2010-11-02

Your Toronto Blue Jays List Of Awesomeness: 2010 Edition

We took a few weeks to ponder the 2010 season and decided to try to come up with a list of the very best events. Do let us know if there is anything you felt we missed and should have been included.

Just for fun, I thought it would be a good idea to include the announced attendance figures for the moments that happened right here on home turf.

10: The Cito's Farewell Game

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I have bashed Cito Gaston for a long, long time. I didn't feel like being there for his grand send off. It didn't seem appropriate. I was and still very much am happy to see him go. That all being said, between the ceremony screw up and the eye black mustaches it was one hell of a game. Ironically, Travis Snider - once labeled uncoachable by Gaston - hit the franchise record breaking 245th team home run for the season.

Thanks for the memories Cito.

But I'm ready for some new ones.

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9: Promoting Boy Wonder

So, the brain trust decided to fill the vacant job of General Manager from within. A young, smooth talking, former assistant GM and Canadian boy was summoned to take the reins and lead us to the promise land. Cautious at first, the fan base began to see "the plan" unfold. A wave of front office hirings, specifically scouting personnel, meant we had more eyes on potential players. Then came the signing of a marginal free agent and flipping him for a talented cast off from another organization, as well as signing our core players to long term and reasonable contracts with team friendly options. He has said many times to compete in this division, we must take calculated risks and try to land as many stars as possible, as opposed to solid baseball people.

Sustainability is the buzz word.

In Alex we trust.


8: The Amateur Draft

The organization was reeling from what can only be described as a failure in 2009 with respect to the draft. We were not able to come to terms with our supplementary first round pick James Paxton, our second round pick Jake Eliopoulos and our third round pick Jake Barrett. But the silver lining was that we had a whole bunch of extra picks heading into 2010. Boy Wonder had a massive budget - reported to be in the neighborhood of $16 million - and the scouts on the ground required to collect and process the pertinent information on each player we liked.

In the end we ended up getting 33 of 56 picks - 14 of 16 from the top 10 rounds - to ink a deal.

The price tag? A cool 11,594,400.

7: The Adeiny Hechavarria Sweepstakes

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Losing out on Aroldis Chapman was expected. The fact that we were in on him was big time news and sent a message that we were open for business in early January.

Out bidding the Yankees for the services of fellow Cuban Adeiny Hechavarria proved to everyone we were for real.

The Human Rain Delay offers up these thoughts:

The legitimate pursuit of both high profile International Free Agents signaled a major change in managerial philosophy inside the Jays front office. The days of small scale scouting departments under the reign of terror by J.P. Ricciardi are behind us and the idea that there might be talent outside of the US college system has finally found its way into the braintrust's daily operations. The Latin American talent pool is rich and every organization has scouts in the Caribbean and Latin America desperately trying to find players like Chapman and Hechavarria, even if it's just for organizational depth. Boy Wonder has put some serious coin into scouting and as such has baseball people all over the map covering players of all ages and backgrounds.

6: Esco Behind The Back Flip

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The Yunel Escobar trade brought a high up-side talent that we got from the Atlanta Braves for a shortstop we picked up via free agency for absolutely nothing. Escobar brings a different dimension to the Jays that has not been here for a quite awhile. An exciting player with an impressive skill set, he can hit for average and power, he takes a walk and works the count. He is able to put down a bunt for not only a base hit but to move a runner across. He is flashy, he makes plays at short that are very difficult and he makes it look routine. The Jays have not had a solid shortstop that could potentially be here for quite some time since, probably Tony Fernandez. This trade showed AA's belief in high upside talent that could be superstars, which contrasts with JP's thought that signable, projectable college talent is the way to go.

The behind the back flip with his glove to Aaron Hill for the force out wowed the city of Toronto's baseball fanbase and showed us that we have a young, talented shortstop with star potential.

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5: Game 124

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Best game my eyes have seen live in these parts for a long, long time.

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4: Brandon Morrow Pitched Like A Man

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9 IP 0 ER 1 HIT 2 BB 17 K 137 PITCHES

One batter away from a no no.

He had the two seam fastball and the slider working all day. He mixed in the odd four seamer at 97MPH and the spike curveball just to keep the opposition off balance. In the end, as dominating a pitching performance as you will ever see.

I took a stab at a recap. Normally a pitcher needs a bit of help from his teammates in order to pull this type of shit off. This time was no different:

He took a no hitter into the 9th inning, losing it only to a opposite field seeing eye single which Aaron Hill was able to get a glove on. Say what you will about the official scoring on that particular play but I thought our boys played like an All Star team defensively yesterday. That catch Vernon made in center, considering the circumstances, was top notch. He sacrificed his body for his pitcher and that kinda stuff goes a long way in solidifying his place as leader of this young team.

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3: Bautista Smashing 54 Bombs

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"Oh my"

Heading into the 2010 season, Jose Bautista was penciled into the line up as the lead off guy. After 10 games, he was dropped down to the 7 hole. There he stayed for 25 games. He also hit 6th, 5th and clean up briefly. But it wasn't till he occupied the 3 hole, that his magical season really took flight. Unbelievably a guy who had a career high 16 home runs entering the 2010 season, more than tripled that total. The stat heads wasted many hours on their calculators finally concluding he was hitting more fly balls. The non believers and simple minds figured he must be cheating. All the while the Bautista Appreciation Society remained somewhat silent, perhaps themselves unable to explain the power surge. An All Star berth and a curious omission from the home run contest seemed to energize the BAS. How the fuck could the Major League leader in home runs not be asked to represent his league and his team in the home run challenge?

No matter. He took it all in stride and continued his torrid home run pace, finally ending up with an eye popping total of 54.

Much has been said and written about J-Bau this year, all year. Most of it based on disbelief. And rightfully so. After watching this story unfold I Gotta At Least Ask the Question:

How many other career journeyman are out there right now, simply needing the opportunity and the confidence placed in them, that could pull this type of season off?

2: Arencibia Debut

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No fucking shit. This actually happened.

J.P. Arencibia - hitting out of the rookie bitch 9 hole - had a Major League debut that could realistically only be conceived in an alcohol induced coma.

On the first pitch he saw, a 93MPH inside fastball, he homered to left field. On the third pitch he saw, a 76MPH curveball, he doubles to right. On the seventh pitch he saw, a 84MPH hanging slider, he singles to left. On the eight pitch he saw, a 92MPH outside fastball, he homered to right field.

Curtain call.

According to our boy Jimmy Triggs, everybody lost their shit that day in the stands:

I was @ the JP debut and it was easily the loudest game I was @ all year. They smashed something like 8 bombs including a monster 2nd deck shot by Lind.

Note:

This craziness happened just over a week after the brain trust traded what they had been telling us all year was our first baseman of the future Brett Wallace for OF Anthony Gose, who we were subsequently told was not going to be ready for a while. The fan base was still in shock from that brainfuck of a trade when J.P. goes and does this. Everybody was expecting to see Wallace. What we got was Arencibia.

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1: Johnny Mac Hits A Homerun For Dad


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When you watch enough baseball, eventually you get to see something that truly can't be believed. The kind of event that can only be explained by two words:

Baseball Gods

This was certainly one of those moments.

I'll send it over to You Don't Know Dick for some required reading.

This is what I was able to come up with at the time in the way of a summary:

In the end, this may end up being the story of the year and I am happy John had an opportunity to spend some time with his father before he passed away. To hit a homerun in his first at bat back in the line up after his death, considering he had 13 in 1911 plate appearances over his 12 season in the Major Leagues, well that is something very special.

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8 comments:

  1. Game 142 was epic. Probably the best game I've ever been to as well. All the more sweeter that the victory game against the Yankees, and that Bautista hit 39 AND 40 that night.

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  2. I know you already have Bautista up there, but the game where he actually hit number 50 was pretty special. True it was a Thursday afternoon game and very low attendance, but a 1-0 victory over King Felix was great. Didn't hurt that I was sitting in row 2 above the Jays bullpen and watched the ball drop in front of me...

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  3. @BJH,
    It needed to find it's way onto this list somehow. Having 2nd row field level didn't hurt. Great game that literally had everything you could ever want in a game.

    @500 Level,
    The thing about Bautista is we could have selected so many of his home runs for the list. Numbers 39, 40, 47, 48, 50, 53 and 54 are all deserving of being honored.

    Personally, the grand slam he hit into the upper tank of that "pitchers park" in Minny stands out. But then he goes and hits his only opposite field shot of the entire season in the same game.

    Thanks for stopping by gents.

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  4. Don't know if this is the game Ian is referring to but the Yankee game where JoBau got thrown at, benches empty onto field, JoBau crushes homerun and displays awesome eff u attitude/leadership. That at bat convinced me he needs to be signed up long term. His heart was in the right place all season. He was a Toronto Blue Jay and proud of it.

    Awesome season all around. Best one in a decade for the sheer volume of amazing memories.

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  5. @Mattt,
    Game 124. Number 5 on the list!

    It was a difficult task trying to rank the awesomeness that was 2010.

    Thanks again for your comments sir.

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  6. Was at all the games you listed, and despite how great they all were, nothing, absolutely nothing could explain the emotions I felt when Johnny Mac sent that ball over the left field wall. Sitting in RF, it didn't look like it was going to make it. It almost seemed like some divine power edged it over the wall. Most of the fans had left that game because of the score. One family beside me there for father's day were left in the top half of the inning due to the constant barraging of the wife. She didn't want to be there, the father, son, and daughter, were having the time of their life. I can only imagine the fathers' reaction when he got home.
    I have never, ever come close to crying at a sporting event (I lie, there was a soccer game I played when I was in grade 4, but that's another story) and I just could not hold back the tears. My eyes were blurring as the ball disappeared behind the LF wall. A lot of fans in my section weren't aware of the situation and were really confused as to why I was crying. I'm sure they knew when they saw the highlights and/or read Griffs article.
    Nothing beats that game, nothing even comes close.

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  7. @ Golden Arm- ah yes, my bad!

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  8. @GCM,
    Certainly a powerful moment. Great story and thanks for sharing.

    A worthy number 1 selection indeed.

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