Despite writing here for just over a full year now, there are a lot of things, as a U.S. American, I still don’t understand about you people. I don’t understand what made you think putting gravy on french fries was a good idea (which, for the record, it totally was). I don’t know why you don’t throw off the oppressive queen that reigns over you. And I don’t know why you continue to send us your pop stars, as if we don’t have enough mildly talented young white kids to fawn over down here.
My confusion extends to your baseball team, which I think I have more trouble figuring out than any other team in baseball. Maybe you can help me. Here’s a list of stuff that I don’t really understand about Blue Jays baseball:
1) Henderson Alvarez
First of all, his name bugs me. Why would you name your son Henderson? But more importantly, how in the name of Gordie Howe does he manage to succeed when he only strikes out 7.0% of the batters he faces? That’s the lowest in the game by more than half a percent, and he and Derek Lowe are the only pitchers who strikeout fewer than 9.0%. Batters hit the ball in play against him more than any other pitcher other than Lowe. I mean, I get that he gets batters to put virtually everything on the ground, which is nice, but he also allows homers at a rate far above league average. That’s one hell of an infield defense you guys must have. You guys can’t actually think he’s going to keep it up right? I assume you don’t, and just aren’t saying anything since Canadians are so much nicer than we are.
2) Rogers Centre
Does anyone actually watch games from that hotel in centerfield? Is that really a thing? And on a scale from 1-10, how douchey is it?
3) Omar Vizquel
Yesterday, 45 year old infielder Omar Vizquel got a hit to raise his slash line to .213/.260/.213 in 51 plate appearances. Omar has had a tremendous career, but it’s difficult to see how he lasts the season with the Blue Jays. Not only does he make Toronto worse when he’s in the lineup, but he makes them worse from the bench, by taking up a roster spot that a better player could fill. That’s not a criticism of Vizquel, mind you. Twenty-four seasons in the Majors and 2850 hits earns you the right to wear a uniform for as long as someone will let you in my book. Good for him, and bad for the Blue Jays.
When the divisions realign after this year, wouldn’t it be better if you moved to an AL North with the Twins, the Tigers, the White Sox and the Indians? We could move the Royals to the AL West, and put the Astros in the AL East. Don’t you deserve it? Don’t us older Twins fans deserve to watch more games in the Eastern time zone, so we don’t fall asleep during games? Everybody wins. You don’t have to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox anymore, I get more excuses to visit Canada and escape from my oppressive governor, and the Twins never have to face Bruce Chen again.
5) Edwin Encarnacion
Bill covered this a couple weeks back, but what’s going on with this? His walks and strikeouts are basically the same as they’ve always been, and he’s not hitting more balls in the air than usual. But the ones he’s hitting in the air ARE going farther, as 20% of his flies have gone over the fence. Moreover, his linedrive percentage has essentially been halved, suggesting that he’s basically swinging harder, with more of an uppercut. And it’s working. Baseball can’t be that simple though, can it?
6) Juan Guzman
Man, what happened to that guy? I imagine it must have been arm or shoulder trouble. He was pretty wild and also struck out a ton of batters (especially for his era), so his pitch counts must have been way up there. I just remember dreading it when the Twins had to face him. He was just too damn good.
7) Brett Lawrie
What the hell, man? Is there anything likable about this kid? I want to admire his hardnosed play, but if anything the kid is over-aggressive. Over on RotoGraphs, Chris Cwik wrote today about how “His walk rate has dropped from a solid 9.4% to a far less exciting 4.7% this year. But while his Swing% is up, Lawrie has actually been more selective on pitches in the strike zone. That means that Lawrie has expanded his zone this season. He’s offering at far more pitches outside of the strike zone this year. Lawrie’s O-Swing% has jumped from 22.3 to 31.6 this year.” What’s more, his GB/FB ratio has jumped by almost 70%. And he’s leading the league in both caught stealing and umpire peggings. Tone it down, junior. And why aren’t you doing what Encarnacion and Bautista are doing?
8) Metric conversions
I still don’t understand them, and the measurements on the outfield walls just confuse the hell out of me. But most importantly, when you measure homerun distance, do you do it in feet or meters? Wouldn’t feet just sound more impressive?
9) JP Arencibia
You can’t actually be serious about contending and keep running this guy out there, can you? I mean, I like his power too, and he’s an ok defensive catcher, but a .266 OBP is a .266 OBP. You have Travis d’Arnaud just sitting there, raking, at Las Vegas. Twenty-three years old, still with that new ballplayer smell. How do you not take him out of the box and play with him? He can’t be worse than Arencibia has been, can he? I mean, he’s not Omar Vizquel.
10) Your National Anthem
I hate having to stand through two national anthems when one of our teams play you. Is it ok if we just play yours? It’s so much nicer, and more singable, than ours.