As the days of exciting news start to slow to a trickle and we crawl closer to the start of spring training and the highly anticipated 2013 Toronto Blue Jays baseball season, the organization appears to be following the trend of their off-season and previous pre-season by going all-out on the offensive during the least appreciated season on the baseball calendar: PR season.
The Winter Tour has already started kicking up dust with clinics in the Rog Mahal and an insanely popular visit to a mall in Winnipeg, and to cap it off the team announced earlier this week that Cy Young winning off-season addition R.A. Dickey will be introduced to the fans and media today at 4pm EST via live press conference.
The Toronto “baseball” media (re: national columnists that have nothing to do until
the lockout ends Luongo gets traded) are going to come together to ask questions to the new ace and our GM, and luckily I’ve seen enough of these to know what we’re going to get once the cameras come on and the talkers start talking. Here’s a handy guide of what to expect at today’s R.A. Dickey introduction if you’d like to follow along and check them off while watching, or plan to ignore the presser all together and trust that you’ll learn just as much by reading this.
Discussion about how great of a city Toronto is: Toronto is a funny little animal. The object of scorn from the rest of the country, Torontonians can occasionally be heard wondering aloud what drives the ‘inferiority complex’ that they assume is fueling the animosity towards them from people that live anywhere west of Burlington. If Torontonians really want to know what it feels like to be the rest of the country, they only need to watch what happens to themselves when somebody from the USA mentions the city directly. The series of questions to Dickey about the city may be phrased in terms of entertainment and familial comfort, but what they really sound like is: “It’s great here, you think it’s great here, right? Americans like it here, they always talk about how cool we are, right? Toronto is just like an American city, but it’s also like Europe, right? It’s not that different from New York, right?”
Softball questions about age: The weekend days that got swallowed whole while we all waited for the trade to be official revealed quite a bit about a lot of people, including a lot repeated questions and doubts about R.A. Dickey’s age and ability to sustain his level of performance. Rest assured, this is an opportunity for a beat writer to lead the Dickster into saying something clever about not feeling as old as he is, age being nothing but a number, or make reference to aging being something that catches up to all of us, and everyone there will relate to it and laugh along. Because aging sucks. Am I right, every living thing on the planet?
Questions about Dickey’s past: I fully expect the Toronto media to do the best they can to get R.A. Dickey to like them. By all accounts from the New York media, Dickey is a thoughtful, kind gentleman who is a joy to cover and work with. If it’s cool in New York, you can count on Toronto to learn about it roughly 2 years later and try as hard as it can to do whatever New York did without any effort. The R.A. Dickey story was a great read, fun to follow, and really helped propel his popularity in the Big Apple in the last few years, so get ready for Canada’s Best Sportswriters to smell that George Gross Award and repeat the whole tale for as long as it takes for them to get invited to the Algonquin Roundtable on Prime Time Sports.
Softball questions about team expectations: Somebody (Barry Davis) is going to really hang their balls out there and ask Dickey what he thinks about the team’s chances in the AL East after the big off-season. He will do this because they need a sound clip of Dickey sounding positive for promotional stuff and quick headline sound bytes, because come on. What do you expect him to say? “I think, given the moves we’ve made, there’s a very good chance we fall short of expectations and finish 3rd behind Tampa.” No, he’s going to say that the pieces are in place for something special, and I bet he also re-hashes the ‘We might need nametags’ joke he added to his goodbye piece in the New York Daily News.
A really hard-hitting question that is tough to answer: Hahaha just kidding.
Feel good photo-ops: R.A. Dickey is going to hold up a jersey with his name and number on it, and Alex Anthopolous will be there too, laughing and smiling. No joke in this paragraph, guys.
Dickey Face: Speaking of photos, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get a nice look at some Dickey Face today. If you don’t know what Dickey Face is, go ahead and google it right now or just click here. Evidently, the guy can’t go more than a half hour without making a hilarious face of some sort. I, for one, welcome this tremendous photoshopping opportunity. Look, I found one where he reminded me of a fish:
At least one very good question: While writing this, I received word that the editor of Getting Blanked will be in attendance. As such, you can expect one very good question. If you aren’t sure which question is Drew’s, be sure to watch the whole thing and whichever question sounded the smartest was his. (Note to editor: Is this paragraph ball-washy enough? Let me know. I got my blogging paycheck today so the first round of caviar baths are on me. Delete this when you’re done.)
Alex Anthopolous playing your heartstrings like a fiddle: I’m convinced that ol’ AA has a secret twitter account (probably disguised as a parody of himself, no doubt) and occasionally trolls our conversations to understand us a little better and know what to feed to the media to get us to love him. He’s going to talk about the competitive window of opportunity and about ‘going for it’ and make us all feel warm and eager to spend money on the on-field product.
Hope: More than anything, this press conference is going to remind you that you’re supposed to get your hopes up this season. Are your hopes high? Well get them higher, because R.A. Goddamn Dickey is in town. Go buy a jersey for God’s sake. And buy a flex pack. Get your kids excited about baseball. Don’t forget, you promised in December that you wouldn’t care about hockey when it came back, so you may as well tell your boss you’re busy in October because you’ve got some playoff tickets to reserve, buddy.
There you have it, friends. If you decide this isn’t quite enough for you and plan on actually watching the presser, make sure to check back in here to dissect every minute of it. We can all gush together!