August 08, 2008

Won't You Stay, A.J.?

Holy shit. I think A.J. Burnett is finally, finally, putting it all together. We're not even halfway through August, and Burnett registered his 14th win of the season last night. I'm like, giddy.

Burnett! With 14 wins! In August! Two more than his previous career high! Sigh. Our A.J. is all grown up.

I get the feeling Burnett is enjoying pitching for Cito Gaston. Since the Gastonian one returned to the Toronto dugout, A.J.'s won eight of 10 starts. He made it four dubyas in a row yesterday to complete the four-game sweep of the hapless Athletics of Oakland.

What made yesterday's win so sugary sweet was the fact that Burnett didn't have his best stuff, and had to battle. Oakland jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, which led to a mound visit from Cito in only the second inning. Whatever Gaston said, it worked. Burnett worked his tail off the rest of the way, going six innings and giving up four earned runs on the night. But most importantly, he kept his team in the game, and his offence responded by bringing out the brooms.

Again, I must reiterate that I absolutely love how Gaston goes out to talk to his pitchers during the game, instead of sending pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to do the deed. Cito's just heavenly.

Speaking of Gaston, he's coming back next year. And I couldn't be happier about it. It's a celebration, bitches!

Back to Burnett. It's apparently only a foregone conclusion that he's going to opt-out of the final two years of his contract with the Jays come seasons end. I wouldn't be surprised if he does. Nobody should be. He'd be an idiot not to, really. He's having a career year at the most opportune time in his life, and everyone knows pitchers get grossly overpaid on the open market (hello, Carlos Silva).

A part of me, however, is hoping, and praying, that A.J. proves all of us wrong. With $24 million left on his contract, it's not like he's going to have trouble feeding his family if he sticks around. Perhaps, as crazy as it sounds, A.J. is content here in Toronto, along with his best friend forever Roy Halladay, his mentor Brad Arnsberg, and his favourite manager Cito Gaston. Perhaps A.J., after years of searching, and after years of trying to harness his amazing potential, has finally found his happy place. And it happens to be right here with the Toronto Blue Jays.

I don't think there'd be anything better in the whole wide world than A.J., at the end of the season, coming out and saying: "You know what? Fuck it. I'm staying. We have unfinished business here in Toronto."

A man can dream...

I leave you with a phenomenal post from The Tao of Stieb, on the douchebags known as bandwagon Blue Jays fans. Do yourself a favour and read it. No, really, read it. I'll wait. No, I insist.

Back? Cool. I know, I told you it was great. It's the perfect example of why I read, and why I love, The Tao of Stieb, probably the best Toronto Blue Jays blog that exists out here on Al Gore's internet.


PPP said...

That's a pretty good post and would probably be less ironic if this city wasn't full of asshole Jays fans trying to pull the same shit that they are dealing with on Leaf fans.

But he's right, bandwagon fans should be hanged and quartered.

eyebleaf said...

you make a great point, PPP. i don't quite understand the hate that jays fans spew on leafs fans, when we're all dealing with the same shit...

The Ack said...

AJ's all grows up and he's all grows up and he's all grows up. And likely gone come October. Which makes me sad, but I'll contain it, unless I see Doc crying, then I'll fuckin' lose it.

Also, I'm probably going to cop the use of "Gastonian" at some point. Awesome. Just a heads-up, dude.

eyebleaf said...

Ack, love your work, man.

I think the one thing that unites all Jays fans, whether they're JP haters or not, is the deep desire to see Roy Halladay succeed and be happy. Doc is such good people, there would be a hole in my heart if he doesn't get a ring here in Toronto.

Use "Gastonian" freely, bro.

PPP said...

when we're all dealing with the same shit...

That's what I try to tell them! We are brothers in arms not foes.

As for AJ, dammit, the bastard starts getting results (I know that 'wins' isn't a great tool for judging a pitcher but...) and now he'll leave. FUCK!

eyebleaf said...

i know, it sucks that it happened 3 years into his 5 year deal, especially considering the opt-out. we all knew AJ was capable of being a stud, all he had to do was stay healthy. well, here he is, finally healthy, and while wins aren't everything, the man's been huge in keeping the jays somewhat in the wild card race.

i love him. i've really grown fond of him this season.