January 04, 2010

Deep Thoughts: Monday. Again.

Another fucking Monday, to be exact. And it's back to the grind. Blimey.

1. Congratulations to Chris Bosh, the newly minted all-time leading scorer of our Toronto Raptors. While I've only recently accepted my true feelings for Vince Carter - the greatest Raptor ever - I refuse to label Bosh number two, or second best. Carter's 1A. Bosh, 1B. And if Bosh sticks around and leads the Raptors to playoff glory, he could eventually be 1A.

2. At 17-18, the Raptors are a game below .500. The glorified break-even mark has become the benchmark in this city. These days, anything above .500 is a bonus. For the Raptors, however, .500 may be good enough for the Eastern Conference's 5th seed. Playoffs!!1 In Toronto, we dream big.

3. With Canada leading Switzerland 1-0 after 20 minutes of their World Junior semifinal, I couldn't help shake the feeling that part of me was rooting for the underdog Swiss. Would you really have been upset if Canada lost? We are the number one hockey development nation in the world, regardless of whether we win this year's tournament. And imagine what a story it would have been, and what a boost for their hockey program, if the Swiss had somehow been able to pull it off. Here's hoping they go home with the bronze.

4. That being said, there won't be an inch of me rooting for the U.S. in Tuesday's gold medal game. Their hockey program can go to hell. And Jerry D'Amigo? Yes, please.

5. The Buffalo Bills are undefeated in 2010. Undefeated this decade. Playoffs!!1

6. These days, when a Toronto Maple Leafs forward gets hurt, it's frankly a bit exciting. With Mickey Grabs and Wayne Primeau out, who gets the call from the farm: Tyler Bozak? Christian Hanson? Ryan Hamilton? Andre Deveaux, the Marlies' leading scorer? It appears only one forward will be summoned, as John Mitchell is ready to return. And beacon of positivity, sunshine, rainbows, and lolipops - Damien Cox - tweeted that it won't be Bozak.

7. This is awful, but why can't Rickard Wallin get injured? Why can't Vesa Toskala have heart problems?

8. The Toronto Blue Jays will emerge victorious in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes. I've got a hunch, rooted in nothing but rampant homerism.

9. Nice to see Edwin Encarnacion in the news. Sure, it was because some fireworks went off in his face, but you know what they say: there's no such thing as bad publicity. From Deadspin:

"Encarnacion was setting off fireworks on New Year's with his family in the Dominican Republic, when his brother lit a rocket. It shot laterally instead of straight up, and Encarnacion's infielder instincts took over. He got in front of it, and knocked it down with his head."

You see, he can play the hot corner. He'll make us forget all about that Scott Rolen guy.

10. Speaking of our beloved Blue Jays, check out the recent entry "New Beginnings" over at Mop Up Duty, by renowned J.P. Ricciardi hater Callum Hughson. The crux of Callum's argument is that he prefers "homegrown" teams, ones full of drafted talent, developed and nurtured into winners, instead of teams put together by the mighty checkbook. Now, I love the homegrown stuff, if you know what I mean, but when it comes to my baseball team, I don't give a flying fadoo Bobcat how the Blue Jays are put together, as long as they win. In 1992 and 1993, when the Blue Jays ruled the baseball world, they, to quote one of my heroes George Costanza, " spent, baby!1" Highest payroll in the league. Luring to town free agents such as Jack Morris, Dave Stewart, Dave Winfield, and Paul Molitor. And I had no problems with how Toronto went about their business. None. Because they got the job done. And we'll forever have the pennants to prove it. Why do I hate the New York Yankees? Simple: jealousy. They've got an owner who spends everybody else into the ground. My team doesn't. That's it, that's all. Money doesn't ensure success - the Yankees won two world series in the 10 years we just completed. But in a league devoid of a salary cap, money always gives a number of teams a better shot than the Blue Jays.

11. Another point Callum brought up in the comments was that if I didn't care how the teams are put together, would I throw my support behind the Blue Jays if their roster was full of baseball's notorious douchebags: Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Pierzynski, Joba Chamberlain, Sidney Ponson, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Myers, etc. The answer is: if they win, of course. As soon as a serial douchebag puts on a Toronto jersey, he becomes my douchebag. I hated Darcy Tucker before he became a Toronto Maple Leaf. Shayne Corson, too. Even Gary Roberts, a little bit. Dave Manson. Roger Clemens. Hell, I cheered for Bryan Marchment when he played in Toronto. I justified Tie Domi's douchebaggery in my head, on many occasions. I could go on. The point is: once "the player" represents a Toronto sports team, their past is forgiven and forgotten. It's irrational, but it works. If Chris Neil were a Maple Leaf, I'd probably cheer for him too. That's what being a fan is all about.

12. Brett Myers punched his wife. Joba's been busted for DUI. Make no mistake about it, I don't condone those actions. My fandom is about what they do on the baseball field, and only the baseball field. Athletes, especially people like Myers, Joba and, I don't know, that Tiger Woods guy, are not role models. They're the last people your kids should be looking up to, and it's your responsibility to make sure they don't.

13. I finished Jim Bouton's Ball Four Saturday evening. A wonderful read, and I highly recommend it. It hit me as the book, and Bouton's 1969 season, was winding down: Bouton essentially kept a blog, and made it into a book. In seven chapters, he has written daily entries chronicling his season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros. Bouton was ahead of his time.

14. Little known fact: Jim Bouton co-invented Big League Chew, the greatest bubble gum ever manufactured. A large portion of my high school years were spent with a ridiculously large wad of Big League Chew in my mouth. Original flavour, of course. Those were good times. To this day, when I step on the diamond in the summertime, I prefer to do it while chewing on some BLC. It makes me feel more like the pro ballplayer I'll never be. Thanks, Jim Bouton.

15. I've celebrated the greatness that is commenter Handsome Tony Viner over at The Tao of Stieb before. No joke, his comments regularly have me laughing out loud. I leave you with his latest, from December 30 of last year. It's a beauty ...

You are ready to accept fifth place behind Baltimore, Darren? Your defeatism is pathetic. In my world you would be involved in a tragic helicopter accident just for speaking as such an absconder.

Look, I have been a little too busy to comment on the posts of this Tao lately, but I feel I must respond to all of this ridiculous negativity.

I have built a team that will win 85+ games in 2010, and stands a great chance of shocking the world with over 90. Sure, Doc is gone, Rolen is a distant memory, and Scutaro walked. But rest assured, I expropriated an agglomeration of assets from the teams that relieved me of their contracts, mainly due to my sexy, underhanded business practices.

Rolen will be a constant injury risk for the Reds, and I defrauded them of their most inimitable pitching prospect and two other, very useful players. Encarnacion will hit 30+ HR and Roenicke will post an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP around 1.30.

Boston will regret handing me their second round pick, especially when Scutaro's true physical condition shows itself. I have seen the relevant medical reports on his heel, and that little louse Theo Epstien has not. I signed Alex Gonzalez for less than half of what that boor paid for Scutaro, and he will outperform him in every category in 2010-2011.

The Halladay trade was a ruse from the beginning. After it was clear that Roy would not re-sign here, due to his personal braggadocio and obvious need for attention from the US sports media, I set a trap for that addlepate Ruben Amaro Jr. It was sprung according to MY plan and on MY terms. I appropriated a future ace, a silver slugger and a future all-star catcher for basically one year of Halladay. Doc was a great pitcher, but he is too expensive, uncontrollable, and his decline is imminent indeed.

I am extremely smart, and uncompromisingly handsome. The true operational art of disingenuous, duplicitous, fallacious business dealing is lost on most of these baseball people, who have never been involved in a hostile takeover in Hong Kong or run an (illegal) mobile communications network monopoly, as I have.

If you want to deprecate, and expostulate about the immediate future of the team you love, you are barking up the wrong tree. This team will be a major force to be reckon with in 2010, nevermind in 2011 and beyond when we have only ~$40MM committed to payroll, and I commit upwards of $120MM on a yearly basis.

The moral of this little talk is this: You are just going to have to show some blind faith in my handsomeness, and smart, sexy business strategies.


Handsome Tony Viner


Archimedies said...

Handsome Tony Viner has left one comment on my blog.

I consider it the pinnacle of my blogging career.

bkblades said...

Boo to the sentiments of wishing Vesa and Wallin being hurt, yay on expressing the whole point of fandom and athletes as role models, and double yay for Handsome Tony's use of diction.

Steve G. said...

1) Considering that Carter didn't even try to hide his displeasure for Toronto on his way out of town, I'm surprised you have him at #1A. That would be like the Bills acknowledging O.J. as their best running back, or the Red Sox celebrating Roger Clemens.

8) I feel like they're still very much into Chapman, whereas he has been a backburner guy for the Red Sox and Yankees since their respective pitching moves (Lackey and Vasquez).

14) That is a seriously underrated invention, absolutely. I also loved Big League Chew; it was a rite of Little League to get a big package of it for before and after a game at the Little League park in our town.

PPP said...

Vince Carter should be run over by an 18-wheeler. Twice.

We've already seen that Vesa Toskala has a heart problem.

I like these.

eyebleaf said...

@ Archi: I want to meet Handsome Tony Viner, and shake his hand.

@ BK: Hey, I said it, it's awful for me to have those thoughts about Wallin and Toskala, but I just can't help it. They're not exactly helping, either. Handsome Tony's diction is legendary, yo.

@ Steve: Carter's a punk. There's no denying it. But there's no denying what he accomplished here, and there's no denying that he put this franchise on the map. Without him, might the Raptors have suffered a similar fate as the Vancouver Grizzlies? O.J.'s probably a killer, and Clemens a cheater. VC's just a bitch. But when he burst on the scene, man, it was nothing like I've ever experienced. A human highlight reel.

I can't imagine the Red Sox or Yankees ever considering a guy like Chapman a backburner guy. When you have that much cash, there's no such thing as a backburner guy, especially when he wants the kind of dough he reportedly does. But, perhaps you're right. Perhaps both the evil empires learned have learned their lessons after Jose Contreras and Dice-K.

Is Big League Chew readily available down there in the States? It used to be here, but I have a much harder time finding it now. I've had a craving since the weekend. It must be filled.

@ PPP: Touche, about Toskala. Perhaps after running over VC, that 18-wheeler can back into Vesa. And thanks, mate.

Ian H. said...

Archi and eyeB, if HTV stops by your blog, let alone comments on it, you have achieved great success. I hope to one day share in that same happiness.

On Big League Chew: I love that stuff, and whenever I come across it in a candy store, I instinctively buy it, and it immediately takes me back to my childhood. Then my jaw hurts the next day because I tried to chew the whole damn package of gum.

matthias said...

I have to say I'm troubled by the following:

"As soon as a serial douchebag puts on a Toronto jersey, he becomes my douchebag... That's what being a fan is all about."

Is it really?

eyebleaf said...

@ Ian: I have lock jaw because of Big League Chew. And I have zero regrets.

@ matthias: For me it is. I think you're taking sports way too seriously. Have you ever worked with someone you didn't like? Do you know the history of every person you've ever worked with? How do you know there isn't someone in your office who's been charged with DUI? Does that make them a douchebag, undeserving of another chance? Pro sports is another job. Treat it as such.

Tao of Stieb said...

Handsome Tony is getting almost too funny. Like people are coming to the blog to read him instead of me.

Which I'm sure was all part of his plan all along.

(Damn it! I hate it when I become a pawn in Handsome Tony's exquisite schemes!)

And BTW, I'm not the one writing HTV's comments. I'd like to know who he is as much as the next guy.

eyebleaf said...

Tao, don't get it twisted, we come for your and The Ack's wicked baseball commentary. Handsome Tony Viner is just the icing on our Tao of Stieb cake. Much like you, it ain't me, either, and I'm going to continue living in fantasy land and think it actually is the one and only Tony Viner

William said...

HTV is cute, but "Tao of Stieb" is probably in the top ten of best blog names of all time. HTV can't ever top that.

Hey, Joba is just a stupid kid. He got caught doing something stupid, but he seems a decent enough sort. But you are dead on about not having ball players as role models. They are just entertaining.

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