Inching towards mediocrity.


The Red Sox are very sore losers. (Now with 62% more bitchin’ about Boston!)

(Edit – Sweet gravy Jesus! Halladay nailed David Ortiz in the second inning! I did NOT think the Doc had it in him! Way to go, Roy!)

Well.

Excellent game last night. The Jays offense was on fire (as it has been for most of September – I like to pretend it’s June!) and they continued to take their newfound role of Wild Card spoiler very seriously. Unfortunately, thanks to the Texas Rangers losing to the Angels last night, it was all for not.

Still, it was nice to see the Jays finally beat the Sox at Fenway this year (twice in a row, no less!), and they did it in impeccable style. (Stylish up until the bullpen almost blew the game in the eighth, allowing the Sox to rally to a 8-7 deficit.) Toronto now leads the American League in home runs this month, and they made sure to add to that tally tonight. The Jays knocked it out of the park six times – Jose Bautista, Kevin Millar and Aaron Hill all went yard, with the ever reliable Adam Lind adding three (count them! Three!) of his own, a career best for him.

Lind’s incredible achievement was short lived though, when in the ninth inning the Red Sox once again proved to be one of the dirtiest and cheapest teams in the MLB – sore losers who act out and throw temper tantrums when things don’t go their way, and when they find out that they ain’t all that. After retiring Bautista and Hill, Boston’s closer Jon Papelbon apparently decided that Adam Lind didn’t deserve his shot at a fourth home run, and proceeded to – on the FIRST PITCH, mind you – launch an inside fastball at Lind, painfully drilling him on his right elbow. Lind dropped to all fours, grimacing in pain, but managed to stay in the game, trotting over to first. Better luck next time, Papelbon!

Vernon Wells hit next, and I wanted nothing more than to see V-Dub drop one over the Green Monster, or better yet, knock a line drive into the front of Papelbon’s skull. Alas, it was not to be, and Vernon predictably popped out. Jason Frasor was closing for the Jays, and managed to not only clean up reliever Shawn Camp’s mess from the eighth inning, but shut down the Sox for good in the bottom of the ninth – ending the game with a strike-out on Red Sox meathead Kevin Youkilis. This allowed rookie Ricky Romero, our starter this evening, to finally pick up his first career win against Boston.

I gotta say though, it’s frustrating to see our guys get hit so much this season. The Red Sox and the Yankees have been particularly nasty with this. It’s dirty, pathetic, and just not good baseball.

Now to be a hippocrite for a second, if I may.

The worst part is, we don’t retaliate! They keep doing it because they keep getting away with it! Papelbon attacks Lind tonight, and we barely even get a hissy fit from our manager, Cito Gaston! Show some passion, Cito! Don’t have a kindly discussion with the umpire…get all up in his face, yo! Sure, maybe you’ll get kicked out, but you’ll rally your team and at least look like you give a damn!

Unfortunately though, like all bullies, the Sox and the Yankees can dish it out but they can’t take it. When we finally did retaliate, as we did in New York a few weeks ago, they throw temper tantrums. And Jesse Carlson didn’t even bean Jorge Posada; he just threw AROUND him, as a warning. And still, the Yankees act as though they’re the ones being mistreated.

Again, I do not condone hitting batters in baseball. Nor do I condone fighting in baseball. But I don’t condone bullying, either, and sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself to get that message through that THIS HAS TO STOP. And this is the perfect time, too. The season is over for us…we have like, what? Four games left? Let the benches clearing brawls begin! Suspensions? Injuries? We’ve got nothing to lose!

But the Red Sox sure do.

Now, while I think it’s totally beneath him and not even remotely in his character, nor his game plan, I gotta say this. You wanna send a message? Tonight, have Roy Halladay knock out one of the Sox (preferably Dustin Pedroia or Youkilis), and then have him just stare them down with that scary laser beam he’s-not-thinking-about-anything-other-than-baseball-at-this-moment-and-that-includes-his-family-or-even-his-own-survival-at-this-or-any-point-within-the-next-nine-innings stare to REALLY drive home the message. Why would a hit from Halladay especially be effective? Because Halladay DOESN’T MISS. If you get beaned by him, you damn well know he meant to do it. And it’s completely unexpected, too, as Halladay has too much respect for the game and the other players to ever lower himself to that level. Which, sadly, is exactly why I DON’T want him to go that route.

But man, would it ever be sweet if he did.

(Or hell…let Roy have his seven innings or whatever, and then get League to drill Veritek or something.)



Weekend Wrap-Up

Well.

Hell of a series in Toronto this weekend! The Blue Jays and the visiting New York Yankees battled back and forth, each winning two games in this four game series. It was an impressive showing from both teams, but especially from the beleaguered Blue Jays – at this point ANY win is a good win for the club, and two wins against the best team in the Majors? Not bad at all.

Too bad it’s September.

At times, even I get a little bit confused as to why I still care so much. Loyalty to a team is one thing, but at this point, in this season, there’s very little to hang on to – except maybe finishing strong, preferably over .500. I just happen to like these guys, and love to see them do well, even this late in a go-nowhere season. Roy Halladay pitched a one-hitter agains the Bronx Bombers on Friday, allowing the Jays a 6-0 win, his 14th of the season. Does it matter? Not really – but it matters to Halladay’s stats, and it’s a helluva lot of fun to watch.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: while the Jays are clearly out of contention for this year, and maybe even for next year, I still remain eternally hopeful. The pieces are certainly there. Halladay remains one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. Aaron Hill had a break-out year at 2nd base, making the All-Star roster and hitting over 30 home-runs. Adam Lind has turned into a fantastic batter, posting an average above .300 and hitting almost 30 homers himself. Marco Scutaro had a break-year as well, becoming one of the most delightful short-stops in baseball, with a respectable batting average. Rod Barajas is a nice clutch hitter. Ricky Romero looks to be on his way to becoming an amazing starting pitcher himself, Jason Frasor a respectable closer. Randy Ruiz, a career minor leaguer, has brought a huge bat to the lineup. Even the perpetually slumping Vernon Wells has shown us that he still has the stuff in the outfield, making some truly spectacular catches. And John McDonald continues to be just all around amazing.

Will we see October baseball next year? Doubtful. But if the pieces in our lineup manage to come together into a cohesive whole, we may at least see some Wild Card spot action. Not the actual spot, mind you – just the fun of vying for it. We’re in a tough division; the Yankees and the Red Sox are consistently dominant, and the Rays seem to want it a lot more than we do.

Regardless, I’m going to keep watching this lost season. And I’ll be back NEXT season, and the season after that.

Not matter where we are in the standings.