Sunday, 2 March 2008

Morning Roundup

Joe Carter, you complete me...

It was a pretty good afternoon at the Frozen Pond yesterday afternoon because not only did we procure an autographed bat, but also got a few words and a firm handshake in. As a regular on the autograph circuit, that's the best you can hope for and pretty much what makes it all worth the bother.

I had plenty of time to think over what I'd say to one one of my childhood heroes, but couldn't really settle on anything that felt right before the lineup started moving. "You are cool!" No... "Your homerun off Mitch Williams was cool!" Noooooo... "Do you like stuff?" Golden!

When I got to the head of the line Joe saved me the trouble of saying something stupid by reading my t-shirt in a semi-questioning tone, "The Hold Steady?" To which I replied (stupidly), "do you know them?" because for one second I though it might be possible that a greying 48-year-old Joe Carter has indie cred and listens to the same bands as I do... Stupid! In any event, he still obliged me with a photo of the two of us together, smiling widely, with my arm draped around his shoulder. Solid! That's going on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and perhaps even a calender.

Being a bit older and wiser than I was in 1993, would I hack on a modern day Joe Carter who doesn't walk, plays poor defense, and puts up put up empty 100 RBI seasons? Even if he was a great guy on and off the field?

Yes, of course I would, and as I was writing one name popped into my head: Tony Batista. Had he started his career a decade earlier (before players were pilloried for low OBPs, coincidentally towards the end of Carter's career), I think the casual fan would be mentioning him as one of the top 20 power-hitting third basemen of all time. But he didn't, and them's the breaks. Joe Carter had the good fortune of playing in a time when OBP and OPS didn't exist in the minds of coaches and managers, much less the casual fan, so he retires reputation largely intact.

Still, though, the glory days were a simpler, if not better, time. It was all about perceptions, what we thought we saw in players. Dingers, wins, batting average and ERA: those were the standards. And since I grew up in that era, noone can ever take the memory of that World Series-winning homerun away from me, flawed as a player Joe Carter might have been.

Thanks, Joe!


I'm not ashamed to admit that I like to keep tabs on the Canucks in the MLB, and not just hometown heroes like Adam Stern. Shawn Hill, a 27-year-old Nationals starter from Mississagua, is one dude I check in on from time to time. In parts of three seasons, Hill has shown ace-level talent (for the Nationals, mind) with a power arm and plus sinker, but injuries have always held him back from fulfilling his potential. Quelle surprise! to note that a sore right forearm is now troubling him and his prospects of being ready for Opening Day are unlikely.

Too bad, secreted away in the relative obscurity of DC, Jays fans here might've looked forward to signing this solid mid-backend rotation guy on a hometown discount around 2010 or so... Just get healthy, m'kay?

Some people want to portray the Yankees as underdogs. Sorry, but any team that can piss away collossal sums of money year in year out will never be an underdog, which by my definition is a plucky club that deserves our admiration and support. Fuuuuuuuuck you guys, WE'RE the underdogs!

Count Cathal Kelly and some rando guy from the Canadian press amongst those developing serious man crushes on Dustin McGowan. Seriously guys, no one is going to accuse you of being quick off the draw.

McGowan had me on June 24, 2007 when he took a no hitter into the ninth against the Rockies in an interleague game at the Rogers Centre. After some shaky outings in May, then some solid ones in June, Mr. Burns looked Nolan Ryan-dominant against one of the best offenses in the National League. He even made Todd Helton look silly! More important than this Sunday filler from a local journo is the McGowan love shown by Buster Olney, as Will noted the other day. Seriously, folks, he's already one of the best starters in the AL...

The lads at DJF aren't the only lushes in town...

Wilner dealt with more of usual in his first preseason Jays Talk. Just read this, please, Zaun-haters, and read it to the end of the paragraph because this is essentially what the level-headed have to repeat over and over and over again. Here's Wilner's response to someone who wanted to trade Rios to the Angels for a catcher and a pitching prospect:

I think, and a lot of fans seem to feel this way, that the overriding reason that caller wanted to make that trade was because he feels the Blue Jays are desperate to improve the catching position. I don’t see it. Gregg Zaun may not be a superstar, but he’s at the top of the middle of the pack of American League backstops. I’d rather have Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada and maybe Ivan Rodriguez because of the arm, but those are the only catchers in the league who are clearly much better than Zaun. In a few years, I might prefer to have Mike Napoli, Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Kurt Suzuki, but in a few years I might prefer Robinzon Diaz to any of them. Please, folks, lay off Zaun. He’s fine.

Alright, I'm gonna bang on the Jays-Reds game on Citytv. DJF is going to do a live blog of the game this afternoon as they "get progressively drunk and surly". Check it out if that's your scene.

-- Johnny Was


Jonathan said...

Hahaha...right on. My childhood just wouldn't have been the same if there was someone going off on Joltin' Joe like Fire Joe Morgan does on Eckstein because he had an OBP of just over .300 while universally lauded as a superstar for driving in 100 runs on a regular basis.

The Southpaw said...

I'm glad Wilmer defended Zaun but what's even more hilarious is that the genius who is so sure we need a new catcher seems to thing the ANGELS, of all teams, have room for yet ANOTHER outfielder!

WHERE do these morons come from?


johnny said...

Will, it's too bad to you didn't see the game today. It was basically a 3-hour ticket commercial, which was fine, because it's nice to get a game on TV. But every 10 minutes they'd do an interview with a season ticket holder (some who'd had them since '77) and NOT A ONE had anything more intelligent to say than, "I think we've got a pretty good team this year." I just don't understand how you can be so intimately acquainted with something over such a long period and know so little about it. That's your typical fan here; I really don't know if that makes us different than other cities, but it's still kinda embarassing.