Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
5. Jim Tressell, HC, Ohio State. Last week, NR. What? This isn't allowed? Bite me! I had a rough week, I hate OSU and these are my rankings. So, nyahh! I work hard to make sure that I do my job right, yet still lose my job. This tool ignores a major component of his job, compliance, yet he'll probably keep his gig. The fine he'll pay for his buffoonery would have helped in keeping my former employer from declaring bankruptcy.
4. Frank McCourt, Owner, LAD. Last week, NR. For starters, he's an owner, which makes him an automatic dink. Now he can't seem to get divorced without turning into a drama filled soap-opera. Dude, you're a frickin' gajillionaire! Give the broad what she wants and move on and maybe let your team operate without all these distractions. The cash he's gonna give up to his ex would have more than helped keep my job from disappearing.
3. Manny Ramirez, ex-OF,
2. Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX. Last week, 1st. He didn't give me any reason to remove him from the rankings yet, but like my former employer, he blamed his own incompetence on someone else.
1. Mike Leake, SP, CIN. Last week, NR. Must. Resist. Urge. To. Kill. The amount of money this douchebag makes in one year would have also been enough to keep my former employer from folding. Yet he feels he doesn't have to pay for $50 worth of t-shirts? Um, don't you get crap-loads of free shit already for being a major- league ballplayer? INCLUDING T-SHIRTS!?!? Tell you what. Pay me 1/8 of your salary and I'll serve as your personal t-shirt buyer. Stop the damn world, I wanna get off.
See you next week, dammit.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
- Know where you want to sit
- Know how much you want to spend
- Multiple payments are easiest with cash. Go the ATM and make this happen.
- This takes time, patience is key.
- When I hand you a debit/credit receipt - that isn't your ticket. The tickets print at the end (no matter where you are) and we'll give them to you when the account is paid off.
- Don't get pissed when you have to stand in line. The only person that cares who you are is your grandmother.
- There's service charges on EVERYTHING...accept this.
- No, if you show up in the 5th inning the tickets aren't half price.
- If there are no In and Out privileges that doesn't mean "leave for a smoke and harass the staff to let you back in". Your failure to read isn't our problem.
- Remember that there are somewhere between 35 and 50 windows open selling tickets. If you don't make up your mind fast enough someone else will get the tickets you want. Man up and make a decision.
"Personally I think it's kind of funky, just because the game has been this way for so long. Why mess it up, other than for monetary purposes, and that's probably what (Selig) is looking at. That's like, 'OK, don't worry about us as human beings or players.'
"It doesn't seem very fair, and personally I don't know where his head is at. It doesn't seem right to me."
"Nobody wants to have to worry, 'Oh (expletive), now I've got another (expletive) team in the (expletive) mix. Now we have to worry about what that takes and what they're going to do. What if the (second) wild-card team is not deserving of getting in?"
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
On this wonderful day off from work (yes, religious context...I didn't have to work today and for that I'm thankful) I've finally been able to spend some time with my Google Reader and I see that our dear friend Bud Selig is talking about expanded playoffs. Yesterday in a press release Selig said claimed that there's been substantial talks about introducing an extra wild card qualifier from each league.
- Over at Fangraphs they look at the pros and cons of the expanded playoffs and then have their own proposal.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
With my trusty Star pass, I have gone to 6 out of 8 home games. That works out to about $71 [($11x3) + ($14x2) + ($2 service fees x 5)] in ‘spending’ versus the $114 total cost of the pass (this includes taxes and service fees; the home opener was excluded from the pass). Therefore, I am only 38% or about 3.5 games away from the break-even point and its only April. (Win!) Note: Stay tuned for my post-season analysis of Jays wins vs. losses, with the added variable of whether or not I attended.
Although I love a good deal (my natural response to a compliment is to tell the person what a great deal I got), I am finding it a little challenging to acclimatize to the 500 level savagery. Some observations and thoughts:
1) I am a busy lady and sometimes can’t get to the game for first pitch. I have always abided by the rule that you respect the batter and the other patrons by waiting between batters to walk to your seats. I can safely say without generalizing that the majority of people in the 500 level do not respect this rule. I would also argue that they are not aware of this courtesy. Does the rule not apply to the 500s? This annoys me both when I am seated (Would you please sit the fuck down so I can watch the game?) and when I am patiently waiting at the entrance as groups and groups of people push by me to get to their seats. They look at me like I am in the way and I look back at them with disdain. Also in this category, excess trips to the lobby. Please can we just watch some baseball?
2) I know quite a few people who have passes and sometimes I will venture over to another section to watch an inning or two. This week, I visited an old friend from grade school and his posse. It was a close game that the Jays ended-up winning (albeit the luck dragon was in the house. Also here and here). I think they really needed our support, especially against those assface Yankees. The boys I visited with actually booed and heckled the Jays! I was astounded especially since they were supposed Jays’ fans.’ They really hated on Johnny Mac which is a definite sore spot (more to come on that another day). After they moved on to Hill, I gracefully made my escape. I also thanked my lucky stars that that sacrifice bunt worked out for John McDonald.
A similar incident happened last night. I brought some ladies from work with me and my beloved work spouse also heckled the Jays! I will give her credit in that she quickly picked up on her own that Colon was fat and that she should yell that. I also feel she was egging me on to an extent. She was not being very supportive of Jays pitchers (at one point she yelled at Casey Jansesen “You only have thrown 6 pitches and already have two on base, you suck!”) I, in total seriousness, told her I was never going to another game with her again. Her response was to cheer for Jeter and tell me that she is going to get me a Jeter jersey for my upcoming birthday. Not even funny. (Note: I love my work spouse and am clearly not petty enough to let this experience permanently affect our relationship.) I think that, with regard to baseball company, I have been really spoiled by my two awesome baseball mentors and my neighbor; I’ve come to expect a certain level of poise and intelligence from fellow fans (well except for the days that we all get wicked drunk). It’s either that or the boys have groomed me into some sort of baseball snob.
3) Please don’t try to continually start the wave. If it doesn’t catch on after 3 tries (that is me being charitable), just give up. You suck.
4) Why are the floors so disgustingly sticky up there? Where is the beer guy?
5) To all the gentlemen out there who want to come scope out some good cleavage and tons of ‘I Heart BJs’ shirts, the 500 level has no shortage.
6) I saw a guy get kicked out a couple of weeks ago. He was a 500 crowd favourite. I was happy that I could see but not hear him. Upon being escorted out, he got a standing ovation from his neighbouring sections. This was mildly entertaining for about 2 seconds but then he hulk –style ripped off his t-shirt. It was amazing.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Options limiting your options?
For those who missed it, the Blue Jays optioned Jesse Litsch to AAA in favour of Jo-Jo Reyes yesterday. This makes no sense statistically, but since Reyes is out of options on his contract, sending him to the minors would expose him to a waivers claim. Manager John Farrell said “We can’t afford to give away pitching at this point in the year”. Apparently they can afford to give the ball to a guy with a 14.9 H/9 and a 4.7 BB/9 every fifth day. I’ll be clear, neither Jo-Jo or Jesse are going to be impact players, so while this move reeks of vanilla, this move allows them another 2 starts (at least) out of Jo-Jo before deciding to cut bait or move him to the bullpen.
4/19 at the Dome
Last night the Blue Jays did the “impossible”…they beat Mariano Rivera. He came into the game with the Yankees ahead 5-3 and blew the save on a John MacDonald suicide squeeze play. Because of an Aaron Hill injury earlier in the game and the Blue Jays desire to have a 9 man bullpen, there were no better options than John MacDonald. (Let me clarify, I like JMac…just not in a situation like this). The play happened, it was a great success and eventually the Jays won in the 10th on a walkoff double by Travis Snider. But seriously?!?!? You want to leave the offensive game in the hands of John MacDonald? I had an exchange with two of my followers on Twitter about this and they both seemed to think that because the play was a success that justified it.
A bunt is possibly the most overrated play in baseball because even if executed perfectly it has a negative impact on your leverage index (according to Fangraphs). In this one instance, it worked. My mother taught me that the ends do not justify the means…and therefore, just because the play was a success doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Baseball is a game of luck…Escobar’s leadoff double, Snider moving the runner over, Bautista working a walk and Escobar scoring on a wild pitch – that’s good baseball. John MacDonald executing a suicide squeeze for the tie – that’s luck my friends. PURE LUCK!
I’ve been to two Jays games so far this year. I’ve seen Yunel Escobar hit a walkoff homerun to beat the Athletics and last night’s showcase against the Yankees. For all the bad that was the 10 game, 11 day roadtrip, this team reminds me of the Tampa Bay Rays when they started to put it all together. Relying on role players (Escobar, Jayson Nix, sigh…John MacDonald) to fill specific needs. They’re running wild over the league, stealing bases like they’re in short supply and have been in every game they’ve played (outside of Boston). They might lose more then they win this year, but one big change from a year ago…they’re a younger, more exciting team to watch.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Yes, I took a picture of my tv. That is not the point! This beautiful display of comradery appealed directly to my big heart and discerning sense of humour. The stache looked as good on Snider as that HR he hit in the bottom of the first. It was really touching of them to honour Cito in such a thoughtful manner. In the midst of my stachegasm, my friend Jenna, stopped by to say hi/console me. The next morning, I arrived at work to find this beautiful spread in my inbox.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Last week on several ESPN podcasts and blog posts the question which team in the game today has the best 1-2 punch offensively? If you navigate your way over to the Sweet Spot blog, Steve Berthiaume comes to the mathematical and logical conclusion that the Colorado Rockies combination of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitski forms the best punch in the game.
Friday, April 15, 2011
So it took less than 1 week for the topic of Performance Enhancing Drugs to come up here at Relay to Home. I’m sure that doesn’t set any records, but it’s something that I see as a statement on the game that we love.
My baseball fandom, while born in the late 80’s, took real flight in the 90’s. I remember watching the 1991 World Series because I thought Kirby Puckett was awesome. I remember laying down a $5 bet with my own grandmother that the 1992 Blue Jays would win the AL Pennant, and sprinting up the stairs to claim my prize when they did. Back-to-Back Championships for my favourite team, coupled with the ongoing mediocrity of the Toronto Maple Leafs, quickly aligned me with the sport of baseball through my formative years.
I remember watching the ’92 NLCS with intrigue and wondering “who will be tougher for the Jays to beat?” At the time, I was convinced it was the powerful Pittsburgh Pirates (that feels so weird to type). That was the first time I’d seen how great Barry Bonds was. Fast forward a couple of years and we’ve come out of a work stoppage and Major League Baseball has decided to appeal to the lowest common denominator…the Home Run. Guys like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were celebrated in their local markets for their dominance on the mound, but MLB put three guys on their brand as icons of the sport, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
Appearances on talk shows, in Nike commercials and even a spot on The Simpsons just took “the long ball” to new levels. All the while, players were growing to cartoonish sizes and hitting home runs that looked like they belonged in “Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball” and not on the actual field of play.
This continued for an entire decade from 1997 to 2007 until MLB commissioner Bud Selig (the same man who enjoyed the rejuvenation of his game through all this) appointed US Congressman George Mitchell to investigate steroid and HGH use in MLB. From that point on, players named in that report, or anyone else suspected of, confessing to or caught using “illegal performance enhancing drugs” has come under amounts of scrutiny that border on shocking.
Through this decade (of unparalleled financial gain for the game itself) the use of performance enhancing drugs was not against the rules. Players were free to police themselves, and expected not to cheat. When Barry Bonds blew up to the size of the Michelin Man, no one asked questions. When Mark McGwire looked more like a linebacker than a first baseman, no one asked questions. But Selig decided to define his legacy on the game as the commissioner that “cracked down on drug use in the game”.
Now let me state that I loved every second of it. I ran inside from the ball park to watch McGwire break the record. I got commemorative plates that I proudly hang on my walls even today to celebrate how many home runs he hit. And I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that the Baseball Writers of America now exclude players that brought the game out of the gutter (post strike) from their Hall of Fame votes.
The Steroid Era happened. If Major League Baseball is prepared to honour Barry Bonds HR record, Raphael Palmeiro’s career number of hits or Andy Pettite’s post-season dominance then all of these players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Before you judge me too hard, let me begin my first post with I MADE A MISTAKE.
I caught baseball fever sometime last July. Having moved to Toronto four years ago, I was excited that I could go sit in the sun, drink beer and watch an affordable game that allowed time for me to be able to day dream and chat without missing too much of the action. One of my biggest baseball buddies, CJ was patient and quite supportive in answering all of my baseball related questions. I knew next to nothing (I admit I was that kid in little league that picked dandelions in the outfield) but increasingly I began to notice and appreciate the subtleties of baseball.
Fast forward to last season, CJ was still successfully grooming me to be a civilized Jays fan (We covered many topics from strategy and unspoken codes to Blue Jays history and of course, the meat and potatoes of the game, stats). I was loving it, attending more games than ever before, following blogs and feeling the contempt on facebook from non-baseball lovers over my obsessive status changes. The tipping point I believe was when I befriended a co-worker (Jason , creator of Relay to Home) . Now that I had TWO baseball mentors to nerd out with (especially one that I can’t escape 40 hours/week), it was game over.
When baseball ended last fall, I felt a noticeable void in my life. I really missed baseball. Unbeknownst to me at the time, there is a lot of interesting stuff that goes on offseason. After reading Moneyball and attending the first Getting Booked meeting, my mind was blown. Prior to this event, I didn’t even know what the draft was, let alone how a competitive baseball team is put together. It also helped that all the dudes at the book club were so enthusiastic and so knowledgeable on all things baseball. It got me excited in many ways. My initial introduction to sabermetrics /Jason’s persistence inspired me to join a fantasy baseball league. I was ready to release my inner Billy Beane.
This brings me to Lesson One: Why Jeter should never be your 6th round pick.
I was nervous about the draft. I had never paid much attention to other team’s players in previous seasons. It took a lot to get noticed by me if you weren’t sporting the Jays uniform. CJ gave me a copy of the 2011 Baseball Prospectus and I felt my stomach knot. How would I ever be able to make the right decisions for my team given the abundance of information and opinions floating around out there (and the lack thereof in my head)? I did exactly two mock drafts and was terrified by the 60 second time allowance. It seems like a lot of time but when it comes down to those middle rounds, I would get so lost as to who I need to get now and who will be there later.
Jason coached me; he told me to relax and focus on my position players first. No need to rush pitching. No need to worry too much about closers as they are only good for 1/12 stats. And over and over, he stressed that shortstop is shallow; if I can’t get the top two, don’t worry about it.
It’s the night of the draft. I am lying anxiously in bed. I have my prospectus out, a list of injured players ready to scan and a google window locked and loaded to quickly news search my boys for the latest headlines. Things are going pretty well until the 6th round… at the last second, everyone on my waiting list disappeared. I had to source out a new player in 60 seconds. I didn’t recognize anyone’s names at the top of the rankings. It was also convoluted with pitchers. This is where I committed the unthinkable. I fell victim to all the bullshit hype around Derek Jeter and thought “Well he will play every day and I need a SS….he couldn’t possibly be that bad! “I discounted all the negativity surrounding him as nothing more than Yankees hate. The final countdown sounded. I was stressed. I didn’t want to waste this pick. I made a wild last second dash at Jeter. The phone rings. It is Jason, calling to berate me and dump me as his protégée. This was followed by great harassment in the chat room. I defended my choice, like the noble, ever diplomatic GM that I aspire to be, saying “Oh he will get the job done. … It’s not THAT horrible of a pick.” Sigh, hindsight is 20-20.
Day 14 of the season. …I have already learned so much. I have a greater appreciation for what a crap shoot the draft is and what my decisions that night meant for my season. Has Jeter been fine? His 2011 stats thus far:
0.206 AVG, 4 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
The guy plays almost every day and that is all he can offer me! I USED A 6TH ROUND PICK ON THIS AGING PIECE OF CRAP!!! Plus not a day goes by where someone in the league doesn’t razz me about it. I have gone through the 5 stages of grief: Denial (he will be fine), Anger (I fucking hate you, Jeter), Bargaining (I tried to trade him to a supposed Yankees lover but even he wasn’t foolish enough to want this assnut.), Depression (I am the second worst team in the league) and now finally Acceptance. I have been told that fantasy baseball is all about patience. I am trying to move on from my mistake. I am taking Orlando Cabrera for a spin, while Jeter rides wood on my bench where he belongs. Lesson one, has been a painful one. I look forward to some therapeutic jeering on April 19th when I have to see his stupid face in the flesh.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
One of my favorite summer traditions is to start working my way through the great books about or involving baseball. This was of course aided by the efforts of Dustin Parkes over at Getting Blanked. The Toronto baseball scene has benefitted from an overwhelming amount of intelligent baseball writing online and in the spirit of that, Dustin started the Getting Booked Baseball Book Club and has started to organize movie nights at one of the city's historic cinemas.