockies clinch the NL Wild Card spot (magic number is 6), Marquis will have proved himself a lucky charm that occasionally contributes to his team's success. The Kenny Lofton of pitchers, if you will.

So, J.P. or whoever else is lucky enough to be in charge over the off-season, plop down a generous offer to Marquis and his agent, make room for him as the last man out of the bullpen, and ride the wave all the way to October glory.

It's a foolproof plan.


Shitty Loss: Complete the Sweep Edition

Didn't watch this one (couldn't, anyway), but it seems like it was more of the same old same old we've been seeing against the Rays all season. 4-14 vs. the defending AL champs this season.

The Rays also became the first team to beat Roy Halladay four times in a season.

And Marco Scutaro got hurt, which means that we'll get to see some wacky line-up combinations for as long as he's out (say hello to Jose Baustista, lead-off hitter).

And Travis Snider sat again, wouldn't want him to get any at-bats against Major League left-handers.

At least the Jays are done with the Rays for the season. That's something to be happy about.


Shitty Loss: Blame It On The Rain Edition

I don't know if it was because I was only paying half-attention to the game, but it seemed to me like it was only raining in the bottom of the 9th during the game.

Maybe that fucked with Frasor, I don't know. Maybe it caused Scutaro to misplay that ball.

It was another one of those losses that would have been a kick in the nuts in May (maybe even June), but it's hard to get too upset about now. And, hey, keep adding to that one-run loss stat.

Congrats to Adam Lind, though, for his 100 RBI season. One of the few bright spots in this awful year.


Something To Pull Your Hair Out Over

Despite it being said that, upon being recalled from AAA a few weeks ago, that he would play every day down the stretch for the Blue Jays, Travis Snider found himself sitting AGAIN as a left-handed pitcher toed the rubber for the opposing team. Since being brought back up from Las Vegas on August 18, the Jays have played 25 games and there have been 4 games that Snider hasn't been penciled into the starting line-up. All 4 games have been against a left-handed starter, however, 2 of the starters (Nate Robertson and Derek Holland) have ERAs over 5.00, another (Brian Duensing) was making only his 5th career start, and the final one (Andy Pettitte) has an OBA of .273 vs. lefties this season as opposed to .249 vs. righties. In other words, perfect pitchers to get some experience against.

Now, Snider's numbers in the majors against lefties have been nothing to write home about (in only 39 MLB ABs, a small sample size if there ever was one, his line is .231/.318/.282) and if the Jays were contending for anything, then I could maybe see the logic in having him ride the pine when there's a southpaw out there. But this is a team that MAYBE could win 70 games and hasn't had a realistic shot at making a playoff run since June.

There is no excuse (except for maybe a flare-up of his back injury) for Snider not to be out there each and every game. If he would be facing Sandy Koufax circa 1964, I could maybe see the logic in giving him a day off, but when the opponent that night is Nate Robertson, a pitcher with a sterling .316 OBA against left-handed hitters this season and hasn't even been good enough to be in the rotation most of the year when he's been healthy, Snider has to be out there taking his hacks. He's going to need to face big league left-handed pitching at some point in his career, isn't the whole point of him being in the majors to do it now?

When I wrote the other day that there were more important things to worry about than Kevin Millar getting playing time, this is what I meant. I'm not sure if Cito is still upset over Snider telling him that he doesn't want his help during the game or if he really thinks that this is the best way to develop him as a hitter, but someone needs to get in his ear and tell him that this is not acceptable.


~10,000 Maniacs

There's been a bit of talk about how Wednesday night's crowd of 11,159 is the lowest for the Jays in SkyDome/Rogers Centre history. While it's always embarrassing when you set a mark like that, I was more surprised when I saw that the lowest attendance number in Blue Jays history was 10,074, set in April 1979 at the Ex against the White Sox.

While attendance numbers in any sport are always a bit sketchy, the fact that the Blue Jays have never had an official attendance dip lower than 10,000 is kind of impressive. This is a team that played it's first few years in a crappy stadium right on the lakefront, were basically out of it by the 2nd week of the season, and still managed to draw somewhat respectable crowds (at least officially) into September when the weather turned cold and awful. And, over the past 16 years, they've rarely even had a sniff of a playoff spot past Labour Day, and yet have still been able to bring decent crowds out to the games late in the year.

Just for comparison's sake, the expansion cousin of the Jays, the Mariners, drew their first sub-10,000 crowd during their very first homestand in 1977, bringing only 8,979 to the Kingdome in their 6th ever game and had 13 games with less than 10 grand in the stands in that first season (the smallest crowd being 5,718 for a game in September against the Brewers).

Doing the least bit of research possible, as far as I can tell, the only other cities that haven't had games with official attendance figures under 10k are Phoenix and Denver. So, before we start the hand wringing about hitting rock bottom and comparisons to the Expos and all that, just keep in mind that every team goes through ebbs and flows with regards to how many fans they draw to the ballpark and that at least the shitty crowds are because of the shitty team.


Shitty Loss: 09/09/09 Edition

9 strikeouts (and 9 hits allowed). 9 innings. A chance to go to 9-0 against the Twins.

It would have been nice if the offense could have helped him out. Aside from a pretty good night from Travis Snider (and, I guess, Encarnacion's triple), the Jays made Carl Pavano look like, well, Roy Halladay, and probably put the final nail in the coffin of Doc's Cy Young chances this year.

At least this one was over quickly.


I've Heard This Kevin Millar Guy Isn't Very Good

Kevin Millar has been pretty awful in 2009, I think we can all agree on that. Signing him in the first place might not have been the worst decision in the world (and he's hardly making any money, baseball-wise), but having him on the 25 man roster for the whole season while putting up a line of .215/.297/.354 may be. That would be bad enough, but the fact that the majority of his at-bats have come in the clean-up spot since Scott Rolen was traded to the Reds, it's inexcusable.

However, it really doesn't make a difference in the long run and it's really nothing worth getting upset about. At this point in the season, the Jays are an awful team. Putting a superior hitter in place of Millar (which really isn't that hard) only makes them a little less awful and does it really matter if the Jays finish the season with 70 or 72 wins?

More important things to worry about are Travis Snider sitting (especially against righties, but he should also be getting some hacks in against lefties whenever he has the chance), whatever bullshit is going on with Jeremy Accardo and Cito Gaston, if Vernon Wells is going to continue to be terrible going forward, what a post-Doc rotation might look like in 2010 or beyond, and whether or not guys like Carlson, Janssen, and League can rebound in the bullpen going into next season (and I'm sure there are a million other things that I'm forgetting).

Kevin Millar is awful and a guy like Randy Ruiz should be getting his ABs, instead, but he's not the (main) reason that the Jays suck and he's not going to be a member of this team going forward. Pull your hair out over something else.


That's Why!

It's not going to make a difference in the standings or keep the Yankees out of the playoffs or even go down in any history books as it was 'just' a one-hitter, but wow, that's why I keep watching, I guess.

Just an amazing job shutting down the best team in baseball. Awesome.


I mentioned the other day that watching the Jays play out the stretch this season must be something like what a junkie goes through. Now, not ever having a substance abuse problem, I can't say for sure, but I'd imagine it's a more extreme form of something I've been going through on a day-to-day basis over the past few months.

I wake up, convinced that today is going to be different. I'm going to find something better to do with my time. I'm not going to fall back into the same old habits. I'm going to make something of my life.

It never works, obviously, and it's getting to the point where I dread the time first pitch rolls around. I know the outcome's not going to make me happy. Maybe it'll start out nice and I'll convince myself that it's going to end well, too, but it never does, and every game just gives me something else to get upset about.

Is there a baseball version of methadone?


Shitty Losses: Three For The Price Of One

Adam Lind can only do so much, I guess.

I suppose I shouldn't say I'm too upset, since I'm at least glad that they helped out the Rangers chances of catching the Red Sox for the Wild Card.

I did spend too much time yesterday watching the doubleheader, like I figured I would. I was really hoping that Thursday was an off-day, since I'm basically a junkie at this point, but I guess I'm going to keep chasing that dragon once 7:07 PM rolls around.

And to show how much things can change in a year, the Jays were in the midst of their 10 game winning streak at this time last season. Remember how nice that felt?



I think we're all familiar with the stages of grief, even if only from that old episode of the Simpsons where Homer eats bad sushi. Since this season has been as about as enjoyable as one long post-season 9 or so Simpsons episode, let's try and pinpoint where we entered each stage. Fun!

Stage 1: Denial

I'm saying at the end of the 0-9 Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore road trip. There were a lot of warning signs during those 9 games. The hitting disappeared until the final game, the bullpen had a couple of collapses, and the team lost 2 Roy Halladay starts. Still, they came back and won the first 2 games of a series at home against Boston and I was convinced everything was fine. They were only a few games back in the division and I just figured the offense went to sleep because their timing was messed up by having to face Tim Wakefield's knuckleball in the first game of the trip. Everything was going to be fine.

Stage 2: Anger

This one is a little tougher. I'd say it was sometime in June, maybe around the time of Doc's groin injury. They were losing a lot of games that it seemed like they would have been winning earlier in the year and were about the only American League team to be having trouble in Interleague play, including losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Washington Nationals. I think my anger was placed towards weaker teams in weaker divisions who hadn't started to fall out of the race so soon.

Stage 3: Bargaining

Let's see. There was a long stretch where it seemed like they could have won almost every game that they ended up losing and by mid-July or so, it was getting to be too much. I know I was blaming most of the losses on bad luck and was telling myself that the team was better than this. That if they held on to Halladay and Rolen and Rios and made a few tweaks, things would even themselves out next season. They had to (I'm 99% sure I was saying the same thing last year, just with A.J. Burnett).

Stage 4: Depression

Easily around the trade deadline. I was coming around to the idea of trading Doc, but it wasn't easy. I had visions of him putting on a 'Philadelphia Phillies 2009 World Series Champions' hat and I didn't like it. The team was going through this stage, too, and you can really see it in how they've played defensively since Rolen was traded. Also, more blowout losses, including Halladay getting rocked a few times, which is really a kick in the nuts, especially since it's probably cost him any kind of shot at the Cy Young award (or, at least, a 20 win season).

Stage 5: Acceptance

I probably reached this one pretty recently. Where I used to getting frustrated when I'd see Kevin Millar's name penciled in as the club's clean-up hitter, now I'm just resigned to the fact that it doesn't really matter. The team has played like shit with better hitters in that slot, I'm not sure having one of the worst hitters on the team in there is going to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Same deal with Jeremy Accardo not getting a September call-up. I know it's an incredibly stupid and petty thing to do, but I can't bring myself to get too upset. Maybe they can get something decent for him in an off-season trade. This also applies to Cito's obsession with using guys like Carlson and League, even though they clearly didn't deserve to be used in high leverage situations.

So, there we go. I think it's pretty accurate in how I was feeling towards the team at the time. I don't know if it took my longer to come around than most fans, it probably did, but I think any early season glimpse of the playoffs is going to send me over the edge until this team finally makes it. And, you know what, I'll probably go through this all over again next season. I never learn.


I'm really dreading today's doubleheader.

Not because I think the Jays will lose (or, maybe they'll piss me off and win again), but because I know I'll end up watching almost all of both games. Not that I've got much better to do today. And now that CBC doesn't show the Simpsons at 5 for the first time since the mid '90s, my whole afternoon television viewing schedule is way out of whack. But I'll sit down (and lie down, too, at some point) and spend 6+ hours watching a baseball team going nowhere try and destroy another team's already weak post-season chances.

I contemplated getting a Shitty Loss post ready during the late innings of last night's game. When Barajas went deep to make it 11-0, Jamie Campbell commented that it might be the nail in the coffin (or something other cliche to signify that he thought the Rangers were toast). I thought to myself, 'It'd better be', but I'm not going to lie, as soon as the Rangers put their first few runs on the board, I had visions of the Jays blowing it. With Texas slowly chipping away at the lead, I pretty much expected this one to go down in team history, with TV announcers bringing it up as a "don't forget..." in the future every time the team put itself way out in front of their opponent. Scott Downs, thankfully, shut things down in the 8th and then Adam Lind did his thing, so Lind's 8 RBIs will be the anecdote that future TV and radio announcers use from this game as opposed to an epic chokejob.