The Mockingbird

Blue Jays Make Drastic Changes

with 16 comments

In the time honored post-opening day tradition, Toronto sportswriters have taken a glimpse at the Blue Jays season to come using the latest in statistical tools- and it’s not what you might expect. “I really thought we had some power on this team,” drawled Jays skipper John Gibbons. “Boy was I wrong. We’re a speed team now. Stole two bases in the first inning against one of the best catchers in the league, so we’re going to go with that from now on. It’s a different look, but we think it can help us go 162-0.”

In other developments, rising star Lyle Overbay was moved out of his new position in the 2-slot to take over the cleanup role from the struggling Frank Thomas (who is on pace for 300+ strikeouts this season). “I think it’s too early to talk about whether I have a chance to hit .500 this season,” quipped Overbay, “but someone has to get more than one hit a game, and it looks like it’s going to be me. Right now, I feel great. There’s absolutely no reason I can’t continue this pace.”

Other adjustments included a new-look starting rotation of Halladay-Janssen-Downs-Frasor-Ryan, the instant release of Gregg Zaun and Aaron Hill, the addition of Royce Clayton to the level of excellence…

Ok, I’ll stop. This isn’t really going anywhere. But it hurts every year. The media has been feeding on scraps for the last month and a half, stretching reports about A.J. Burnett’s big toe to fill a page or two. Now there’s a whole GAME to draw conclusions from, and even though they know they shouldn’t, there will be unwarranted, silly extrapolations. They might be subtle (if Clayton can continue hitting, the Jays won’t have to worry; Overbay looked comfortable in his new role, etc.), they might be self-consciously over the top (a la Bengie the Best after his opening day homer last year), they might even be philosophical (beating the defending AL champs in their own park to start the season sends a message…), but get ready for a deluge of silliness as every drop of blood is wrung out of the season opener over the off-day.

Written by halejon

April 3, 2007 at 2:36 pm

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  1. Ha- I hadn’t found that speed article when I put this up, but there’s another one I hadn’t thought of. It gets to the end relatively restrained and they just have to slip it in as a semi-joke:

    “The 2007 club is on a pace to steal 324. They’re also on a pace to go 162-0.”

    Ah! And of course! The oh-so-relevant Spring Training trends continuing!!

    Seven of the Jays’ games went into extra innings this spring, so when the season opener moved into the 10th, the Jays were more than prepared to take advantage.

    halejon

    April 3, 2007 at 2:45 pm

  2. First, I want to qualify that other then paying my sallary keeping me from living in a dumpster behind the Rogers Center (surviving soley on discarded hot dogs bleacher droppings – “The other day I was so desperate for a beer I snuck into the stadium and ate the dirt under the bleachers”), I have no affiliation with them whatsoever.

    For a team to be a “running team” – there needs to be more than 2 bases stolen in the first inning off a shaken Bonderman. I counted one other “busted” hit-and-run (which should’ve been doubled up by Pudge), no sacrifices, and nothing resembling the small ball that would make the jays a “running team”. But bring on the gross generalizations. And no professional publication is worse at making gross generalizaions ABOUT ANYTHING then the Sun.

    But not to pick on them, let me just post the “KEY STAT” (printed in caps + bolded) from the Star today:

    “Yesterday marked the third time the Jays have gone into extra innings on opening day. They lost the previous two.”

    WTF? How is that “key” in any way. Its like when you can tell a brocaster has been waiting 8 innings to get a chance to debut a new trademark phrase and finally get his chance.

    My favorite last season was when Jamie Campbell pulled out the “He can have is Markakis and eat it too” – which he pulled out on a routine fly to Nick Markakis to end a 3-up 3-down inning mid-way through last season. Maybe if he hit the game-winning slam, but not on a routine fly – what were you thinking?

    Hey wait, speaking of which…..anyone know what The Sarge is doing lately?

    Dan

    April 3, 2007 at 3:52 pm

  3. If there’s actually anyone else reading this, “The Sarge” is Gary Matthews Sr, and once during a cameo radio appearance me and Dan heard him deliver a terrifying comment about how he likes to go to the park and “watch the little girls”, after which he was summarily yanked as a colour guy for evermore.

    He is currently starting his first season as the Phillies full time Broadcaster.

    Reed said somewhere about how Bonderman was 1.5-1.6 to the plate, but then he went to the slide step and the running spree was over. Oh well, it was fun being a small ball team while it lasted.

    Hahahaha- I love stupid non-correlations like that. It’s like numerology or something, statheads looking for something that matches up but 1) isn’t over a long enough period to be unusual and 2) even if it was could not possibly reveal ANY useful information.

    I wish there was some kind of broadcast archive…it would be nice to have a running tally of the insanely stupid things or 100% vapid things that Jamie Campbell says.

    halejon

    April 3, 2007 at 4:19 pm

  4. Haha – I think the best predictions of the day has to be (as per your Vernon Wells post) via Gil Meche. Some headlines so far:

    “Meche comes up aces”
    “Meche Silences Critics As Royals Win”
    “Meche starts earning”
    “Gil Meche is a great investment!”
    “What’s up his sleeve?”
    “Gil Meche named the ‘new Jesus’ in KC”

    Ok. I made up the last one – but you get the picture. Clearly they’re all riding the G-Train in KC, but don’t tell them yet – there’s only one train in town and it ain’t that reliable.

    Dan

    April 3, 2007 at 4:38 pm

  5. Hahaha.
    The Sarge is watching you!

    hroman

    April 3, 2007 at 8:52 pm

  6. In a fantasy draft I just had (14 teams), Gil Meche was picked 396th (29th Rd!), between Joey Gathright and Kevin Millar.

    Wow, I was stupid 29 times when I didn’t take him.

    Chris

    April 4, 2007 at 1:15 am

  7. And what were you thinking, not taking Gathright in the 2nd round!?!?!

    He’s got like……1 tool.

    Just think of the fantasy value!

    Dan

    April 4, 2007 at 2:29 pm

  8. Oh and just to spice things up. Anyone else think #4 on this list is worth some discussion:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6634638

    Dan

    April 4, 2007 at 4:27 pm

  9. Perhaps- but his idea of how to use him is not. Who cares what’s best for the Jays? Right now I want what is best for Adam Lind. I’m right on board that you don’t give a future star a half season.

    Also- after Johnson’s frankly awesome campaign last year, how do you not give him a chance to play full time?! We need a leadoff hitter, and though nobody really believes it, maybe he’s a great one. Even if Lind would hit .300/30, he doesn’t push Johnson aside in terms of value to the team unless Reed flops.

    Perry’s articles are always like this- look at some stats, don’t think about the situation, forget legwork. It’s not that the Jays somehow didn’t notice that Lind is great or think he’s ready, but it’s an interesting bind they’re in right now.

    halejon

    April 4, 2007 at 5:56 pm

  10. I agree. No point in bringing Lind up to play part-time. Another year of seasoning and hopefully he can improve his fielding and power numbers (yes, I know he hit 26 dingers last year).

    That way, next year when Vernon leaves for free agency Lind can play every day and Johnson can move to CF. Seamless…

    Oh wait…never mind.

    Chris

    April 4, 2007 at 10:42 pm

  11. There’s some guy with 126 million dollars here to see you…

    halejon

    April 5, 2007 at 4:32 am

  12. I don’t know – somehow I think playing the “big spender” and splashing 9 mil early at Thomas (to attract free agent pitching like we did last year) may be something we regret next year when Lind is still blocked.

    I see him as a 1B down the road and unless Johnson falters. There’s no real place he can play.

    Dan

    April 5, 2007 at 4:52 pm

  13. […] Jump to Comments So right after I mocked the pending overreaction to our new “running team“, there was an article on the Jays site titled “basepaths open for business“. So […]

  14. Joey Gathright is actually a 2-tool player: steals, and car-jumping:

    Chris

    April 9, 2007 at 8:20 pm

  15. Screw giving away a crappy Chevy Colbalt in the 9th, and torturing someone’s cousin. I can see the promo already – just stick a bmw between the sacks and make the players jump over it on the way to 2nd. Certain slower players (ie: Bengie Molina, Frank Thomas, Jason Phillips, etc.) would be able to complete the steal/break up double plays by jumping in the car if they happened to tire along the way.

    Life expectancy of a 2B: 3 games.

    Dan

    April 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm


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