derosalawrie

“Didn’t bode well for the Toronto Blue Jays when I had to hit cleanup. I’ve never hit cleanup in my career, but– funny story– I actually got a text from about five or ten past players who were like, ‘DeRo, you didn’t hit cleanup when you could actually hit, now you’re hitting cleanup in the AL East!?!’ ”

DeRo, of course, is Mark DeRosa, speaking there of his experience on Canada Day as he joined Mike Wilner last night on his Blue Jay-A-Day Pre-Game Show on the Fan 590 (audio here*), and hoo boy, he was slightly candid during the whole appearance– and not just about his own career and what went wrong with the 2013 Jays, though he was that, too.

It was a hell of a performance; one that made Wilner’s praise clear, and his repeated assertions that DeRosa was the one member of the team reporters would run to for a good, thoughtful quote fully understood. But not only is the veteran– whose contract status for 2014 is still up in the air, though the Jays hold a cheap option on him and would be crazy not to exercise it– worth listening to for reporters and fans, but if this interview was any indication, he ought to have the ear of club higher-ups, as well.

That notion was at its most striking– and important– when he spoke about the difficulty he had in adjusting to the ugly Rogers Centre turf, and when he spoke about the comments from an anonymous Jays player about teammates not being with the club at the end of the season, which caused a stir earlier in the month– especially after Don Cherry waded in, bringing with him his tenuous grasp on the etymology of “grinder.”

On the turf issue, DeRosa was blunt. Asked whether he’d prefer an all dirt infield, like exists at Tropicana Field, DeRosa explained:

I think so. I think so. It’s what you’re used to playing on. Not to say that Tampa’s field is great by any stretch– I love being on grass, that’s the way I think the game’s supposed to be played. I understand why the Rogers Centre is turf, with the amount of stuff they do there, but I didn’t even think about it when I signed. Then I got to Toronto and was taking ground balls– you still don’t think about it. Then game speed kind of hits and you’re like, wait a second, I’ve got to move further back to create more range side to side, but yet I can’t go too far back where I can’t reach first base. So you found yourself in some obscure positions from time to time.

Earlier, he had not pulled any punches about the impact the turf had on the club:

It affected me more than I thought. It took me– first off, let me say that I didn’t expect to be playing as much as I did early on, with Brett going down. It affected me almost to the point of [taking] a good month, month-and-a-half to find out where I needed to play on the turf to not only make up for lack of range– because the ball was getting on you so quick– but also the seams that were in the turf that would create bad hops that no one could really see unless you were walking out on the turf.

So, yeah, I think it does negatively impact us. I always look at it as a visiting player. You come in as a visiting player– I played in Toronto numerous times– and you come in and you deal with it for three or four days. You know it’s a great place to hit. You know you’re probably going to get some balls that find holes, and you kind of just deal with whatever the defensive side you get that series. But when you’re on there every day– and I think Emilio Bonifacio fell victim to it too, as well– it took us a while. It took myself, Maicer, even Reyes– and then when he came back with his ankle not 100%, you could tell his range was completely diminished and was having trouble getting to balls up the midde.

I don’t know what you can do about it. I know they’ve talked about eventually going to grass in there, but I think a smart thing to do– or something that should be talked about– is maybe making the Spring Training field a turf field, if they’re going to keep it. Just something where you can use it to our advantage– the Blue Jays’ advantage. It’s better than being almost a– [having] an impact on us through the first month of the season where we had so many new guys. So, yeah, it did play with my mind a little bit for a while.

Some actual stability, in terms of players, which the Jays at least look like they’ve got going on the left side of the infield, would certainly help too. And as much as it maybe seems odd that, in 2013, with the turf having been in use for years, it takes a player on a team that struggled so badly and so visibly on it to point any of this out, but I do believe that it’s a situation that’s worsening– and that DeRosa is probably right in suggesting that it needs, somehow, to be addressed.

What I can’t really speak to, however, is certain club policies and how they compare to the way things are done throughout the league. DeRosa, of course, can offer a rather informed opinion on that, and he did so when asked about the number of players who weren’t with the club at the end of the season’s final weekend.

“I think, for what I’ve learned about the Blue Jays organization is, that’s the way they do things,” he explained. “If you’re not an active player on the active roster, you’re headed to Dunedin to get your rehab and your stuff in, and if you can’t help us going forward, then you’re probably not going to be back with the team, so… that’s kind of an organizational thing that I don’t necessarily agree with, but that’s the way they do it.”

Ouch. But… understandable, especially considering some of his other comments on the matter.

It’s frustrating. I mean, you can look at it one of two ways: we were out of it so early– I felt in August that in September you knew the young guys were going to come, and you had to see what the younger guys had to offer– the Anthony Goses, Ryan Goins, Kevin Pillar, all these young guys that came up are going to get an opportunity to play on a team that’s not going to the postseason. Would I have liked to have seen some guys grind some stuff out? Yeah, of course. But then again I’m not inside their bodies. I grinded my wrist thing out and it cost me three years of my career. So I tread lightly when I talk about stuff like that. I’m a little different, I think football has made me that way– I grew up playing it, and you just… you play through stuff until you can’t anymore and surgery’s the only option.

That being said, Brandon Morrow’s dealt with the injury issue for a while now in his career, and it’s something that he’s going to have to find a way to grind through if he’s going to take that next step to being that counted-on ace that everybody thinks he can be, myself included.

A guy like Brett Cecil had such a miraculous year, he doesn’t want to jeopardize anything going forward, so everybody has different scenarios for why it happened, but at the end of the day I always tell myself I’m not inside their bodies to make a judgment on it.

It’s an admirable attitude to have, especially when speaking of the last days of a waste of a season. Personally, I tend to want to err on the side of caution and am happy that guys like Morrow and Cecil– who were maybe not so randomly singled out– did what was best for an incarnation of the Jays that has a chance to actually matter, but I do understand how the sensible thing isn’t always thing that’s looked upon most favourably, especially when you’re sharing a clubhouse with a guy who said he followed Chipper Jones around like a puppy for the first five years of his career, trying to emulate him.

But DeRosa, unsurprisingly, was sensible and insightful when it comes to the matter of leadership, and perhaps surprisingly seems to have looked positively on the clubhouse culture that was fostered over the course of the season.

I think the biggest misnomer in the game is that the best players on your team have to be your leaders. I think I’ve played on enough teams to know that it’s not necessarily the Greg Madduxes of the world and the Albert Pujolses of the world that are the leaders behind the scenes. Definitely they lead by example, and those are the guys you try and emulate– you try and follow and see what they do– but we did, more than the fans probably even realize, try and keep that clubhouse as together as we could, with as much injury as we had and as bad of a start as we got off to. I remember calling an early meeting in New York, after getting swept in New York, and just kind of asking people to air out all their differences, to kind of– ‘let’s build some kind of common bond’– but that clubhouse was strong. For as bad as– I don’t want to say ‘for as bad as we played’– but for as much as we underachieved, the clubhouse never was lost.

There never was any animosity towards anyone in the clubhouse, there was never any difference of opinion that wasn’t aired publicly amongst the guys. So we stayed as strong as we could– I know that’s not the answer you’re looking for. I wish it could have been better, but at the end of the day, I think there are some guys that need to step up, vocally, but I also think there were some guys this year who spoke in those meetings that I didn’t think would, and I think the team will be better off for it. And as far as quitting on it, I’ll allude to what I said before– I don’t know what other people feel, as far as pain threshold goes. I’ve always been taught to go until you can’t go no more, so… that’s how I was raised and that’s how I approached it. Whether that’s right or wrong, I’ll leave that up to other people to answer.

It’s a generally positive answer, but with more than enough of the other side of the coin in it to make it sound completely sincere. Maybe that’s the trick DeRosa is pulling, but I don’t think so. This isn’t an Anthopoulos answer where you walk away thinking, “Yeah, well, what the hell else is he going to say?” And in doing that, he has actually managed to even reinforce the positive aspects he’s speaking about– at least in my mind he has.

There is one element of the leadership issue, however, on which he can’t help but full-on gush:

Outside of numbers– taking statistics– Munenori Kawasaki meant more to that team this year than anyone on that roster, and that’s 100% truth. That guy came in, breath of fresh air, having to take over for one of the best players in the game. And to things that he was able to do– and I know the fans really loved on him for the energy and the way he went about his craft, and his interviews, and everything that went along with Muni, and just his fun-loving attitude– but his ability to work an AB, his ability to get a bunt down, to move a runner, to do everything fundamentally solid, I hope– my hope would be he bought himself some more time in the big leagues. I would hope that. I don’t know what his contract status is, or where he goes from here, but he can play in the big leagues. There’s no doubt about it. What he meant to us, as far as– like you said, bridging the gap in the clubhouse– was immeasurable.

Oh, OK! Bring Muni back. There will be no campaigning from me to ditch the spirit animal. Um… probably.

Anyway, the gap he refers to in that last quote is about the various cliques that develop in the clubhouse, many of which tend to fall on language lines. But don’t go getting all righteous about the existence of such a gap– the kind of which is common throughout the sport– as DeRosa, ultimately, speaks favourably of how it all went.

We had a great clubhouse. I’ll say that. We did have a great clubhouse. It’s tough when guys are going down and you’re losing and it’s not going the way it’s supposed to go, and it’s easy to lose people. But I thought for the most part we kept it as good as we could.

How good was that? Good enough that apparently he could (jokingly) call out Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, to their faces, about their roles in the season’s demise– a subject about which he evidently understands a thing or two:

I was sitting in Arizona in September with Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero on either side of me, and you rehash on the bench what we could have done differently, or what could have gone differently, and I turned to them and I said, ‘You realize you guys are two of the biggest reasons,’ and through no fault of their own! But it’s tough when you lose two thirds of your rotation by the middle of May. It left our coaching staff in a tough spot, it left our GM in a tough spot– it just leaves you in a tough spot.

R.A. and Buehrle obviously didn’t get off to the starts that they’re used to getting off to, but they rebounded and battled. I thought they did a heck of a job, both of them. What Mark Buehrle’s been able to do in his career can never be questioned. What R.A. was able to battle through and– you know, he’s throwing a trick pitch. It’s not an actual pitch. Some days it’s going to work and some days it’s not, and for him to pitch in the AL East and be as effective as he was, I thought, was an advantage for us. But when you lose Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, J.A. Happ, Josh Johnson, that was– for me, if there was one fluke to the entire Toronto Blue Jays’ says, it was Josh Johnson, because I’ve faced Josh Johnson multiple times, and for him to have one win, and to pitch with the chance to make a $100-million contract, and all the things that come with it, he would have been the number one free agent out on the market. So, a lot of us, myself included– I felt terrible for him, to watch him go through what he went through after the great spring he had. And I completely believe that any team that gets this guy, whether it be Toronto next year, or if he goes somewhere else, will get one of the better pitchers in the game. I don’t know if he’ll ever recapture the early glory that he had, but anything close to that, any team would love to have. So that one was surprising.

That… all… is… pretty much bang on, eh? And as far as DeRosa himself goes, he’s certainly not saying anything to me regret my suggestion from late last month that I think he ought to stick around. Especially if we can get him behind a microphone more often, because this was some very seriously great stuff.

 

* Chrome users may have difficulty playing it. Works in IE/Firefox/etc.

Comments (80)

  1. good entry. thanks for passing this on, Andrew.

  2. I was into this interview more than anything I have heard on the radio in months. He was candid, thought provoking, and well spoken. He even touched on the fact he didn’t care that he hit in the .230s because he cares more about his OPS (Wilner touched on the fact his OPS was over .900 off the bench, damn). I came away impressed for sure.

  3. Thanks for transcribing this Stoeten. Really interesting insights.

    • +1. Thanks for transcribing.

    • Thanks for transcribing, I thought I should point out a typo I noticed, when he’s talking about the turf it should be affecting not effecting.

      • That’s one of those ones that by now I shouldn’t have to think about, but I always have to think about. Thanks. Fixed.

  4. That was as honest and candid and NORMAL as you can want .. Seemed like a truthful and believable conversation and without all the BS stuff that you would anticipate guys like Cox and whoever spewing. Great stuff and let’s hope there is more sensible commentary on the season coming forward …

  5. I always thought a “grinder” was a sandwich

    • Someone should take a proper grinder to the damn turf. They might as well just minimize maintenance costs and have them play on an immense sheet of teflon.

  6. Can anybody hear the audio? It seems to be disabled.

  7. Thanks for this post. Great Read.

  8. I’m not sure if DeRosa wants to manage or broadcast after he’s finished, but whichever way he goes he won’t have trouble finding work. I could really see him having a solid career as a manager though.

    • If I’m not mistaken, he chose to sign with the Jays over taking a broadcast job with WGN to call Cubs games. If and when DeRo retires, I hope someone at Sportsnet has the intelligence to offers him a job in the booth (and hires a real play-by-play guy to replace Buck Martinez).

  9. Night and day compared to Omars post-season interview from last year

  10. I’ve always wondered why guys are sent away to Dunedin to rehab. I mean, I understand if they’re doing “baseball activities”, playing in sim games, etc, and I also get it if they don’t travel with the team… but at the end of the year Bautista was sent to Dunedin to rehab and do pool running. They can’t do stuff like that in Toronto?

    • If they rehab in Toronto they have to pay more tax.

      • Where do the Raptors and Leafs send their injured players?

      • I don’t think that’s true at all. The Raptors and Leafs don’t send guys to rehab in Miami or wherever, unless it’s a major injury and they need a specialist like James Andrews. And I think it’s pretty damn obvious where the Argos rehab since, you know, they play in the Canadian Football League.

        Besides all of that, even if it is some kind of an issue for non-Canadians the teams would cover it. And if it is some kind of tax thing for non-Canadians who aren’t covered by OHIP (or the provincial plan elsewhere depending on your CFL or NHL team) then why does Brett Lawrie go to Dunedin? He’s Canadian, he’s the one player who doesn’t need a permit to work in Canada, so any kind of tax issues wouldn’t affect him. It’s simply some kind of weird organizational policy the Blue Jays have, and outside of rehab assignments and/or going to a specialist like Andrews or the ankle guy in Charlotte that Reyes visited that should change.

        Whatever the reason is though, enough with the damn tax stories. Period. Ontario’s tax rate is no different than New York’s, and you don’t see players running away from signing with the Yankees or Knicks because of the taxes (most of them live in the Jersey suburbs for that reason, anyway). I could see the tax thing being an issue in Quebec if the Expos were still around, I know it even turns some hockey players away from the Canadiens. But not in Ontario. It’s just a safe narrative that American media runs to whenever the Jays or Raptors are in the news because it’s easy for the uneducated to grasp, on both sides of the border.

        • I’m not an accountant and I’m not stating this as an expert or anything, but Lawrie seems to have established residency in Arizona (I assume for tax purposes), and I know NBA teams will frequently spend less than 24 hours wheels down/wheels up in Toronto specifically for tax reasons.

          Someone (ESPN Magazine?) did a long piece a couple years ago about how complicated professional athletes’ taxes are, even more so than other people with similar earnings, partially because they pay regular and special taxes in each jurisdiction for the amount of time they’re there each season. A Google search shows that a lot of Tax Lawyers and Accounting Firms have similar explanations up online as well.

          And yes, the difference between, say, Northeastern US/West Coast taxes and Ontario are a lot smaller than some media voices want to make them, but there are also zero tax states (Florida for example), and a state like Arizona has a highest marginal rate lower than Ontario’s lowest.

          I’d bet the tax implications mattered in the decision at some point.

  11. I think De Rosa nailed it here. Its not like he really called anyone out – but he openly talked about why the season went the way it did. If Josh Johnson & Brandon Morrow have even average years by their standard with some better health – there is no way the Jays are out of it so early. Would they have challenged for the playoffs? That might be a stretch but he was right – they were so far behind early that it didn’t matter what else happened. The winning streak helped bring them back into the conversation – but when you have to win that many games just to get near striking distance – you’ve killed yourself.

    Depending on what happens with the offseason – I would definitely be down with DeRo back with the club. He was much better than I anticipated.

    He’s right about Kawasaki too. The willingness and ability that he has to get into long at bats is something that most players on the club could stand to emulate. Especially guys like Izturis, JP etc. This club has so many mashers the rest of the club should make it their sole focus to get themselves to first base safely – by any means necessary. You won’t win many games with solo home runs – and even though hitting wasn’t the Jays biggest problem this season, they could have covered over so many of their pitching troubles if they could have as a team focused on long at bats and letting pitchers get themselves into trouble.

    • At the beginning of the season, Dickey,Buehrle and JJ, struggled.Reyes was injured. Lawrie didn’t do anything offensively until August.
      There were many factors, not just Morrow and RR.

      • Nowhere in that comment did I make the statement that the only reason the Jays struggled was because of Morrow and Romero. So thanks for the strawman.

        My point was that if they could have counted on average years from Johnson and Morrow they wouldn’t have been so far out of contention by the time Buehrle and Dickey turned it around, Lawrie started hitting etc.

        • “If Josh Johnson & Brandon Morrow have even average years by their standard with some better health – there is no way the Jays are out of it so early. ”

          Yeah they coulda and probaly woulda been been.
          But my comment was more an adjunct to De Rosa’s comment.See where I mentioned Morrow and Ricky Ro ,just as Derosa did.
          Fuck somebody mentions something and all you guys can do is pull the strawman comment out of your ass.
          It’s like a default when you can’t produce a logical reply.
          Sorry you took offense, next time I won’t be so gentle and you’ll have a better reason to attack.

          • hmm separate people tell you that you’re straw-manning their arguments and you blame them collectively for it?

            Good of you to clarify that you were responding to DeRo when you responded to my comment on a message board. Though – I AM taking a little bit of a leap here when I make the assumption that this 2nd comment was for me too. Should I forward it on to DeRo as well?

            Can’t wait for the gloves to come off RADAR.

            • Using the “strawman” arguement is similiar to using the “narrartive” arguement, as a reply.
              Instead of explaining themsleves or presenting a counterpoint,they take the lazy way out and use these expressions, at the same time utilizing a certain condescending smugness.
              And the only people who have used the “strawman” excuse with me are Drew and Stoeten and I guess, you.
              I presented another opinion, quite civily,I thought.
              Find it hard to interact on a blog without throwing a hissy fit when somebody responds?
              Did you really find my original response that offensive?
              If so, either develop a thicker skin or don’t post a comment without expecting a reaction.

              • Those two things are not remotely close to the same. And they’re hardly out of bounds if they’re, y’know, true.

              • The problem Radar, is that even though you may not like people telling them you’re using a strawman argument, is that when you commit the strawman fallacy – I’m obliged to tell you about it. Further – you took my comment “Thanks for strawmanning me” and interpreted that as a hissy fit – which is ironic (another one you should look up) since you then started crying about how everyone tells you that you use this disingenuous method of argument – and how we’re not allowed to use the term (even though you repeatedly commit the fallacy) for no other reason than you don’t like it. Tough. My skin is fine – quit being a dick and trying to tell people how they can act on a message board.

                Also – stop strawmanning people.

    • The winning streak helped bring them back into the conversation – but when you have to win that many games just to get near striking distance – you’ve killed yourself.

      The Rays won 23 of 28 to bring themselves out of last place and ended up in the playoffs.

      • Fair enough. The Jays went on a losing streak and within a few weeks they had undone everything that they gained. I’d say the Rays comeback season was a little bit more of an outlier than the Jays experience – but you’re absolutely right.

  12. Question: Is Derosa a good enough fielder at 2B to run him out there against lefties?

    His high praise for Muni has go me thinking… I mean if you run a strict platoon with those two guys (DeRosa & Kawasaki) you actually get a pretty decent baseball player provided that it doesn’t cause outright silly season in the infield. Given that the only 2B on the UFA market that’s worth a damn is Cano (and he’d cost the GDP of a small country) I wonder if it’d make more sense to run those guys out there.

    • The short answer is no, even in a platoon, would be inferior to say someone like infante, especially since infante has decent defensive metrics.

      Derosa hits lefties very well, but infante hits them even better, and while it was this year infante hit righties at a much better rate, he still hits righties better the kawasaki. And don’t forget Derosa is now a bit of a defensive liablilty with exposed playing time due to his age.

      Derosa strengths are best in a pinch and when he is put in favourable situations, while kawasaki is a good bench player as he has decent baserunning, good at bats and decent defense at ss and 2b.

      • DeRosa can DH against LHP, though.

      • Is he? I’m not so sure… Batting Infante is fair amount of empty average and according to Baseball Reference a mildly negative fielder at 2B by defensive runs saved. Now by the same standard DeRosa is also a negative fielder (moreso then Infante) but Kawasaki is a positive fielder. They’d both provide a similer OBP (Infante vs. Platoon) and the platoon would be significantly cheaper (even more so if/when the Tigers offer him a Q.O.).

  13. Fantastic, thanks for this post.

  14. Excellent piece, really appreciate you putting it together.

    I’m a little confused with DeRosa’s stance on Morrow. The first time he mentions him it sounds like he’s calling him out for being a pussy, but in the last quote he seems to be giving him a pass because of injury. Which one is it, Mark? And how the hell is it through no fault of Ricky Romero’s that the pitching staff sucked this year?

    The Kawasaki stuff is pretty interesting too, because it shows that while we as fans can’t measure it because we can’t see it, there’s something tangible to the whole clubhouse culture idea. I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened had Kawasaki not been sent down when Lawrie returned because the front office was still hoping for a turnaround from Emilio Bonifacio, and perhaps rightfully so. The team was only 44-48 at the time before going on a 7 game losing streak that put the nail in the coffin.

    • “The Kawasaki stuff is pretty interesting too, because it shows that while we as fans can’t measure it because we can’t see it, there’s something tangible to the whole clubhouse culture idea.”

      The debate isn’t whether there is good or bad clubhouse cultures. The debate is whether it matters once the ball is in play.

      And I agree his injury talk was a bit random. For one thing, I don’t think utility position players should compare their job to starting pitchers. Pitching is done at the absolute limits of strain you can put on your body. You can’t grind through a sore shoulder and throw an 89mph slider. And locate it.

    • I thought his comments on Morrow were fairly consistent; his performance this year was obviously marred by injury, and you can easily defend the claim that sitting out such a large chunk of the season made sense strategically because it was already lost. But as a teammate who is, in his words “grinding” through the season, it hurts to see a guy who technically could be playing sitting out while you need to watch Chien Ming Wang get slaughtered.

      Most importantly, and the point I most agree with on Morrow, is that regardless of whatever stat on how many starts he’s made in how many years, he IS a guy who is susceptible to nagging injuries. The only thing Mark Buehrle is ever ‘nursing’ is a baby pit bull. On a contending team he has to play through those injuries.

      Though, I remember how pissed I was that Dickey wouldn’t just take a week off even though his back injury was getting him slaughtered, so I probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

  15. Three thoughts come to mind after reading this:

    1) DeRosa is a class act and I hope he returns next season.

    2) Kawasaki should return and take over at 2B full time.

    3) Screw the Argos… toss them out and put grass in already!

    • Agreed

    • Re 3, I wonder how impossible it is to have real grass for the Jays and for the Argos?

      I get that it would be difficult. Or expensive. But is it really impossible?

      • I think the biggest problem is with the concerts and monster truck rallies. Oakland manages to juggle the two sports without a real impact on the field for baseball.

        I reserve most of my venom for the fucking tools that build Varsity stadium with only 5,000 seats. If you’re going to be such a shortsighted mole person they’d might as well have torn down the whole fucking thing and built condos. “But it was mostly meant as a track and field stadium” – fuck right off, they seem perfectly capable of running in Molson stadium without everyone peeing their pants.

        Truly impressive that two of the stupidest wastes of space in Toronto (new ROM expansion and Varsity) are right next to eachother. Way to go guys

        • You can’t park any cars at Varsity, so I don’t think that would ever have been a good option. BMO Field was the real missed opportunity in my opinion.

          • There’s actually much more parking at Varsity (St George’s lot) than at Molson, which only has a pathetic little lot next to University.

            Varsity stadium makes PERFECT sense as a 20,000 seat CFL/University football stadium in the model of what Montreal has done. The fact that they didn’t do so shows an unbelievable lack of foresight and if the Argos had a chance to contribute cash and get in on it, then they deserve to be contracted for complete inability to be a competent sports franchise.

          • Steinbrenner, the Argos would go to Varsity in half a second. The pre-season game was a huge success and was a big thing, people were being turned away at the door before kick-off. People wanted that football atmosphere, and it’s in a great location on the subway and with all the bars on Bloor. The problem is that U of T doesn’t want to expand the stadium again, which is too bad because I think they could make money for the school and compete with BMO for some events if they did it privately.

            But all my Argos fandom aside, this is a baseball blog and I don’t want to have to drive to fucking Cleveland to watch baseball on grass.

      • You can’t have grass and move the seats to convert the stadium, that’s the problem. And that goes for baseball, football, monster trucks, you name it. I do think the grass will only be in from March to the last Jays game, which I read in one article a few months ago (wish I could locate it again). Then they’ll remove it for the winter so they can keep doing the monster trucks and whatever. And in November the Argos can always use the dome like the Alouettes use Olympic Stadium, just throw some turf in for a week and host the playoff game, and keep it down for another week if the Grey Cup is in town.

      • Sharkey’s got why it’s impossible, re: moving the seats around to convert from baseball to football.

        As for Varsity, they’ve built up that area enough in the last couple of years that I don’t know if it’s feasible anymore– hard to build any more of a grandstand on the east side of the site with a building in the way. http://goo.gl/maps/y8JOX

        Not much room on the other side, either.

        I know it’s got problems too, but I’m still surprised there isn’t more talk of Lamport.

        • I don’t know the area, so I’m probably talking out of my ass here, but…looking at the street view, it’s too bad that someone couldn’t have had the foresight to take over the northern segment of Devonshire Place and convert that part of the street into an expanded grand stand (i.e. use the roadway as the pedestrian concourse area under the grandstand during events, and even save the roadway for vehicle use during non-event times like weekday rush hours, if necessary) before the area on the west side of Devonshire was otherwise reconstructed.

          It seems like the buildings that remained on the west side of Devonshire (south of the stadium) could still use Devonshire to exit onto Hoskin Ave when necessary.

        • Lamport seemingly has a lot more space to work with to build it up/reconstruct it entirely as a 20,000 seat stadium. What are the issues with Lamport anyways?

    • I still think Kawasaki is a backup infielder, but I would love to see him come back in that role.

    • There is no fucking way Kawasaki should be a big league starter, and DeRosa wasn’t saying that either.

      • I cannot see a contending team carrying both DeRosa and Muni on the bench. It just doesn’t fit in my brain. But.. why not?

        Fantastic interview. Thanks for putting this together.

  16. Veteran Presents!

  17. The intangible stuff is great, but people keep forgetting that Kawasaki was also like, tangibly better than Bonifacio/Izturis. If anything, it all just illustrates how massive an upgrade even a league average-ish second baseman would be for the 2014 Jays.

  18. DeRosa should be a player/commentator for the Jays in 2014. Have him fill in for Tabler on the days he’s not in the lineup.

  19. Ya, if and when he retires, it would be great to have him in the broadcast booth, another season of buck and tabby ( aka wheezy and skeezy ) will probably institutionalize half of the fan base. The fact that Muni could bunt on the concrete playing surface at the yard speaks volumes. Have always wondered why the Jays are so reluctant to platoon positions, has they had great luck in the past with platoons.

    • They don’t do platoons anymore because they carry a bazillion pitchers. They used to carry nine or ten back in the days before LOOGYs and ROOGYs. Back then relievers would go two or three innings in an appearance. I like platoons too, but unfortunately they ain’t comin’ back any time soon.

      • sure, but they could use the limited bench as platoon players ie. at least having a left hitting catcher to start against righties, so that would limit error-cibia to starting only against lefties….

  20. I enjoyed his comments about the turf, and I wonder why the Blue Jays can’t put in a dirt infield? and replace the infield turf every year to keep it from getting tampered down over the years. Have a slower infield and fast outfield. It can’t be that much extra work to remove a dirt infield along with the turf can it?

    It would be a nice change. also the idea of turf in Florida for ST is a great idea. DeRosa and Lind have been by far the best pre game guests

    • I’ve asked my cousin who works on field conversion about that quite a few times, and he tells me it would take a lot longer and require more work. I do remember an Argos game played with the sliding pits and dirt on the football field, but I think that was because of a stupidly short conversion time. The other difference with Tampa is the seats don’t move and the turf is permanent. They play an NCAA bowl game there, and I’m pretty sure they just put the football field over the dirt diamond like the Raiders do in September, though I could be wrong on that. I do know the seats don’t move in Tampa, though.

      • I would assume that the the Argos could play on the field with the dirt infield without serious risk to the football players, but I have never been to a football game at the RC so I am unfamiliar with the seating rearrangement for football. Its really to bad that the work involved to put in/take out a dirt infield is too much

        But this raises another question why does rogers hold so many in season events at the RC?

        • I do remember the Argos playing one game with the dirt in place a couple of years ago, I think because of the schedule. They just didn’t have enough time to fully convert it for one game. But that’s literally the only time I remember it happening in Toronto.

  21. Amazing interview! Thanks! What he said about the turf and putting it in at the spring training field makes tons of sense. A while ago I posted that I thought the team should try and play some spring training games at the RC. The logistics would be horrible and they only way you could really do it would be to split the squads and have them play against themselves. But if they were playing on it in spring training they would at least have an idea of the bounces and the seams and how fast it plays.

    • They used to play a few ST games at the Dome. The first time I went to a Jays game was vs. the Pirates in March of ’92. Sold out for an exhibition game, partly due to the fact that back then you never got to see NL teams outside of the playoffs. I was six years old and the game + atmosphere got me hooked for life.

    • They’ll have a chance this year with two games at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, then their first series of the season in Tampa Bay.

  22. Obviously we don’t know how much DeRosa affected this exactly – but how different was Lawries energy/persona by the end of 2013 compared to the last couple years? If Derosa helped that along it might have been worth his salary just for that.

  23. [...] et il avait beaucoup à dire sur la saison dernière. Andrew Stoeten en fait compte-rendu ici, et y joint un lien à l’entrevue [...]

  24. The turf has to go, the word is out around MLB, which is going to make it even harder to attract free agents. How about talking to St. Louis about trading Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez for Bautista? Gives us two young controllable, promising players and addresses two immediate needs on our roster. Then AA can go out and sign one of the many free agent outfielders available or move Rasmus to RF and Gose can take CF.

  25. Sounds like he may have learned a thing or to between football and baseball while he was in the Ivy League.

  26. [...] For that answer, I must defer to a comment made by Mark DeRosa to the FAN590: [...]

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