There’s always next year, Toronto. And this time, saying it doesn’t feel forced.

I’m a Toronto sports fan if I’m a sports fan at all. It’s how I grew up and I haven’t evolved much since then. For hockey, it’s always been the Leafs–yes, even though the last time they won it all my parents were in grade school. For baseball, it’s been the Jays–even though the last time they won it all *I* was in grade school. It’s meant I’ve gotten to see some really good years. And, uh, some incredibly bad ones. This year was the best by far–I don’t actually remember much about 92-93. But from the beginning of the baseball season, something about this Bluejays team felt different. I made a point to catch as many games as I could get away with–which wasn’t usually something I did for baseball–this time around simply because the whole thing felt different. Then the July trade deadline happened, followed closely by league domination. Then the postseason happened, and anyone with a pulse lost their collective everything. They packed the Sky Dome, which didn’t used to happen for a baseball game. They got musical, albeit now a lot of those names aren’t exactly front and center, which used to be that thing they only did if they were mocking something. And for the first time in 22 years, Toronto’s favourite sports cliché might actually have some meaning behind it. There’s always next year. And this time, saying it doesn’t feel like just the routine. If they don’t break the team over the winter, we might actually do it next time around. And that, just for the record, is nearly as awesome a thought as if we’d done it this year. Suddenly, being a Toronto sports fan sucks a little bit less now. thanks, Jays.

On October 19th, vote Bluejays for American League champion.

If you live in Canada and haven’t been living under a rock, you know there’s an election on. You could be forgiven for thinking that election has anything remotely to do with picking the faces who will cover over what’s left of your federal government. But you have a much more important decision to make tomorrow evening. On Monday night, you will be left with the decision of whether or not to cancel your evening plans, crank up the TV, and settle in for a couple hours of postseason baseball. For the first time in 22 years, the Sky Dome (*) will play host to an American League Championship game–and a chance to turn that, and the next two that follow, into a possible setup for World Series entry. You could decide you have way more important things to do. Like, I don’t know, watch a Senators game (**) for example. I hope you don’t. Because we may not see something like this for a good long while afterwards–and you’re not going to want to be wondering what the hell everyone else in the office is talking about Tuesday morning. So on October 19th, cut out of your evening shift early. Stick a set of headphones in your phone and pull up the game while you’re studying. Follow all the things on Twitter while you’re at evening classes. Vote Bluejays. Because no matter which way your political leanings go, nothing will make you happier. And no one who’s anyone can say no to a moment like this.

(*): I have never, will never, call it the Rogers center. Rogers couldn’t pay me enough–unless they threw in Bluejays tickets, and even then I’d probably want a discount at the consession stands.

(**): I dunno. Some people have wickedly messed up priorities. I don’t judge. I’m a Leafs fan when the Jays aren’t playing, after all.

Thoughts on the Bluejays: Calling dr. Offense…

I promised myself I wouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. You know the one. This team’s garbage, not worth the hype, it’s more of the same old same old, you know how that goes. And I’m not going to. But here’s the thing. Defense, for the most part, is good. Pitching is getting there. Hell, even the baserunning’s halfway decent–when they can get guys on base. But the Jays just aren’t even there offensively. Don’t get me wrong. Last night’s game was good. Would have been better if we’d had the 4 and Baltimore had the 3, but you can’t have everything. We’d have probably had that one if they weren’t seeing RA’s pitches as well as they were. But that’s what happens when you’ve got a knuckleballer at the top of your rotation. He’s either going to be wicked good, or wicked bad–there’s no in between. And as a team, there needs to be that support–just in case the ball’s not knuckling enough, or worse, the other team’s seeing it well. Yes, it’s still April. And yes, the Jays have this nasty habbit of absolutely stinking it up in April. This is why I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. But come the end of May, or even the end of June? Then, guys, we’ll need to talk. And I hate talking. So please, at least for this afternoon’s game, don’t leave your bats in the clubhouse. Kay? Thanks much.

#LoveThisTeam

I’ll freely admit it. Last year, I just couldn’t get in to the whole baseball thing. I wanted to, like nothing else. But I just wasn’t feeling it, as in at all. I’m pretty sure the Jays weren’t either–mostly because, well, that’s the only thing I can think of to explain where and how we finished. I tried not to get overly enthusiastic about this season. Yes, in spite of the fact the off season brought in a minor explosion and a major offensive. But see here’s the thing. I sat through spring training. Not all of it, mind, but enough of it. I saw awesome. I saw wicked nifty. I even saw a couple very humanlike screw-ups. But largely, I saw a team that, on paper anyway, should do somewhat better than dead last in the american League east. Of course if I’m wrong I still have the Braves to fall back on, but I’m sort of hoping I’m not wrong. Because the last time I was anywhere near world series baseball and actually had a team I enjoyed cheering for, I was 10. You’ve got two guesses which team that was.

It’s opening night in toronto. It’s home run season. It’s ball time. I plan to be in the living room, plunked in front of the TV, with pizza and a coke–which may or may not contain something alcoholic. This is what hockey would be if hockey wasn’t nailed in the kneecaps by players who make way too much and want more and owners who have more money than brains and want to spend less. This is my sport. And after about 7:00 PM tonight, that’s about all I’ll be interested in. But don’t worry. It’ll all be back to normal at some point later. Until we do it all over again tomorrow. It might not look like summer right around now, but what the hell. Let’s play ball.

Happy pitcher catcher day!

I’ve given up on hockey this year. I gave up on baseball last year, but only because I didn’t exactly have the ability to watch it. That changed nearly a week after we moved into this house–I still need to rantblog about that one. So now, I get to take note of the important occasions leading up to the important occasion. Like… Today is the start of training camp if you’re a pitcher, or a pitcher’s catcher. And, like the Bluejays actually may do something besides fall apart right around, let’s say, July 15–and this time it’s not just the folks what get paid to say that saying that, so I’m slightly more inclined to buy it. I’m not holding out for a world series win this year–I’m a fan, not a fanatic. But good god damn if I won’t be ordering pizza and slamming back at least one vodrumoke on opening day. And for at least the month of March and what’s left of February, that’s about all that matters. So, happy pitcher catcher day, those of you cellebrating. And I swear if we blow one more starter before the actual start of the season, somebody somewhere’s fired.

PS: I also happen to be an admittedly sometimes Braves fan. Hey–they’ve seen playoff action more recently and more often than my Jays. Plus they were a staple of TVS for an age, when there was such a thing as TVS and when TVS used to be decent. Now, I follow them in headlines only. But hey, it could also double as an excuse to blow money on an MLB online streaming package. If in 6 months I kick myself for saying that, somebody somewhere has the right to slap me. Anyway. I was gonna go do something. Oh, right–start the official baseball countdown. Going, going, going, there she goes!

Bits of random and chunks of what the fuck is this.

I’m a little tiny bit more human than I was earlier today, so as a free something type thing, have a thing. There’s a whole crap ton of other shtuff that still has yet to post–it’s coming, promise–and more still I get to add to it, but this should see you through until then. It’s in no particular order, but it is in a list. See? Accomodating and everything.

  • I saw several hundred job ads today, which is a change. So of course, that change has to come with a catch. Because it does that kinda thing. Today’s catch? Every single goddamn one of those ads was completely and entirely in French. I kid you not. I only moved here last year–I shouldn’t be contemplating moving elsewhere. Or should I? You be the judge.
  • I’ve decided. As far as pitchers go, the Bluejays are a jinx. Steve’s probably gonna wonder what the hell I’ve been smoking, but here’s my evidence. And yes, random games from random years is evidence, dammit. First it was Roy’s postseason no-hitter in 2010, while with the Phillies–the freakin’ Phillies, goddammit! And in Detroit yesterday, Justin Verlander came damn close to one. If memory serves, he played quite sucktastically the few times I saw him in a Jays suit. Who the hell is this guy? At least Roy was still good when he was with us–he just became a god after he left. But this? Yeah. Jinx. Has to be. Now hearing arguments to the contrary.
  • It’s the long weekend. Officially the first long weekend of the hot. That means countdown to AC. I suspect sometime this week or next, it shall exist once again in the living room window. Now, the question becomes–do I get completely plastered after putting it up, before putting it up, or while putting it up? Either way, I think there’s booze in my future.
  • Speaking of booze, long weekends and that Steve guy, he’s at it again. Long weekends mean booze, and one or both usually means audio. So he and Carin, of Vomit Comet fame, are obliging. Their first one went damn near an hour. Their second? I have no idea. And they’ve still gotta survive tomorrow and Monday. That hangover’s gonna blow hard, I do believe. Go check ’em out, toss ’em a comment or 5, and–hell, since it’s all over Steve’s twitter anyway–fire a question or few at ’em if you’ve got ’em. Rumor has it they’ll answer anything. Or at least they’ll fake it.

This is my brain. This is my brain on random. Enjoy. Now, where’d I put that shtuff I was gonna add to the mock list…

This can’t end well. Ottawa wants baseball team 2.0.

Up until either 2009 or 2010, Ottawa had a minor league baseball team here called the Lynx. They relocated recently, around the same time the Montreal Expos packed up their toys and shuffled off to Washington. You didn’t hear much from that team usually, unless you were 1: watching Ottawa’s A-Channel station or 2: bored enough to attend a game. Very rarely did they make the playoffs, and even then, they didn’t exactly fill the stands. Hence the relocation. Which is still better than what happened to both of Ottawa’s football teams, but I’ve pretty much determined that to be a lost cause. That was the end of pro baseball in Ottawa. Until now. It would seem the city wants to try again, and is coughing up about half of what it’ll cost to renovate the stadium as an insentive–the rest is coming from the company who wants to actually put the team in Ottawa. I’m ordinarily highly enthusiastic about a new sports team coming to the city–especially if the ticket prices are in such a state that they don’t actually cost me 3/4 my grocery money to actually attend a game. But considering the city’s luck with funding/begging sports teams to play here? This can only end badly for everyone involved. On the other hand, this team can at least–hopefully–use the fact they’re not associated with the Phillies as a selling point. That should boost sales.

The Yankees and the Phillies, no more? What’s a baseball fan to do?

I mentioned a couple days ago that I have no one in this year’s playoffs to cheer for, and for that reason, I was cheering against the Phillies. My strategy appears to have worked, as they have officially been given their walking papers after 5 games. You can’t go wrong with that. Nor can you go wrong with last night’s events. If you’re a self-respecting baseball fan and not completely dilusional, you have an entirely logical hatred of the Yankees–simply for being, well, the Yankees. They, also, were handed their walking papers. This makes this Jays/Braves fan extraordinarily happy, which means all things considered, it’ll be a very good thanks giving this weekend. Now I just have one problem. With no one left to cheer for, I now have no one left to cheer against. Oh well, hockey’s heer. See you next year, folks. Maybe I’ll blog more about it then. But, well, probably not.

I don’t cheer for anyone. I cheer against the Phillies.

Anyone who isn’t slightly older than me probably doesn’t remember 1993. That was the last time the Bluejays went anywhere near the world series–they probably could have in 94, except it wasn’t actually held. The last time they did anything involving the world series, it was against Philadelphia. It took 6 games, but we walked away from that series with a championship. They’ve been trying to make up for it since–and very nearly did a couple times. And I’ve developed what some might call a not very rational hatred for that team. Call it what you will, they are to baseball what Montreal is to hockey–especially since there is no longer a Montreal in baseball. As a Jays fan, and secondarily a Braves fan, cheering for the Phillies just doesn’t happen. It was revealed to me during a conversation tonight that I’ve got no good reason for not cheering for the Rangers. And, sure, that’s true–but I’ve got no good reason to do it, either. At least until they make the series, and then only if they’re up against the Phillies. I don’t have a particular team to cheer for this year. But I’ll be more than happy to cheer against Philadelphia. So it is written, so it shall be. Go other teams go!

A mini little note to the Toronto Bluejays.

Hey, Jays? I don’t know when it started happening, but yall have really taken to sucking something really, really huge. Losing 16 4 last night, 14 1 today, and that’s just what I know about? Do you even know where .500 is anymore? Judging by recent standings, I’m thinking no not really. Okay, I get it–when you win, you win big, usually. That’s great. Wonderful. Nifty, even. But you really don’t have to lose just as big if not bigger. For serious. I’d appreciate it if that stopped sometime before the end of the season–you might actually encourage me to start watching again, and even writing about you again in more than just this act of desperation. Really, if I wanted to watch one of my teams do this to me again I’d rewatch the last NHL season. Please, for the love of chese, find a winning streak. And try not to let someone like Baltimore, who’s still behind you by the way, beat the everloving snot out of you. That’d be awesome, too. Thanks for reading. Feel free to completely collapse now, as you’d intended.

jays VS. minnisota, streamed live friday night!

This blog post has been crossposted to other blogs. so enjoy.
What is it? Baseball
Who’s playing? jays and minnisota.
What time does it start? 6:30PM eastern.
who’s running the show?
to extremely geeky people,.
How do I listen?
You listen by waiting until 6:30PM on Friday April 1, 2011, and then you click right
here
and then sit back with your beverage of choice, a pizza, your instant messenger, or twitter client in front of you, and enjoy great baseball, and commintary from the hosts of this party.
We hope to see you all their!

The NL finally wins one.

See what happens when the Yankees blow up? That needs to happen more often. Just next time, can it be the Braves? They must be due now… Shush, Steve. I don’t wanna hear it. They’re due, dammit. Now back to watching my hockey team implode.

Hey look, the damn Yankees are done!

This’ll teach me to pay more attention to what goes on in the baseball world. While I was busy doing things of a geeky nature, which will make the blog in the near future, the Yankees were getting their asses handed to them by Texas. Nifty. Now, I can actually watch baseball-related news/whatever and not get this sick feeling in my stomach. Now, then, here’s hoping one Philadelphia team comes out on top in their game. Meanwhile I stare at another Philadelphia team currently doing exactly that, and hope like hell this one spontaneously catches fire. Congratulations, Yankees. For a change, you suck this year.

Roy does what Roy does, and he does it with a smile.

I missed a lot of Jays games last year. Probably slightly more than the amount I missed this year. I almost always made it a point to watch when Roy Halladay was on the mound, though, regardless to what else I might have missed. Why? Because if ever there was a god of pitching, he’s it. And, once again tonight, the man proves it. In his first postseason start, ever, he officially records the second no-hitter in playoff history. My only complaint is he didn’t get to do it in Toronto. But, still, the man does what he does, and he still does it with a smile. And why not? He’s damn good at it.

End of season mumblings: Jose Bautista’s on steroids.

Okay, so maybe he’s not. I don’t really know. But over the last month or so, he’s pretty much exploded–in the form of a team record piercing home run performance. And you know someone’s gonna ask the question in the offseason if they haven’t already. They asked it of Barry Bonds after his performance–and, yes, he apparently was, they asked it of Mark McGuire after his performance–I don’t remember if he was or not, honestly, so yeah they’ll probably ask it of Bautista. Whether he was or not, it was a twice awesome run. And, while it’d be wicked cool if he did it without the roids, I can’t say I’ll be overly surprised when they ask if the answer’s yes. And who knows, maybe my record for actually watching the game will improve next year because of it. Hey, it could happen. In the meantime, playoffs or no, it was a hell of a run. And the team as a whole didn’t suck this year either. There’s hope for Toronto sports teams yet.

The best pitcher in baseball is perfect–just not in Toronto.

Back in December, the Bluejays’ best pitcher, possibly of all time, flew the coop. I wrote this entry about it then. No sooner does he leave the team does he put up the kind of game that’s only ever happened 19 other times in the history of the league–a perfect one. He was good with Toronto for years. He’s perfect in Philadelphia. And it couldn’t have happened to a better pitcher. Now if it’d just happened in Toronto.

They don’t win often, but they win big.

I’ve always sort of absentmindedly followed the Jays for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until around 1999 or 2000 that I started more consistently paying attention. And, admittedly, I didn’t do a whole lot of that last year. Now, though, I’m actually surprisingly glad I do.

Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista each hit two-run homers, and the Toronto Blue Jays avoided a three-game sweep with a 12-4 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. The major league leaders in home runs brought their team total to 76, and the Blue Jays established a season high for hits with 17.

They don’t win often, but when they win, they win big. That’s my team.

Okay, Bluejays, let’s play ball!

It’s the start of April. The official start of spring for any sports fan. And, the official start of the 2010 baseball season. There’s a crap ton of young bats turning loose on this team, and even more waiting in the wings. Will we make the playoffs this year? Not a clue. I’d be happy with doing better than last season, personally. And to welcome in the 2010 baseball season, as only a Jays fan can, have a theme song in video format. Okay, Bluejays, let’s play ball. And win something.

Zach who?

Until about 2 minutes ago, I had no clue who Zach Jackson was, in spite of the fact the Jays apparently drafted him in the supplemental round in 2004. Woopsies. Apparently Cleveland’s decided to send him back. Not saying he’ll be our new Halladay, but hey, one more top round arm can’t hurt. I’m just sayin’. Now if we could just find some more offense.

Roy leaves the Jays, but at least he took my advice.

He’d been threatening to do so according to a report or two for at least a month. Now, he’s done it. Roy Halladay, apparently effective as of this morning, is no longer a Bluejay. In a 3-way deal he ended up going to Philadelphia. On the bright side, we can still cheer for him without feeling dirty for also cheering for the Yankees or Redsox. I mentioned in response to someone’s comment last month that I’d much rather he find himself in the NL. Thank you so very much, Roy Halladay, for taking my advice. You may be too good for today’s Bluejays, but you’re way too good for those other two teams. We’ll miss ya, but at least we won’t have to curse ya.

Can’t fault the guy for trying.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a Jays fan. Have been at least in passing since the early 90’s. Have been a more hardcore fan starting in approximately 1999 or 2000. And with every year, and every game I’ve actually been able to sit down and watch, things seem to be progressively worse. The only constant, and that’s often times constantly above .500 for a given season–and way over .500 career–is the only guy on the team fans have collectively called by name since Joe. Roy Halladay, otherwise known as our better answer to Roger Clemens. He’s won as many as 20 games, and I don’t know that he’s ever actually lost more in a season than he’s won–I’m sure someone with a better head for Jays trivia than me will correct me. He continues to get better year by year, while the rest of the team progressively… well, does all kinds of not doing that. And now he’s thinking about leaving the nest. There were trade rumours all through last offseason, and even through part of this one. And they’re talking now about a possibility of him not signing with the Bluejays again once his contract’s up in 2010. Not that he can be blamed–the man deserves a world series win. Actually he’s deserved about 6, but if he gets at least 1 in his career it’ll be well earned. And, as aptly pointed out by the Jays’ new GM, he probably won’t get that as soon as he should with the Jays–the man’s not getting any younger here. So, if you’re really leaving us Roy, we’re gonna miss you. But if you find that world series start you deserve a shot at, I’ll be right there in front of the TV with a pizza and a coke or 3 to watch it. Just please, for the love of God, if you have any love for your fans at all, please don’t do it with the Yankees.

We just love to lose.

I’ve never actually lived in Toronto. Closest I’ve lived would be Barrie, which for those of you who haven’t been up that way is about an hour north. Beyond that, I’ve spent the last 5 or 6 years either in or around Ottawa and the valley. But still, I can’t help but keep on following Toronto’s sports teams. Well, some of them, anyway. And every year, I notice a lot of the same trends–even among sports teams in Toronto I don’t actually follow.

The Leafs, God help them, haven’t won a Stanley cup since around the same time my mother was born. They haven’t seen a playoff round since 2003-2004. The Bluejays haven’t won a world series, or been to the playoffs, since I was 10. The Raptors have made the playoffs a grand total of… twice? Maybe three times? And they haven’t really done a whole lot with that. And the Argos–well, let’s just not talk about the Argos. Now, granted I only follow two of the four teams listed, but let’s have a look at all four of them anyway. They post losing seasons. In some cases, downright depressing seasons. I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when the Bluejays ended their 2009 season on a very pathetic whimper. And they still fill the seats. If this were Ottawa, or New York, or–yes, even the money-bleeding Phoenix Coyotes, the majority of the arena would be empty. So what makes Toronto fans so different?

I can only speculate at this point, but speculate I will. To put it rather plainly, we love to lose. We don’t go there expecting a W. We buy that baseball ticket, or rush home to watch that hockey game on TV, because the Bluejays play a 3-game set with the Yankees. Or because the Leafs and Canadians are on Hockey Night in Canada. And we enjoy every damn minute of it. We even love to boo the bad guys.

So yes, sure, bring on the Hockey Night in Canada. Bring on the toronto versus Ottawa. Bring on the Bluejays versus Yankees. Because at the end of the day, the score’s probably going to wind up coming up as something like 7 6 after a shootout. And let me tell you, if we have to lose, losing can’t get much more exciting than a game like that. We love to lose. You’re damn right.

Forget soccer and football, let’s see some baseball!

Ottawa’s city council is once again being approached by two major developers regarding the building of a new sports arena. One wants to bring a soccer team to Ottawa, the other wants yet a third crack at football. I do have to wonder, though, has anyone ever considered the possibility of a MLB arena in Ottawa? Yes, we had the lynx for a time. One problem, though. They were Montreal’s minor league team, and Montreal is now in Washington. So why not? We have the toronto versus Ottawa rivalry in hockey, and it’s awesome as hell. As much as I rag on Ottawa fans for being Ottawa fans (hey, what can I say? Your team’s falling apart at the seems), they do provide a wicked provincial battle. Why can’t we have the same thing going on in baseball? Who knows? I might even cheer for *that* team rather than toronto. Although you’ll never see me doing that where hockey’s concerned. Sorry, folks.

A little baseball with your booze?

Tonight’s Toronto versus Detroit baseball game is apparently going to be a very dry one. At least on the alcohol front. Folks got a little too rough and loud during last night’s game, so the alcohol and gaming commission suspended the stadium’s license to serve alcohol for 3 games as a result. Woops. Too much pass-time goin’ on with Canada’s second favourite pass-time. In other slightly related news, my poor team is losing. Granted, it’s only by a run, but… ow. Just ow.

Writer’s Block: Dream Job

I’ve actually had several, but the one I think I’d of most liked to get into if I was able to would be to manage a sports team. Ideally, hockey or baseball, but just something to do with that aspect of life. Something to be said for actually having a say in the potential outcome of the game. Yes, I love watching both hockey *and* baseball. But I think I’d like to actually be behind the scenes, of sorts, for a pro team. I know there are several things I’d of done differently last season if I were managing my baseball team of choice. A couple players I’d of not bothered signing, a few players I’d of tried a touch harder to get. Oh, and I’d of ripped out 3/4 of their current starting rotation. Perhaps that’s why I’ve kind of been drawn to simulated baseball games like the previously mentioned Sim Dynasty…