It’s a rainy day here in Dunedin, but from the friendly voice of Carol, who I can hear doing the lord’s work– fielding calls from fans unsure about today’s start– from outside where I am, in the Media Conference Room in Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, today’s spring tilt against Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau (both of whom are supposedly coming), and the rest of the Minnesota Twins is really going to take place. I’m surprised to be writing that, given some of the gale force winds and thick bouts of rain I’ve already seen, but who am I to question Carol?

What else have I seen? Not a whole lot. Jose Bautista had a lengthy talk with Japan’s NHK about his Sadaharu Oh-like swing, while Jose Reyes recorded promos for various broadcasts in the background (with Trevor Cole of Toronto Life coolly leaning against the wall in the fashion of someone working for Toronto Life). A large players– and Gibbers!– have passed back and forth in front of me, but that’s really about it. Not that I’m complaining. I’m just here to take a few pictures– now redundant, thanks to the excellent work of Getty Images and Al Messerschmidt– and to try to blend into the background and hope most people forget the first five years of this blog. Ha! Oh, and I’ve also seen a whole lot of media folk– and probably team personnel, too– who wouldn’t be nearly as upset as I would if there’s a cancellation.

Anywho… on to some links as we wait to see whether this rain will clear and whether my trip across the state has been entirely in vain…

Touching stuff from Spink Award winner Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, as he remembers Tom Cheek, who this year will join him in the Hall of Fame’s writers and broadcasters wing, as the winner of the Ford C. Frick award. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in the midst of all these guys here at the moment– it really is great.

Shithearts take heed: Chris Jones does some WRITING about J.P. Arencibia and his apparently jock-less quest to catch R.A. Dickey at

Speaking of, Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press, via Global Toronto, writes that the Jays will wait until after the Jussell Martin Baseball Quintessential to decide who will be Dickey’s catcher. Arencibia, of course, caught him over the winter in Nashville, where they both reside (and, again, did so while not wearing a cup, apparently), and will be with him on Team USA during said upcoming Jussell Martin Rounders Fantastico.

Minor Leaguer of Bluebird Banter writes that he found the pairing of Mike Wilner and Dirk Hayhurst in the radio booth “surprisingly entertaining.” I agree with the latter, but personally I can’t say I was surprised, he said, further ingratiating himself.

Bluebird Banter also points us in the direction of this outstanding “fanpost” from SB Nation Red Sox blog Over The Monster.

Griff gets close to some of the same not-entirely-crazy sentiment, looking at the lack of fireworks that greeted John Farrell yesterday. “Think about it,” he writes in his piece for Toronto Star. “If Farrell had not embarrassed the organization, making Toronto seem like a two-bit town, if he’d remained with the team, maybe GM Alex Anthopoulos would have contented himself with some minor manoeuvres, counted on better health with his pitchers and gone after it with largely the same cast of young and developing players. Farrell was asked if he is happier now that he is living out his dream job.”

Elsewhere, Griffin writes about magical glue guy (my words, not his– though very possibly Alex Anthopoulous’s), and Brett Lawrie’s next door neighbour in the locker room, Mark DeRosa.

Some person called Bob Confer of something called the Niagara Gazette calls out Mark Buehrle for being an “absentee father” for choosing not to live in Western New York, where his pit bulls are legal, and instead leaving the dogs with his wife and children in St. Louis. Yeah, I’m sure this column will go over real well.

The great Peter Gammons tweets this gem at us: “Jose Reyes thinks Jose Bautista will knock him in a record # of times. Record is Mike Sweeney knocking in Johnny Damon 58 times in 2000.” He was here yesterday– too bad I missed him, I could have sung him the song in person.

At Baseball Prospectus (paywall’d), Russell A. Carleton tries to quantify some aspect of chemistry, and… yeah, who knows?

I mentioned it yesterday, but because I’m pretty sure people were insisting last week that I was an idiot for passing along information along these lines that was contrary to what Alex Anthopoulos had said about it, why not pass along John Lott’s piece from the National Post about MLBPA head Michael Weiner’s visit, and the suggestion that Melky Cabrera might not be out of the woods just yet.

Dirk Hayhurst checks in with another series of his excellent notes from camp– and more reason to get the Peter Gammons Theme Song to be stuck in your head. Gaaaaammmmons. Gaaaaammmmons. Peter Peter.

At Franchise Mode, Scott Johnson gives us a player-by-player look at the Jays’ rankings in MLB ’13: The Show.

The Outside Corner previews the Jays for the upcoming season… y’know, in case you lapsed into a coma six months ago and are just now regaining consciousness. (Or, I suppose, if you live in a market other than Toronto… or are just a casual fan… or… you get the point).

Lastly, over at Getting Blanked, Drew shows us a video of Pete Walker catching R.A. Dickey yesterday, revealing that… yeah… those knuckleballs ain’t so easy to handle.

Comments (65)

  1. First!! Suck it Farrell

  2. Nice Stoetes! You’re almost seeing the possiblitiy of chemistry!

    To get a “yeah who knows” is a big step!

  3. I did it a couple of times a billion years ago. And you’re right: It REALLY is great!

  4. Confer appears to be a piece of shit.

  5. Headed to Dunedin myself in a few hours. Don’t really care for Spring Training Baseball, but it beats the fuck out of sitting at my desk “working”.

    Maybe I’ll get Stoeten’s autograph.

  6. Even when you become the big wig in the Toronto media landscape some of us will always remember your humble beginnings.

  7. I always look forward to Elliott’s annual column for Tom. You can see how much that friendship meant to him. Great stuff from the Hall of Famer.

    Now here’s a very interesting BP piece I found on Twitter (not paywalled). It’s by journeyman minor league pitcher Eric Knott, talking about his experience playing in a PED culture. It also has some very interesting notes about the 2003 Expos, and how MLB fucked over the minor leaguers and potential September call-ups. Absolutely worth the read:

  8. “I think the commissioner’s office could take the position that if they had evidence of a separate violation, conceivably they could seek additional discipline,” Weiner said after his annual spring meeting with Blue Jays players. “We might challenge that. It’s a hard question to answer.”

    That is all fine and dandy, but I don’t know of many cases where a player has been suspended for PED use and the PED use was determined by any evidence other than blood tests.

    • I think they have the right to suspend for other kinds of evidence, like evidence of a purchase. I think there are examples, but can’t think of the names off the top of my head.

      • No good lawyer would ever let that happen. They would have to prove ingestion at a time when the ingested substance was specifically banned. Unless of course the MLB drug policy actually bans the purchase of PEDs as well.

      • I can’t see how the PA would give MLB power to suspend on suspicion. I’m not a lawyer or a CBA expert, but a union’s job is to protect all their constituents, whether they play clean or dirty. If MLB is allowed to start handing out suspensions on circumstantial evidence then the PA is doing a terrible job of protecting their players. That’s a slippery slope that could hurt the truly clean players. Again, I’m not an expert on these issues so maybe I misunderstood it from a legal standpoint.

        It’s a tough position for the PA though: they have to clean up the game and protect their truly clean players, while also protecting and sticking up for the known dirty guys at the same time. I’m sure there’s potential for clean guys to get hurt when the PA has to stand up for a dirty player, Braun’s appeal comes to mind there. Weiner has to be damn good at his job to straddle the line like that.

        • Yeah, I don’t see how Melky could ever get another suspension unless they proved without a reasonable doubt that he purchased and ingested PED’s AFTER his failed test. I’m no lawyer and even I could make the case that if they proved he purchased some PED’s prior to his failed test, well then those PED’s were used to get that failed test and he can’t be punished twice for the same failure.

      • It just seems like something people have to say to appear “tough on crime” but the practicality of it gets weird.

        Not to dismiss it as a topic – just having a hard time wrapping my head around what the due process would be.

  9. Some of the Red Sox fans on that blog have laughed at AA’s hiring of his drinking buddy Gibby. Ok, fair enough for them to think that, though Jays fans believe he’s the right man.

    But then they called Gibby the “red-sox hater”.

    Anyone know why Red Sox fans even remember who Gibby is, let alone call him a Red Sox hater?

    • I think they’re just looking for things to yell about, maybe stir up the pot. And that’s fine. The Red Sox always have the Yankees for a blood feud, but I can’t remember the Jays having a true rival like this since the Tigers, or maybe the A’s and Eckersley during the playoffs. The rivalry will grow as the season moves along, the media in both cities will progress it, and the fans will latch on. And it’s a better rivalry now because it’s not just hating the Sox because it’s the Sox, there’s reasoning on both sides to be pissed off. That makes it more fun as a fan, from both sides.

      • Exactly correct

      • So right Sharkey.
        I love it. It’s fun hating the Yankees and the Sox because of who they are, but it’s way more fun having a reason for it.

        It’s also way more fun having their fans hate the Jays now, instead of thinking we’re irrelevant.

      • I honestly enjoy nothing more than beating the Red Sox. I don’t even remember when it started really, but I hate them so much more than any other team. I’m so freaking excited to boo Farrell. It almost hurts.

        • “I would rather beat the Yankees regularly than pitch a no-hit game.” – Bob Feller

          This basically sums up Jays fans’ current feelings toward the Red Sox.

    • If the Jays do well Gibby will be a great manager and AA will be the man. If the Jays don’t do well Gibby will be a terrible manager and AA will have really screwed up.

      I understand the love affair with Gibby in that he’s hilarious, he has a mullet, he gives one a mapler due to his apparent passion for the city of Toronto, and he seems to manage a pretty decent ball game but I find it unnecessary to hype a manager up as much as people do. To look for ways to rebuttal the “Trolls” in Boston who are bashing him is so pointless. Who really cares?

      • ‘Gives one a mapler.”

        I hope this catches on.

      • Also chiming in to be not the first person to say that you, fat guys who hit for average, have one of the best blog-commenter-monikers across the whole of the internet; and certainly the best in this particular corner.

        • I appreciate it, man. You mind if I print this out, frame it, and hang it on the wall next to my Tony Gwynn shrine?

  10. Hey Stoeten if a package heavily wrapped in packing tape marked Columbian Coffee is delivered to you by a man in white, just ignore.

  11. re: Melky possible 2nd suspension

    Stoeten I never once ever meant to even suggest you were “an idiot” for raising the issue. However, I did doubt the possibility and I still do. I am surprised this is even still being discussed as a possibility.

    Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, but I don’t see the recent revelations as a “second event” Based on what we know, it is very likely just further details of the same first event for which he was already suspended.

    It would be analogous to creep who gets charged and convicted with driving under the influence and sentenced to jail time. Just because 6 months later you find his bar bill from the night in question doesn’t mean you can charge him again with impaired driving.

    Or am I just seeing this the wrong way?

    • No, I think you’re right, but a possible second suspension would be if other stuff, farther back, came to light. I still think it’s highly doubtful too, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I think that, of the stuff we know, there’s not anything they’d pursue.

    • My understanding is that Melky is safe from suspension for anything prior to his suspension, because that would be double jeopardy. The only scenario where they would be able to suspend him is that they have evidence of PED purchase during or after his suspension, so end of last season or this off-season. The chances of having evidence during this time period are slim, so Melky should be in the clear.

    • A more accurate analogy would be that a man is arrested for impaired driving due to a roadside stop. He undergoes therapy and ceases the behavior which caused the trouble (drinking then driving) however, later on as part of police investigation into a large amount of drunk drivers regularly leaving a certain bar, bar tabs and security video reveal that the guilty man had actually driven drunk on another separate instance prior to the one for which he was already charged. His lawyers could (and would) argue that this is simply evidence of the previous culture in which the guilty man chose to live with his disease, and that upon his completion of a rehabilitation program, ought be inadmissible since in the guilty man’s eyes he has been punished for drinking and driving He has learned his lesson which caused him to reevaluate that behavior and therefore would see no additional benefit to himself nor society by partaking in more rehabilitation. However the courts would argue (rightly) that while he has been charged with an incidence of drinking and driving previously; he was never charged for this incident, and regardless of his behavior since the incident in question his guilt is no less real.

  12. The trolls will be out in full force once the season has started

    • How excited are you to not spend August debating the relative insensitivity of Spanish curse words? Or discussing whether Jesse Chavez or Aaron Laffey is more deserving of a regular rotation role in fucking June. Holy balls it’s gonna be a good season.

  13. I thought it was spelled, “Anyhoo”.

  14. Is anyone listening to the feed through mlb site? I guess it is supposed to be free during spring training, but every time a click on listen, I get a message saying that it is blacked out. Any help?

  15. i wonder what the jays could get from the yankees for rajai davis.
    they could use some speed and need an outfielder.
    Rajai is cheap and on the last year of his deal.

    • They could probably get some Bernie Madoff stock.
      Maybe a cold sore from Brian Cashmans stocker.
      Possibly a “no thanks, we’ll just pick up Dewayne Wise off waivers”

    • We need him on the bench both to pinch run and fill an outfield position in case of injury, or to possibly DH when EE plays 1st. This isn’t the year to try and trade rajai and pick up a minor leaguer to stock the cupboards with. and we know the Yankee’s won’t be passing back a major leaguer under the age of 40 anyways, we already have enough clubhouse mascots.

      • he’s just a little more redundant than last year, bonifacio is faster and a better defender, for a spot on the 25, some salary relief, who knows. I’d actually rather see Sierra hit against lefties, he’s blazing fast, and as soon as he stops taking base running tips from lawrie i think he’s gonna make a difference.

        • This is a retarded sentiment. Moises Sierra has walked in 5.1% of his big league plate appearances and struck out in almost 30%. SSS and all that but one would only expect those numbers to improve a bit based on his minor league stats. I’m not particularly down on Moises and see some utility there but if you think he’s deserving of a non-injury related roster spot then I just don’t know what you’re seeing in a corner outfielder with no pop who can’t hit for average and has negative value in baserunning instincts that even his reasonable speed can’t overcome.

          • do you even watch the team?
            or are you legitimately basing a stance on 1/3 of a rookie season?

            • I watch the team – in fact I’d be comfortable stating that I likely saw all of those major league plate appearances; but I’m not that foolhardy. I’m basing this off of his statistical projections based, cumulatively, on his performance at each level. PECOTA and ZiPs have relatively similar things to say about Moises in their projections for his 2013 season. He appears poised to hit somewhere around .240 or less with middling to low power and somewhere between a bad walk rate and just a far below average walk rate, all of this while costing runs both on the bases and in the field to, across the board, projecting to cost his team wins above replacement rather than even be a non-contributor.

              I would posit that you, less-than-humble commenter, were the one who wasn’t watching the games last year; but I’d feel safer assuming you just don’t know how baseball stats work. Hope that helped.

              • well i guess if someone has made a projection and he’s already played a third of a season, that’s that. I hope AA is reading this so he knows to cut this guy now

                • This is such a cop-out piece of shit argument tactic.

                  Own up to the fact that you’re wrong. That people smarter than you, who get paid to produce such a product, produce projections based on statistical regression that are more accurate than whatever ‘eye test’ you are basing your judgements off. These things aren’t made in a vaccuum and regressed minor league stats factor heavily into the projection system if said system has a long enough memory to include any player’s minor league numbers. They don’t purport to be predictive – that’s to say they don’t show you what the actual outcome of Moises Sierra’s 2013 will be – they simply tell you what the most likely statistical outcome is. A startlingly, impossible-to-miss amount of those statistical indicators point to him sucking; that’s not to say that there’s no possibility that he doesn’t suck, just that he is likely to be worth less than the average player you could pull from the waiver wire or sign to a minor league deal.

                  You can say what you will about your perceived value of Moises Sierra as a Blue Jay, but half-heartedly dismissing all projection systems as flimsy and/or ignorant is well… flimsy and/or ignorant.

              • @ beepy…I’m cool with throwing out Vegas (472 slg last year) numbers but he did hit 18 hr and slg 436 at AA 2 year’s ago at 22…hardly no power however it is the Raw/Developing kind…

                • It’s fair to say that Sierra could be expected to hit for slightly more power than we saw out of him, however his .ISO in the season to which you refer was only 10 points higher than he showed in the majors, and I hate to break it to you but .160 ISO in corner outfielder does in fact, basically grow on trees.

                  • Oh I’m not saying he’s going to be special but as a lind plantoon I still think he’s the best option…

                  • I think the point you’re struggling to comprehend is that young players can improve, what a lot of people see in him is potential. He’s much faster than I thought he was, I would say he has probably the best outfield arm on the team, gose aside, I watched him take BP and he was hitting missiles out of the park. He’s definitely over aggressive, a lot of stupid base-running and swinging at bad pitches. Comparing 1/3 of a season at the major league level to someone who’s been in the bigs for years as apples to apples is moronic.

        • Moises hardly has blazing speed but I still think he’s the best plantoon option to go with Lind…That being said his fielding and baserunning are fucking abismal as are his #’s against rhp (SSS). If it weren’t for De Rosa I think he’d be the guy for the last bench spot and he’ll also most likely be the first guy up when there’s an injury. Gose’s ceiling is so high that I think they’ll try to keep him in AAA until very late in the year…

  16. I love having Rajai on the team, coming off the bench. That guy is a weapon.
    Down by a run late in a gamee, someone gets a single or walk, bring in Rajai to pinch run and it’s like an instant triple.

    Too bad his defence is suspect. Terrible routes and can’t seem to read the ball off the bat. Looks like Les Nesman out there.

  17. Oh Bob Confer must have wanted a dog growing up; my guess he didn’t get one.

    • After reading Bob Confer article it appears Niagara is so nice and a very welcoming community I wonder why Buehrle didn’t move his family to Niagara.
      By Bob Confer logic family isn’t important either since you only live once( Most likely correct) you should only care about and take care of yourself.

  18. Anyone else notice the Japanese reporter’s butt in the picture is just awesome?

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