One of the best parts of spring training is team photo day! Lucky for us, many teams had their official photo day yesterday giving us some great shots of our favorite guys. (I suggest thumbing through the Getty Images’ photo gallery.) As I was perusing through the pictures, I came across some real gems, including the insanely crazy picture of Josh Reddick above. I did some Googling and found out there was a story behind the photos.
Category Archives: Toronto Blue Jays
Hope Springs: Pitchers and Catchers Report!
Aren’t you impressed that I refrained from using a caps locky title with multiple exclamation points? BUT IT WAS SO TEMPTING!!!!
Monday was the big day for pitchers and catchers from several MLB teams to report. Others, like my Yankees, report Tuesday. And then you have those like my second husband Derek Jeter recovering from surgery and other ailments who have been at their respective training facilities for a while. All this to say HOORAY FOR BASEBALL’S WELCOME RETURN! How about a photo essay?
Let’s start with new Jay R.A. Dickey, who is kind of an awesome human being in case you weren’t aware. It’s going to be tough cheering against this new AL East foe.
Hit and Run: Time Flies Edition
Since the Cardinals played the Opening Night game on ESPN this year, on actual Opening Day I had my pick of games on MLB.tv. By the time I got home from work, the Indians and Blue Jays were tied in the 9th inning. “Oh, I’ll just watch this quick dramatic conclusion,” I thought. Then it turned out to be the longest Opening Day game ever played. It went on so long, in fact, that the benches for both teams saw a lot of work. Which brought in Omar Vizquel. Who yesterday turned 45.
A longtime Indian now with Toronto, Vizquel got a warm round of applause from the Cleveland fans both when he was first inserted as a defensive replacement, and later when the game went on long enough to give him an at bat. In an MLB where players my age are now considered on the far side of their prime, and where many of his contemporaries are now mangers, Vizquel’s longevity is both remarkable and jarring. (Related: Chipper Jones turned 40 the same day. Chipper. Jones. is 40.)
Other sports news properly introduced with “it seems like only yesterday….”
Call-Up Cuties Returns: Welcome to the Show, Boys
It’s not quite September yet, but plenty of baseball teams have already started calling up fresh faces for their major league debuts — which means even if your team is out of any meaningful chance at the playoffs (or if you’re trying to ignore the fact that your team is giving away the division right after reclaiming first place, sigh) there’s still plenty of good reasons to watch the games. I mined the MLB transaction ledger to find every first-time call-up since July 31. You can thank me later.
Ryan Kalish, LF Boston Red Sox
Hit & Run: It’s Spring Somewhere Edition
It rained all day Tuesday in New York, it was cloudy all day Wednesday, and by the time this posts we’ll be in the middle of yet another snowstorm/frozen rainstorm. I really can not deal with talking about sports played on snow and ice today. Let’s look in on spring training again, why don’t we?
We interrupt your Winter Olympic coverage for this important announcement!
In between squeals of delight over Johnny Weir and the Norway curling team’s pants, we happened to notice that SPRING TRAINING IS UNDERWAY!
I have to do this eventually, I might as well do it now.
It was supposed to be the Yankees.
I’m going to miss you, you know. I’m going to miss that little sliver of hope that the rest of the team would play as well as they’d need to in order to deserve you, and I’m going to miss having someone to believe in every fifth day (or really, every day), and I’m going to miss everything about the way you affected the team and the city and the fans. Hell, I’m not just ‘going to’, I already do.
I’m not saying the Jays have nothing to play for anymore – just that it’s going to feel that way for a while.
So I’ll see you around, I guess.
I don’t know when I’ll be ready to say goodbye.
Advent Calendar of Hotness – Day 2
Me? Hilariously predictable? Well, I never.
He’s one of exactly one people who can be hot while wearing those extra sleeve-under-the-sleeve things.
MLB Hotties on the Move
Somewhere, in a vast wilderness where cell phones signals go to die and there is no SportsCenter, Crane is feeling a psychic wave of untold joy and relief. That’s because the trade deadline has passed and Roy Halladay stayed in Toronto. Hey, Riccardi, thanks for playing with the heads of Jays’ fans these last few weeks! There’s a special place in hell for GMs like you – right beside John Ferguson Jr.
It’s been a busy few days. Let’s put all the nonsense of PEDs and Papi behind us and concentrate on the actual game of baseball baseball transactions. If your fave player left on a jet plane today for another team and you don’t know when he’ll be back again (hint: check the team schedule), I’m sorry to hear that. On the other hand, if your team has been injected with newfound playoff hope, congratulations! Hope that works out for you guys! Unless you like the Red Sox, and then…you know how I feel. Continue reading
Foodie Friday: Blue-Jay-Berry Cobbler
I realize this edition of Foodie Friday doesn’t exactly scream “Food for Boozy Sports Gathering”. But if you need something to bring to a girlfriends’ potluck, a family reunion picnic, or damnit you just want comfort food, this cake-y dessert fits the bill nicely. Besides, wild blueberry season is approaching (at least in my neck of the woods) I usually buy a 5 lb. box and spend the better part of six months making this, or muffins, or pancakes. If you want, I’ll dig out those recipes another day (good for football brunch!) For now, enjoy a recipe inspired by the hapless Jays after the jump. Continue reading
The Awesomosity of Roy Halladay, Part Trois
In which I am not any more repetitive than I need to be, when I say,
ROY HALLADAY IS THE BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL
ROY HALLADAY IS THE BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL
ROY HALLADAY IS THE BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL.
9 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 105-78 pitches-strikes.
He’s averaging 3.95 batters faced per inning.
Ricciardi, if you trade him, I will seriously consider getting my passport renewed so I can personally come up to Toronto and kick your ass. (Theoretically.) I mean, it’s just like, have you heard your fanbase, at all? And plus, read this. Like, just read it. You don’t need to go and make good people worried about stuff, do you?
Anyway, in the event of any further anger, y’all should go here and type in “JP Ricciardi” (or the name of whichever GM has wronged you recently) and just keep on clicking “Generate another Rumour” until you’re too busy laughing to bother remembering that your fist may have a date with a pillow on which you’ve taped a crude drawing of their face.
Also, look how well they’ve been doing without Vernon Wells! Looks like he doesn’t feel so Wells, eh? Oh damn I am funny. (/defense mechanism’d)
Good morning. This has turned into a rant. I’m going away now.
All-Star Posts, All-Star Posts, Come And Get Yer All-Star Posts
Good morning. How can you just walk on by without one tear in your eye?
(Incidentally, that song reminds me of this, which I swear only makes me cry because I’m listening to that damn song. Insert “unhealthy obsession” comment here.)
(Yes, I know that you’re getting this post after the afternoon post. It’s still morning in California.)
The rest of the All-Star awesomesauce is after the jump, but first: SPOILER ALERT! NO RED SOX OR YANKEES! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!.
Hump Day Hottie/Don’t Judge Me: AJ Burnett
*hides from all Mets fans, some Jays fans, plenty of Yankees fans*
(Incidentally, you don’t need a white horse to steer you back onto course.)
For each one of you that sees the “Read the rest of this entry” link here and doesn’t click on it, a child is taught that Saves are useful statistics and that Derek Jeter is worthy of this year’s All-Star Game start. (So that’s a maybe. But do you really want to risk it?)
The Last Time Your Team Won it All: Baseball Teams
I got the idea for this post when I was talking to my friend about the last time the Yankees won the World Series. It’s almost going to be nine years, but nine years isn’t that long. If I ever complained about a nine-year World Series drought to a Cubs fan, I would more than likely get a smack in the face…and it would be completely warranted.
However, when I think back to where I was the 2000, it seems like ages ago. The last time the Yankees won it all I was a freshman in High School. It feels like I graduated from H.S. ages ago; forget about actually being a freshman. The bottom line is we all follow our team with one goal: to see them win it all at the end. Don’t get me wrong, you can still enjoy the season, but you are never fully satisfied unless your team is the last one standing. Unless you root for the Phillies, Red Sox or Cardinals, the last time your team won it all can seem like a lifetime ago.
So let’s take a little trip down memory lane and see what life was like the last time your team were World Champions. Sorry to all Washington, Milwaukee, Houston, San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Seattle fans. You need to have won at least one to qualify.
In Which I Have Something To Say About Stephen Strasburg
Good morning. Stephen Strasburg’s mechanics suck and he’s going to get hurt.
Definitely hyperabducts, and definitely has a timing problem. Hey, at least he wears his socks the right way. Seriously, though, observe the difference between that photo, and a photo of someone with good mechanics:
Straight line from elbow to elbow, leading foot positioned to land much more square to the place, and the ball held above the shoulder right before footstrike. Yeah, that’s what I call flawless.
So hey, Strasburg? You have a lot to learn, buddy. I mean a lot. Good luck.
The Awesomosity of Roy Halladay, Part Deux
Good morning. I think my Los Angeles time zone just kicked your ass. And hey, you can stop making fun of my headline now, because I do actually speak French.
You can also stop making fun of it because you’re going to be too in awe of what inspired it to form coherent sentences. Strap your jaw closed so you don’t drool on your keyboard, and read on past this almost totally unrelated photo of Brett Cecil.
9 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 14 SO, .378 WPA, 88-133 pitches-strikes. Observe.
*whimpers, flails about helplessly*
That is all.
Write Your Own Caption: Red Sox Edition
Crane here, filling in for CuteSports. I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but hey, where I am, it’s technically still morning. This is what the Red Sox get for keeping the Blue Jays in third place over the weekend: You get to make fun of them!
Observe David Ortiz, who probably is reminding himself that the world is just illusion, trying to change him:
Hit and Run: In Which Barry Zito’s BABIP Regresses, Right Before Our Eyes!
A.k.a. the “Complete MLB Rundown (To The Exclusion Of Everything Else)” edition. Why? Because I can. Yesterday’s scores presented BBC-style for extra hilarity and confusion.
- Red Sox 3 – 5 Blue Jays. Sevven sollid innings from Tallet (see what I did there?) provide a lead for Scott Downs to preserve, bringing them back into 2nd place in the mighty AL East. Go Jays!
- Marlins 7 – 3 Mets. Tim Redding sucks. Josh Johnson doesn’t. Go Fish!
- Braves 2 – 3 Diamondbacks. There are a lot of 3s today. Eric Byrnes finally does something good; namely, driving in the winning run in the 11th. No, wearing awesome socks doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve done something good.
- Dodgers 0 – 7 Cubs. Eric Stults fails as Dodgers get shut out for the first time all year. You know, I like the guy, but hey dude, put up or shut up. As in, put up zeros on the scoreboard, or shut the hell up when the reporters interview you and ask why you sucked. Go ahead, say, “I sucked”. David Ortiz did, you can too! Ugh. STULTS. My boy Brent Leach faces 1 batter, records 2 groundouts, because he’s cool like that. Go Dodgers.
- Twins 2 – 5 Rays. David Price blah blah blah 11 strikeouts blah blah blah 1st Major League win blah blah blah Free Rick Porcello!
- Reds 5 – 9 Brewers. Some dudes hit some home runs.
- Tigers 6 – 3 Orioles. Is Luke Scott on steroids? Naw, he’s just in an un-slump.
- Astros 4 – 7 Pirates. Hey guys, the Pirates just won another game. Meanwhile, the Astros lost another one and are hopelessly out of contention. Kind of like the Nationals.
- Yankees 10 – 5 Indians. Your first double-digit scoring game of the night was notable only for the fact that CC Sabathia gave up runs. I really hate that guy. Oh, and Nick Swisher (perhaps better known simply as AJ Burnett’s new boyfriend) hit a home run. I’m sure they celebrated in an entirely appropriate fashion that didn’t involve ice cream or maple syrup or leather and chains. No, I didn’t just imply that.
- Nationals 6 – 9 Phillies. Cole Hamels gets shelled but gets the win anyway. Disgusting. Lidge doesn’t implode, but his ERA is still above 8. Good luck with that, buddy.
- White Sox 5 – 3 Royals. Gil Meche gets no love from the bullpen. Which sucks.
- Athletics 1 – 14 Rangers. The average Leverage Index for this game was so low that it actually may have caused a Fangraphs implosion. Seriously, check it out:
- Padres 7 – 8 Rockies. This game is actually so boring that there’s no proof it happened, so I can’t tell you what happened, although I’m sure if you really want to know you can look it up somewhere.
- Mariners 4 – 3 Angels. If you’re a Mariners fan, then Jose Lopez is your saviour. On the other hand, if you’re a Mariners fan, then you probably have bigger problems, including the fact that your #5 starter is actually a vampire. That’s my clever way of saying that I sort of have a crush on Jason Vargas.
- Cardinals 6 – 2 Giants. Zito was doing fine until he gave up 3 consecutive doubles in the 7th. Actually, on a team that didn’t epitomize suckitude, he would’ve had an easy shot at winning this game, except that 1) Albert Pujols is on steroids and 2) The Giants suck, ergo, their bullpen sucks, ergo, their starters don’t win unless they pitch complete game shutouts. Except for that one time, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Oh, and Albert Pujols did do something good; namely, he struck out looking on a curveball from Zito that came thisclose to making me scream in delight. (I did actually sort of whimper, but the sexual power of a pitch like that is a discussion for another time. Just watch any Roy Halladay start, or a good AJ Burnett start. You’ll understand.)
Good morning. I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me.
Crane’s All-Star Picks: American League
Good morning. Please bear with me as I present you with my ESPN-implosion-inducing All-Star team.
1B (a.k.a Base the First, because I’m feeling medieval tonight): Justin Morneau (MIN). I dislike Mark Teixeira. I dislike Kevin Youkilis. I don’t care about Miguel Cabrera. Justin Morneau is both 1) Canadian, and 2) Totally hot.
Hit the jump for more.
In Which We Celebrate the Awesomosity of Roy Halladay
I was going to write a post about Barry Zito.
Then, this happened.
Nothing too unusual for Doc, who breezed through 9 innings on 103 pitches, giving up 5 hits and 1 run without walking a batter. He faced 30 hitters — 3 more than the minimum — and 72 of his pitches were in the strike zone, in sharp contrast to the MLB-average 60-ish percent of pitches thrown for strikes. In case you’re wondering, he throws an average of 67% strikes, an advantage of being a contact pitcher who stays down in the strike zone rather than a power pitcher who simply tries to blow the hitters away.
You, over there, reading this post. Are you looking for your stoicism? Well that’s too bad, because Roy Halladay took it and it’s unlikely you’ll get it back.
The All-Star Break Called…
There’s a magical thing that happens every year after the All-Star break… the Yankees start winning! In an attempt to summon those W’s into our current state of affairs, I thought we’d explore a little all-star action… Ladies style of course!
Earl Weaver would not be happy with our depth at certain positions, but I can’t help that hotties gravitate towards center field and the pitchers’ mound! There has to be some scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
The First Month of Baseball
We are only into the second month of this young baseball season. We still have four more months of regular baseball and then another month of lovely October baseball. There is still plenty of time for those last place teams to crawl out of the basement. But still so much has already happened in just a short month. Some things aren’t too surprising: Albert Pujols is still awesome. Some things are a tad bit unexpected: Forget Sabathia, Burnett, or Teixeira. Nick Swisher is turning into the Yankees best offseason acquisition. You better believe it!
Keep reading to find out what else we learned in the first month of baseball… Continue reading
A losing streak with style
Many years ago, the Kansas City Royals were no-hit by Jon Lester, and they haven’t won a game since. Wait, that was like 11 days ago but time has dragged by while Royals Nation waits for the team to pull out some kind of non-failure. It’s been a voyage of suckitude not seen since the infamous 19-game losing streak of 2005. You want to know how it feels? I’ll show you:
Hump Day Hottie: Alex Rios
The first time I had ever heard of Alex Rios was when Metschick featured him in a Hit and Run. Thanks Metsy! I would have never known of the hotness that is Mr. Rios without that beautiful picture of him with his horrible striped shirt. No ugly shirts hear, just a hottie north of the border.
Kicking ass, taking names 1986 style
Checking in with the Ladies’ Blue Jays in the Sporting News’ 1986: Take Two challenge, we find that despite a few recent struggles, the Ladies’ still remain first in the AL East with a record of 65-49. I also note with no little amusement that the Ladies are kicking the shit out of Curt Schilling’s Red Sox, who’re languishing in fourth with a record of 58-54.
My Canadian Boyfriend Makes New Friends
Sports Illustrated has a nice piece today about how my boyfriend Scott Rolen is settling down in Toronto. Apparently he is becoming fast friends with his new teammates.
I Really Brought This On Myself [sigh]
At my other sandbox, we are doing a What If simulated season. Every writer there covers a specific team, so they can draft anybody from the past 25 years of their team. I do not have a specific team, so I get to do a “theme” team and I chose Hotties (natch). In order to get some inspiration for which Diamond Dolls I wanted to draft, I started looking through last year’s Bringing the Heat features. I got to the Toronto Blue Jays, which just happened to be one of the teams that I covered, and what did I find?
That’s right. The fact that my boyfriend now lives in Canada and has swapped redbirds for bluebirds is…all my fault.
Bringing the Heat: 1986 Toronto Blue Jays
The baseball offseason is a long, lonely and chilly period. Baseball fans are forced to obsess over the minutiae of Hot Stove baseball: whether the third-best middle reliever on your team will file for free agency, the theoretical pros and cons of a six-man rotation, how many different teams will diss A-Rod before he goes crawling back to the Yankees.
So when the folks over at The Sporting News approached us with the opportunity to participate in a Strat-O-Matic recreation of the 1986 baseball season (1986: Take Two), we naturally grabbed ahold of that opportunity like a drowning man to a liferaft. We didn’t even really care what team we got (there is enough baseball love amongst the Ladies… to go around for just about every team)- so when we were given the Toronto Blue Jays, we were quite tickled. They’re so plucky! And so Canadian! And they have RANCE MULLINIKS- with a guy named that on our roster, we were bound to win.
Now we don’t have to obsess over that Hot Stove stuff, we can obsess over what Dave Stieb’s WHIP was against left-handed batters in June of 1986, or whether we should carry an extra DH or outfielder, or just how many ridiculous trades we can propose to Curt Schilling (who is managing the Red Sox against us in the AL East) before he blocks our email address. And we have a baseball project that will require daily management right up until May- when real-life baseball will be in full swing again (hallelujah). I would disclose how many hours and hours and hours we’ve spent researching stats and tweaking lineups and reviewing recordbooks… but it’s just too frightening. J-Money and I are co-piloting this crazy ship- but never fear, we’re dragging the other baseball-fanatic Ladies… along with us for the ride.
Our season officially kicked off last Tuesday, and we’re off to a rousing 5-3 start (damn you, Kansas City Royals!) — and to celebrate, we’re doing a run-down of the hotties on the 1986 Blue Jays. So get ready- put on your retro ’86 Jays cap (I have one) or jersey (J-Money has that)- because after the jump you’re about to behold Rance Mulliniks and the rest of the mustachioed Blue Jays in all their glory…
Hit & Run-Dumbass Edition
Usually we like to highlight the hotties and good guys in sports on this here blog. But I’m not feeling it today. Life sucks at times. So instead I’m giving you the dumbass version of the H&R.
This guy? Dumbass #1. Michael Rasmussen was removed from the Tour de France by his own team for violating team rules. He missed some random drug testing, telling the sports director of his team that he was in Mexico when a former teammate saw him out and about in Italy. You fool. Rasmussen had won the Stage 16 Wednesday when he was dismissed.
Dumbass #2-Curt Schilling. He ran his mouth off again on Costas Now, talking about Bonds, Palmeiro, McGuire, steroids, etc., etc. Look Curt, I like the fact that you talk to the media and have your own blog, making you “closer” to the fans. But sometimes you need to shut yer yap. Haven’t we been down this road before?
Bringing the Heat: The Toronto Blue Jays
The last Canadian MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays, is 11 games back in the American League East and is 10 games back in the Wild Card race. Things aren’t looking so good for the Jays this year, but they’ve still got plenty of hotties to feast your eyes on.
Let’s start with their Hottie Hurlers on the mound…..
Roy Halladay, 11-4 with a 4.15 ERA.
Good ass too.