Toronto Blue Jays fans finally got the news they didn’t want to hear, that slugger Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians — single-handedly improving the team that beat them for the league title.
This, I say respectfully, is bull$#!t. Among other things, the Blue Jays’ offer of four years/$80 million guaranteed ended up being the best offer — certainly better than the three years guaranteed of $60 million offered by the Indians. So why did Edwin sign with Cleveland? Are the taxes so much higher living in Toronto?!
In all, the way this played out leaves a sour taste. I’m with Mike Wilner who tweeted “everybody screwed up” — and in my mind that includes Jays’ management, Encarnacion’s agent, and Encarnacion himself.
Merry Christmas, folks.
Well, my schedule hasn’t allowed for much opportunity to enjoy much baseball, and I sure didn’t enjoy this result today, a 3-0 win by the Cleveland Indians over the Toronto Blue Jays to win the American League title in five games.
I guess that after an 89-win regular season and after sneaking in to a wild card playoff berth on the last day of the season, we shouldn’t feel too down that the Blue Jays made it only as far as they did. But, heck, there’s not much motivation for me to tune in the sports on TV right now after this.
That was yet another crazy extra-inning win last night, capped off by Josh Donaldson running home from second after a double-play attempt was messed up at first base. The 7-6 win puts the Blue Jays into the American League Championship Series, again.
Anyway, I am delighted with the play of the Blue Jays during this post-season; they are finally playing like the team everyone expected them to be. As for whether they win the World Series, who knows? I am just trying to enjoy the ride as long as it goes.
Last night, I ended up tuning in both this game and the presidential debate at the same time — which was easy to do. I would either watch the debate and listen to the big game on the radio, or I would have the radio on the debate and watch the game.
I’m sorry, but that debate last night was a circus, even before it started. In fact, its biggest moment came before the debate when Donald Trump held a surprise press conference in which he paraded out Bill Clinton’s accusers. That set the tone for the whole evening, as the debate was vicious in tone. Trump and Clinton were hurling accusations at one another and the moderators kept on interrupting. They may have called it a “presidential debate” but the tone sure didn’t come across as “presidential.”
A few are suggesting Trump saved his campaign with his performance. The NY Daily News isn’t convinced: their front page showed a picture of Trump holding the back of his chair with the headline “Grab a seat, loser!” I don’t know what to think of this race anymore; Abraham Lincoln he is not.
Also, the fallout continues from that incendiary sexually-charged banter between Trump and Billy Bush caught on tape from 2005. Now word is Bush has been suspended from the Today Show, pending further review of the matter.
Personally, I think Bush is probably finished at that show, all because of this one tape from 11 years ago that people are freaking out over now. Quite honestly, I kind of think he is getting a raw deal here, because it seems to me that what transpired in that situation was mainly Trump’s doing (his big mouth again, etc.). I think Bush has simply gotten caught up in the toxic, uptight atmosphere of 2016, that’s what I think. I notice his ex-Access Hollywood colleague Kit Hoover was in tears over this, talking about it on Access Hollywood Live, saying this wasn’t the Billy Bush she knew and how great a guy Bush really was.
In other news, I notice one of Trump’s former casinos in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal, has closed today. This is the fifth major casino to close there in recent years, and all in all these really are sad times for Atlantic City.
Anyway, enough of that. I plan to spend my day today goofing off. Now that the Blue Jays have some days off, that frees me up to watch old James Bond movies or do something constructive with my time.
Update: I agree with Rush Limbaugh, these “October surprise” smears are exactly what turns people off of politics!
But I also agree with Bob Schieffer! That debate last night really was disgraceful.
Thank you very much, Wi-Fi. That was the reason I was able to tune in to the three-run belt by Edwin Encarnacion in the 11th inning that won the wild-card game for the Blue Jays, 5-2.
Now, it’s on to the rematch with Texas. Exactly the matchup we all wanted to see.
Update: In other news from the game, the entire city of Toronto has been humiliated by a beer-can throwing incident that happened in the seventh inning. A photo of the alleged suspect has been released by police.
In their fight to make the wild-card playoffs the Toronto Blue Jays won tonight over Boston, 4-3, which means that no matter what happens in Fenway Park tomorrow the Blue Jays are assured of playing at least one more game beyond tomorrow — a tiebreaker game, at least. A win tomorrow clinches a wild card.
Still, the season could be all over for the Blue Jays by Tuesday, the day of the one-and-done wild card game. They have no one to blame but themselves for this predicament, due to their ice-cold bats during their lousy month of September. Plus, we also have the uncertain free-agent futures of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion hanging over everyone.
The bottom line is I am mentally prepared for this baseball season to be over in a matter of days for the Blue Jays. They simply do not look like a team ready to set the world on fire in the playoffs – assuming they get there.
And, in fact, tomorrow is the sad last day of the regular season for most of the teams, a day in which we say goodbye to Vin Scully who calls his final Dodgers game for TV and radio tomorrow in San Francisco.
Just days after their playoff defeat to the Royals, things have all gone to heck for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lost in the usual Twitter uproar we have come to expect over Alex Anthopoulos‘ departure from the Blue Jays is that this is history sort of repeating itself, because right after the Blue Jays lost to the Royals in 1985 their manager Bobby Cox quit to go to the Atlanta Braves right after leading the team to their long-awaited division title.
Of course, the Blue Jays did not fall apart as an organization then, and they probably won’t now.
Still, the optics of this look bad. A team that looks on the verge of greatness suddenly looks like it is in chaos with free agency around the corner. Now, people are blaming the incoming president Mark Shapiro for failing to get a deal done with Anthopoulos and for wanting too much control, and for ruining the Blue Jays as a result. Others are blaming Rogers, the owners.
The reason this whole thing makes no sense to people is because usually the way it is supposed to work is that if you do a good job, your bosses usually fight to keep you around. I guess it doesn’t work that way here in Canada.
I finally did get home to see the end of the Blue Jays game, and season. Disappointing, all in all, but at least they didn’t go down without a fight.
After that, sorry, but I just can’t get excited about the upcoming World Series. For me, it’s right back to following Saskatchewan Roughriders football! Right.
I sure hope the pitching is able to come through in the next two games. However, I have little confidence in David Price anymore — he has just not been up to his regular season standard for whatever reason. I also think the Jays are missing reliever Brett Cecil, big time, due to injury.
I will say this — the Royals have exposed every weakness of the Blue Jays in this series, and those weaknesses mainly seem to be in the pitching department. And honestly, even if the Blue Jays somehow make it past the Royals, I shudder at the thought of guys like R. A. Dickey going up against the Mets.
Whatever happens will happen. Regardless of the final result, I am very pleased with the way the season has gone. This has been a fun team to watch with their propensity for dramatic home runs, and I respect their never-quit attitude, particularly during that Texas series when they came back from being down 0-2. Plus, the games at Rogers Centre have been dynamite, the crowds have really been into it.
This season has sure reminded me how big a baseball fan I am, and has woken up a lot of hibernating Blue Jays fans all over the country. It’s reflected in the TV ratings where the Jays have been drawing almost 4 million viewers for playoff games. If they get to the World Series, it will be even more than that.
Nobody has been caring much about the other sports in this country, like hockey or football. It’s all been about the Jays — something I am sure the Toronto Argos resent, seeing as they keep on getting kicked out of their own stadium due to the Blue Jays. But this Blue Jays run has certainly shown what the priorities of Toronto sports fans really are, sports-wise.
I hope we see more of this excitement in the future. I want this to be the start of a long run of playoff appearances for the Jays, not some one-year wonder sort of thing.
I wish I could be home watching tonight’s big game. But my “Interim Sports Reporter” duties are going to get in the way. Tonight and tomorrow, I am going to be covering North Stars SJHL action (ranked #13 overall in all of Canada!) at the Civic Centre.
But don’t worry, there is a TV in the upstairs lounge area and I expect there will be a multitude of fans heading up between periods to catch the Jays-Royals game.
That was a crazy day of baseball today and it cost a whole lot of people a lot of productivity at work around here, they were all too busy watching the TV.
Once Jose Bautista hit that three-run homer I kind of breathed easier and figured it would all turn out all right. That’s the Toronto Blue Jays team we expected to see.
The Blue Jays won the deciding fifth game 6-3, coming back from an 0-2 series deficit, and now face the KC-Houston winner of tonight’s game for the AL pennant. Great to see at least one of my favourite teams doing so well. The other one, not so good.
Other thing about today’s game that is notable — it is obvious Justin Trudeau is a big baseball fan, because there were Liberal ads all over the TV during the game.
Ever since the baseball postseason started there has been mounds of complaints from people in Canada about how the regular TV crew for the Toronto Blue Jays has been bumped to make room for these network feeds from the ‘States. Instead of getting Sportsnet announcers Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler, we’re getting the American broadcasts instead.
Truth is, folks, that all the American teams are in the exact same boat as we are. Everyone’s local broadcasts and announcers are bumped, as the postseason games are on Fox, FS1, TBS, MLB Network or ESPN.
All of North America is stuck with the national crews, not just Blue Jays fans. So quit feeling sorry for yourselves, as fans south of the border are just as disgusted.
The difference in the US, though, is those fans don’t have to deal with ignorant comments from the likes of Harold Reynolds, who infamously opened his mouth last night during the Jays-Rangers game three on FS1:
“We’re talking about foul balls in the stands up in Toronto and because there’s not a lot of people who grew up playing baseball in Canada, they’re not used to catching a lot of balls hit into the stands.”
Um, Harold, Canadians play baseball, too. We even beat your country this year at the Pan Am Games.
This reminds me of that time in Atlanta during the World Series when they flew the Canadian flag upside-down. Well, at least the Blue Jays won it all that year.
It was one of my worse days as a sports fan yesterday.
- The Toronto Blue Jays lost in 14 innings to the Rangers 6-4, so they are now down two games and facing elimination on Sunday.
- To add to the misery, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were finally eliminated from playoff contention in a 30-15 defeat to Hamilton that was so thoroughly a depressing display of football on their part that I truly wonder if the Riders will be any good any time in the foreseeable future.
All I have to say is this will make it really easy for me to devote my focus to the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the coming weeks.
It’s a great day to be a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. As I write this the Blue Jays are up 10-1 on the Baltimore Orioles in the top of the ninth inning, with a magic number of one. This is the first game of the double-header in Baltimore after last night’s rainout; now it looks like the second game won’t matter. The Blue Jays look like they are going to be AL East Division Champions, and with a full five games to spare.
It’s amazing. It’s taken such a long time, 22 years, for this franchise to get back to the elite level, and not only have they done it, they’ve made it look easy.
Let me tell you, with the division title in the bag this is going to mean a lot less chomping of my fingernails and a lot lower blood pressure over the next few days. It means instead of watching and worrying about the Blue Jays, I might actually catch a college or NFL game or two this weekend, or maybe watch what other MLB teams are doing. And then it will be back to being nervous time again watching the Blue Jays during the playoffs.
And as I write this Jose Bautista has just hit a home run to make it 11-1. As I say, it is a great day to be a Blue Jays fan.
Update: now it’s 15-1!!!
Another update: 15-2! AL East champs!!!
It has been a busy last couple of weeks for myself on the sports beat. On the local sports scene alone in the past 72 hours I have covered two high school football games, an SJHL game, a AAA midget hockey game, and a roller derby game.
As you may know, roller derby is on the comeback again and lots of women are playing it, and we now have an organized league here that has regular matches. The local roller derby game was heavily promoted as the “Blood Moon” game because of the supermoon lunar eclipse that is happening late tonight.
I took a lot of photos but the story will have to be a short one. Unfortunately, it became obvious rather quickly last night that I have absolutely no clue what the rules are for roller derby.
Today, I file the pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of days and hopefully after that I might be able to rest my back, which is acting up again due to all this writing and blogging I am doing lately. I clearly am overdue for that vacation which I have been putting off over and over again. I need to finally use my backlog of vacation time, eventually.
Other thoughts about other happenings in sports:
The Toronto Blue Jays have officially ended their 22-year playoff drought and have clinched at least the home field for the wild card game — which they hopefully won’t need to play because they lead the division by four games and their magic number to clinch over the New York Yankees is five.
Needless to say, I am a very happy and proud Blue Jays fan today. Beyond the fact that they’re winning, they are also exciting to watch. The home runs have been just flying lately.
They had their ace David Price on the mound yesterday against Tampa Bay and it was kind of a bad day for pitchers in general, but the Blue Jays did manage to win 10-8. Today’s game is the last home game of the regular season so hopefully the Jays can get one more crucial win at home before they go on the road. It is great to see Blue Jays fever return to Rogers Centre and all over the country. May I note it is far more fun being a baseball fan when your team is “in it.”
I should also note the same is true in football. But alas, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are not “in it”, though they do remain mathematically alive as they face the Montreal Alouettes at home. I was surprised to find out that they only have one more home game after this, against Edmonton, and I am going wow, football is almost over already here?
Maybe Canadian football should expand its season so it’s as long as the Australian football season. On that note — Hawthorn and West Coast Eagles are set for the Grand Final.
And if you think plane ticket prices are bad in Canada, due to the state of our dollar and so on, apparently for West Coast fans it’s cheaper to fly to London, England from Perth than it is to fly to Melbourne for the Grand Final.
Anyway, we don’t have any of these problems in Saskatchewan, because Winnipeg is close enough that we don’t even need to fly there for the Grey Cup. Apparently, ticket sales are still slow.
In other ticket sales, only 7500 showed up for Connor McDavid and the NHL preseason game between the Oilers and Wild in Saskatoon. Not surprised, really, there was really not a lot of buzz out there for the game and plenty of the usual local negativity about preseason NHL hockey and all that.
And season ticket sales are now on for the new Saskatchewan Rush in the National Lacrosse League, so hopefully they get some fan support.
The biggest obstacle is familiarizing a lot of local fans with the game, as this is still more of a football-hockey-curling area. So a lot of fans might be wondering if they would like pro lacrosse. Folks, all you need to do is just go on YouTube and see the videos there of NLL games, especially some of ones featuring the Toronto Rock’s championships from the early 2000s. That was intense stuff, with winning goals scored in the final second of the game and so on.
That ought to give you an idea, but if that doesn’t work, check out the coverage and watch the videos of the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships 2015 going on right now in upstate New York. Good stuff.
And that is all for now.
Pennant fever is gripping all of Canada. The Toronto Blue Jays are in first place and last weekend wrapped up a big weekend series on the road against the rival New York Yankees, and what’s more, Canadian sports fans have been tuning in.
Chris Zelkovich over at Yahoo! had the numbers for the weekend and they were crushing. The Saturday doubleheader on Sportsnet got between 1.7-1.8 million viewers between them, and the Friday game was very close behind.
These numbers rival what Hockey Night in Canada gets for their early Saturday night games during the season. Of course, Rogers holds those TV rights as well, so they have to be pretty happy. They are killing TSN.
The baseball contests were up against CFL football games over on TSN and the Blue Jays simply crushed them in the ratings. In fact, the Toronto Argonauts’ game against Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday was head-to-head against the Blue Jays, and the birds totally killed them with 1.7 million viewers to the CFL’s 418,000.
Now, this latest ratings report has produced handwringing from folks here on the prairies, where CFL interest still reigns supreme over all other sports. In fact, I was at Boston Pizza last Friday in Saskatoon and most of the TVs in there were actually tuned to the Argos-Ticats, if you can believe it.
Our die-hard CFL fans here just cannot wrap their heads around the Blue Jays’ good fortune. They worry about what it means for the future of their beloved CFL. In fact I notice a lot of local fans are resentful of the Blue Jays’ and their success. They are venting anger at the team and at Rogers for stealing fan interest away from the CFL.
They are also quite livid that the Argos are being kicked out of Rogers Centre when the baseball playoffs start. They consider this an insult to the CFL. It’s funny – fans here are more outraged about this situation than they are in Toronto.
Personally, as a Jays fan and a former Toronto resident myself, I find this local reaction funny. I cannot blame fans across Canada for being more interested in the Blue Jays. It’s been a while since they have been in contention this late in the season, and it’s about bleeping time. On top of that, they are offering the superior product to the CFL’s on-field incompetent play and micromanaging refereeing.
With the Jays, you have Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson and everyone else belting home runs and pitchers like David Price getting Ks. And they were facing the best the Yankees had last weekend. The Jays deserve all the fan excitement they are getting right now.
Still, the ratings debacle for the CFL last Friday could have been avoided. I wonder why the CFL schedule-makers would put a Toronto-Hamilton rivalry game up against a rivalry Blue Jays-Yankees game on a Friday night to begin with. The CFL brass could have scheduled this game for any other point in the season, such as the summer, or early November.
Then again, how were the people at CFL office to know that the Blue Jays would still be in the race? When they set the schedule they probably figured those games with the Yankees wouldn’t be important, given the past history. They gambled, and they lost.
And CFL football on TSN is probably going to keep on having a tough time in the ratings as long as the Blue Jays last, which could be a while.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 0-5, going on 0-6, going on 0-18. Now that quarterback Kevin Glenn is on the shelf for six weeks, everyone has lost hope except for the few die-hard optimists remaining.
I noticed this afternoon that even the sports radio guys here in the province, the ones who normally devote 24/7 saturation coverage to the Riders and the CFL, are losing hope. Evidence of this happened today on 620 CKRM on the SportsCage show. I noticed they spent much of the show this afternoon discussing the Blue Jays’ big acquisition of David Price from the Tigers. They also talked about the local WMBL baseball team, the Regina Red Sox.
A sports talk show in Saskatchewan talking about baseball? During CFL season, no less?! For most of the show? This, my friends, never happens here.
Now granted, Rod Pedersen wasn’t on the SportsCage show today because he’ll be calling tomorrow’s game in Edmonton, but it still is a great example of how far the Riders have fallen.
Among fans, I notice a distinct change in mood this week. A couple of weeks ago when the problems started, everyone was freaking out and calling for people’s heads to roll, including coach Corey Chamblin’s. But there has been an eerie calm this week. I get the feeling people realize what a train wreck this campaign has become with all the injuries and problems, and that nothing can be done to save the ‘Riders season. People seem to be coming to terms with it all. Either that, or the fans are still in such a state of shock about how swift a fall it has been that they don’t know what to say anymore.
As for the game against Edmonton on Friday the fans’ expectations couldn’t be lower. No one expects third-string QB Brett Smith to do much.
I’ll likely tune in the game tomorrow, but I really ought to stick to baseball instead. In 2015, football season is simply depressing the heck out of me.
Officially, the season doesn’t start for real for a couple more days. But as far as I’m concerned baseball is back, with the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the Cincinnati Reds in two preseason games in Montreal.
I plan to just sit here and watch the game on Sportsnet, while reading Jonah Keri’s book on the history of the Montreal Expos.
And again, just as was the case for the Big O series last year, attendance is expected to pack the place. This series has revived hopes of returning the Expos to Montreal. Personally, I hope it happens, one of these days. Being a baseball fan in Canada has just not been the same without the Expos around.
Update: Been enjoying the game tonight on Sportsnet, but I notice announcer Buck Martinez has all too often had to interject on the broadcast to remind all those viewers looking for the Montreal Canadiens versus the New Jersey Devils that the hockey game is over on Sportsnet 360.
That, in a nutshell, explains why the Expos left Montreal to begin with. It’s because too many Montrealers, and too many Canadians, are too interested in hockey to care about Major League Baseball. (Hey, there’s a baseball game on, but why not watch hockey on the other channel instead?!)
I could go on ranting for an hour or so on that topic alone, but I think that is all from me for tonight.
We are seeing a few stories about members of the Blue Jays organization making comments to the effect that they’ve let down the fans. General manager Alex Anthopolous spoke of feeling guilty about not delivering for the passionate fan base. Pitcher R.A. Dickey tweeted comments saying the fans deserve better.
I’m thinking — wow, what a stark contrast to what we got from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, particularly from their broadcasters, the last few years. Back in that disastrous 2011 season when there were empty seats late in the season, we got a lot of preaching from on high about how Riders fans were not hanging in when the going got tough, and that by not showing up they were not being real fans. Even this year, we’re getting this lecturing about how fans shouldn’t ever boo the team or any of the lousy play they happen to see on the field. That’s not being a true fan, they say.
You’re not getting this sort of nonsense from the Blue Jays because they know that we, their loyal fans, are right to be disgusted. It’s been 20 seasons of failure now for the Blue Jays. Given that record, the Blue Jays are fortunate to have any paying customers left, and they know it.
Anyway, it’s good they are acknowledging fans deserve better and aren’t giving us a “not real fans” line of baloney like others are doing.
Some have debated whether the Blue Jays ought to go even further and issue a full-fledged apology, as the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs have famously done. Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner doesn’t seem to think so, and frankly I agree with him.
It’s not as if the Blue Jays didn’t make an effort to make the deals needed. They tried turning things around by fleecing the Miami Marlins in the off-season, and all that did was decimate the Marlins — it had no impact on the fortunes of the Blue Jays in the end. The pitchers pitched like bums, and there were injuries as well.
That’s the way it goes, sometimes. It’s not as if they weren’t trying.
To be honest with you I don’t see what apologizing is going to do, anyway. These other Toronto teams went and issued their useless apologies, but it wasn’t as if they ended up winning any titles, and in the end winning is really all that matters. The Blue Jays don’t owe fans any apology. But they do owe us a winner.
We haven’t seen crowds of 50,000 in a long time at Toronto Blue Jays games, but that’s what we have for Opening Night tonight as the fans hop on the bandwagon for the Blue Jays’ march towards the American League pennant. The anticipation is already through the roof.
The trades that sent all those ex-Miami Marlins to Toronto — including Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio — followed up by the signing of Cy Young winner R.A Dickey from the New York Mets — have everyone in Canada fired up. Everyone is comparing this team to the one 20 years ago. The TV rightsholder Sportsnet has been laying it on thick with the nostalgia, running all these old videos of the glory days of 20 years ago. We’ve been seeing plenty of reruns of the 1993 World Series and the famous Joe Carter home run on Sportsnet as of late.
I worry about all this hype and whether it could all blow up in the Blue Jays’ faces. After all, I remember the last time a Toronto team did a lot of signings of players. That was the NBA Toronto Raptors last decade, when they signed Hakeem Olajuwon and re-signed Vince Carter, and the hype machine went into full force at that time, too. Everyone in Toronto celebrated these signings as if the Raptors had won the title. We all know what happened: nothing. The reality is that you still have to go out there and win the games.
It’s great to finally get the season under way and I sure am hoping for big things from the Blue Jays.
Since the Saskatchewan Roughriders are now toast and the NHL’s so-called “talks” consist of nothing at the moment, the following is all I have to say about the sports scene in Canada right now:
And when was the last time anyone in Canada gave a hoot about the Toronto Blue Jays? A long time ago, that’s for sure.
Nice to see Blue Jays news dominating the sports TV shows in Canada, for a change.
Oh, and Georges St.Pierre goes up against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 in Montreal, and all I have to say is this NHL lockout has created a lot of free time for fans to be able to follow all the other sports on Saturday night, including the UFC.
So cheer up, Canadian fans, and look on the bright side, eh?