August 09, 2010

Some dreams stay dreams, some dreams come true


Yes, Brandon Morrow did indeed do that on Sunday afternoon. And, ever since, I've been walking around telling everyone within speaking distance that the young man pitched, according to Statistics Guru Bill James' Game Score metric, the fourth most impressive game since 1920, when the Live-Ball Era began. Nineteen-bloody-twenty. Say it out loud. Let it sink in.

There's no doubt about it: Brandon Morrow pitched like a man on August 8th, 2010. Actually, like the mightiest of men. (Read that article from the Toronto Sun; it's arguably the greatest in the history of the tabloid.)

One out. That's all that stood between Morrow and baseball immortality. But Morrow's exploits will live on, in Toronto at least. Because his was the type of performance I will tell my grandchildren about. And that's the beauty of baseball: something truly special can happen on any given day, from even the most unlikely of candidates. Speaking of which, Jose Molina stole second base on Sunday. Seriously. And that's why I continue, more and more everyday, to fall head over heels back in love with baseball.

"Let's all take a deep breath as we go to the most dramatic ninth inning in the history of baseball. I'm going to sit back, light up, and hope I don't chew the cigarette to pieces."
- Vin Scully, during Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series

No, it wasn't the World Series. And, no, Morrow wasn't throwing a perfect game. But damn if there wasn't incredible drama. Heading into the final frame, with Morrow 16 strikeouts deep, and only three outs away from Toronto's second no-hitter, which the franchise continues to agonizingly flirt with, I felt like Vin Scully did more than 50 years ago; like we were indeed headed to the most dramatic ninth inning, in a 1-0 ball game to boot, in the history of baseball.

Thanks for keeping him in the ball game, Cito. And thanks for the baseball butterflies, Brandon Morrow.


Yes, J.P. Arencibia did do that on Saturday afternoon. And had I not heard it from the mouths of Jerry Howard and Alan Ashby, I probably wouldn't have believed it myself. When the young catcher sent his second home run into the stands, I involuntarily began honking the horn of my car. I can only assume that my brain figured it was the right thing to do.

Every baseball player dreams of making it to The Show. And I'm sure every baseball player dreams of getting their first Major League hit in their first Major League at-bat. But to hit a home run on the first Major League pitch to be thrown his way, and to follow that with a double, a single, and another home run ... there's no way J.P. Arencibia could have ever dreamed such a dream. And that's what made his curtain call -- finally, Toronto -- and the smile on his face that much more special.

In all my excitement, I've even checked out Arencibia's FanGraphs page: a 1.255 wOBA, and a 732 wRC+. Quite the debut.

Brett Cecil on Friday night. Arencibia on Saturday afternoon. Brandon Morrow on Sunday afternoon. The latter two becoming worldwide trending topics on Twitter. The streets are talking; 1993 is being bandied about. People are excited about the Toronto Blue Jays.

Food For Thought

With his mind-blowing 17 Ks, Brandon Morrow joined Roger Clemens as the only other Toronto Blue Jays pitcher to strike out more than 15 batters in one game. Clemens did it an astounding four times in the two years he represented Toronto. The next time you're bored, or wasted, check out Clemens' 1997 and 1998 splits. Whatever he was on during his stay in Toronto, at 34 and 35 years old, it was some quality stuff ...

It's tough not to feel for Seattle Mariners fans right now ...

Since Alex Anthopoulos's acquisition of Yunel Escobar, the Blue Jays are 15-7, and 14-5 when the shortstop is in the lineup ...

Your Toronto Blue Jays, with 59 wins, have only three fewer than Roy Halladay's Philadelphia Phillies. And it's those same Phillies who are 140 million dollar "contenders." What a world ...

15 comments:

Ian H. said...

You hit the nail on the head sir, folks are talking baseball again in the city of Toronto and I frigging love it.

I don't think we could've asked for a better on field product this past weekend.

"Dave Schultz" said...

they were fun games to watch, even though the Jays killed my DEVIL Rays.

Lee(tch) said...

Great post brother.

Did you see Cito coming to the mound after Morrow gave up the hit just to let him know how damn proud he was of him and that he was finishing the game? Even the Cito-bashers have to admit he got this one right.

I forgot to ask you this last night but can you think of a recent team from the past two decades the Jays remind you of? Ok you might have been a little bit younger to remember but when I think of these Jays I think of the Atlanta Braves from the 90's when they had a DOMINATING young pitching staff of Greg Maddux, Steve Avery, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. That's two righties and two southpaws. Call me crazy but Marcum, Morrow, Cecil, and Romero are starting to mold into something that could resemble that Braves all-star ensemble. That is something to be excited about.
And those 90's Braves won division after division with pitching as their main staple. We could be those Braves backed by a more potent offence. I looked up the Braves history starting from 1991 since that was their rebirth. After 79 games, they were 39-40 and finished the season going 55-28 to capture the division. The Blue Jays in 79 games this year were 40-39...some will say Braves don't play in the AL East...well back then there were only two divisions and no wild card.

eyebleaf said...

@ Ian: I had an Indian uncle come up to me at my brother's wedding reception and ask me whether I saw Arencibia's debut. I hugged him.

@ Schultz: DEVIL Rays, indeed. I have to admit, I took a lot of pleasure in the Jays beating Matt Garza (and it was his error that led to the winning run), and ABSOLUTELY CRUSHING "Big Game James" Shields. Good times.

@ Lee(tch): I love it, absolutely love it, when Cito comes out not to yank his starter, but to offer words of encouragement. Cito said after the game that he told Morrow that win or lose, it was his ball game. Yeah, he's not the greatest manager, but it's moments like that which I'll miss when he's gone.

As for your comparison, I get it. And it's a good one. And I'd love to be the new Braves. But our pitching staff has a long way to go. These guys are still very young. But there's definitely an incredible amount of potential. And there's definitely enough evidence that, yes, these guys - Marcum, Romero, Cecil and Morrow - can indeed be above-average Major League starters. It's an exciting time. A truly exciting time.

Interesting comparison to the 91 Braves, and their records. The Jays are eight games back of the Wild Card. Crazier things have happened. Winning the upcoming series against the Red Sox is a must. And you know what? That's fun. That's exciting.

One last point about the Braves comparison: I'm not sure it's possible to dominate the AL East the way the Braves dominated their division for so long. Unless you've got the Yankees pockets.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Toronto baseball is indeed fun again and your excellent recap of the weekend nailed just how exciting it was.

Cito leaving Morrow in the game after the hit was probably his best managerial move since the WS years.

looshV said...

Dude, the comment you had about the Mariner fans is bang-on. It does hurt and I really do feel for them; being a Toronto sports fan and all. It sucks when you lose a player to another team and he shines like that(Tukka Rask, Picks that turned into Scott Nedermeyer, Michael Cammeleri et al). Having said that though, we have also known the feeling of said highway robbery as intimated in your comment(Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Doug Gilmour, Dion Phaneuf,....Brandon Morrow). We do a lot of fucking trading in this town baby and that's the way it rolls in the Big Smoke.....Feast of Famine.

I will say that I haven't felt that much PRIDE for my team and my man Brandon Morrow in a long time.....

.....and it was magical.

But there's something fundamentally different now. It was a magical series of baseball for the Blue Jays this weekend past and I noticed today that I have changed....,

THE MAGIC IS BACK!!

I still have this incredible feeling of that thing when you know there's something special happening.

I feel great,
and great blog!

eyebleaf said...

@ William: I've seen Cito do that on a number of occasions. More than once with Romero. It's what I love most about Gaston. Most managers will send their pitching coach out. Gaston goes out there himself. I believe the first time it happened with Romero, Ricky thought he was being pulled, and was ready to hand the ball over. Cito didn't want it.

@ looshV: You're right; we've been on both sides of the equation when it comes to trades. That's how it goes, I guess. You can't win 'em all. But it sure as hell looks like we won the Morrow/League trade. And hopefully the Escobar trade, too. And hopefully the Gose trade, too. As for your other comment, if the magic is indeed back, I hope it's here to stay. Because that was one enjoyable bloody baseball weekend. And thanks for reading, mate, as always.

Steve G. said...

It was definitely a great, great weekend for Toronto baseball. As I saw some of the stuff developing, I wish I had access to the Jays' games where I am :/ I had to follow mostly on the Internet.

Mattt said...

Let's see what happens starting tonight against the sox. Against my better judgement I'm still thinking there is a chance to sneak I to the playoffs. Yes, I'm aware of the odds...

eyebleaf said...

@ Steve: I advise you to pick up MLB.com's package for the rest of the season. Otherwise you're going to miss the Jays' historic ride to the Wild Card. And you don't want to miss it, trust me.

@ Mattt: Toronto's 2-7 record against the BoSox has to change. I'm glad we're missing Lester. Although we will get him next week. It'll be Dice-K, Buchholz, and Lackey. Up against Ricky, Marcum, and Cecil. Yeah, this is going to be fun.

The Ack said...

I've been trying like hell NOT to use the term "BONERS!" in my blog posts....but it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.

Isn't baseball love magical?

eyebleaf said...

Ack, this is certainly too much information, but my baseball BONER lasted far longer than four hours over the weekend. And I wasn't the slightest bit concerned.

Playoffs!!!1

Callum said...

Excellent recap of a wild weekend. A great time to be a Jays fan to be sure.

Escaped Lab Rat said...

At tonight's thrashing. It was ugly. Marcum was, to be nice, not good. It sucks being 2-9 against the Sox.

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