What’s this? Night baseball? R.A. Dickey vs. Cliff Lee? That’ll do just fine, thank you, for a whatever-night-this-is in the dead of winter.

Sure. That’ll do just nicely. Even if I have no idea why they’d be starting a Grapefruit League game at this time of day.

Though, considering Bright House Field is pretty nicer than the Rogers Centre and doesn’t thrust advertising down your throat at every turn and in between every inning, this one will probably feel as much like a regular big league game as anything we’d see around here. Y’know… apart from all the scrubs who’ll be playing from the fifth inning on. (Starters look respectable-ish, though.)

What I guess I’m trying to say is, the fact that we don’t have a hot dog cannon is a disgrace — liability be damned!


The talk of the baseball world earlier today was the interview with Ian Kinsler, in which the Tigers’ new second baseman classlessly skewers his former organization based on a bunch of nonsense reasons. Josh Hamilton pledged his support.

Noah Syndergaard is the talk of New York. I’d puke more about this if it wasn’t entirely expected for a prospect to be getting pumped up in that market.

Jon Heyman tweeted this morning that the Orioles have come to an incentive-based deal with Johan Santana. Want to gripe about an unnecessary policy that the Jays use to handcuff themselves ever worse than all the natural disadvantages that plague them? How about the fact that they refuse to put incentives in deals, and thus miss out on taking fliers on guys like this. Even though Santana surely won’t amount to anything for Baltimore (or he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t just jinxed it), it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Jays to be able to do stuff like that.

Speaking of Santana’s, Ervin is still out there, though the Mariners are sniffing around. Or, at least, they should be, according to Robinson Cano. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet takes a look at why that’s a genuine fit, because… y’know… apparently the Jays are still not doing anything about this.

Hard not to absolutely fucking love this tweet from Brett Lawrie: “Learning the little things from my boy @Encadwin #TalkinShop #YaHesQueso #EarsOpen #Grasshopper” Nailssssssss. Shittt sonnnnnnnnn.

Alexis Brudnicki files an excellent, lengthy profile of Aaron Sanchez for the Canadian Baseball Network.

JaysCare tweets about PITCH, a new series of baseball talks that will be taking place at Tallboys in Toronto, kicking off with words from John Lott, Shi Davidi, Jared MacDonald, and the fucking hilarious Dylan Gott.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star talks to tonight’s starter, R.A. Dickey, who talks about his off-season and where his thoughts on the club are at.

Lastly, I wrote a small season preview for Toronto Life. It’s geared more to casual fans, but give it a whirl anyway.


And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Maicer Izturis (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Erik Kratz (R)
DH A.J. Jimenez (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Philadelphia Phillies

CF Ben Revere (S)
SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
2B Chase Utley (L)
1B Ryan Howard (L)
RF Marlon Byrd (R)
DH Bobby Abreu (L)
LF Domonic Brown (L)
C Carlos Ruiz (R)
3B Maikel Franco (R)

LHP Cliff Lee

Comments (118)

  1. I think that’s actually a penis in a bun, Stoeten.

  2. even in spring training and with four AAA players goins still hits ninth

    • One of the most incredibly, negative,pessimistic pieces I’ve ever seen Stoeten write.
      Come back from the edge,big guy.
      Easy now.
      It’s gonna be okay.
      The sun will rise tommorrow.
      And always remember your mantra.
      It’s early.

      • The Jays are a competitive team in a competitive division.

        I’m really looking forward to this year.

        It’s gonna be fun.

        Perhaps some who believe “There isn’t a whole lot of optimism that the Jays are going to be able to end their woeful playoff drought in 2014,” have forgotten how to enjoy supporting the local team?

        If so, I feel bad for them, I wouldn’t wish forgetting how to enjoy baseball and the being a fan of the home team on anyone. Life is too precious, awesome, and short to go down that road.

        • I pity anyone who could actually write this comment with a straight face.

        • I could hear crickets after I finished reading that Toronto Life piece. I understand you being defensive and lashing out at people’s comments as you did bare your soul, but , I think you will look back on that article and think you might have overdid it a bit. Love your work though.

          • Ok, maybe my comprehension skills aren’t at the level as others in here but I didn’t find the Toronto life article nearly as damning as some. I actually appreciated the honesty and thought that you, Stoeten, did a nice job explaining some of the rules of baseball along the way, in order to help the common fan. Yes, it slipped towards the negative side of things when he arrived at the September and October section but what did you want him to say? You would have called him a homer if he would have said, “I fully expect a world series.”
            Your writing was not in vain stoets. I enjoyed the read.

      • My fucking mantra, RADAR. Good lord. Just trying to take the stupidity out of sports, is all.

        No mantra, just logic.

        • It’s not even logic Stoeten.
          It’s your point of view of what could be IF everything goes wrong.
          Logically how can you consider what last years team was? Everybody except JPA and DeRosa was injured at some point or another.
          So you’re basing your logic on what exactly?
          You don’t have a data set to draw conclusions from.

          • Are you ever going to quit patting yourself on the back for your own ignorance? Talking about data sets like that shows exactly how hopelessly close-minded you are. You don’t even bother to understand for a second that which you don’t know. You just mindlessly hate and pay lip service to some nebulous stats you claim to love. You’re exactly what you think you hate.

            And every team deals with injuries, RADAR. This one had more than its share, but were especially ill-equipped to deal with it. How much has that changed? In the rotation, a little (though if you look closely, the fill-ins really weren’t that bad). Up the middle? Horrific still.

            There are reasons to be optimistic too, of course, but I point that out to counter your garbage.

            • Redirection as usual Stoeten.
              You tell the casual fan what you think.
              It’s primarily negative.
              If that’s what you think ,stand behind it
              Try to stay with the topic at hand.

              • Reading comprehension, RADAR.

                I was first referring to your calling “it’s early” my mantra. Didn’t start referring to the piece until you started incongruously bringing it up.

                And in the piece itself, I was laying out the possible storylines for the year. Is that really so fucking difficult to comprehend?

    • Considering that everything that could go wrong did in 2013, this article seems a little slanted. They sucked, everyone knows it. They didn’t change anything save JPA.
      So they have to suck again.
      Easy angle to take.
      Is defendable.
      Will probably be well received.
      Yet I’m still disappointed.

      Or maybe I’ve become a hapless, hopeless, homer.

      • @ Smasher
        Yeah that’s one angle,except.
        Navarro is replacing one of the worst offensive PLAYERS in the history of baseball. Buehrle has already said he doesn’t shake off his catchers and yet even couldn’t understand the reasoning of JPA’s game calling last year. That makes Buehrle better already.
        Dickey has said he realizes he gonna give up home runs and he needs to keep runners off the basepaths. And the ALE is a different animal to pitch in.
        Having Reyes and Lawrie at the beginning of the year healthy won’t make the team better?
        Boni and Izturis were better last year than Goins will be this year ? C’mon.
        EE was listed as a top five offensive player by SI.
        I make the prediction that Melky without a tumour ,will be better than Melky with a tumour.
        Colby is heading into his FA year and is already a top ten CF.
        Bautista anyone.
        Who’s gonna argue about the bullpen?
        No WC this year.
        Anytime somebody pointed out last years team ,Stoeten raised the injury situation.But now, that wasn’t it. Make up my mind ,please.
        And at the end of the year both Gibby and AA are gone.
        Yeah, makes fucking sense to me.

        • I think you misunderstood my take.

        • The amount of willful ignorance you need to employ to read it that way is stunning, RADAR. The only place I’m saying anything remotely like the Jays WILL be bad and AA and Gibbons WILL be gone is in your feeble little mind (and I do mean feeble, because that Buehrle stuff is nuts).

          “Anytime somebody pointed out last years team ,Stoeten raised the injury situation.But now, that wasn’t it. Make up my mind ,please,” you write (which, of course, is dumb, because I acknowledge throughout that they’re hoping health will make the difference and saying they might not be wrong). “And at the end of the year both Gibby and AA are gone. Yeah, makes fucking sense to me.”

          You write that after I literally write that the doom and gloom is “hardly a forgone conclusion.” Hey, but why pay attention to what I literally said when it doesn’t fit whatever garbage you wanted to hear?

    • You guys are nuts, by the way. If you think that was pessimistic you are pretty severely insulated from what the sentiment is out there. And frankly, that sentiment is wholly understandable. Sorry if a piece written for a general, casual fan audience didn’t try hard enough to browbeat into them accepting each of the most optimistic sides of every coin, but that wouldn’t have made much sense, nor was there the room to do so. I’m very clear throughout that the negative isn’t the only possible outcome, but yes, it skews to the more likely one.

      • So instead of writing as an expert of analysis on the subject of the Blue Jays,you decided to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
        In a piece written for the general, casual fan,you decide that the scenerio you wish to convey is most likely gloom and doom but maybe it won’t be.

        • I chose to write about the reality of the Jays situation, RADAR. It’s not up to me to shape that reality so that you like it or to hand hold you through the blinders through which you insisted on reading it.

          As usual, though, your criticism would be more biting if it wasn’t obvious you don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about. You clearly don’t understand what the expectations were, how much a word limit impacts what you can do, who the audience was, or what they know about me and my alleged expertise.

          Your attempt at outrage is hilarious.

      • I understand there are limitations writing such an article. So please understand that I’m not giving you flack for that.

        It just seems like for every encouraging/optimistic point you make, there are several caveats attached that immediately deflate the point.

        I’m not arguing any of the points you made, they are either all true, or of reasonable concern, and yes it’s a reality of baseball, but fuck man, it makes for a real shitty read.

        It’s like if I gave you a Häagen-Dazs as a gift, but as soon as you start eating it I started to talk about how terrible all the fat and sugar is in it, then went on some trip about how unnatural dairy is for humans to consume. All factually correct or of reasonable concern. It would match the sentiment of what many people people thing about ice cream treats, but I don’t think that you would enjoy it as much, do you?

        I guess what I’m saying (and I think this is Smasher’s point), is don’t ruin my ice cream bar man!

        • Those caveats are there because those caveats exist.

          It doesn’t necessarily make for a shitty read, it makes for a read that doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. Maybe it was a shitty read for other reasons, but ain’t it. Tough titty.

          • What would either buoy or deflate the idea that the Jays truly need additional talent is a good hard look at what the team was beyond the hype of last offseason. Has that happened since things fell apart? We’ve went from “We’re the best” to, at best, “We’re okay, but I seriously doubt we’re good enough”. If what we have right now is a team that’s one starter short of the odds on favourite to win the 2013 World Series, and yet there’s real doubt about its ability to contend in 2014, that to me looks like a great opportunity to unpack the baggage of last offseason and shine a cold hard light on what’s what with this year’s team.

      • Hey Stoeten, I’m late to the party so not sure if you’ll even see this, but I for one thought that piece was very well written. It came across as very even keeled to me, and in truth the reader could get out of it anything they wanted to. If the reader was looking for optimism, it was there, if the reader was looking for negativity, you could see that as well. Unfortunately the hard truth is that this team is not in a good situation given last years performance. Yes injuries played a big part, but with a team of 30 somethings playing every day for six months injuries are inevitable and the hard truth is that the Jays have done nothing to really address the injury problem, or as you would say insulate them against it. So good job, it was well written, especially for a lay audience. Cheers.

    • That article is about as proper as it gets.

  3. Did the spring training blackout grace period on MLB tv end? I can’t access the game there for free anymore

  4. We got chicken in the barn whose barn what barn MY BARN

  5. phanatic blastin’ weens?

  6. What I don’t understand is why is Goins batting 9th in Spring Training games?

    I thought that he was getting fast track MLB developmental hitting attention.

    Why not bat him lead off to get him an extra AB per game? Does it really matter to Reyes if he come up to bat with one out in games that don’t matter?

    • Most guys are pulled after 3 AB’s at this point. So he wouldn’t get an extra at bat.

      • That’s kinda my point, try and squeeze in a 4th AB by batting him lead off. It’s not like he’s a veteran with a ST routine.

        Getz, Izturis, and company can find AB’s playing SS,3B as well.

        It’s not a big deal, but AB’s like everything else add up over time.

  7. Anyone else really like what they see from Moises Sierra? Small sample size even including last year, but he has had some really good at bats.

    • I agree, he looks to have his timing down. This could be a result of playing winter ball. I like him to make this team out of spring

      • Last time he was up, he seemed to have trouble reading the ball off the bat and probably because of that never got a good jump. Now he seems to have that figured
        out. The talk is that his speed isnt good enough to play CF so he won’t be able to take Rasmus’ place and because of that they’re stuck with Gose and his crappy bat. I’d like to see them try him there but I know it won’t happen. Whatever, if Colby goes they’ll have Gose and when Melky goes they can plug Moises in there.
        Btw, what an amazing arm! would love to see that a few times more.

  8. Matt Stairs is really quite terrible as a broadcaster. He speaks too quickly. He mumbles. He uses a very limited vocabulary. He overuses the word “nice.” He comes across as an old-school homer. He says factually wrong things. He contributes little interesting insight into the game.

  9. Why do people slag Buck here? I think he’s good at what he does.

    • I think we tire of his endless old-school baseball cliches, and especially his (and Tabby’s) constant ball-gobbling of the opposing teams’ players and organizations. Continuous discussion of meaningless stats (pitcher wins etc.). but I guess a lot of guys in broadcasting do that.

      Listening to other teams’ broadcasts, especially some of the smaller markets, I don’t think he’s all bad.

    • Lol are you kidding?

    • Buck’s fine, I don’t mind a certain amount of the old school thing. I mean, there actually are such things as intangibles, like work ethic, attitude, background (which I would call context, which is a factor in literally everything). Whether a guy (especially young men, and I’m one of em) can get over his pride and open his mind can have a lot to do with whether he can adapt to and survive in the big league. Cause it’s not the same game.

      The problem, for me, is when the things you can’t measure get blamed for everything. Maybe a guy had real rough go of it, just failed to perform, and suddenly the commentators have the right to say he doesn’t have that “winning attitude”? Slap a label on him, write him off, because having more experience means you’re always right. …Right?

      Another problem is Tabler. Two guys of that ilk, who drawl on and on about yester year in that endless fashion, is too much. And I like history! It’s like they’re telling one long story through the whole game, but the story has no point and goes nowhere except to say “shut up and respect me”. But that’s not the behavior that deserves respect, is it? Buck is the better of the two, he should be paired with someone of a different style.

  10. Nice article at BA about Stroman. Said he started tinkering with a changeup at the end of ’13.

    Money quote: “I never realized how much of a weapon a changeup is until (2013),” he said. “It really messes up the hitter’s timing. If you can control a changeup, I honestly think it’s the best pitch in baseball. … I’ve got a pretty good feel for it. I’m looking forward to using it as a weapon in 2014.”

  11. I know it’s early and whatnot, but it sure would be nice to see one of the starters have a good outing.

  12. The Great Pumpkin

  13. Should be interseting to watch how the jays hitterd approah the two strike count based on Gibbys comments about it.

  14. Great bunt, kid!

  15. Hendriks looks decent

  16. Thought it was pretty funny, that Goins is hitting 9th, even though half the starters aren’t playing.

  17. Sigh.

    • That was a great read. I hope AA locks him up.

      • He could be scary good this year.

        • It’ll be interesting to see how what AA does if he’s kicking ass at the All Star break. My guess is AA extends him by June.

        • His ceiling is pretty much 2013.

          Gose and Davis are quite different.

          • Of the two which has a better on-base % ceiling?

          • “His ceiling is pretty much 2013.”

            Are you referring to Gose or Davis?

            • I thought he meant Colby.

              • That’s even worse. Colby’s ceiling is just astronomical.

                • I meant Colby. A five win player in 120 games is astronomical. Expecting more is nutty.

                  • Well then call me Mr. Peanut!!!!

                    …. No, not really. I just really wanted to type that.
                    I’ll take 2013 Colby over and over and over.

                  • There’s a perception out there that his defence is just above average as opposed to being fantastic.

                    • That perception would be correct.

                    • It might not be in 2014 but it was in 2013 and contributed heavily to the 4.8 war

                    • Ok so let’s say that – hypothetically – that’s Colby’s ceiling and defensively he is just above average. Btw IMHO his arm is pretty average and there are some balls that he “seems’ to let up on. Does AA:
                      1/ Let Colby go and hope he can make something out of Gose (or DJ Davis, Anthony Alford or Dwight Smith)?
                      2/ Make a fair, market value offer to Colby and hope he stays?

                      He may surprise us, but I think Colby is going to go for the largest contract he can get on the open market and I don’t think AA will be offering anywhere near what Colby will expect.

                    • The thing about number two is that it’s going to shift based on how Colby is doing and how close he is to actual free agency. Still plenty of time for AA to find the right risk/reward balance if he waits.

                    • The perception that Colby is just above average, is correct,yet the defensive metrics suggest that he is elite?

                    • If you had ever been willing to open your mind to understanding how stats work, you’d have known that the metrics work best looking at much bigger samples than just a single season. In 2013 he was elite, in the previous two years, much more towards the middle of the pack. Over the last three seasons, 14 of the 37 CFs to get regular-ish playing time have produced more with the glove, per FanGraphs’ metrics. So yes, the statement is correct.

                    • Thanks for clarifying your position and reasoning.

  18. Very entertaining ballgame. Broke down and ordered MLBtv. Should bring a little Spring because it sure isn’t Spring outside ! First time I’ve seen a ST game. Now I agree … THE SCORES MEAN NOTHING.

  19. Goins got a couple knocks, maybe all hope is not lost

  20. Anyone notice Goins not making it first to third on a bobbled ball down the third base line that made it almost all the way to the corner? I guess coaches making players be a little careful on some plays, but man, that was ridiculous – pretty sure Bengie Molina makes it to third on that play.

    • Tell me about it. Spring training or not he has to pretty much eliminate any brain farts on the bases since he may so rarely be on them.

  21. “A grim ritual march to irrelevance”: what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, month by month…

    I am with RADAR on this one, this fucking article makes me want to just give up on baseball, on sports, on life. Depressing and pessimistic and just what no one needed – just the worst fucking summary of the Jays season ever written.

    I am going to bluebirdbanter, where there is some glimmer of optimism. I am tired of the general pessimism and “smarter-than-thou” smug ass fucking attitude.

    • Thing is, you’re an idiot. And I wish you’d post under your real name and not hide behind this chickenshit garbage whenever you want to dumbly shit on me.

      What no one needed? Aww, did little pisspants not get to hear what he wanted to hear?

    • Because our baseball team will be irrelevant in 3 months it makes you want to give up on life? lol

  22. Am I the only one who found Stoeten’s article for TorontoLife mildly amusing and mostly harmless?

  23. So I’ve been watching Ken Burn’s baseball documentaries recently (I’m only up to Inning 4). In the last chapter there was a comment that I think many on here would do well to remember. I’ll paraphrase:

    The best team in baseball will still lose a third of the time. And the worst team will still win a third of the time. So this whole long season is really just about that other 3rd.
    If winning is the only thing to you, then baseball is probably not for you.

    • Great series. “The Spaceman” Bill Lee is worth the price of the series on his own.

    • I have watched a few times the only thing about that kills me is that every time the Red Sox make the playoffs he has to devote half the episode to it. Since each inning covers at least a decade lots of things don’t even get mentioned.

  24. Re. Hot dog promotion …

    true story ..

    I was at the Jays Hot Dog promotion about 15 years ago. During innings they brought out the Hot dog shooter. they started shooting dogs all over, only the machine was set at too high of pressure and the hot dogs were literally exploding and bits and pieces were flying all throughout the Dome. After doing this several times they finally realized what happened and they gave up. When the stadium PA Announcer came back on to announce the Batter he was laughing so hard he couldn’t get the words out and had to shut his mic off a few separate times as he tried to contain himself .. it was a moment that I will NEVER forget!

    The next week on one of the intro pages in Sports Illustrated where they hi-light goofy things, they mentioned this goof at the Dome.

    … those were the days!

  25. So Rogers and the Bills are postponing the Bills in Toronto series to 2015, meaning the games will run through 2018 so I guess no grass field in 2018

  26. Stoeten I’m assuming you deleted my post because it was linked to Sober Jays Fan there, whom I also assume you banned…

    • You assume correctly! All the comments get weirdly out of sequence when I delete one that has replies to it, so the replies usually go too. Nothing personal.

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