2010-10-31

Weekly Round Up: Oct. 25 - Oct. 31

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week. And consider this a close second place.

Courtesy of 500 Level Fan:

I no longer think it is a terrible idea to sign Manny Ramirez.
In two words, here’s why:
Motivation.  Legacy.
In this writer’s opinion, Manny Ramirez has truly been motivated five times in his career:
1. 1994: His rookie year in Cleveland, to prove he belonged in the majors – .269 average, 17 HR, 60 RBI, .878 OPS, 2nd in ROY voting
2. 2000: His final season in Cleveland, a contract year – .351 average, 38 HR, 122 RBI, league-leading 1.154 OPS, All-Star, Silver Slugger
3. 2001: His first year in Boston, to prove he was worth his contract – .306 average, 41 HR, 125 RBI, 1.014 OPS, All-Star, Silver Slugger
4. 2004 World Series: To prove he could perform in the World Series – .412 average, 1 HR, 4 RBI in 4 games, 1.088 OPS, World Series Champion
5. Second half of 2008: First arrival in LA, to prove Boston wrong for trading him – .396 average, 17 HR, 53 RBI in 53 games, 1.232 OPS, 4th in NL MVP voting
There’s no way a beat up Manny Ramirez was motivated upon arriving in Chicago last year, to a team that doubted him and was already out of the pennant race.
So why will he be motivated in 2011?  Because of that second word: legacy.

Jeremy has got some great points right there. I'm still torn. Gonna have to wait and see if the White Sox offer arbitration.....cuz if they do, than forget about Man Ram in Toronto.

Courtesy of Chris Zelkovich:

The Toronto Blue Jays payroll will increase for the 2011 season and could rise even more if the team is in contention next summer.
Rogers Media president Keith Pelley said in an interview Wednesday that the team’s payroll will increase over the winter, mainly because of the number of Blue Jays eligible for arbitration. Those eligible include American League home run champion Jose Bautista and pitchers Brandon Morrow and Shaun Marcum.
“Obviously, the payroll will need to be increased to be able to sustain the team we had this year and then compete for a championship,” Pelley said. “This team is poised to be a competitive, exciting ball club for the next 10 years.”

A new talking head in charge. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Courtesy of You Don`t Know Dick:

How about from the player’s side, Bautista’s feelings of loyalty to the Jays for giving him the opportunity to play every day after four years of journeyman status? Or what would be best for him moving forward — a multi-year deal after just one superb season, with lingering doubts playing on the bottom-line offer, or a second fabulous season that would erase any doubts and set him up for life?
“It depends on how you look at it,” Bautista said. “From my point of view as a player, I’m not worried by any concern that the team might have whether I can repeat it or not. I have no problems with an arbitration deal and going back out there and hopefully doing as well as I did this year. Maybe I won’t hit 54 home runs. I want to be a productive player. That being said, I can also hit 60.”

Congats on the Hank Aaron Award! So where does he finish in the MVP vote? 

Courtesy of John Lott:

Butterfield refused comment on his other options, but he would have had no difficulty finding work elsewhere. He is highly respected throughout baseball and has always been popular with his players.
He said he does not know Farrell well, but developed respect for his work as Boston’s pitching coach over the past four seasons. Former Red Sox pitching great Curt Schilling was among many of Butterfield’s baseball friends who spoke highly of Farrell, he said.
“Curt Schilling is someone I have the utmost respect for, and he thinks John Farrell is one of the brightest, best men in all of baseball,” Butterfield said. “That was certainly good enough for me.”
Butterfield played five years in the minor leagues and began his pro coaching career at 26, eventually managing five years in the minors. Now 52, he remains confident he will manage in the majors.

I give him a lot respect for sticking around with the team. Now go out there and make Adam Lind into a first baseman, God damn it.

Courtesy of Roto Graphs:

Because as bad as last year looked, there was a progression in his numbers that might give his owners some hope. Here are his isolated slugging percentages, starting with his rookie year, and not including last year: .125, .113, .136. And his flyball percentages: 22.9%, 24.7%, 30.0%. And his groundball percentages: 56%, 58.2%, 50%. And his HR/FB: 7.9%, 9.1%, 10.1%. If only last year’s .062 ISO, 28.4% flyballs, 53.6% groundballs and 3.3% HR/FB didn’t spoil the fun, you could say that his batted ball profile was trending towards more power.

A decent article written from a fantasy perspective on Esco. Does anyone really care if he hits bombs? Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to have but I would much prefer to see him work the count and get on base for the big boys.

Courtesy of John Lott:

Backup catcher Jose Molina will return to the Toronto Blue Jays next season, providing them with a veteran presence to complement the expected full-season debut of J.P. Arencibia.
The Jays have picked up Molina’s US$1.2-million club option. Molina, 35, batted .246 with 12 RBIs and a career-high six homers. He threw out 40.6% of potential base stealers.
In his 11-year career, Molina has a .236 average while stopping 37.7% of steal attempts against him.

As expected, we exercised the option on Molina. Classic catch and throw guy. Whatever he does with the stick is gravy.

Courtesy of Shi Davidi:

In John Farrell he certainly believes he's found that man, a former big-league pitcher who has worked both as a farm director and pitching coach and whose only real question mark seems to be a lack of previous managerial experience.
The 48-year-old from Monmouth Beach, N.J., named the 12th manager in franchise history Monday afternoon, is an articulate speaker with a commanding presence and a winning background.
His challenge now is to leverage a strong and wide-ranging resume to take charge of an entire team, and match wits with four elite rival managers in the American League East.
"There were a lot of very qualified candidates out there, but what it came down to was who had the chance to be the best manager, long term," said Anthopoulos. "It was very difficult for me to go into this process and hire someone who I felt could be good but not great, it's not the way I operate, I don't think it's what we need in this division and to get where we need to get to.
"I had to hire someone that I felt had a chance to be great."

This was the best write up I could find on our new fearless leader. I must say, seeing him in a Red Sox uni up till the point he was hired made me angry. My hatred for them runs deep.

2010-10-26

Zaunbie Nation Redux

So Ginger and Zaunie have been tag teaming the pre game/in game/post game coverage of the MLB playoffs for Sportsnet. And from where I'm sitting, they are doing a bang up job. There does seem to be some decent chemistry there. 

Disclaimer:

I fucking HATED Ginger doing play by play on the television. Like a lot.

Greg(g) provides some MUCH needed humor and actual baseball experience to the team.  His finest moment was when he was explaining how "the fat guy" pictured below on the left, grabbed Cruz's glove on this controversial home run.


Ginger, is well, Ginger. I guess I can sorta handle him in small doses.

As part of their bit they have been taking questions on Twitter, providing in game updates and general observations. It's pretty neat.

I decided to jump on this opportunity and see if whether or not they are a tight duo yet.

Here was my question:

@RogersSportsnet question for Zaunie: do you want to give Ginger a wedgie? If not, just think about it. All I ask.

And the response, 11 minutes later: 

If you are referring to Cambell as Ginger, then no wedgie from me 

It was good to see them sticking up for one another. Test passed.

For the record: Yes Greg(g). I was referring to the guy with a head the same color as a 6 alarm blaze, sitting directly beside you.

Hope the cheap bastards at Rogers can find a way to keep these guys together if / when Zaunie's playing days are numbered. He is a 39 year old, 15 year veteran after all.....

2010-10-24

Weekly Round Up: Oct. 18 - 24

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Courtesy of ESPN:

The contract Wallach signed earlier this month to become a member of the Dodgers' major league coaching staff after managing their Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate the past two seasons has a list of clubs with which he can talk to and a list of clubs with which he can't. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, Wallach was allowed to make those lists himself while negotiating the deal, which the source said was unusually beneficial to Wallach in terms of both length and financial compensation.
Because there are so many major league managerial openings this winter -- there were eight when the offseason began and there still are six -- the Dodgers didn't want Wallach to interview for all of them, presumably because that would have held up their effort to fill their coaching staff. So Wallach was asked to prioritize those eight clubs based on his level of interest before any of those teams even requested permission to talk to him.
It isn't clear how many teams are on the "can-talk-to'' list and how many are on the "can't-talk-to'' list. But the source said the Brewers and Blue Jays are the only teams that requested permission to speak with Wallach.

BULLSHIT.

Courtesy of MILB:

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, have been named the Eastern League's top team for most outstanding promotional effort, community involvement and overall operation for the third consecutive year, earning the league's nomination for Minor League Baseball's prestigious Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy.
Danielle Matteau, the Fisher Cats Director of Public Affairs, has been awarded the league's nomination for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award for the third straight season. The Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year award is given out annually to one woman who has made an outstanding contribution to her club, league or to baseball. 
The MacPhail Trophy and the Rawlings Award winners will be recognized at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL on Monday, December 6.
"We are truly honored to receive the Eastern League's nod for this tremendous award for a third consecutive season," said Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner. "With so many deserving teams in the league vying for this honor, we are humbled to again be recognized for the hard work and commitment our staff put forth all year long."
During the 2010 season, the Fisher Cats welcomed a total of 391,472 fans to regular season and playoff games at Merchantsauto.com Stadium, including 14 standing-room-only crowds. August saw the highest monthly attendance in the team's history with 110,285 fans enjoying Fisher Cats games.

Congrats!!!!1

Courtesy of You Don't Know Dick:

The Jays need a manager who will be there for the next three to five seasons to avoid a “win at all costs” mentality at the expense of player development.
In the hiring process, the Jays also will insist that the new manager retain Bruce Walton as pitching coach. Walton’s work this season with the young rotation and his ability to communicate with manager Cito Gaston in the latter’s final year were key. Keeping Walton would be an easier request to make of a first-time manager.

Interesting.

Courtesy of Daniel Girard:

With an eye to figuring out the process of hiring a major league manager, the Star turned to a guy who’s done it three times.
Dan Duquette spent more than 20 years in the majors. He scouted for the Milwaukee Brewers, was director of player development and general manager with the Montreal Expos, and GM of his hometown Boston Red Sox.
During that time, Duquette hired three big-league managers: Felipe Alou in Montreal and Kevin Kennedy and Jimy Williams in Boston.
“Who’s going to be best able to help you win games?” Duquette said simply, in assessing the ultimate question clubs must answer with their decisions.
But in coming to that conclusion, Duquette, who now runs a tournament facility and sports camp for boys and girls aged 8 to 18 in Hinsdale, Mass., said the process is lengthy, multi-layered and designed to explore the long list of things required of a manager, from strategy to personality to influences.

Enlightening.

Courtesy of mlbdepthcharts:

Latest Player Updates
10/19/10 - IF/OF Callix Crabbe, OF Adam Loewen, and OF Dan Perales re-signed to minor league deals

10/06/10
- RHP Dirk Hayhurst activated from 60-Day DL and outrighted off 40-man roster

Updates.

Courtsey of TSN:

Opposing pitchers can take some solace knowing that even a sports hernia couldn't slow down major-league home run leader Jose Bautista this season.
The Toronto Blue Jays slugger underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in Philadelphia on Thursday, a procedure that "was done without complication" and will need about a month to heal.
The 30-year-old, who ripped a franchise record 54 homers in 2010, first began experiencing soreness in his lower abdomen in May.
An examination revealed the injury -- a weakening of the muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall -- and team trainers and doctors decided he could keep playing without inflicting more damage.
As things turned out, damage was inflicted on opposing pitchers, as Bautista finished the season with 124 RBIs, 109 runs and 100 walks to go with all the home runs in his first all-star campaign.
He also stole nine bases while providing elite defence in right field and third base.
"If we felt he wouldn't have been able to run full speed, or do the things he wanted to, or all those types of things, we wouldn't have allowed him to play," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in an interview.
"He had it, but it really did not impact him at all."

Un-fucking-believable.

 
I probably should give my take on our next skipper.  In keeping with the theme this week, I'll sum it up in one word for ya.  


2010-10-21

Walter Johnson Award

As you may be aware, we here at 1BlueJaysWay are proud members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. We were welcomed into the alliance with open arms early on and occasionally, we are required to give our opinions on baseball related topics. This year we were given the option on which season ending award we wanted to vote on and I decided to go with the Walter Johnson award for best pitcher in the American League. I did it in hopes that I may be able to answer a question that has been bothering me for quite sometime:

Am I a stats dork or a baseball purest?

Background:

I grew up in a time when the internet did not exist. There were no cellphones or debit cards and my only sources of baseball data were the boxscores, books and second hand stories. This is my point of reference.

That being said, I have embraced the modern world in which we live. When I need to research a post, I normally start with the website FanGraphs.

But deep down inside, I always seem to be swayed back to my point of reference. I take the statistical data and run it through my brain in an attempt to try to find something that makes sense.

You see, I love stats. I really, really do. Even the ones that are relatively new like BABIP, WAR, FIP and UZR.

However:

Baseball, at the end of the day, is about winning and losing the game.

I think the best Toronto Blue Jay to ever wear the uniform said it best while he was being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, courtesy of chapter president The Blue Jay Hunter:

Roberto Alomar spoke very highly of his teammates from the Toronto Blue Jays and relayed an important message which rings true today:

"When I came to Toronto, I played with a great bunch of guys. And to win championships, you have to win together and you have to lose together."

As Robbie said, baseball is a team game. And the best teammates a guy could ask for, are the ones who give them self up for the benefit of the team. It's the little things that win ball games. Especially the close ones in the playoffs.

Now, I know most of you out there think Joe Morgan is an idiot. Personally, I can't stand his broadcasts and I think he is a horrible communicator. But he is a winner and he played the game at a very high level for a very long time.

I found this article and I think you need to see this.

RandBall: Speaking of those MVP awards, I was looking back at your career. Your walk-to-strikeout ration and your on base percentage stuck out. Listening to your broadcasts, I know you don’t care a lot for some of the modern statistical measures we have now. But you were a player the sabermetric people might have loved. Do you find any irony in that?

Joe Morgan: First of all, the things I’ve always felt were important are still important. Some of the esoteric stuff is not. On base percentage has always been important. You know, guys getting on base. The thing that bothered me, the Billy Beane thing [Moneyball], was like he invented on base percentage. They said don’t steal bases because if you get thrown out you take an out away from your team. But it’s OK to stay at first base and have a hitter hit into a double play. They said that’s part of the game. That bothered me about that kind of statistic. And for someone to act like they invented on base percentage when I’d been talking about it on TV for 20 years, yeah that bothered me. One guy tried to act like I don’t care about numbers, which is false. I just care about certain numbers more than others.
We’re having a big discussion about Cy Young Award now. People are saying (Felix) Hernandez should win. I’m not saying he shouldn’t. But how are you going to judge what he would have done if he was on the Yankees. It’s tougher to pitch for the Yankees and win or the Twins than it is Seattle. All individual awards are team awards. My MVP awards were won because my team helped me. … I think the problem I have, though, with some statistics is we start to individualize the players. I don’t want that. It’s still a team game. ... When you start to individualize things like that, it takes away the team concept from the game. It’s like a pitcher who goes out and pitches five innings every game and doesn’t give up anything. Is he better than the guy who pitches nine innings and loses one every once in a while? The guy who pitches nine innings helps the bullpen. The guy who pitches nine innings makes it easier on the manager for the next few games. There are so many things that are involved other than just throwing a number on something. If people think I’m not for that, then they’re right. Because I still think it’s a team game.

Anyone can go and find the stats to back up your argument, whatever it may be.

Here is what I was able to find:

Felix Hernandez led the league in ERA (2.27), innings pitched (249.2), quality starts (30) and he was second in WHIP (1.06) and strikeouts (232).

He became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002 and only the seventh since 1980 to have a season with 30 quality starts - three earned runs or fewer while pitching at least six innings - and lasted into the seventh inning for 25 consecutive times, extending his club record.

In his 12 losses, the Mariners scored a total of eight runs while he was on the mound -- and no runs in his last five losses since mid-July.

King Felix was 5-1 with 0.63 ERA (4 ER, 57.1 IP) in 7 starts against the big boys in the AL East, including 3-0, 0.35 in 3 starts against the Yankees.

Those are the stats and they are truly compelling. It is pretty obvious that he played on a shit team with a terrible offense and a very shaky bullpen. How else does a pitcher like this end up with a 13 - 12 record?

Some Things To Consider:

Safeco Field, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Tropicana Field are pitchers park. Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington are certainly not.

Tampa Bay, New York and Texas made the playoffs. Seattle, Anaheim and Boston did not.

A good friend of mine made the point that quality starts may be a bit overrated. His reasoning was sound. If a pitcher throws 6 innings and allows 3 runs every time, his ERA would be 4.50 for the year.

No starting pitcher, in a non-strike season, has ever won the Cy Young award with fewer than the 15 victories that Tim Lincecum posted last season.

At least five pitchers in the past led their league in ERA and K's and did not win the Cy Young.

I completely understand the argument that King Felix cannot be penalized for being part of a team that has no hitting and plays in a huge ballpark. But on the flip side of that argument, I don't think you can hold it against CC for the opposites being true either.

Conclusion:

King Felix is a very worthy selection for this award and all things being considered, he does get my vote.

But I'll bet he won't win the Cy Young and I think I understand why.

The BBWAA, the body of writers that vote on the "official" awards are mostly old school type guys like Joe Morgan. Besides, most of them live on the East Coast and I'll bet they don't get to watch King Felix in person very often, if at all.

The Keith Law's and the Mike Wilner's of the world are growing in their influence but still are out numbered by a wide margin.

And to be honest with you, if you are trying to build a winning ballclub then I think you need at least a couple of baseball purists around to provide their valuable insights.

But when it comes to naming individual award winners, the way to go is the stats dork route.


I believe this really is a two horse race. The vote will be very close and the final results will further the massive divide between the stats dorks and the baseball purists of the world.

My ballot for the Walter Johnson Award:

1. Felix Hernandez
2. CC Sabathia
3. Jon Lester
4. David Price
5. Jered Weaver

Honorable mention goes to Cliff Lee.

2010-10-20

Assessing The Current Options


Tough decisions lay ahead

Thanks to King Jordan, we have a "quick glance" at the contract situations facing your Toronto Blue Jays going into 2011. Big time hat tip.

Here is my take..... 

Leading Off:

Boy Wonder just found $16,000,000. I doubt that figure will even cover the raises he owes his players through arbitration. 

Digging for Second:

There is the potential for a whopping 15 different arbitration cases that need to be negotiated. Bautista included. Good thing we got a guy for that.

Legging out a Triple:

Lewis and Wise are out of options and arbitration eligible. They both project as the back up outfielder right now. I can see a scenario unfolding where they go against each other for the same job next spring, with the loser being put on waivers. Unless, we non tender E5 and J-Bau plays third base. In that case Lewis would start in LF with Wise on the bench.

Collision at Home Plate:

Check out the clusterfuck in the bullpen!













The following relievers are out of options and would have to be placed on waivers if they don't break camp with the team: Camp, Purcey, Accardo, Buchholz, Tallet.

Quickly:

There are 7 jobs available in a Major League bullpen.

You have to figure Camp and Purcey are locks.

Assuming neither of those guys are the closer, that leaves only 4 jobs remaining.

If you also consider the possibility that neither of them are the set up man, then only 3 jobs will be up for grabs.

Normally a Major League bullpen has at least 2 lefties. And a long man.

Can Brian Tallet fill either of those roles? I doubt it.

I'll take Jo-Jo Reyes as a darkhorse to earn a spot in the pen next year.

So what the fuck are we going to do with Dustin Michael McGowan this year? 

More Quickly:

Behold, your Toronto Blue Jays out of options bullpen: Tallet, Accardo, Buchholz, Reyes, Camp, Purcey, McGowan.

Yikes!

I think I'm just gonna go ahead and stop right there. Waaaaaaaaaay to many possibilities right now.

Even More Quickly:

And just think.....we haven't even traded for or signed anybody yet.

2010-10-19

Offseason? NEVER


Your Toronto Blue Jays still have some affiliated prospects playing baseball. Right now.

As you might be aware, the ultra competitive Arizona Fall League is in it's second week. We have 8 players representing the Peoria Javelinas, 4 pitchers and 4 position players.

1B Mike McDade
OF Eric Thames
OF Adam Loewen
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
3B John Tolisano
SP Marc Rzepczynski
RP Danny Farquhar
RP Alan Farina
RP Matt Daly

If you wanna see a summary of their stats: Click here

If you wanna see the game boxscores: Click here

Notes:

Rzep was a late addition to the roster. At 25 years of age, he really is to old for this league. It was reported that the extra work "will assist in preparing him for a six-month season in 2011, whether he is starting or pitching in relief".

In the same report it mentions Hech has a tight hamstring and will miss a few games. He has yet to play.

Consequently Jose Iglesias, the Red Sox Cuban born prospect and childhood buddy/teammate of Hechavarria, has been taking a lot of reps at SS.

Mariner 2B prospect and number 2 overall pick in the 2009 Amateur draft, Dustin Ackley, has suffered a sprained left ring finger and will be back soon or in the next couple of weeks depending on who you ask.

Canadian born Jays prospect Adam Loewen has been a busy guy this offseason already. He played for Team Canada in the Pan Am qualifier in Puerto Rico. Finding boxscores for the tournament are pretty much impossible but I was able to dig this up.

From the looks of it Eric Thames and Mike McDade are hitting 4 and 5 in the order. That's good news.

Update:

Hech has been shut down after only 2 games and 4 at bats. Hammy issue. They scare me.

But wait, there's more.

The Carribean Leagues!
 











Venezuelan Winter League:

We have a number of players in this league albeit on different teams. Not all of them have appeared in a game yet. 

Darin Mastroianni He just had a massive 5 for 5 game last night in the 2 hole.
Henderson Alvarez He made 2 starts and has yet to give up a run.
Ronald Uviedo
Nestor Molina
Jesus Merchan 
Balbino Fuenmayor
Aaron Mathews
Steven Romero
Willie Collazo
Jonathan Jaspe

The Mexican Pacific League:

Jon Del Campo 

Dominican Winter League:

Ricardo Nanita
Manny Mayorson
Brad Emaus
Jonathan Diaz
Welinton Ramirez
Moises Sierra
Luis Perez
Joel Carreno

Puerto Rican League:

Dickie Thon
Robbie Alomar Yep. That Robbie Alomar. Check out his teammate listed as a switch hitting first baseman.....

And if anybody still gives a shit about former cult leader Randy Ruiz click here.

2010-10-18

Weekly Round Up: Oct. 11 - 17

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Courtesy of MLBTR:

Thanks to the average fastball velocity data available at FanGraphs, we can make all kinds of fun lists.  Today we'll compile the hardest-throwing free agent relievers (minimum 20 innings in 2010).

1.  Kyle Farnsworth - 94.9
2.  Jesse Crain - 94.8
3.  Kerry Wood - 94.4
4.  J.J. Putz - 94.0
5.  Jose Contreras - 94.0
6.  Joaquin Benoit - 94.0
7.  Guillermo Mota - 93.9
8.  Frank Francisco - 93.4
9.  Rafael Soriano - 92.9
10.  Jason Frasor - 92.8

Looks like Frasor got over his "dead arm" phase from early on in the season. He's a type A free agent. Can you say: sign and trade?

Courtesy of Fuck Yeah The Maple Leafs:


Even Leaf fans hate Damien "Suck My" Cox. Perfect.

Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:

While Roy, his father also named Roy and Linda, spent hours at the park, taking turns throwing batting practice to their son as Miranda and Heather tracked down fly balls. Heather remembers her brother taking her fishing at the Arvada reservoir.
They were pals. Roy caught a fish, named it Mr. Blue Gills and made the fish talk to Heather, age 7, before tossing it back.

Bob really digs deep for some quotes in this piece. 

Courtesy of King Jordan:

With his incredible Major League debut aside, how does J.P. Arencibia's less-than-inspiring performance impact the direction of the team with regards to the catching situation for 2011?
--Trevor P., Mississauga, Ontario

To be honest, Arencibia's production down the stretch this season probably will not impact Toronto's plans too much. He received very little playing time over the final month of the season, making it difficult for him to show much in the batter's box or behind the plate.
Beyond that, the fact remains that Arencibia has nothing left to prove in the Minor Leagues. It is time for the Blue Jays to give him a shot in the Majors. Whether that means he will be the starting catcher or part of a tandem when 2011 opens is the big question.
All-Star John Buck can be a free agent and he has earned a full-time job as well as a long-term contract. Veteran backup Jose Molina's contract with the Jays includes a $1 million club option for 2011. Exercising that option would appear to make more sense if Arencibia is in the plans as the starter or if a shared role is in the young catcher's immediate future.

Our boy LastRow500's gets his question answered by King Jordan! To follow him on Twitter click here.

Courtesy of Beyond The Boxscore:


I read this article at least three times and still don't quite have my head around it.

Courtesy of Baseball America:

Pacific Coast League Top 20 Prospects

1. Buster Posey, c/1b, Fresno Grizzlies (Giants)
2. Mike Moustakas, 3b, Omaha Royals
3. Michael Pineda, rhp, Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
4. Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Fresno Grizzlies (Giants)
5. Dustin Ackley, 2b, Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
6. Logan Morrison, 1b/of, New Orleans Zephyrs (Marlins)
7. Tanner Scheppers, rhp, Oklahoma City RedHawks (Rangers)
8. J.P. Arencibia, c, Las Vegas 51s (Blue Jays)
9. Justin Smoak, 1b, Oklahoma City (Rangers)/Tacoma (Mariners)
10. Brett Wallace, 1b, Las Vegas 51s (Blue Jays)

Some pretty impressive names on this list. Nice to see J.P. getting some love. You could argue that the PCL MVP should be higher on the list but.....

Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:

After the draft, the Jays asked Sweeney not play high school baseball.
“They didn’t want me to get hurt, but I wasn’t going to sign before Aug. 15, so we figured if I got hurt there was time for me to get healthy,” said Sweeney, who hit the first pitch he swung at for a home run down the right field line against the Waterloo West WarHawks.
The infielder found out — yes, found out — he’d agreed to terms in mid-August after his Thomas Jefferson High Jayhawks lost 3-2 to top-ranked Mason City, a game in which he was walked intentionally four times.
“My parents came over ‘sorry you lost, but congratulations, you just agreed to terms with Toronto,’ ” Sweeney said. “The Jays phoned after I’d left for the game two hours away and told me not to play. But my parents didn’t want to let the team down.”
Gary and Lori Sweeney kept the news secret, although they told Kellen’s coaches. Gary is a production planner on the Quaker Oats assembly line, so he knows all about timing.
“All the girls back home ask when I’m going to Toronto,” Sweeney says with a smile. “I tell them it doesn’t work that way.

'Gary is a production planner on the Quaker Oats assembly line, so he knows all about timing.' Ah, what?

Courtesy of MLBTR:

The problem is, few careers resemble Bautista’s. He played for four teams in 2004, played five positions in 2006 and seemed destined for a career as a utility man when the Blue Jays acquired him in 2008. And in 2010? He made the All-Star team and led the major leagues in extra base hits and home runs.
If your head is spinning, imagine how arbitrators - the decision-makers responsible for settling salary disagreements between teams and players -  would feel after considering Bautista’s case for a few hours. The Blue Jays have a history of avoiding arbitration, so there seems to be a good chance that they don’t go to a hearing this time, but the potential for one will shape the sides’ discussions.
The Blue Jays can argue that Bautista deserves a limited raise, but they have to be careful, according to one longtime arbitration consultant.
“You lose a lot of credibility with an arbitrator if you have a guy who had a monster year and you start pissing all over him,” says Michael Vlessides, who has faced most leading baseball agents on behalf of various MLB teams over the course of the past two decades.
 
Anybody that gets quoted as saying "pissing all over him" in an article, is cool in my books. I included the comments thread in the link because there really are some drastically different points of view on J-Bau.

Courtesy of Morgan Campbell:

Technically, Bautista can play with Licey if he chooses. As a native Dominican he’s free to play for his hometown team according to both the Winter League Agreement — a rulebook ratified last winter between MLB and four Caribbean leagues — and the Jays.
“We’ll address all the players the same way,” Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos wrote in an email to the Star. “It’s up to the players if they choose to participate in winter ball.”
But the Winter League Agreement’s “extreme fatigue clause” allows teams to curtail winter league action for players with more than 503 plate appearances. This season Bautista totalled 683 plate appearances and 569 at-bats.
Whether or not the Jays ask him to sit out the Dominican season, Bautista’s top baseball priority is still the team that pays him the most.

I wonder how they settled on the number 503? Why not a cool 500?

Courtesy of Rob Cribb:

About 70,000 samples from football, hockey, basketball and baseball — from amateur to professional levels — were submitted to WADA-accredited laboratories last year.
North American testing was conducted in WADA labs in Montreal, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Of more than 6,000 tests on hockey players, which included both professionals and amateurs, 1.3 per cent came back positive. In baseball, the figure was 2.5 per cent for nearly 20,000 tests. Basketball had 2 per cent positives in about 11,000 tests. And football’s 42,000 tests produced 0.77 per cent positives.
The findings come with caveats, Howman said, including the fact that some leagues test for fewer substances than WADA and conduct testing when the likelihood of catching cheaters is low.

Interesting read.

Courtesy of Nick Cafardo:

Source: Sox bench coach Demarlo Hale getting second interview with Blue Jays

Second interviews = legit interest. It's tough keeping up to date with the manager search and realistically by the time anything is published, it's old news. 

2010-10-17

Cody Ross Gets the Best of Doc, Giants Lead NLCS


The much anticipated pitching match up in game 1 of the National League Championship Series ended with the younger of the two aces earning a victory, and the veteran came out of the contest already focused on redemption, but it was a late season addition from the waiver wire who became the star of the game for the Giants.

Cody Ross shined, slugging 2 solo homeruns off of Roy Halladay, who was fresh off throwing the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history last week against the Reds. Ross was cut loose by the Florida Marlins and scooped up off waivers by the Giants, reportedly as a preventive measure, so that he would not end up with the rival Padres.

As a Marlin earlier in the season, Ross was on the down side of Halladay's other big outing this season, his perfect game on May 29th.

With one out in the 3rd inning, Ross ended Halladay's postseason hitless streak, delivering San Francisco's first hit and first run of the game, by smashing a solo homer to left field.

The Phillies clapped back in the bottom of the frame against 26-year-old reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, as 8-hole hitters exchanged big flies. Carlos Ruiz got the Phillies on the board with an opposite field solo shot that tied the game at 1. Ross returned fire in the 5th inning, taking Halladay deep for the second time in the game, putting the Giants up 2-1.

In the 6th inning with and a runner on first base and 2 down, Halladay saw a close pitch called a ball by home plate umpire Derryl Cousins. FOX's computer-generated strike zone analyzer displayed the pitch as a strike. Burrell then went on to smack the next pitch deep toward the left field warning track. Raul Ibanez misplayed what could still have been the 3rd out of the inning into an RBI double. Halladay likely let the tough strike zone impact his focus, as Juan Uribe, who was a .221 career postseason hitter heading into the NLCS, laced a single that plated pinch runner Nate Schierholtz, and extended the Giants' lead to 4-1.

"In the sixth, a couple pitches there cost me. At this point, if you make a couple mistakes they end up costing you," Halladay told the media following game 1 of the NLCS.

Jayson Werth drew the Phillies back to within a run with a 2-run opposite field homerun that scored Chase Utley in the bottom of the 6th. But neither team would score any additional runs, and the Giants went on to lock down game 1 by a score of 4-3.
Lincecum went 7 innings, allowing 3 earned runs and striking out 8 Phillies while walking 3 batters to earn the win.

Ross' effort put his 2010 postseason batting average at .353 (6-for-17). He now has 3 homers and 5 RBI in 5 postseason games this year.

The 2-homer performance even stunned Ross. "It’s been an unbelievable experience for me," Ross stated after the game.

Prior to surrendering the HR to Ross in the 3rd inning, Halladay last gave up a hit to Washington slugger Adam Dunn, who led off the 8th inning against the Phillies on September 27th.

Speaking about hurling a historic game in his first playoff appearance and then taking the loss in his very first NLCS game, Halladay said, "That’s part of it. You find out what you’re made of. You never obviously expect it to be easy. You grind it out and make adjustments next time out."

Notes- Ross joins Will Clark, Rich Aurilia and Jeff Kent as the only San Francisco Giants to hit 2 homers in a postseason game. The Phillies have never won a postseason series in which they lost game 1. Brian Wilson, who earned a 4 out save in game 1 had a 6.43 ERA in 8 career games against Phillies prior to the series. The Phillies big pitching trio of Halladay, Oswalt & Hamels now have a combined 1-5 record against the Giants this season. The Phillies are batting .212 in their 4 games this postseason.
________________________________________________________

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2010-10-16

What I'm Thinking In 140 Characters Or MORE

Twitter is just silly sometimes. I think its time for me to take a break.

I had the nerve to say your Toronto Blue Jays need a big money closer. That's right, I fucking said it.

We blew 16 save opportunities in 2010 and we finished 10 games out of the wildcard.

Now, obviously it's not that simple. In fact - statistically speaking - it doesn't even really look like it needs addressing.

I should mention that I had just finally got around to watching the series in Minny that I had taped on PVR. And what I saw was Kevin Gregg blow yet another lead. Perhaps a bit of a knee jerk reaction.....

Let's take a look at what Boy Wonder thinks:

--Asked what areas needed improvement, Anthopoulos pointed to the poor bullpen ERA and the club's subpar on-base percentage. He believes both areas need to be improved.

That's a "poor bullpen ERA" WITH free agents Scott Downs and his 2.64 as well as Jason Frasor and his 3.68, they are both as good as gone.

Needless to say, the brain trust has got a bit of work to do down in the pen.

So, back to the Twitter. Some unnamed people think that it's a good idea to roll with what we got. You know: Gregg, Purcey, Camp, Janssen and any 3 of the following names: Carlson, Accardo, Buchholz, Roenicke, Rzep, Hill, Litsch, Ray, Richmond, maybe McGowan.

My original point was if that was the case, then we need a "steady closer". A guy that inspires confidence. A hammer. Someone who can come in and clean up a mess or win a tight game. Generally, these guys are "big money" guys.

Knowing full well that even the Rivera's and the Soria's of the world eventually blow some games, it's not quite as simple that if we:

A: sign or trade for a top notch stopper

B: we win more games

A + B does not = playoffs.

People were quick to point out a big money guy is a waste. Relievers are hot and cold. No point in signing a guy like that if you can`t get him the save opportunities. A closer should be the last piece of the puzzle.

All of which is very true.

However:

Shaun Marcum had 20 quality starts
Ricky Romero had 20 quality starts
Brett Cecil had 18 quality starts
Brandon Morrow had 15 quality starts

It is not completely unrealistic to expect about 80 quality starts out of our top 4 guys next year. Throw in a number 5 guy that doesn`t suck and you got 90 - 95 quality starts. That`s 90 - 95 games that you are most likely winning and you PLAN on turning over to a bullpen that just lost some uber important high leverage guys, that some people think can merely be replaced from within the organization.

Go out and get a great closer and the game becomes 8 innings. Everyone on the team knows it. The other team knows it too.

So all you really have to do is squeeze another inning out of our starter then mix and match the 8th.

We win!

Conclusion:

I think a top shelf guy to anchor the pen is the way to go especially if you wanna roll with what we got. And yeah I do remember the name BJ Ryan. I also remember some dude named Randy Myers.

I can completely understand why I got shit on for saying what I said considering BJ`s contract just came off the books. But what I also said was giving out 5 year deals is insane. To ANY arm. That includes Ricky.....

All great teams have a rock in the back end of the pen. We need one.

Sign Rafael Soriano for 3 years at $30 mil. It will cost you a 1st round pick, which totally bites and won`t happen.

OR

Trade for a stud and pay the price, which won`t happen either.

Is it the number 1 priority for the offseason? No, of course not.

Is it even on the list? If it is, it's pretty far down said list.

But in my humble opinion it is the quickest, simplest way to improving this team and closing the gap on the big boys.

It won't happen, which is fine.

And we will continue to blow leads - perhaps at a much higher rate - which is not fine.

I guess I'll just try to keep my opinions to myself because clearly, I'm a fucking hack that knows dick all about the game.


2010-10-12

Public Speech Fail

video



That's pretty much all I got.

2010-10-11

Weekly Round Up: Oct. 4 - 10


Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Courtesy of Patrick Rishe:

The criteria for the ‘most efficient’ teams is combining low ‘cost per win’ with at least 87 wins (5 games above .500).  Hence, the 5 most efficient teams from the 2010 MLB season are:
1)  San Diego Padres (90 wins…$419,656 per win)
2)  Texas Rangers      (90 wins…$612,404 per win)
3)  Tampa Bay Rays  (96 wins…$748,688 per win)
4)  Cincinnati Reds   (91 wins…$795,072 per win)
5)  Atlanta Braves     (91 wins…$927,284 per win).
Honorable mention goes to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Minnesota Twins and the Colorado Rockies.  The Blue Jays won 85 games in the incredibly tough American League East while paying $737,088 in payroll per win.

Forbes doesn't fuck around.

Courtesy of Shi Davidi:

"I'm not sitting up there in our office with our baseball operations team saying, 'OK we won 85 games, if we make these six moves that will equate to 10 wins,"' Anthopoulos said Monday during a lengthy chat with the team's beat writers. "It's not that easy. I've heard stories and talked to teams where they've done simulations and there are just too many variables, you're dealing with human beings.
"If the focus is on making the team better and continuing to look for value whenever you can get it to build that team, at some point the wins will continue to pile up and we'll get to the point in-season, that hopefully we're going to look to add a piece. Then when you get to that playoff area, that's when you make a big splash."

A very close second place on the required reading for the week. Take a moment and check it out.

Courtesy of Steve Simmons:

A Blue Jays insider indicated that Gillick was asked to film a clip for Cito, but never got back to the Jays to arrange a time or a place.
It has been well-documented that Gillick did not truly want to hire Gaston as manager in 1989 and wanted to fire him following the playoff loss to Minnesota in 1990. But each time, situations and his partnership with Paul Beeston changed the equation. Over his amazing career, Gillick hired managers in Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia after leaving Toronto, but did not offer positions to Gaston with any of those teams.

I was wondering why Stand Pat wasn't in the house for The Cito's love in.

Courtesy of CBS Sports:

2011 PREDICTION

With Tampa Bay slashing payroll, the opportunity is there for Toronto to make a play for third -- and they'll try to do just that, but figure to fall just short, just like 2010. Poor Toronto -- if they weren't in the AL East, it'd be a near-lock to make the postseason.

I have heard that one once or twice before.....

Courtesy of Robert Macleod:

The Blue Jays will audition designated hitter Adam Lind at first base during spring training but other than that, unless Anthopoulos swings some sort of a trade, it is quite possible Overbay will be their man.
“He’s a free agent, just like John Buck and Scott Downs and Jason Frasor,” Anthopoulos said of Overbay. “Lyle has started out slow and has really bounced back. He’s played his usual Gold Glove defence at first base. And he has a good on-base percentage. The batting average is down for him but I think it’s tough when you dig yourself the hole that he dug himself.
“Realizing all those things and factoring all that in I like Lyle, I always have. I think the organization does. It’s all about what the off-season brings, what trades will present themselves, what other free agents are out there.”
Anthopoulos said he has no idea how the experiment with Lind might work out.

If anyone out there has a good reason why we should re-sign Lyle - at any price - please enlighten me. I just don't get it.

Courtesy of Robert Macleod:

Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays cannot be counted on to crank out as many home runs next season, so it is imperative they locate a new bat or two to add more balance to the attack.
Anthopoulos will also have his work cut out for him with at least 15 Blue Jays eligible for arbitration, including Jose Bautista, who led the majors with 54 home runs. It will be daunting trying to arrive at a new contract with a player who had never hit 16 before in one season, and Anthopoulos said it will be important to keep things in perspective.

Boy Wonder has a massive to do list. I'm thinking the "file-to-go" strategy gets used this offseason. Maybe more than once.


Naturally Doc threw a no hitter in his first playoff game. Fuck me..... 

2010-10-04

Remembering: Roy Halladay


Well, your Toronto Blue Jays 2010 season has come to a close. Cito's tenure as manager is officially over. We here at 1BlueJaysWay look forward to the upcoming playoffs, offseason and to the beginning of the 2011 campaign.

As Roy Halladay and his Phillies are celebrating the clinching of the NL East, and preparing for his playoffs debut vs the Reds, what better time to take a moment and remember the greatest pitcher to don the Blue Jays logo.

Let's go back to a fall road trip I took in September of 2007, to Boston.

In March of 2007, I was browsing the internet and various MLB team sites scouting out a potential road trip to take in a Blue Jays game in foreign territory. I landed at redsox.com and stumbled upon two seats in the grandstand section behind home plate. The seats were restricted view, but it was Fenway Park, in September. Those who have had the pleasure to visit Fenway park know, that the restricted view seats are part of the mystique that is "America's Most Beloved Ballpark". I clicked buy and we were off to Boston, eventually.

Fast forward to September 5th. The 2007 Blue Jays were winding down their season, firmly entrenched in third place. The Red Sox were on their way to winning the World Series against Colorado. Having arrived in Boston earlier in the week we were able to take in the first two games of the series, one of which included a tough CG loss by Roy Halladay.

Our tickets were for the series finale. On the hill the pitching matchup was Marcum vs. Schilling.

The lineups were as follows:

Wells CF Lugo SS

Stairs LF Ellsbury LF

Rios RF Ortiz DH

Thomas DH Lowell 3B

Glaus 3B Drew RF

Overbay 1B Youkillis 1B

Hill 2B Varitek C

Zaun C Crisp CF

McDonald SS Cora 2B

Back to the Fenway Park experience, we decided to head down to the Fens' early to catch the last tour of the park before the gates opened. Tour tickets in hand, we went to the Red Sox team store, across Yawkey Way from the park. Two Jays fans in a sea of Red Sox paraphenalia ranging from jackets, hats, jerseys and Yankees toilet paper, something caught my eye through the windows of the store. It was a man strolling down Yawkey way wearing a Blue Jays t-shirt. That in itself was pretty cool, being that we were in the capital of Red Sox nation but upon closer observation I noticed it was a familiar looking Blue Jays player, check that, THE Blue Jays player, Doc' himself, Mr. Roy Halladay. Without causing much stir or having much regard about missing the Fenway tour, I grabbed Mrs. LastRow500's arm and quietly made for the exit. We crossed Yawkey way caught up with Roy, who graciously stopped to chat with this odd man who had made the 9 hour trek to see his beloved Blue Jays play, despite being 14 games out of a playoff position.

We chatted briefly, he thanked us for making the trip, shook my hand, and stood patiently for a photo:










I just wanna take the opportunity to say "Good Luck Roy" on your World Series hunt.

And thanks again for the memories.

As for the game? Who cares? The Jays won, Glaus and Wells hit homers, I sat beside Jesse Litsch's brother, got a ball from Adam Lind and met Jerry Howarth.

2010-10-03

Weekly Round Up: Sept. 27 - Oct. 3


Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Courtesy of John Lott:

Before the Toronto Blue Jays played their last game of the 2009 season, Lyle Overbay visited manager Cito Gaston in his office in the visitors’ clubhouse in Baltimore.
This was just two days after a story broke that said Gaston had lost the confidence of his players because he was too aloof, too “old-school.” A few veteran players, Overbay among them, spoke publicly about a communication rift that had increasingly undermined team morale as the season progressed.
Personally, Overbay was frustrated that Gaston had made him a platoon player. So before the last game, the first baseman walked in and asked whether Gaston had determined his role for 2010.
“He said, ‘I’m going to play you every day. You’re going to be our first baseman,’ “ Overbay recalled yesterday.
Then Overbay told another story.
“I remember early this season, we were looking for somebody and Cito’s door was shut, and some of the guys didn’t want to knock on it. I said, ‘I’ll go knock on it.’
“I think after that, some guys saw it was no big deal. It’s weird how he’ll sit there and preach how his door is always open, but guys still won’t go in.”

Alright. That is that. Now, who is gonna lead this team to the promise land? Anybody got a favorite candidate? 

Courtesy of Bruce Arthur:

“I agonize over every decision, more than I ever thought I would,” says Anthopoulos, leaning back in a chair in an empty conference room in the Rogers Centre. “God, every decision feels like it’s huge. You make decisions, but before I make a trade I talk to everybody, ask a million questions. It might sound a little bit insane, but it’s that important.
“If I talk to 10 people, maybe one gives me a link that leads to something else. If the janitor has a good point to make, it might help us.”
“He likes the tension of an argument,” Jays president Paul Beeston says. “Alex, he’s remarkable in that he doesn’t mind having the debate.”

An insightful piece on our General Manager and all the challenges he has faced in his first year on the job. 

Courtesy of Craig Calcaterra:

For now let us merely note that if Frantz has the guts to make an actual accusation, he should make it. To state, in plain language, that he doubts that Bautista's accomplishments are genuine. To do otherwise -- to make oblique reference to the mere possibility that Bautista cheated and to blame figures who haven't played baseball for several years for "the questions that remain" -- is cowardly.
And that goes not only for Frantz, but for anyone who wishes to join in the increasingly popular pastime of trashing Jose Bautista. Ladies and gentlemen: if you have evidence, or even reasonable suspicion that Bautista -- a player who has had at least two PED tests this season -- has used PEDs, come out and say it.  If you don't, please spare us your insinuations to the contrary.

Hey Damien "Suck My" Cox, I think he's talking to you.

Courtesy of John Lott:

Aaron Hill was openly displeased when manager Cito Gaston took him out of Sunday’s game after the seventh inning. The Toronto Blue Jays’ second baseman, who has struggled at the plate all season, was not in the lineup for Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees.
“He’s fine,” Gaston said before the game. “I just want to give him a day off to rest his mind and just clear his head. He’ll be back in there tomorrow.”

I hope Aaron can get off to a hot start next season. We need him. We really do.

Courtesy of Satchel Price:

These guys are supposed to be really damn good. And all of them were really damn good at one point, because that's how you convince someone to give you $20M per year to do something. But how have the four members currently in New York's $20 Million Club fared this season? Well, if you guys were looking for a New York-centric post (because I'm trying to be unique today!), you're going to get one, because you could never really make a post like this with a team from any other city.

A look at our free spending fucking divisional rivals infield. Nice job on the wildcard, fags.

Courtesy of Zack O'Malley Greenburg:

Travis Snider, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Bourdett: I’ve been projecting a breakout for Travis Snider for a couple years now, so forgive me if I sound like a broken record.  I actually thought this was the year it would happen, but unfortunately, a wrist injury in May completely derailed his 2010 campaign. It may seem like Snider’s been around a while, but it’s important to note that he doesn’t turn 23 until February, an age at which most high draft picks — Snider was Toronto’s first-round pick back in ‘06 –  are tasting the majors for the very first time (Snider’s hit .252/.317/.434 as a 20-22 year old over 651 big-league plate appearances). Snider’s a great bet to enter 2011 with a starting outfield job in hand, and if he can continue to make strides with his strikeout rate — he shaved about five percentage points off his K-rate between last season and this season — I see no reason why he can’t hit .260-.270 with 25-30 homers next year.

Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
ZOG: Take a glance at Hill’s Mendoza-line batting average this offseason and you’ll be tempted to dismiss him as a 2B-eligible Russell Branyan. But take a closer look and you’ll be rewarded handsomely. He’s never hit below .263 in his career, his strikeout rate has remained stable, his walk rate has actually increased slightly in 2010, and at age 28 he’s still in his prime. Most telling of all, his BABIP sits at .196, nearly 100 points below his career average and 30 points below anybody else in either league — which means that, statistically speaking, Aaron Hill is the unluckiest man in baseball. He may never exceed his 2009 total of 36 home runs, but he could easily top this year’s 26 and approach last year’s .286 average. With his value depressed as it is, Hill could be one of the biggest steals of 2011 on draft day.

Forbes doesn't fuck around.

Courtesy of Baseball Card Bust:

Joe Carter is a World Series hero and a five-time All-Star, but in 1992, his biological clock was ticking. Much to the chagrin of his teammates and to the hilarity of the sports media, Carter began mothering the rest of the Blue Jays. Starting in spring training, the Jays would walk into their clubhouse and find packed lunches in their lockers. Carter would pace the room, wiping off dirt from David Wells' face with a saliva-moistened Kleenex, yelling at Jack Morris to pick up after himself and encouraging wildman Tom Henke to find himself a nice girl and settle down already. He grounded Roberto Alomar for missing curfew the night before a big series against the Yankees. He even acted as clubhouse matron during the All-Star Game. In this photo, Carter is seen wiping a stray booger off All-Star teammate Mark McGwire's nose while handing him a cup of homemade lemonade. Annoyed by the man's unconditional love, the Blue Jays could come up with one solution: They pooled together enough money to buy a black-market Salvadorian orphan named Enrique and left him on Carter's doorstep one August night. And while they were happy to no longer have the man they had come to call "Joe Mama" on their case all the time, the locker room seemed a little emptier without Carter's peanut butter cookies.

I am so happy I found this site. Take a look around if you got a minute. Awesome stuff.