hayhurstlooks

I’m a big fan of Dirk Hayhurst, however, like most people in my line of work and of a certain vintage (and, most likely, a certain level of stubbornness), I absolutely despise Bleacher Report. So, while happy to see him get a good gig, I was partly disappointed when he announced that he’d been hired on as a national MLB columnist there, at the home of what A.J. Daulerio once extraordinarily aptly termed Google-raping SEO “stories”, because I do not and will not read that site.

Except, as it turns out, in exceptional circumstances.

I can still get my Dirk fix through his personal blog — and from Bigger Than The Game, a review of which is still coming, and would have been here sooner had I not left my copy on the damn couch when I road tripped to the southern states last month! — which is great, especially for juicy Rogers- and Jays-related tidbits like this one, which came from a piece Dirk wrote after he was irked by a former colleague saying his snark towards the Jays on Opening Day may have been driven by “sour grapes”:

I was also the guy who, half way through the season, tweeted that the music Rogers Jays coverage was playing on every Blue Jays highlight package—two song choices, Metric’s Stadium Love, and Monster Truck’s Sweet Mountain River—had gotten to a level of annoyance that, when combined with the abysmal Jays season, made me want to leap off the CN Tower.

Twitter followers loved it. Rogers management… not so much. I was back roomed and told never to do that again. I laugh about that now because, when it happened, I was like, “but, it is annoying—you know it, I know it, and they (the fans) know it.”

Delicious stuff, right?

Less delicious, however, is what he laid on the organization today, in one of the few non-”What time does the Super Bowl start?” pieces available at BR.

“This team has too many Latinos on it to win,” mused the old scout beside me. “Get too many of them together on a club and they take over. The club divides, has no sense of itself. They might not be terrible. I mean, them boys can play, but they ain’t gonna win no championship. They’re too emotional to go the distance.

“No, no”—he shook his head—“I ain’t seen no team with this many Latinos in the lineup win.”

. . .

The comment didn’t shock me. Spend enough time around the inner workings of the game, you’ll hear this kind talk. Mostly from its antiquated members who’ve been overexposed to the same idiosyncratic, psychosomatic, superstitious behavior that brought players classic baseball rules of thumb like, “The darker the skin, the tighter the spin.”

What may be shocking to you is that this scout was a valued decision-maker. An evaluator of talent whose job it was to see what the team needed in order to win. He was the kind of old dog that was brought in by young, sabermetrically inclined officials to help bridge the gap between eyes-on baseball experience and cold, mathematical production analysis. His big contribution so far: the team was dark.

And the club this person is talking about? The club that he worked for?

Your Toronto Blue Jays.

Yowza.

[Edit: As some commenters have pointed out, it's not explicitly stated who the scout works for, however, the second paragraph is only just ambiguous enough to leave open the possibility that this could be a scout there to watch the Jays on behalf of another club if you squint real hard. Seems fairly clear that the team he's been hired by as "an evaluator of talent whose job it was to see what [they] needed to win” is the team he made his “big contribution” to by saying that it “was dark.”– AS]

Read the rest of this entry »

reyescalls

They’re ballplayers, it’s an off-day, so let’s not make more of this than what we need to — plus, the Jays would have landed in Minneapolis last night, so they’re on Central time, too — but this is some pretty funny stuff from the Jose Reyes’s Instagram. What could possibly have been going on?? I’m sure any flu-like symptoms will be cleared up before the Jays take on the Twins on Tuesday night.

Reyes, who has left the team for Florida, and will  explains:

Buenos Dias my people yo sabia que me extrañaban pero y que fue se fueron en sentimiento XX XX XX XX XX XX XX UNO no Es guachiman XX XX @encadwin @ellembo @joeybats19 tienen que paral

Google translate warps it pretty good, but you get the idea… mostly:

Good Morning my people I knew but they missed me and was feeling left in XX XX XX XX XX XX XX Is not ONE watchman XX XX ellembo @ @ @ encadwin joeybats19 have to stud

Er… like I say, mostly. For those wondering, El Lembo is Moises Sierra. And each double-X is a smiley face (WordPress is dumb sometimes).

So… yeah. At least a little funny, right?

 

Crotch grab in the direction of @JordyRamone for the heads up.

kawasakiMTL

Maicer Izturis left today’s game with a left knee sprain, and it was serious enough that he was placed on the DL immediately following its conclusion. This means that until Jose Reyes returns — which, barring setback, won’t be long, given that he’s no longer travelling with the club, in order to be down in Dunedin for a rehab assignment — the Jays needed to find themselves a spare middle infielder, and they have done so by bringing up last year’s super special spirit animal, Munenori Kawasaki.

It makes sense, and it’s nice to see him get some more time in the show, as last year he brought everything you could possibly hope for from a depth infield piece. However, Izturis was going well, and looking a far cry from the worst player in baseball (which last year, according to FanGraphs’ WAR, he was), so — surprisingly — this feels like a bit of a loss. Especially when you remember precisely where the club’s middle infield depth is at, and you see a tweet from Barry Davis explaining that Izturis says that he “tripped on dugout stairs just prior to game. Felt 2 pops. Says he’s concerned with what he may have done to it.”

Ugh. And that’s the “good” news! (Well, apart from the awesome performance the Jays just put in today).

The bad news — the first bit of it, at least —  is that the Jays are back to an eight-man bullpen, having chosen to avoid the difficult questions about just what the fuck to do with J.A. Happ, activating him from the DL and returning Erik Kratz to Buffalo to create room.

Happ is certainly a better pitcher than he showed this spring, so having him in the bullpen as a left-handed long man seems fine enough thing in the abstract. As part of an eight-man bullpen, though, it’s obviously dumb. But the Jays are in a tricky spot here. Casey Janssen, like Reyes, is about to begin a rehab assignment, and when he returns it will either be at the expense of Esmil Rogers (deserves demotion, but is out of options), or Neil Wagner (deserves to stay, but has options). Remove Happ and Rogers when Janssen comes back, and you have a pretty fine looking unit, but, of course, it’s not so simple, because doing so would carve off a hefty bit of depth from the organization.

Sure, everything is going swimmingly now, and those guys are fairly fungible — maybe more so than Alex Anthopoulos wants to admit, especially with Stroman, Hendricks, Nolin, Jenkins, Walden, and (when he returns from the temporary inactive list) Stilson as perfectly fine depth pieces in their own right (plus Jeremy Jeffress potentially about to be “sneaked” through waivers). But they’re also probably less fungible than fans, who have a tendency to always err on the side of sending some scrub’s sorry ass packing, want to believe, either. Rogers and Happ have logged real big league innings, been parts of big league rotations, and as much as they’ve also done those things fairly poorly, they’ve got the kind of stuff that makes organizations at least think they’ll be able to survive in the majors, and that actually does say something.

Not a whole lot, though. And it would be nice to see a resolution to this roster construction nonsense here sooner rather than later — Happ for the bench bat the club so badly needs again, maybe?

Of course, with injuries, things tend to have a way of sorting themselves out, and that’s likely another reason Anthopoulos is holding his nose and choosing this option for the moment. At least, let’s hope it’s for the moment.

Hey, and while we’re hoping for stuff, let’s hope that Colby Rasmus’s hamstring is doing alright, too. That’s because, according to a tweet from John Lott, he didn’t leave the game because of the crooked scoreline, rather it was due to hamstring tightness. John Gibbons says that it’s not considered serious, for whatever that’s worth. And Lott adds that Rasmus says he felt it “kind of grab” after lunging to catch a Nick Markakis drive in the fifth inning, but that, with tomorrow’s off-day he hopes it will be OK.

So does the man who manages this clusterfuck of roster, too, I’m sure — Melky, Jose, or Moises will see time in centre if Rasmus can’t go… unless they make yet another unwanted move and find a way to bring up Anthony Gose.

Ugh. Ideally it won’t come to that.

Sunday Threat: Jays @ Orioles

Tough loss last night, no doubt, though the instant, drunk, Saturday night nitpicking of bullpen management, baserunning, outfield positioning, and the throwing up of arms and batshit posturing like this team can’t hit can pretty much fuck off and die. Other than that nonsense, though, it was a hell of an entertaining evening of baseball, and not too far unlike what you’d expect to see from a mid-April night game in Baltimore. OK? Relax a little. Act like you’ve done this before.

You might think that a 7 PM start on a Saturday might give me enough time to do up a proper Game Threat for this one, but you might think wrong. You also, more likely, might not care about whatever the hell the Game Threat says, as long as there’s a fresh place to comment without having to scroll back through pages of gibberish, in which case… everybody wins! (Maybe even the Jays!)

Maybe there will even be a fresh threat tomorrow, stay tuned!!!

Hey, and for good measure, here are two real pieces of scuttlebutt: John Lott tweets that Jose Reyes felt good running the bases today, and that both he and Casey Janssen are Dunedin-bound, as they’re set for rehab assignments. Lot also tells us that the Jays are not saying what their plans are for J.A. Happ, as he continues to rehab and gets closer to full “health” — *WINK* — after a strong showing in Buffalo yesterday. Ol’ Gibbers “won’t say what factors will determine whatever that decision will be,” he adds.

mcgowanopener

Dustin McGowan gets a do-over after a poor showing in his first game of the season — the home opener last Friday — and… well… it’s not like things get a whole lot easier. Sure, there won’t be 50,000 screaming down his neck, but there also won’t be Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte, Derek Jeter, or whatever other quad-A scrubs the Yankees were running out there.

Though, actually — he said, about to type out words he will surely later eat — looking at their Machado-less lineup, and I’m not really sure what the big deal with Baltimore is, anyway. Delmon Young? Ryan Flaherty and Steve Lombardozzi? Shit, I’ll take my chances with Maicer Izturis, thanks. Should be a good one, though, either way. Shouldn’t it?

Scuttlebutt

Steve Delabar has a wrap on his leg still, tweets Barry Davis, but the pitcher claims he’s good to go tonight, if called upon.

Shi Davidi tweets this: “Jose Reyes felt ‘comfortable’ running today, will push hamstring further tomorrow. If all goes well rehab assignment to follow.”

In a tweet from Davis, he adds that Reyes says he wants to get to a point where he’s not even thinking about the hamstring before he returns. “When I return I want it to be for rest of season,” Jose says.

Richard Griffin wonders if natural grass will be a factor tonight, given that the Jays have played on turf in every game since March 28th.

Scott MacArthur tweets that Pete Walker says he thinks Dustin McGowan has got the whole pitch-tipping thing “nipped in the bud.”

TV: Sportsnet

Next games: Saturday, 7:05 PM ET, @ Baltimore; Sunday, 1:35 PM ET, @ Baltimore

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
SS Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Dustin McGowan

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
DH Delmon Young (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
CF Adam Jones (R)
C Matt Wieters (S)
LF Nelson Cruz (R)
3B Steve Lombardozzi (S)
SS Ryan Flaherty (L)
2B Jonathan Schoop (R)

RHP Chris Tillman

tedstatue2

Now a little something to kill time on a Friday afternoon: it’s an actual, shit-you-not real edition of the DJF podcast!

And today we’ve got just Drew and I, with @RyanEligh on the ones and twos, but no one filling in for the hopelessly disinterested Wally Pippp as our fourth Horseman of the Anthocalpyse while we discuss positivity, good times, real emotion, Carolans, Dustin McGowan’s Cy Young bid, and statues.

If you’re more inclined to download today’s podcast, hit up the mp3 link.

Soundcloud looks fancy and is awesome, but don’t forget that, if you prefer, the DJF iTunes page remains up and running too. Get on over there and subscribe– or update the subscription you already have to find the latest episode (once it’s up). You can also find it via our podcast RSS feed. Follow DJF on Facebook, too, while you’re at it. And the DJF Instagram!

Many (most? some?) mintmusical interludes courtesy Toronto’s own Optical Sounds, who recently released Psych Pop 2, their second free-to-download compilation of outstanding tunes from local psych- and garage-influenced artists, plus friends of their great collective. Be sure to check them out online and buy every single fucking thing you hear at their site!