June 01, 2007

Doc's Back

Welcome back, Harry.

The Doctor returned to the Jays lineup last night, and cut up the Chicago White Sox with surgeon-like proficiency.

It’s good to have him back. Shout out to the Jays pitching staff though, for holding down the fort while Harry was gone for three weeks. Toronto went 11-7 and the pitching was off the hook. This is coming from the guy who said the Jays have no pitching. What can I say, I’m an idiot. But I’m enjoying being proven wrong. It’s the bats that are hurting the Jays this season.

If every baseball game was as quick as last night’s, I think there would be a lot more baseball fans out there. The game lasted less than two hours. Mark Buehrle pitched a heck of a ball game. Ace Ventura, the Pet Detective, taught me an important life lesson when I was a youngster – “In every case, there must be, a loser. LOOO-HOOO-ZUH-HER!” Buehrle gave up only two hits, but they were of the long-ball variety, and they were the only two hits the Jays would need. Two-nil was the final, with my favourite relievers Casey Janssen and Jeremy Accardo finishing up for Harry Halladay.

It was Halladay’s 100th career victory, in his 200th career start. He’s been a pleasure to watch. He spoils us, he really does. Congratulations Doc, here’s to 100 more.

Doc Halladay’s cutter was so nasty last night that Darin Erstad hurt himself just swinging at it. He rolled his ankle, was in considerable pain, and it wasn’t pretty. That’s the first time I’ve seen a pitcher injure a batter without actually hitting him with the ball. Now that’s the definition of a nasty cutter.

It was a good start to the weekend series with the White Sox, who look nothing like the team that captured the 2005 World Series.

Last night’s victory came on the heels of a series win against the Bronx Bombers – if you can still call them that. Folks round these parts are still talking about the exploits of one Alex Rodriguez, both on and off the field.

One thing is clear - $25 million a year certainly doesn’t buy you class, or sportsmanship, because A-Rod has got neither.

Heading over to Brass Rail, a prominent Toronto strip club, while his wife and young child are at home in New York. Nice. Stay classy, A-Rod.

As for his on-field antics, he picked his spot. He clearly yelled something as he ran past Howie Clark, the Jays third baseman who’s up from Triple-A. Clark claims A-Rod shouted “Mine!” It should have been called interference by the umpires, because anything done by the batting team that causes confusion is interference by the rule book. The umpires let the play stand, and the Jays should have taken things into their own hands at that point.

I love reading and respect the opinions of Dave Perkins and Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, and Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail. All three said that the Jays should have plunked Jason Giambi, the next batter, and then given A-Fraud a few shots once the benches cleared. I’m always down for a brawl, and it’s silly that the Jays, who were clearly pissed off, didn’t do anything about the situation. The next time the Jays and Yankees face each other is in July, but I’m hopeful the Jays will remember A-Rod’s antics. I know I will. A-Rod has a history of making bush-league plays, and that’s exactly what his play was Wednesday night. Bush-league. There’s no way Rodriguez pulls a stunt like that with Troy Glaus at third base. Like I said, he picked his spot.

You know what, I like saying bush-league.

On a side note, it’s nice to see the Yankees battling it out for last place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Devil Rays payroll is a whopping $27 million, while the Yankees check in at $195 million. Good times.

The Jays are treading water. Reed Johnson and Greg Zaun should be back in a few weeks, and going into tonight the Jays sit five games out of the Wild Card. The playoffs are by no means out of the realm of possibility for this team. All the injuries and all the drama have helped this team build character, and I really enjoy watching this team. They are my Jays, after all.

How great has Rios been this year? He’s blossoming into a star in front of our eyes, just like Tomas Kaberle did with the Leafs, and Chris Bosh did with the Raptors. It’s just fantastic to watch. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m like a proud parent, just gushing with pride when talking about Alex Rios.

It’s a shame the Jays best hitter is batting leadoff, though. Rios should be in the three-hole, currently occupied by Vernon Wells. Rios is hitting too many home runs and driving in too many runs to be at the top of the line up right now. I’m afraid he’ll stay there, though, until Reed Johnson comes back.

A.J. Burnett takes the mound tonight, and the Jays should be able to take three out of four from the struggling White Sox. It would be a great step towards getting back to .500.

Here are some random thoughts as we head into the weekend:

- How about that Lebron James fellow. King James, indeed. Game five on the road in Detroit – a tough place to play, to say the least – and the game goes into double overtime. James scored every Cavalier point in the overtime sessions, and got his team the win. Forty-eight points on the night, including 29 of Cleveland’s final 30 points. Ridiculous. Lebron is unconscious. He’s always been destined for greatness, but who knew it would come so soon.

The legend of Lebron James was born last night. He is, without question, the best player in the NBA. And he’s only 22 years old. There have been a lot of guys to come out of high school and dominate and play well, but none has taken the franchise on his back the way Lebron has. For my entire existence on this earth, the Cleveland Cavaliers have sucked. I’ve never known them to be anything but a laughingstock. Lebron changed an entire team, an entire organization, and an entire city. In the process, he’s changing the game. The NBA desperately needs something other than a Detroit/San Antonio final, and now the Cleveland Cavaliers are a game away from the final. All thanks to one man. Lebron James was simply born to play basketball.

- Mats Sundin is on the verge of signing a two year, $11 million dollar contract with the Leafs. It will save the Leafs about $2 million in cap space. I never expected Mats to go anywhere, so news that he is staying with the team is no surprise. I was, however, hoping the two year deal would come in at around $9 million. I think $4.5 million per season for Sundin is justified. A contract at that figure would also give the Leafs the money they need to sign free agents and get better. It would also prove Sundin’s desire to win a bloody Stanley Cup with the Leafs. I know Mats wants to win, but I’m starting to believe he doesn’t want to win as badly as I once thought he did. And that hurts…

- I like Sal Fasano’s moustache.

- I hope all the Ottawa Senators fans out there enjoyed the ride, because it’s all over. There’s no way in hell they are going to beat the Ducks four out of the next five games to win the Cup. The Cup is going to Southern California for the first time. As good as the Sens have been this post-season, Anaheim’s been better, and I don’t see them choking on their two-nothing series lead. Choking, it’s what the Senators do best!

- Kobe Bryant apparently wants out of L.A. The Lakers should grant him his wish and trade him to Denver. Wouldn’t that be something?


Dheeraj said...

Very nicely put. Once the bats get going and the pitching stays consistent the Jays could seriously contend for the Wild Card.

Rios without question is having his breakout season (which was halted last year due to a staff infection). However, another young player who seems to be coming into his own is Aaron Hill. He has provided stellar defense at 2nd filling the shoes of O-Dog and the great Robbie Alomar quite admirably.

I'm excited about the rest of the Jays season.

As for LeBron, no one has come into the league from high school and had the impact he has. Kevin Garnett, Kobe, T-Mac all took a few years to find thier game and break through. LeBron was a stud right from day one.