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Pardon me, but Don Kelly has no business making this catch. A double from Prince Fielder and a home run off the bat of Alex Avila have the Tigers up 2-0 early in the second, so yeah, maybe one of those afternoons. Stay tuned.

Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals

It was speculated for much of the off-season that, back before they found a dance partner in Jeffrey Loria, the Toronto Blue Jays had been interested in acquiring Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander had a $22-million club option for this season, and for much of the late season, and October, it seemed as though the White Sox weren’t going to exercise it. They were rumoured to be more interested in dealing him in much the same fashion that the Angels did with Ervin Santana, who was sent to the Royals, and attempted to do with Dan Haren.

There wasn’t much written about the possibility around here– I found myself zeroing in more on the cheaper Haren as a possibility– but it was certainly a thing on Twitter and in the comments. That is, until Peavy re-worked and extended his contract with the Sox not long after Rick Hahn officially took over as GM from the promoted Kenny Williams, at which point there wasn’t a whole lot of reason for us to keep thinking about the well-paid ex-Padre.

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Now it’s time for all the stuff I don’t figure on making full posts out of, with the spiffy graphic by Matt English (aka @mattomic). It’s your Afternoon Snack… er… Afternoon Hangover… er… links!!!

Hey, so did anything happen with the Jays recently that’s worth talking about? Er… yikes.

The club will hold a press conference at 3:30 ET prior to their game in the Bronx this evening, featuring Anthopoulos, Farrell, Escobar, and Luis Rivera, presumably as a translator. We’ll be on top of it as it happens– Sportsnet, tweets Shi Davidi, will be streaming the “event” live.

At Sportsnet, Stephen Brunt suggests a five month breather from this fucking club.

At Getting Blanked, Parkes shows us how this isn’t the first time Escobar has worn– and has not been stopped from wearing– questionable text on his eye black.

Over at the Toronto Star, Cathal Kelly looks into the linguistics. “‘If you were to yell that at someone in a Cuban context, that would be deeply offensive,’ [Cuba expert, Professor Rafael] Lima said. In his view, the word can be lightened depending on how it’s used (this being the difference between taking umbrage and starting a fistfight) but always means the same thing — a homosexual man.”

Elsewhere at the Star, Doug Smith weighs in, expressing disbelief that nobody saw this and/or thought better of it, putting it on the team as a whole, decrying the excuses about context by reminding us that we’re not in a place where those words may take a different, less vile meaning, but ultimately being hopeful that the Jays handle this in a positive way that can make things better for everybody going forward.

There’s some interesting, civil discussion of the subject on the post linking back here from Baseball Think Factory. Have a look if you… y’know… find some of discussion around here wanting.

“Yunel now stands at the precipice of complete reputation destruction and he can go two ways with it,” writes Dirk Hayhurst. “He can own all of his shortcomings, make glowing and heartfelt apology, and move up. Or, he can take that same attitude that got him into this situation and become the pariah of a town that is one of the most accepting and tolerant in baseball.

Paul Attfield and Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail recap the situation, telling us that Major League Baseball is looking into the incident.

In the National Post, John Lott looks at the “internet uproar” that blew up the incident real good.

The Tao of Stieb weighs in on the issue as well, praising @james_in_to for speaking up.

Turns out that back in March, Deadspin took a look at which sports leagues care, don’t care, or kinda care whether or not their players use the slur in question.

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Funny definitely isn’t the word I’d use, but it’s certainly odd that on the day where Brett Lawrie is declared a burgeoning icon in the city’s gay community, we might have a related incident on our hands, of a seriously ugly and unfortunate nature.

Above we have an image of Yunel Escobar taken on Saturday, which has been posted on Flickr by frequent Twitterer @James_in_TO. On the Flickr page he writes:

For those whose Spanish isn’t fluent, have never seen Scarface or fail at google, Yunel’s eyeblack “TU ERE MARICON” translates to “You’re a faggot”. There are some small Spanish locales where it translates to “pussy” not “faggot” but that’s a very small possibility.

Ugh.

Now, to be entirely clear, I don’t speak Spanish, so I’m entirely taking this at face value and could absolutely be wrong about the interpretation or the context. I’ve already received a tweet from @BanditDeW, who explains, “All the latin players I ever played with used that as a generic curse word. Not a slur directed at a specific class.”

That would provide some measure of relief, I suppose. And I think it’s only fair to point out such potential contradictions, because I don’t want to throw Escobar– or whoever put this on his eye black– under the bus without making it known that we really don’t know the context here, or enough about the language to draw any hard conclusions yet– or at least I don’t. Additionally, at least theoretically, this could be the work of Photoshop, I suppose, but I’ve spoken with James on the internet, I know he’s not just some random, and personally, I have little reason not to believe that what we’re seeing here is real– and I’ve just had it confirmed from the video of Saturday’s game that, indeed, the phrase was there. (Other sources are finding other photos, too.)

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riosfuck

I kind of want to get out of here and get my drink on already, so I’ll try to make this brief. The road juggernaut that is the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club looks to add to their current streak of five straight wins (four straight on the road), and will hope to guarantee at least a split for their visit to Chicago tonight, as aces Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.12) and Jays-killer Mark Buehrle (2-4, 5.30).

Of any team that Buehrle has faced more than ten times, his career ERA is lowest against the Jays—which shouldn’t be news to Jays fans, so I’m not exactly why I’m saying it, except to fill space in this mailed-in Game Threat.

Adam Lind will have the night off tonight, as Randy Ruiz takes over at DH, with Cito’s fucking mancrush, Jose Bautista actually hitting third—though with his .826 career OPS against lefties, you could do worse than the right-handed hitting Bautista. Marvellously, Travis Snider will not get the night off, making his fourth start of the year against a left-handed pitcher. CITO FOR MAYOR!!!!!

He’s still hitting ninth, though. Because… you know… why would you want a developing player in a go-nowhere year who you think could anchor your lineup one day getting extra at-bats?

The Lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

F. Lewis lf
A. Hill 2b
J. Bautista 3b
V. Wells cf
L. Overbay 1b
A. Gonzalez ss
R. Ruiz dh
J. Buck c
T. Snider rf

S. Marcum rhp

 

Chicago White Sox

J. Pierre lf
O. Vizquel 2b
A. Jones dh
A. Rios cf
A. Pierzynski c
C. Quentin fr
M. Teahen 3b
M. Kotsay 1b
A. Ramirez ss

M. Buehrle lhp

Friday Grab Bag

No WBC For USA’s VW

Well, Parkes has beaten me to this, but fuck it: Citing “insurance issues” due to his ginormous contract and recent inability to stay healthy, it appears as though Vernon Wells will not be suiting up for the USA at the upcoming World Baseball Shittacular. I guess it might be disappointing for some that we won’t be getting an early glimpse of Vernon when the WBC hits Toronto in March, but come on– if you’re USA Baseball do you really fork out a shedload in insurance just so Vernon can watch Grady Sizemore, Carlos Quentin, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson and Brad Hawpe play the outfield? (full US roster here)

Here’s A Surprise…

Michael Barrett says he hopes his career won’t be remembered for his infamous string of fighting incidents in 2006 and ’07. No shit, eh? Wow, you know, you really do learn a lot of pointless, obvious shit during spring training, don’t you? (For the record, anyone who punches Pierzynski is fucking awesome in my book.)

My Snidey Senses Are Tingling

I can’t remember if someone has predicted better things that this for Travis Snider’s rookie season– what am I, some kind of human being with the capacity for remembering information?– but either way, it’s pretty good. Ryan Fagan of the Sporting News was told the following by Frank Neville, “a Phoenix-based minor league expert who provides scouting reports for Sporting News“:

“Snider is definitely ready. He’ll strike out in large numbers because he doesn’t always have a consistent approach at the plate, but he’s got great raw power, can hit to all fields, and shows good bat control. I expect 25 to 30 home runs and an average around .260 as a rookie in 2009. Long-term he’s got as much power potential as anyone.”

Brad Wilkerson Is Incredibly Delusional

I’ll always pretend I have a soft spot for Brad Wilkerson because he cried when the Expos left Montreal, but holy fucking piss, look at what he told the Providence Journal about last season:

“In Seattle I didn’t perform up to my capabilities and didn’t get the at-bats I wanted to get. It didn’t work out and then I felt like I got off to a good start with Toronto. But they made some changes and that’s the way the baseball business is.”

W. T. F. ?.

You mean, if you fucking suck a mountain of goat ass for five months, you generally lose your job? Yeah, that’s pretty much how the baseball business fucking is.

Layin’ Down The Law

Here are your Jays-related tidbits from yesterday’s KLaw chat at ESPN:

Ron (Chicago): I know John Tolisano had a rough year last year, but is he still considered a prospect?
Keith Law: He has to find a position first.

Brett Cecil (Toronto): BP ranked me #90 in their Top 100 prospects. What do you see in me that they don’t? ETA?
Keith Law: I don’t know what KG’s comments on Cecil were, so I can’t compare and contrast for you. I see a four-pitch starter who misses bats and throws strikes with a pretty aggressive approach. ETA is this year. Concern on him is workload – college reliever converted to the rotation. I will be disappointed if Van Pelt doesn’t get Cecil on his show after the kid’s debut.

Matt (Denver, CO): Would a GM/Owner combo of Jim Bowden in DC and Drayton McLane in Houston produce the worst franchise in sports history?
Keith Law: That would be amazing. They’d draft a toolsy two-sport high school outfielder in every round, and then fail to sign them all.

Chris Toronto: You seem to be very high on Justin Jackson of the Jays. Is his ceiling along the lines of 270/350/450 10hr power, with ++ defense? And finally could you expect to have a breakout season this year?
Keith Law: That’s a ceiling, but he’s going to have to show he can make more contact.

Quickly

Joining Puerto Rico for the WBC? Bernie Williams. Yes, that Bernie Williams.

Delgado isn’t bothered by A-Roid’s ’03 MVP: “I can’t change what happened. I thought I had a pretty good chance to win before this all came out,” Delgado told MLB.com. “I wasn’t going to let that overshadow the year I had. Five years later, I’m not going to let that bother me.”

I know we rag on Griffin for his constant Expos references, but today’s blog post was actually a great story about how the team handled the media after Tim Raines’ cocaine rehab.

Ugh. Elliott mails in his obligatory “Will Halladay Stay or Go?” story.

It was four years ago today that Hunter S. Thompson shot himself in the head. Do yourself a favour and go buy a bottle of Wild Turkey, then print out and read this PDF of The Great Shark Hunt.

I’m not going to lie to you, unless it comes out that during his time in Toronto he got Ace hooked on the juice (which plenty of circumstantial evidence might suggest– see above), I have no clue if I’m at all going to wind up giving a shit or not about tomorrow’s Roger Clemens bullshit. However, at the moment I’m kind of thinking that on the off chance the shit seriously does hit the fan, I’m just going to go ahead and clear out some of the mostly-pointless stuff I would otherwise considered writing about tomorrow.

So, here for your link-viewing pleasure… is me mailing in a post…

Bob Elliott of the Sun gets what the ticket horseshit is all about!

Bud Selig says that baseball doesn’t need a third party to administer their drug testing plan. . . because obviously they’ve done so well on their own.

The Mockingbird brings us news that William S. Burroughs is alive and well and blogging about the Jays. (Jesus… who the fuck isn’t blogging about the Jays these days?)

Wilner has finally emerged after a week or so of quaking over future Grill Room debates (but more on that another time) to give us a new blog post. It may be titled “Waiting for the lies”, but it’s not all Clemens– he also weighs in on a certain “galactically stupid” decision made by Rogers this week.

SI’s Tom Verducci says that young pitchers dramatically increase their injury risk when they pitch more than 30 innings more than in their previous season, and this year the red flag has more than been raised in Dustin McGowan’s direction.

I do enjoy a good shitting on the people over at the Pro Sports Daily Jays message board, but some of them, like the ones who’ve got a new Jays blog, the Southpaw, actually don’t have their heads up their asses.

Tracy Ringolsby checks in with an AL East preview. Predictable bullshit… sort of like the Jays finishing third again. Oh.

“No, no Andy. You misunderstood. I told you my wife used HGH. I was using steroids.” And by that I mean, Pettitte might have fucked Clemens in the ass. And here I was certain Andy was a top.

Those fucking lame dipshits at CBS Sportsline don’t quite understand the difference between individual players and teams, proclaiming that the Jays “should have a lock on the Comeback Player of the Year”.

More Sportsline insanity has Adam Lind taken higher in an AL mock draft than Frank Thomas. I can see here that the fantasy-playing public is in good hands.

MLB Trade Rumors throws down some guesses about where the remaining free agent pitchers might land, suggesting the Jays would do well to consider Josh Fogg, Bartolo Colon, Jeff Weaver, or if they’re in contention in June, trading for Freddy Garcia. And a rumour is born…

The Tao nails their interpretation of Robert MacLeod’s excellent piece on Roy Halladay in the Globe. And I nail my interpretation of the Tao’s work by saying that they nailed it.

Eric Karabell tells all twelve people dumb enough to be ESPN Insiders that Frank Thomas is a big time fantasy sleeper. (Thanks Eli!)

Yahoo! says we should be speaking of Aaron Hill “in the same breath as Jeff Kent”, but then inexplicably lists Russ Adams in their list of “other notable 27ers”. I think they mean 27 year olds. Oh, and notable for fucking what? Sucking? Having a radio commercial two years ago where he was supposed to be talking to his mom but she sounded like she was his age and kind of hot?

Finally… sticking with Yahoo!, a pair of their fantasy gurus ranked Dustin McGowan the 34th best pitcher in (fantasy) baseball. Sure, it might not sound all that impressive, but he came in ahead of a few over-hyped pieces of shit I can think of.