Another week, another Griff Bag, another hijacking. Sound about right? Because there’s a new slice of read-submitted insanity up at the Toronto Star, and… like… what else do you really want us to do here on a Monday morning? Try to come to grips with decent pitching performances from Chad Jenkins and Ramon Ortiz? A Triple-A disaster for Ricky Romero? Emilio Bonifacio perhaps not being terrible?
Fuck that. Let’s just let Griff’s readers get under the ol’ skin and watch the magic happen.
As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.
If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!
Q. I have watched the J.A. Happ injury (on Tuesday) over and over again on the networks and one of the biggest questions I have is in regards to the umpires. These are people who make calls in minutiae on a minute by minute basis which will affect the outcome of a game, but when it came to a decision that may have affected someone’s life . . . they chose to do nothing until someone had run 180 feet. Will the umpires be disciplined in any way? Thanks,
I believe it was John Gibbons who said that he didn’t blame the umpires because, like everybody else, they were stunned by what had happened to Happ. While maybe that’s just him saying the “right” thing, it seems entirely plausible to me, and so, while I think you’re absolutely right that play should have been stopped as soon as Happ was hit, and that getting him medical attention needs to be the priority, I’m not sure any kind of discipline is necessary for the umpires. Like, I haven’t looked into it, but I can’t imagine that they’re standing by their call to not halt play as soon as possible.
What in your expert opinion are the factors that will turn around the ongoing woes of this Blue Jays team that so very many fans had such high hopes for?
Tony D’Souza, Toronto
I was reading an article in the Star after Monday’s opener in Tampa, where a reporter asks J.P. (Arencibia) why he wasn’t starting instead of Henry (Blanco). Apparently, he was annoyed at being asked this question. My point is maybe you’re not starting because of not paying attention on the base path the game before or maybe missing a pitch that is charged as “wild” to your starter.
Bob Andrews, Brandon, MB
Uh… no, it was actually because they wanted to try to get a hopelessly struggling Mark Buehrle going and thought maybe a different catcher would do the trick. When it didn’t, and Buehrle was pulled from the game, Blanco came out and Arencibia went back in. Some punishment, huh?
Which isn’t to say that I think Arencibia is terrific by any means, but there’s no need to invent anything, or to zero in on specific moments and imbue them with grand significance, if you want to have a conversation about whether or not he’s adequate. Hint: the .246 on-base and two walks through 142 plate appearances is probably a decent place to start. In fact, only Jeff Keppinger, among 175 other qualified MLB hitters, has walked at a lower rate so far. And among the 17 catchers with over 900 plate appearances since the start of 2011, Arencibia is last in on-base, 15th in wOBA and wRC+, and miles behind in fielding, in terms of UZR, as well. Fun!
Great job on the mailbag and the bullpen. Here’s my question. Ok. Maybe it’s a silly question, but I don’t know. Why is a foul tip only an out with 2 strikes?
Dan Frook, Fergus Ontario
Same reason it was three weeks ago.
Q. Hello Mr.
This is a non- Jays question, for the most part, although they have been involved (on the wrong end) of a few lopsided games this year: Is there an unwritten rule about hitting when your team has a big lead late in the game? If your team is up 10 runs in the 8th are you more likely to swing at the first pitch? Do players attempt to “go yard” during these at-bats? Is taking a walk frowned upon? What are some of the general unwritten rules of baseball when your team has an insurmountable lead?
All the best,
Griffin probably nailed this one, so I’ll just direct you to whatever he said.
Q. How is it that in your most recent Bullpen column you can list all of the things going wrong with players on the Jays, admit they’re not problems created by decisions made by John Gibbons, and then somehow still blame him for them?
Q. Getting straight to the point, what are your thoughts on why the Jays seem to keep misdiagnosing their players? Off the top of my head this year alone I am thinking of Lawrie, Bautista, now Josh Johnson. We are told one day they’re absolutely fine, no worries, then shortly after it is revealed the player is missing multiple games. Is it intentional deception by the club? Blissful ignorance? An incompetent medical staff? I can understand that diagnosing an injury is not always black and white but if there’s some uncertainty, why not just say “We don’t know yet how long the player will be out”. Why say he’s fine when he’s clearly not? I don’t get it.
Already answered this one.
I usually write via your mailbag site, but my computer hasn’t featured an e-mail reply box for awhile. Has AA never heard of Steve Blass? Poor Ricky Romero is done, as I said to you last fall. It seems obvious to everyone but the Jays. How much longer must we listen to Ricky talk about how well he’s throwing, except for the walks, hits and runs he’s allowing? How much longer must we hear AA, Dane Johnson et al talk about how his mechanics just need a tweak? What’s the matter with these people ?
Selby Martin, Toronto
Congratu-fucking-lations for the pretend insight you had last year, and for still crowing about it now, with all the personal appeal of an unpopped zit. I’m glad you have someone to cheer against, just so you can feel like the fucking mush brain that has surely failed you so many times before every once in a while still offers a faint signal of something that isn’t monumentally dull, but if I may offer some advice, next time you want to put on the charade of actual knowledge, try making it on a point on which it’s actually remotely plausible that you could have had some genuine insight. Posturing like you have a fucking clue because your coin-flip of a hunch looks, for the moment, like there might be something to it doesn’t make it any less of a joke that you thought you knew Romero was finished then, or that you think you can see the future now.
What’s the matter with these people? I dunno, maybe they’re not ridiculous negative suckholes who think they have all the answers the minute the stink mule in their heads stops braying long enough for a thought to shit its way out.
I recently found my Expos youth cap and my Zellers Expos baseball cards. Looking back it seems Montreal was Canada’s team until the mid 80s, but when the Blue Jays came on and the Hawk and Gary Carter left nationally the Expos were not seen in the media as much even though they still had good teams and good players. Was Canada just too small to support 2 teams nationally who played in the same time zone? Do you foresee Canada ever getting another team with another media conglomerate needing summer programming to support offerings like TSN Ocho? Or is Zellers more likely to make a comeback at this point?
Interesting points, John, but I wouldn’t say that the Expos’ demise had a whole lot to do with Canada’s inability to support more than one team. Sure, the movement of a lot of corporate dollars from Montreal to Toronto over the course of the 70s and 80s shifted the economic landscape of both cities, but that was only part of the reason that things went south– literally– for the Expos. Stadium issues, ownership issues, and a dreadfully slumping Canadian dollar in the early 2000s all contributed, as did the strike of 1994, of course. By that time, you’re right, the Expos were no longer the highest profile team in the country, but that shift seems, to me, to have had the most to do with which team was winning at the time. And I definitely remember all kinds of coverage of both the Jays and Expos available here in the Toronto market from the late-80s through the mid-90s at least.
So… to me that isn’t the issue– wasn’t the issue– and wouldn’t be an issue should Montreal get another chance to host a big league baseball club. I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen though. As much of an appetite for it that there may be in the city, getting a relocated franchise, or an expansion franchise– rarely as those things come around in the first place– will be especially difficult for a market where it has so recently failed. Maybe there will be a time where, like Washington D.C., enough years will have passed for Montreal to again seem viable– that the market is so big is certainly a plus– but they’ll need a new, properly-located stadium, and there are a lot of other factors working against them. I won’t say it will never happen, but for the time being, it would be very, very surprising.