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.

4) Division

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.

Comments (39)

  1. I’m pretty sure no one has ever used meters to measure anything in Toronto. That might just be me though. And sometimes JP has a series where he gets 7 hits and 3 home runs and I think we just worry that he’d put it all together if we ever traded him.

    Funny stuff.

  2. We’re keeping JPA because Lawrie needs a sidekick.

  3. Don’t you dare suggest JP Arencibia is a mediocre ball player. He’s so friendly with the media and good with the social media thing!

  4. If it was as easy as who can hit better, d’Arnaud would probably be here, as there’s little doubt his offensive potential is much higher. The thing is — at least from an outsider’s perspective — Arencibia is one of the team’s leaders despite his age, and the pitchers seem to love working with him. I know baseball is a business, but I have to imagine the front office is a little nervous about what might happen in the clubhouse if Arencibia were dethroned.

    • This is my impression as well, but I have no idea if there’s any validity to it. Obviously something’s going to have to give, but I’m not looking forward to what that ends up being.

  5. JPA is the new John McDonald – not very good but popular with the fans. Seems like every TO sports team has to have one of these guys.

  6. 1 and 7 are related, the infield defense is really good, partially due to Lawrie. Vizquel is a better option for the bench than Mike McCoy, EE hits the ball really hard and Juan Guzman’s arm was abused (way too many innings on that arm). JPA will probably be traded soon, if AA can find someone seduced by his power.

    Oh man, I wish there was an AL North division with the Tigers, Twins, Chisox and Indians.

  7. A different perspective…I like it. Most refreshing article I’ve read in a while.

  8. I disagree with the anthems…O canada is pretty boring. the 3/4 time of Star spangled banner brings the spice.

    • O Canada should only be played by Slash as heard during the home opener 2007?2008? I cant remember

      • and Jimi Hendrix’s version of Star Spangled Banner is the only version that should be played. Ever.

        • Of course the Star Spangled Banner sounds pretty good, it’s a sobriety challenge song.

          If you played all the old Olympic or track and field video games, you know many country’s national anthem sound like they should be played at funerals.

  9. 1) Henderson Alvarez
    He won’t keep it up.

    2) Rogers Centre
    No
    and 11

    3) Omar Vizquel
    Sad but true

    4) Division
    True North Strong and Free (from Yankees and Sox)!!

    5) Edwin Encarnacion
    Booster Juice

    6) Juan Guzman
    Wrong. Guzman didn’t have shoulders.

    7) Brett Lawrie
    Needs to smoke some weed.

    8) Metric conversions
    Feet for homers. km/hr for fastballs!

    9) JP Arencibia
    tweets-plus-slugging is a legit stat, right?

    10) Your National Anthem
    Yes. Yes you can.

  10. As for #2 about the Rogers Center (its still Skydome to everyone here) I have a hotel party every year during a Friday night game and pack 30-40 people into a room overlooking the field. It’s always incredibly fun. Probably more fun than you could have at any other stadium in baseball.

  11. Come, my American friend. Pull up a chair, I’ll fix you a rye n’ ginger and a Timmy’s double-double, and we will discuss the ways of Canada.

    Henderson Alvarez’s continued “success-ish” is as mysterious as the continued appeal of Avril Lavigne, or how Bryan Adams is still unusually popular in Europe and Asia: just a Canadian mystery.

    People watch games from the hotel. Out of the couple dozen-ish hotel rooms that face the field, you’ll see a handful with people poking their heads out their windows and watching the action 10 stories below, but most of them have their curtains drawn, likely doing unspeakable acts with each either, because they’re exhibitionist perverts who get off on performing for crowds of 25,000. (You have to sign a contract saying you won’t do anything inappropriate if you get a field-facing room, after a famous incident shortly after it opened. But like the Dome itself, the appeal of staying in those rooms has waned since 1989.) Also, a ticket is like $10, and you’d at least get to see the Jumbotron, so the appeal of paying hundreds of dollars a night to stand at your hotel window to watch the game instead is lost on me.

    Omar Vizquel is “taking up a roster spot that a better player could fill”, I guess, if you can think of a better player to fill it. (A utility infielder, preferably, and not just any old rushed prospect.)

    If I could cherry-pick a division, it would probably be the AL Suck, with the A’s, Mariners, Orioles, and Twins. (No offense, Twins. Well, maybe a little.) Although we’re probably verging on nonsensical boundaries like this: http://www.pigskinbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/nfl-divisions-geographical.png

    Edwin Encarnacion mastered the uppercut by hitting forward, down, down-forward + Punch.

    By the late 90s, Juan Guzman had simply became a jheri-curl man living in a corn-rows world.

    What’s there to like about Brett Lawrie? I dunno, being the best young Jays hitting prospect to come up in probably a decade, being one of the Jays’ 3 or 4 best hitters even when slumping, putting up a WAR of 6.8 in his first 100 major league games? Jeez, there’s no satisfying you.

    The Skydome left and right field line distances are 328 feet. Why? Because that’s exactly 100 metres. So to answer your question, even when we’re ostensibly measuring in imperial, we’re adding a spice of our dreaded (and, I’ll argue this to my dying breath, superior) metric system.

    Re: JP: “You can’t actually be serious about contending and…” wait, we’re what?

    We feel you, on the anti-anthem front – we substituted out the mandatory singing of “God Bless America” during 7th inning stretches for a cheesy radio-jingle accompanied by wild, flailing arm motions. Though “O Canada” is regularly botched, especially in cities where the Jays don’t play often (most recently in Atlanta the other day, where O Canada was reportedly mangled beyond recognition). Still, this is what happens when some Americans are given the lyrics to O Canada and no hint at how the tune should go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpXzASiXX8U

    • “Edwin Encarnacion mastered the uppercut by hitting forward, down, down-forward + Punch.”

      Makes your whole post worth reading…

    • Oh god, that version of O Canada was fantastic! Wouldn’t you love another reason to make fun of Americans? More O Canada for everyone!

  12. I stayed in the hotel once. Once was enough, but I picked up a few interesting things:
    1. The banners in centre field are filthy
    2. Ichiro! Is the twitchiest person you’re ever going to see that isn’t tweaking.
    3. The grounds crew works forever. They didn’t park the tractors and turn out the light until after 3 am.

  13. I wouldn’t mind a re-org in divisions, but how the heck do you get Houston in the East???

    • Not as outlandish as you would think.

      To be honest, the Rangers would travel more in their current AL West setup than they would in an AL East setup (or close…don’t look it up and then say AHA! Your fuckin off by 13 km’s asshole!)

  14. henderson alvarez doesn’t strike guys out, rogers centre sucks, omar vizquel sucks, the al east sucks, edwin encarnacion hits home runs, juan guzman was awesome, brett lawrie’s walk rate sucks, the writer is bad at basic math, JPA’s OBP sucks, national anthems suck.

    Did we really need to bring in a foreigner to write this?

    • “the writer is bad at basic math”

      I am what the American public school systems have made me.

      “Did we really need to bring in a foreigner to write this?”

      I’m the Mexican, non-union equivalent of Dustin Parkes, el Doctor Parquero.

  15. The Common Man never fails to disappoint, always a fun read

  16. +1 to Will, Bill Parker and The Common Man.

    I did not like this article as much as everyone else. I only liked the Vizquel/JPA/Division/Juan Guzman parts.

  17. Loved this.

    extra text so they let me post the comment

  18. if you stubborn americans and brits would just switch to a logical system of measurement then you wouldn’t have to worry about conversions.

  19. Top Ten Reasons Why ‘Merica Don’t Know Shit About Canaduh

    1. High-fructose corn syrup
    2. ig’nance
    3. the tea party
    4. Mo Vaughn
    5. I quit

  20. Fun read…. the only thing you forgot was the Blue Jays changing their logo every other year!

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