Inching towards mediocrity.


Silver Sluggers. (Now with 88% less Robinson Cano!)

Aaron Hill and Adam Lind

Well.

Quick baseball related interlude here, and then we’ll return you to your regularly scheduled “24-centric” programming.

The MLB handed out their annual Golden Glove and Silver Slugger awards, and while the Blue Jays were shut out in defense, they made a big impact in offense.

Only three teams in the entire MLB had multiple recipients of Silver Slugger awards – The New York Yankees (World Series Champions), the LA Dodgers (National League West Champions) and the Toronto Blue Jays (American League East Fourth Place Champions.)

Aaron Hill, our All-Star second basemen, and Adam Lind our All-Star-in-our-hearts designated hitter, each brought home the award.

Congratulations, boys, and hopefully these two will remain the faces of the franchise for a long time – something we’ll definitely need after we inevitably trade Halladay.

Edit:

Huh. It seems that this just happens to be my 32nd blog post.

Roy Halladay’s number.

GUESS HE’S STAYING AFTER ALL, FOLKS.

Please don’t quote me on that.



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.)



Another weekend wrap-up. (now with 39% more babbling!)

Well.

Another great series in Toronto this weekend – the Jays managed to win three out of four against the Seattle Mariners, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind continued to be awesome, and Roy Halladay was, well, Roy Halladay.

The Doc played his last home gameĀ  of the season on Friday (and, maybe forever), and the Doc was , of course, outstanding.

Nine complete innings pitched? Check. Nine strikeouts? Check. No walks? Check. How many runs does that add up to for Seattle?

None.

Yep, Roy pitched a complete game shut-out, securing his sixteenth win of the season – a five nothing victory for the Jays.

It was a beautiful performance that became all to poignant by the ninth inning, when Halladay returned to the mound to finish what he started. The crowd was on his feet after he left during the eighth; and they stayed that way through most of the ninth. Poignant, because this was his last game at home this season. Even more poignant, because the folks at Rogers have drilled it into our heads that this might be his last game pitching in Toronto as a Blue Jay EVER.

Now, I can’t say for sure whether or not this is true. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it is.) The fact is, I’m tired of hearing about it. Especially from the good folks at Rogers Sportsnet. It was pretty damn embarrassing to see Halladay pitch such a magnificent game only to have Sam Cosentino start asking him more trade questions afterwards.

Give it a rest! Please! He doesn’t want to talk about it – I don’t blame him!

And right now…THERE’S NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT.

Yikes.

So. Regardless of the continual Halladay trade fumbling by both the media and the damn Blue Jays management…it was a pretty fun weekend to be a Jays fan.

I even went to Saturday’s game to bid farewell for the season. And, in doing so, had the pleasure of watching Adam Lind knock two out of the park.

(Incidentally, the Jays have more home runs this month than any other team in the American League. Coulda used those numbers in July.)

I seem to have gone out of my way to make these wrap-up posts as incoherently rambling as possible. I’d say the best way to end this post is abruptly.

(and that’s what I did.)



Over the Hill

Well.

Great game last night between the respective fourth and fifth place teams in the American League East – our Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles.

It was a good game to be sure – multiple home runs from third basemen Edwin Encarnacion, leading a rally in the eighth to take the game into extra innings.

But the real story here was second basemen Aaron Hill’s 99th, and then 100th, RBI of the season – a career high for the first time All-Star.

Hill’s 99th RBI came courtesy of a solo home run in the third inning – which was quickly followed by a second solo shot from Encarnacian, tying the game at 2.

The Orioles reclaimed the lead, 5-2, and it didn’t look like the Jays were going to mount much of a comeback. However, a two-run homer from Encarnacion in the eighth, followed by a bases-loaded-hit-by-a-pitch-walk-off-Jose-Bautista (there has GOT to be a better way to say that), tied the game and extended it into the tenth inning, after the Jays failed to bring anymore men home.

The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the 11th – when Aaron Hill’s walk off double scored Bautista, notched Hill’s 100th RBI, and won the game in suitably dramatic fashion.

The Jays have not been great this season when it comes to extra inning games, walk off wins, or comebacks. But thanks to the ever reliable Mr. Hill, they were able to pull it off, certifying a sweep against Baltimore this series, and certifying Aaron’s reputation as a prominent, and hopefully long-lasting, cornerstone of this team.



Is there a doctor in the house?

(Editor’s Note: I had meant to publish this blog much earlier, but in my haste, hit “save draft” instead of “publish”. On the one hand, I was lucky; it saved my draft. On the other hand, it didn’t publish. Fate is indeed a fickle thing.)

Well.

Next season marks the end of Roy Halladay’s contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. At the end of the 2010 season, he will be a free agent; this means, if another team wants him (and they will), and if he wants to go (and he will), he can. And will. And, let’s face it – probably should. He is one of the best pitchers the MLB has ever produced: controlled, fiercely competitive, and deadly serious about the game of baseball and his role within it. He has spent his entire career with the Blue Jays. He has never won a World Series, and with this team on it’s current course (they swear they have a plan, but they don’t) he probably never will. He is 32 years old, and he deserves to play in October more than anybody.

Now. With that out of the way, let me tell you why I believe Roy should stay.

The main reason is fairly simple. In Toronto, Roy is a pitcher. A baseball player. If he were to go to an American team, and especially a big team like the Yankees or the Red Sox, he would be a celebrity. Doesn’t sound too bad – except he would come under a lot more scrutiny, both personally and professionally. Everything he did, good or bad, would be under the microscope. In Toronto, A.J. Burnett was a solid number two starting pitcher, and a successor to Halladay. In New York, he’s still a solid number three man, and having a decent enough year – but his high pay check and somewhat inconsistent season is getting a lot of attention. And not good attention, either.

Secondly, Halladay is currently the face of the franchise. With Vernon Wells not playing up to par, and Alex Rios traded to the White Sox, Roy is our guy. He’s the veteran, and the unofficial team leader. A celebrity, sure, but not in a bad way. Just sort of the go-to-guy if we ever need anything good to say about the team.

And lastly, he’s playing for more than just himself, and even more than just the Blue Jays. As I said, he is the face of the franchise – the only one currently in Canada. If, by some miracle, we do make the playoffs anytime soon, Roy won’t be playing just for the Blue Jays, or even Toronto. He’ll be playing (and hopefully winning) for a damn country.

Something to think about, anyways.

Oh, and his wife loves Toronto. And I’ve seen Brandy Halladay – you really want to lock that down. At age 32, Roy might be looking at the most comfortable way to continue his career. And this might just be it.

That competitive edge, though…he wants to win, needs to win, and should win.

But he’s loyal, and promised to see how the team was doing in 2010 before making any major decisions. Whether the earlier trade debacle this year will have any effect on that outlook remains to be seen. The important thing is, Roy Halladay is a Blue Jay for at least one more season.

And, if the rest of the team manages to step up to his level, hopefully many more after that.