Thanks to the tireless efforts of Blue Jays fans and reporters alike, original Blue Jays radio broadcaster Tom Cheek will finally be honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall named Cheek their 2013 Ford C. Frick award winner, seven years after Cheek died from complications due to cancer.
Cheek is famous for calling 4306 consecutive Blue Jays games and his signature “Touch’em all Joe!” call after Joe Carter’s walkoff home run to secure the Jays second consecutive World Series title in 1993. Cheek is the voice of baseball to a generation of Blue Jays fans, weaned on the sturdy radio calls and rapport between Cheek and his long-time broadcast partner Jerry Howarth.
The Frick award comes after the Blue Jays raised Cheek’s name to their Ring of Honor in 2004, after Cheek ended his incredible streak to mourn the passing of his father. Congratulations to Cheek’s family who will celebrate as part of the Hall of Fame weekend in late July.
Former Toronto Blue Jays coach, Brian Butterfield, stated in an interview with WEEI in Boston that he was in talks with his former team for their vacant managerial position until the very end. The Blue Jays, of course, dipped into their past and hired John Gibbons to manage the club on Monday. Butterfield followed former Blue Jays manager John Farrell to Boston in October, but remained a candidate for the manager’s job in Toronto.
When the unfamiliar think of Texas, they’re prone to envisioning a barren land, one of desert and cactus, where hard lives beget hardened people. They imagine the repressive heat of a cruel sun and ever-present dust that combine to make teeth gritty, throats dry and sweat dirty. They think of the hardships of futile toiling, where the only possible reward is oil, a black and grimy substance that’s more reminiscent of the devil’s bath water than a natural resource.
They think of mainly nonsense.
The misrepresentations of Texas in popular culture are plentiful, as it would be for any unique region for which diversity, both in terms of population and landscape, creates complications that require more than a quick glimpse and labeling to understand. In truth, Texas isn’t the less than convivial hell hole described in the opening paragraph. Texas isn’t a desert wasteland. Prairies, grasslands, swamps, hills and forests surround the cities that aren’t located along the coastline. Two-thirds of the state’s population, which is comprised of multiple ethnicities, reside near large metropolitan areas, and less than 10% of the land area of the entire state is considered to be desert.
Fans of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays should be able to relate to ignorance breeding malformed understanding. After all, the Blue Jays find themselves in a unique situation of their own, as the only team competing at baseball’s highest level to be located outside the United States of America. While this surely presents challenges when it comes to talent acquisition, club supporters become most acutely aware of the misrepresentation this characteristic creates through outside media consistently classifying the franchise as being that of a small-market. This is the case, despite being the franchise being owned by the richest ownership group in baseball and playing in MLB’s fourth-most populated city.
It’s therefore fitting on multiple levels that the often-mislabeled Blue Jays would hire a misunderstood Texan to guide a roster largely comprised of players misjudged by their previous teams. I’d liken John Gibbons to King Moonracer, but in all likelihood, the current incarnation of Toronto’s Major League Baseball team would be outcasts even on The Island Of Misfit Toys.
Managing a big league baseball club is incredibly complex. There are a million factors to consider before making each and every decision – weighing the human element as it affects the clubhouse dynamic as well as the instant impact on the field, all while wondering how the big bosses in the upstairs suite appreciate your choices.
The Toronto Blue Jays spent the last two weeks completely overhauling their ball club, investing millions of dollars in a massive trade with the Miami Marlins and signing key free agents. Canada’s team is in a crucial position as they look to make a Great Leap Forward in the American League.
Rather than keep the money flowing or appealing to the worst impulses of the casuals, the Blue Jays opted for a name from their less-than-glorious past: former manager John Gibbons, who took over the Jays in 2004, managing the club to a .500 record until he was replaced by Cito Gaston in 2008.
Saint Anthopoulos’ School for Wicked Boys enrols another wayward soul! Enrique Rojas first reported (and is now confirmed by countless other reporters) that Melky Cabrera signs with the Toronto Blue Jays for two years and $16 million dollars. Cabrera missed the final 50 games of the 2012 season after he was suspended for a violation of the league’s drug policy. At the time of his suspension, Cabrera led the National League in batting average, posting career high numbers across the board with the Giants. The switch-hitter becomes the Blue Jays every day left fielder and slots into the number two spot in their batting order.
What are the Jays going to get from Melky Cabrera? His last two seasons are great but how much, if any, of his production comes courtesy of whatever substances he crammed into his veins? Two straight 4 Win seasons are terrific but will fans accept some decline in the face of his suspension?
Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays front office clearly don’t care. They see a “buy low” opportunity on a productive player who comes with some baggage – the kind of baggage they can stomach. Fans in Toronto (or any city) are more than willing to forgive contrite stars as long as they perform like stars.
Awesome work by theScore social team, who put together this video showing the newest (un)official members of the Toronto Blue Jays wearing the royal blue hats and performing on the sickly green painted concrete of the Rogers Centre.
Watch Jose Reyes bunt at Yankee Stadium! Watch Josh Johnson light up David Ortiz. Spring Training starts in less than four months, friends.
In order to fully grasp the implications of the twelve player trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays – Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck in exchange for Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Anthony Desclafani – one must understand a thing or two about baseball transactions.