September 12, 2007

Johnny Mac's Coming Back

The Toronto Blue Jays just finished up a pathetic 2-5 road trip, and were bent over and spanked by the New York Yankees Tuesday night. The proverbial nail has been hammered into their coffin. There is, however, some good news. Johnny Mac's coming back.

The Blue Jays have been dealt some painful losses over the past few days. The playoff hopes, as minuscule as they were, have officially been dashed. It's all over.

It's been a tough few days. Closer Jeremy Accardo blew a 4-1 lead to those losers down in Tampa Bay known as the Devil Rays in the bottom of the 9th on Saturday, and Casey Janssen couldn't hold down the lead for Roy Halladay on Monday night as the Jays lost again in the bottom of the ninth, this time to the Detroit Tigers.

Those were two tough, tough losses. I've got to admit, watching Roy Halladay sit on the bench in utter disbelief after the Tigers scored the winning run was painful. I just wanted to give the guy a hug. He was just one out from his 15th win and his league leading eighth complete game. Alas, it wasn't to be. My heart goes out to Halladay, because he's really pitched his behind off for the team in the second half. He's been nothing short of sensational. It's been complete game after complete game for Doc. He's gone the distance seven times in his last 10 starts. Definitely feel for Harry.

I've also got to show some love to Accardo and Janssen. They didn't get the job done the last few nights, but I refuse to throw them under the bus. They have pitched their tails off and fatigue is clearly setting in. But those two can walk around with their heads high, and I hope they are.

It's been a difficult season. I've held on to the post-season dream for much longer than any normal, sane person has. I figured the Jays would just turn on that switch, win 10 games in a row, and somehow get that wild card playoff spot. You know, like the New York Yankees always do. They bomb the first couple of months, everyone calls for Joe Torre's head, but they always finish where it counts - on their way to the playoffs - when it's all said and done. But I guess that's why the Yankees are the damn Yankees.

However, in a season full of frustration, disappointment, and darkness for Toronto, John McDonald has been one of the few beacons of bright light. Word leaked today that the Blue Jays have re-signed the would-be free agent to a two-year contract at $3.8 million. Now we all know that Ted Rogers has given J.P. Ricciardi the go ahead to throw all his money around, but McDonald's signing is without a doubt $3.8 million dollars well spent.

Johnny Mac has been tremendous at shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays. Sensational. Amazing. Fantastic. Outstanding. You pick the adjective, it really doesn't matter. He's a magician with the glove and is much deserving of the starting shortstop role. He leads all American League shortstops with a sparkling .985 fielding percentage

And since I don't know how to embed a video on my blog, for your viewing pleasure please visit this link for a glimpse of Johnny Mac's fine work. You won't regret it.


This is big, not only for the Jays, but for Johnny Mac. He's one of the few "good guys" in baseball. The last of a dying breed. An athlete that truly appreciates what he's being allowed to do, and that's play a game for a living. He runs out every ground ball, and dives for everything hit remotely close to him. He's a blue-collar guy, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He's not a very good hitter, and he knows it, but his .250 batting average doesn't matter, because he saves the team so many runs with his D. The man can play some crazy defense, trust me. If you saw the above video, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

For the 32-year-old McDonald, it's the first multi-year contract he's received after six full-time seasons in the big leagues. It's a great achievement for someone who works so hard, and really prides himself on his defense and work ethic. Johnny Mac's become a mainstay on the highlight reels because of his exceptional glove work and this corner definitely thinks he should be the recipient of a 2007 Gold Glove award. He has truly perfected the dive-and-throw-from-your-knees-to-first-base play, and it's beautiful to watch.

For the first time in a long while, the Jays don't have to worry about who's going to be playing shortstop. John McDonald is their guy, and I can't be more happy about it. Now it's time for J.P. Ricciardi to address the other needs of the team - first on the list, kicking Josh Towers as far away as humanly possible from the organization - because it's all about 2008 now.

On that note, welcome back, and congratulations Johnny Mac. You are appreciated.