The Jays’ season ticket holders’ event, dubbed the State Of The Franchise, took place last night, and if you don’t follow me on Twitter, you probably have no clue what I thought of the deal, seeing as I, apparently, have no earthly idea how to properly use CoverItLive, meaning the little live tweet window I setup in the post below hit whatever capacity limit they have in a matter of minutes.

Not that my thoughts matter anyway– the only things you couldn’t have got elsewhere were a bunch of half-jokes and typos– but apologies for that not going as smoothly as I’d hoped.

Or… well, OK, maybe this one thought kinda matters:

Seriously. I know a lot of people really didn’t like him much the first time– though you wouldn’t have known it from the crowd’s reaction– but for me, having John Gibbons, who was in the house last night, back with the club is genuinely almost as awesome as the thought of actually getting to watch R.A. Dickey work his magic, up close, once every five days. This honestly can’t be stated enough.

I can’t say I feel the same way about the club’s latest retread, though. New radio broadcaster Jack Morris was in attendance as well, and he addressed the crowd after an introduction that lavished him with accolades, including– amazingly– the fact that he sports a career 3.90 ERA, which I’m sure they would have also pointed out is literally a half run higher than the next-worst full time starter to have ever been elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, if… y’know… they’d had time.

But on stage on this night Morris wasn’t nearly as offensive as just about anybody who had the misfortune of running into him during his playing days will tell you– I have no idea what he even said, to be honest– and neither were any of the answers to the pre-screened questions fielded by Gibbons, Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos– save perhaps Paul Beeston’s bizarre defence of his buddy Bud’s scheme to make the All-Star Game meaningful, and the idea put forth by Buck Martinez (that the winning league determines whether the DH is used in the World Series at all or not) that would make it even worse.

Beeston said the goal is to bring grass into the Rogers Centre from March through October, Gibbons said he wants Morrow to follow Dickey in the rotation and Romero to be the five, Martinez pretended that the club landed veteran scrub Mark DeRosa, and Anthopoulos said the only competitions at camp will be at second base, backup catcher, and for the last spots in the bullpen.

Thanks to the scripted questions, that was really about it, as far as newsworthiness goes– unless you really want to count Beeston’s admission that it’s likely ticket prices will eventually go up as a shocker– with the rest of the event being essentially a beer- and food-fuelled love-fest on a much more packed Rogers Centre concourse than last year’s.

At least, I think that’s how the rest of it went down. The beer flowed like wine, I tell you what.

Shit, fans were still so over the moon about what transpired this winter that even the predetermined question thing– and the absence of the freewheelin’ Paul Beeston that it caused– didn’t really cause a stir. In fact, with the Melky Cabrera stuff that’s been in the news lately, I can almost not blame them for doing it. And Anthopoulos did field a question about Cabrera’s presence on the roster, and his PED usage– albeit one that oddly included R.A. Dickey’s age among the griping, which set Alex up for a perfect laugh line that softened the room, which I’m sure was totally not why that particular version of the Melky question was selected. *COUGH*

But credit to Anthopoulos, as he went straight to the nut of the issue, explaining “he’ll help us win games,” before veering off into what’s become his normal spiel about second chances. I mean… who could complain?

Can’t complain about this, either:

Right? Sure. That sounds cool. Fuck, everything sounds pretty damn cool when you’re plied with free beer and thoughts of a winning team pushing attendance up by maybe as much as a million. So… yeah. It was a pretty good night. Nice to meet and reconnect with some people from the interwebs, too. Which… I think I did. Didn’t I?

Comments (85)

  1. Opening up Windows sounds awesome, although I’m not sure how exactly you would walk through it casually, given that its not on a level where there are normal seats.

    • So when I personalize my jersey for this year with GRASS where the name goes, should I use the number 14 or 15?

      • Dont think it matters, but you might get the rubber glove at the gate lol

      • Use 420 and it’ll stay relevant forever. lol

        • make it a pattys day green version too…….man, almost want one for myself

          Will put 13 on it though, for a little BC flavour lol

        • haha, funny enough this year April 20th is a home game vs Yankees, on a Saturday, 1:07 start, sooooooo 4:20 on 4/20 could still be playing. Might be a perfect opportunity for a little Pro-Grass statement at the ole ballgame.

          but really, I hope the grass talk gets super serious; with constant pressure from fans I think they will have to respond. This is not the civil engineering problem of the century we are talking about. Grass grows in football stadiums of northern England year round like in Newcastle and Sunderland (with full on crap weather). And, Newcastle is partially covered.

          The grow lighting company ESSG helped Newcastle with their field (from their website):

          Newcastle United: The Magpies were always known for having one of the worst pitches in the Premier League, because of the unfavorable growing conditions at St. James Park. Multiple returfings during the season were often inevitable and Newcastle were one of the first in the UK to start using the SGL Concept. They have since then managed to keep a good quality surface throughout the season and save substantial money on returfing.

          GO GRASS 2014 (OR LAST RESORT 2015, BUT THAT IS IT)

          • Grass will not arrive in the dome because of pressure from the fans.
            We matter, but only a little bit.

            The real impetus is $22m to Reyes, $16m to Bautusta, $10m to EE, a healthy raise for Lawrie etc. It is about protecting assets and enhancing the ability to attract free agents.

            Best bet is that the Argos modify and move into the Pan Am stadium near York U.
            Were I a betting man, I’d bet on grass in the dome for the 2016 season, though it could come earlier if the Argos land elsewhere, eg. if the Varsity stadium area idea ever got revived.

        • If forever is older than 16 then you’re right.

  2. Good summary. was sure a different place than the last 3 years! couldn’t help but feel the excitement. and with half the Skydome lights off and half on, it felt like our own private Superbowl.

    Jack morris was a dick to anyone who talked to him. If you’re that bad on your first day on the job at a season ticket event, it doesn’t bode well. anyway fuck him.

    The ERA gripe is pointless. Pitchers have one job to do, and thats win games, regardless of 4-0 or 7-6. JM won games. He won regular season games and he won playoff games. He has a ring. He produced the result he was paid to do.

    • Ridiculous.

      Morris was a decent pitcher on some very good teams, yes.

      • and now he’s a shitty broadcaster for a very good (we hope) team. yay!

      • You realize we’ve all already disregarded this moron’s comment, you dont need to even dignify it with a response.

      • I would fall off my chair laughing if some stat-geek could run some sort of correlation matrix on when Morris gave up runs and determine that it was COMPLETELY random and shows no sign that he could “turn it up” magically when needed.

        It is such a flawed argument. Wouldn’t batters also be able to turn it up, negating the benefit?

        • That research has been done….
          Fucked if I can find the link though…Fangraphs probably.

          • Fuck me. I can’t find that article either. But I do indeed remember it being written. Completely random; he had no clutchiness.

    • And since we discovered long ago that pitcher wins are one of the worst ways to evaluate a pitchers effectiveness it stands to reason that your assertion is absolute hogwash.

      Lazy analysis by supposed baseball experts who can’t be bothered to do a little bit of reading is getting so tired already.

      • Let me guess….Morris would stop trying when his team was up 7-0 and start trying again once the opposition put 4 or so runs on the board??

    • Wasn’t Morris so bad in 1993 that he wasn’t even included on the Postseason roster? I was only 5 so I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I read and suggests he was anything but a key piece in winning the second World Series.

      • No, Morris pitched G1 and G5 of the world series that year. Was losing pitcher in both games. He also started two games in the ALCS that year and was terrible in both starts. In fact, the second game he pitched in the ALCS was the one where Alomar hit the dinger off Eck in the 9th to tie the game 6-6. If not for that, Morris would have been 0-4 in the playoffs.

        • just realized you were talking about ’93…and yes, you are correct. He was awful, but I think his season ended because of an injury, and not because they chose to keep him off the roster.

          • As I recall it, Jack spent the end of ’93 back at his ranch in Montana nursing a horrible case of right-arm shittiness.

    • Or rather, Alomar, Molitor, and AL batting champion John Olerud (doing his best David Cooper impression, of course) “produced the result he was paid to do.”

    • Can you give some examples of how Morris was a dick?

      • Who cares if he is a dick. Half of our collective baseball heroes are dicks. Being a dick is what gets you to become a dick. If you are not a dick in baseball, you are not trying.

        • John Olerud was not a dick. Pretty sure he tried. Same could be said for lots of guys.

          • Ask his neighbours and you will get the following answer ” He’s a Dick”

          • Your right, but that hat/helmet thing always made me laugh.

            Miss the good days, dont really feel the same about the players we have today, but with so many new ones, maybe that will change. My last real fav Bluejay was Shannon Stewart, he seemed like a good guy. Anyone know if my last hero ball player was a dick?

          • Olerud might fall into the not a dick category. But I hear that his brother in law is a dick.

        • Well, there’s being a dick, and then there’s being so much of a dick that you can’t be bothered trying to seem like you’re not a dick.

    • Pitchers don’t win games. Teams win games. That’s why the flags say Toronto Blue Jays World Series Champions, not the Toronto Jack Morriseseseses.

  3. I kind of wish Beeston would’ve went into the other improvements they’re working on about the Rogers Centre. He seemed kind of vague about what was happening with Windows, but at least it’s a good start.

  4. Did they mention a timeline for grass? I know a Rogers communications guy last week (on PTS) mentioned 2015.

    • Beeston said possibly 2014, but he was pushing for 2015.

    • Sounds like the season after they find a new place for the Argos to play.

      They weren’t specific on what year that will be, but there are various options that would have specific years attached to them.

  5. Reconnect…is that what the kids are calling it these days?

  6. Good summary. Actually, when Beeston said during the Q&A that the windows were to be removed from the restaurant, I looked up and the windows were already gone, only the framing remained. Hopefully they’ll be able to remove the window frames too. I wonder how popular that walk will be once the novelty wears off, though.

    • I hope they find the space for a giant multi-coloured monstrosity that spouts water and flashes lights whenever a homerun is hit.
      Or since our team mascot is a bird maybe it could drop birdshit on the heads of those douchebags who sit behind homeplate and talk on their cell phones all game long.

  7. If I remember correctly,last year was the first year the Jays invited the bloggers who had higher profile sites.
    Was there a larger representation of bloggers this year ?

    • Definitely not larger. There were bloggers invited, though. Don’t think they can put that back in the bag without a lot of outcry.

      • I agree that they can’t go backwards,nor should they.
        I was curious because of they seem to acknowledge the relevance of the blogs and their emerging importance to the fan base.

  8. How’s it pointless when you’re being considered for the Hall of Fame? Morris would not have won nearly as many games if he had spent his career with the Pirates and the Padres.

  9. So in 2013 we’ll have the overconfident douchy Jack Morris as he tries to talk his way into the Hall of Fame one last time.

    Then in 2014 we’ll have the depressed, bitter, shell of a man Jack Morris as he whines and complains about how the nerds tarnished his career and kept him out of the Hall.

    Should be a great ride!

    • Or…….maybe he will be the best the Fan has ever had! Glass is half full.

      And who would you guys have put in there if not him?

      • Pretty much everyone familiar with Jack Morris’s commentary has bashed him. The common man ripped into him pretty good and he’s pretty well respected as far as bloggers go

        • Hey, not stomping for him or anything, just saying, open minds her people. And has anyone even been complete satisfied with the commentators?

  10. Should of traded for Dave Van Horne.

  11. When does the podcast start back up
    Enjoyed your coverage of the event

  12. That’s awesome about Windows. Didn’t know about that.

  13. OK, so what does Bud want to do with the All-Star game? Can somebody fill me in I’m sure it’s good for a laugh.

    • Nothing. Someone asked whether or not they should even have interleague any more, and if they simply have to, could they make it so that the league with the better record gets home field advantage in the World Series. Beeston replied that with 15 teams in each league now, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid interleague play. And he defended the idea that the winner of the all-star game gets home field advantage so as to make the all-star game “more than an exhibition.”

  14. Anywhere else other than I can watch the video? I am blocked being in the States.

  15. I get that Jack Morris may not be the best broadcaster, or that he is perceived to be stuck in a time warp, but honestly, I have no not heard him call a game so I am going in with open ears and mind. The Jack Morris I see in this clips is just fine; the LeBatard interview impressed me – he was thoughtful about his relationship with fans, had some comic timing, was personable.

    How can it hurt having a guy with 4 World Series rings around a team that is gunning for the even the playoffs for the first time in 20 years? If Josh Johnson and Dickey and Morrow and Romero (and maybe even Buehrle but he at least has his own) get a little motivation because Jack is around, it will be worth having to listen to someone who has a take on the game that may not be an exact copy of the one I or the supposed new generation of fans have. (And, Jack last called a game in 2011, maybe he has changed because of his unceremonious departure from Minny).

    Anyway, the LeBatard interview:

  16. Jack Morris hasn’t uttered a word on a broadcast yet, but Cretin’s Corner is already whining. Get out to a game, buy a ticket – you won’t have to whine about broadcasters. Only cretins think baseball is a television program and complain about the TV host.

    • cretins? really? People have a right to complain about broadcasters, they have a major impact on one’s enjoyment of a game and not everyone lives in the GTA and can go to every single home game. So I really don’t understand your point.

    • Not my post. I watch most of the games on tv so Morris won’t affect me as much.

      Will dirk hayhurst be back on the lunchtime show?

    • Some of us live outside of the GTA, so radio broadcasts are all we get.

  17. was there any mention of farrell sucking it?

    • Buck only brought the little binder with him.

      There was another binder, hidden from view, that had to be brought in via forklift. They contained thousands of emails and questions from many season ticket holders. The pretty much all said the same thing. SUCK IT FARRELL.

    • Was the question about one’s ability to tag someone raised?

  18. here you go bitches the case for Jack Morris by one of your own

    awaits the typical death defying insult from the creampies sucking off Bill James

    • Really good article…

      Morris is still not a HALL OF FAMER…

    • Thanks for the link.
      Interesting reading about Stieb.
      And the WAR stat.

    • Interesting read. The one thing that didn’t get touched on too much is the run support difference. I was watching games and it seemed that every second one Stieb would pitch well and have no run support. That’s why his win totals are down. I would like to see how that was accounted for.

  19. Watched the stream later in the evening. I didn’t like the canned questions, but whatever. Great news about grass, and good on the Jays for helping the Argos get their own home and not just kicking them to the curb, which is how it should be (and as I’ve said before, I’m a huge Argos fan but they need to get the fuck out of Rogers Centre).

    The Windows thing sounds like a really cool idea. I still would like to see them use Windows for a Blue Jays Hall of Fame, or some display of franchise history. If they are opening it up as a public area some Jays history in there might enhance it even more. I’m just really glad that they are trying to make it a real ballpark and ditch the multi-purpose stadium, even if it will take a few years to really make the transition. Fuck, just skip spring training and let’s play baseball already!

  20. I”m just glad Wilner is not in the picture for a job.

    • Why, because he doesn’t put up with stupid comments?

    • Another fake post. Get your own name. I think Wilner is happy with his Jays Talk & twitter responses during the game.

      He may have wanted the excitement of being a play by play caller, but don’t most broadcast crews have at least 1 former MLB player?

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