Category Archives: Baseball

Roberto Alomar and Richard Nixon

On my way home from work today, I was listening to a Prime Time Sports podcast from the other day, the day after the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement. During the show, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star made perhaps the dumbest comparison in the history of, well, anything. They were discussing the fact that some players are not voted in to the Hall for years and then are voted in, when nothing changed in the meantime to suddenly make them HoF-worthy. Griffin said:

Richard Nixon in 1960 was no different than the guy in ’68. He was not elected in ’60, he got to be President of the United States in 1968.

He’s comparison the election of a President with the selection of a player into the Hall of Fame. This is not just an apples-to-oranges comparison, this is apples to Volkswagens. And I don’t mean Beetles, because they’re sort of round like an apple, I’m talking about a Touareg or one of those big old bus things. And one that’s not red. Or green. Or yellow.


  • I don’t know what the population of the US was in 1960 or 1968, but it was well over a hundred million, most of whom were eligible to vote. A large percentage of them are less than fully informed on the issues and where the candidates stand on things. There are about 500 professional baseball writers who can vote for the HoF, and they all follow baseball in great detail because it’s their job. You and I may not agree with them all of the time, but they are better informed on baseball than the majority of voters are on politics.
  • When you vote for the President, you choose exactly zero or one of the candidates. There are only a handful of candidates, and usually only two that have any real hope of winning a Presidential election. Not only will people vote for you if they want you to be President, but they may vote for you if they don’t want the other guy to be President. Perhaps people thought Kennedy was a better choice for President in 1960, but that Nixon was a better choice than Hubert Humphrey in 1968. The HoF voters can vote for any number of eligible candidates, so voting for one doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t vote for someone else. If you think Andre Dawson and Tim Raines are both worthy, you can vote for both of them. If you don’t think Dawson is worthy, you don’t vote for Raines to try to keep Dawson out.
  • You elect a President for what you think he is going to do. You elect a baseball player to the HoF for what he’s already done.
  • Does he really think that Richard Nixon was no different in 1968 than in 1960? He may not have served as a Senator or Congressman during that time, but things happened during his life that changed who he was. Plus the country changed, so even if he wasn’t right for the country in 1960, he may have been in 1968. None of that means anything when electing someone to the HoF. What Alomar did during his career will not change between now and a year from now.

I’m not sure what surprises me more – that a professional journalist would make such a meaningless comparison, or the fact that none of the three other professional journalists / broadcasters on the show called him on it.

Oooooooh, Roberto!

The baseball writers of America put their heads together recently and came up with this year’s list of inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame. The HOF is a place that honours what should be “the best baseball players of all time”, but the players in the Hall are more accurately described as “the most popular baseball players among baseball writers”. For the most part, the lists are the same, but there are some players not in the Hall who should be, and some who are in but shouldn’t be. I wrote about the mystifying voting procedure last summer.

Anyway, the only player to get inducted this year is Andre Dawson, who I think is deserving. It took eight years for Dawson to get in, and when asked about that, he came up with this bit of brilliance: “If you’re a Hall of Famer you’re eventually going to get in“….mmmmmmkay. It’s actually the other way around, Andre – if you get in, then you’re a Hall of Famer. On the other hand, if you’re not a Hall of Famer and you get in, then you are a Hall of Famer. Reductio ad absurdum. QED.

Of course, it’s more interesting to talk about those who didn’t get in than those who did. Bert Blyleven missed again, this time only by five votes. I’m not sure about whether or not Blyleven deserves to be there. He was a very good pitcher, no question, but he only won 20 games once, and only made the All-Star team twice in a twenty-two year career. He also lost fifteen or more games seven times. Blyleven’s numbers remind me of Don Sutton – when Sutton was inducted into the HOF in 1998, many said that he didn’t deserve to be there. The argument was that Sutton was a very good pitcher for a very long time, but I don’t think that’s what the Hall of Fame is for. Sutton also won 20 games only once, and Blyleven looks the same – long career, good numbers with some great years, but never outstanding.

Roberto Alomar, on the other hand, was outstanding. He played in twelve consecutive All-Star games and won 10 Gold Glove awards. He only played in Toronto for five years (was it really only five?), but was one of the most talented players (arguably the most talented position player) ever to wear the uniform. He could hit, he took walks, didn’t strike out a lot, he could run, he could steal bases, and boy, could he play defense. Watching Roberto play second was just a joy – I remember going to games at Skydome with a bunch of friends and mimicking the Alberto shampoo commercials when he did something spectacular: “Oooooooh, Roberto!”. He only missed by eight votes – you might say he was within spitting distance of getting in (I’m afraid I can’t take credit for that one). I’d love to hear the voters who didn’t vote for him explain why not, but he’s pretty much a lock for next year.

As for the spitting incident itself, there are writers (Marty Noble is one such moron writer) who have admitted that they have not forgiven Alomar for that, although the umpire who was involved has. Look at the numbers people, look at the All-Star appearances, the Gold Gloves, how important he was to the teams he played for (if not for Roberto Alomar, the Jays would still be waiting for their first World Series), how he was the best second baseman in baseball for a decade or more, and how he lowered the ERAs of all kids of pitchers thanks to his defensive prowess. And after a sixteen year career of that calibre, you’re going to deny him Cooperstown because of a one-second loss of control? A loss of judgement? A brief, sort of periodic total breakdown of judgement? Some kind of judgement failure? Some kind of failure to, you know, have judgement? (Sorry, faded into a Tragically Hip thing there)

Other players who missed out: Barry Larkin, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and Tim Raines. Larkin and Raines should definitely be there – I might even have put them in before Dawson. Smith isn’t a lock but I would support him, and Morris is in the same boat as Blyleven and Sutton – very good for a long time, but probably not HOF material. Having said that, I’d put Morris in before Blyleven or Sutton – and Sutton is already there. Oh, and Mark McGwire didn’t make it either, but he never will. Even without the whole steroid issue (which should be a non-issue since he took them before steroids were illegal in baseball), he just wasn’t a good enough all-around player to make the HOF. In case you’re curious, I think Bonds and Clemens should be in (they were both locks before they ever touched steroids), and McGwire, Sosa, and Rose should not.

In other baseball news, one of the best pitchers of the last twenty years retired on Wednesday. When Randy Johnson was on his game, he was right up there with Clemens and Maddux as the best in baseball. Nobody had a nastier stare, and the fact that he’s taller than half the NBA made him even more intimidating. Any season where a pitcher has 20 or more wins and 6 or fewer losses and had an ERA under 2.50 is accurately described as incredible – and Johnson had three such seasons. Ten All-Star games, five Cy Youngs, World Series co-MVP, even a no-hitter and a perfect game. And given the era in which he pitched and the fact that he was a power pitcher, it’s amazing that he was not even mentioned in the Mitchell Report, and I have never heard any suspicions of him using steroids. A guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer. Of course, I thought Roberto Alomar was too.

The big trade and the other big trade

This week was quite a landmark week in Toronto sports. Roy Halladay, quite possibly the best pitcher in Toronto Blue Jays history, and Colin Doyle, quite possibly the best player in Toronto Rock history, were both traded – Halladay left Toronto while Doyle returned. Halladay’s trade was expected and, I suppose, logical, but saddening, while Doyle’s return is a cause for celebration.

I am really going to miss Roy Halladay. He is the best home-grown pitcher the Jays have ever had, and rivals Roger Clemens for the best overall pitcher in Jays history. He won a Cy Young, and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times. His stats over the past few years have been staggering; according to Wikipedia, “From 2002-2008, Halladay has a .698 winning percentage, 113 wins, 9 shutouts, 37 complete games, and 7.14 innings per start, all of which are the best in the American League in that time frame.” Think about it – no AL pitcher (and only one NL pitcher) won more games during that time span, and Halladay played for some pretty mediocre Blue Jay teams. And 37 complete games in seven years – nobody else even has 20. Last year Halladay had nine – the only other pitcher to have more than four was Zack Greinke, the Cy Young award winner, who had six.

But the stats aren’t the whole story. Halladay is simply a joy to watch. I loved watching an opposing hitter look at strike three from Doc. Rarely did you see the batter argue that it wasn’t a strike; more often, you would see the “Holy crap, that was a nice pitch” look on his face. Doc was widely known for his work ethic and his stamina (the complete games I mentioned above). He first came up looking like a star and then totally forgot how to pitch. He was sent all the way down to A ball, a move which would destroy the confidence (and likely career) of lesser mortals, but Halladay worked his ass off and used that opportunity to rebuild his delivery. When he made it back to the majors, he became untouchable. And in this era of an athlete’s fall from grace becoming commonplace (Kobe, the Steroid Kings of baseball, even Tiger), you will never find a classier athlete than Doc anywhere. The deal isn’t finalized yet, so it’s not clear who the Jays are getting in return, but it looks to be at least three good prospects that the Phillies don’t want to give up. I figure if Pat Gillick wants to hold on to them, they’re likely players we want to have.

Colin Doyle was the Toronto Rock’s best player for many years. He won five Championships with the Rock, was named Championship Game MVP three times, and League MVP once. He was first or second in team scoring every year that the Rock existed, including their year as the Ontario Raiders when Doyle won NLL Rookie of the Year. Almost three years ago, Doyle was inexplicably traded to the San Jose Stealth and the Rock’s fortunes departed with him. Of the three seasons he was in San Jose, the Rock missed the playoffs twice, while the Stealth made the playoffs all three years. Doyle is a scorer – a powerful forward who can plow through defenders on his way to the net – but he can also be a playmaker. Indeed, Doyle hasn’t finished with less than 53 assists since 2002, putting him in the top five every year. He, like Halladay, has a strong work ethic and is a fan favourite. He has the ability to make those around him better, and thrives under pressure. Doyle was the captain of the Stealth and is the logical choice to succeed Chris Driscoll as captain of the Rock. As good a player as Lewis Ratcliff is, Doyle is better and I think the Rock just made a big step forwards towards making the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Amazing stats of the day

Before their win over Anaheim on Monday, i.e. over the first eight games of the season, covering almost 485 minutes, the Toronto Maple Leafs had played with a lead for a grand total of six minutes.

The last time Mariano Rivera gave up runs in different innings in the same game was June 1999, and he has never done it in the post-season (ref: Ed Price). His career postseason stats are unbelievable:

Division Series: 34 games, 51.1 IP, 0.35 ERA, 0.58 WHIP
League Championship Series: 30 games, 45.2 IP, 0.99 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
World Series: 20 games, 31 IP, 1.16 ERA, 0.97 WHIP.

Sure, he gets worse as the post-season goes on, but his “bad” is everyone else’s “amazing”. It’s people like him, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter that make it harder and harder to hate the Yankees. But I’m doing my best.

Goodbye J.P.

J.P. Ricciardi was fired the other day as Blue Jays GM, which I am happy about. Ricciardi’s reign as GM resulted in no World Series victories, no playoff games, heck, not even anything close to playoff contention. His time had come, and the Jays now need to rebuild and go in a different direction. But that’s not to say that Ricciardi was a terrible GM. Here’s a list of his best and worst moves, and I’ll list my personal favourites (in both respects) below. Note for the record that I wrote well over 2/3 of this article before finding that link, so I’m not just summarizing it.

Ricciardi certainly made some bad moves. He negotiated an expensive contract for Alex Rios, then allowed Chicago to claim him on waivers, getting nothing back. He signed Reed Johnson to a contract and then released him a month later, only to replace him with Shannon Stewart, who got injured and released within a couple of months. He paid both B.J. Ryan and A.J. Burnett a ton of money – each had one great season and a couple of not-bad ones. He also released Ryan and Frank Thomas with a lot of money left on their contracts.

But he also made some good moves. Bringing in Overbay was a good move. He got Jeremy Accardo for Vinnie Chulk and the grumpy Shea Hillenbrand. He grabbed Matt Stairs, Joe Inglett, Scott Downs, and Rod Barajas off waivers. He traded two players I’ve never heard of for Marco Scutaro. Trading for Glaus was good, but then he wanted out. So Ricciardi turned him into Scott Rolen. Then Rolen wanted out, and he got a couple of young pitchers for him. He drafted Hill, Marcum, Litch, Lind, and Snider.

Some players didn’t work out (Royce Clayton, Tomo Okha, Victor Zambrano), but they were cheap anyway. Just about every pitcher spent time on the DL, but that’s not Ricciardi’s fault. In fact, I’m surprised there wasn’t an investigation of some sort into the Jays’ pitching coaches at that time.

You might notice that I did not include the Vernon Wells deal in the list of bad moves. You can’t deny that Wells hasn’t earned his eleventy gazillion dollar contract since it was signed three years ago. OK, so he hasn’t even come close to earning it. So from that point of view, this is a terrible deal. But nobody complained about the deal when it was made because Wells was coming off a couple of great seasons and looked poised for lots more. Three mediocre and injury-filled seasons later, it seems obvious that Wells is not the superstar we all thought he was at the time. He’s simply a very good player that had a couple of great seasons. Should Ricciardi have seen that coming? Maybe, but nobody else did. If instead of signing Wells he had traded him or let him go, he would have been ridiculed endlessly (which he likely doesn’t care about) and not taken seriously by other GMs (which he likely does). He had little choice but to sign Wells to the contract and hope that he wasn’t a flash in the pan. Oh well.

Ricciardi was touted as the next Billy Beane, an expert in the whole Moneyball concept, and should therefore be able to bring a winning team to Toronto without increasing the payroll astronomically. This was key because the Jays play in the same division as the rich Yankees and Red Sox, who have no trouble outspending the rest of the league, and seem ready to sign any and all free agents regardless of the cost. But eight years later, what did Ricciardi whine about the most? “We can’t win because we don’t have the payroll of the Yankees and Red Sox. I don’t have enough money to do what we need to do. We can’t win in this division without increasing payroll.” Um… isn’t that why we hired you and not someone else?

I think Ricciardi’s biggest problem was that he didn’t know when to shut up. Every time there were trade rumours, Ricciardi was right there telling everyone who’d listen who he was offering, who other teams were offering, what deals didn’t happen and why, and so on. He would talk to the media and tell them whether certain players were interested in re-signing after their contracts were up, even if the players hadn’t come to a final decision yet. That’s the kind of stuff that does not need to be published. He publicly questioned Adam Dunn’s work ethic and passion for baseball. Even if he was right (and I have no reason to believe he was), you don’t say stuff like that. When rumours started flying that he was shopping Roy Halladay at the trade deadline this year, Ricciardi didn’t deflect attention and didn’t refuse to comment – in fact, he talked on and on about it, and even gave a meaningless “deadline” before the real trade deadline. In so doing, turned the thing into a media circus. On the day of the deadline, the FAN was doing minute-by-minute reports on whether or not Halladay was still a Blue Jay. Then there was the thing with B.J. Ryan, where Ricciardi knew that Ryan required Tommy John surgery but told the media that the injury wasn’t that bad. When the truth came out and he was called on it, he famously said “They’re not lies if we know the truth”, which simply told everyone that they couldn’t trust anything he said.

Having said all that, Ricciardi wasn’t the worst thing ever to happen to the Jays. No, they never made the playoffs during his time, but at least he didn’t turn the team into a laughing stock (lookin’ at you, John Ferguson Jr.). They only finished last in the East once, even made second place once, and finished above .500 for four of the eight seasons Ricciardi was here. He took a mediocre team and turned them into… a mediocre team. There were times over the past few years that the Jays had the best hitting team in baseball, and other times where they had the best pitching staff. Unfortunately those times never coincided. He didn’t leave the team in total shambles – there are certainly some players that can figure prominently in the Jays future plans. They have some good young hitters, a really good bullpen, and if all the injured pitchers return next season (OK, that’s a big “if”), they could have an excellent rotation (how does Halladay, McGowan, Marcum, Litch, and Romero sound?). As I said before, Ricciardi has proven that he’s a pretty good baseball guy and I’m sure he’ll land on his feet somewhere. In any division other than the AL East, he might even be successful.

Stick a fork in ’em

The Jays announced their September call-ups today: Dirk Hayhurst, Brian Wolfe, and Joe Inglett. That’s it. Notably absent: Jeremy Accardo, who is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA, 26 K’s, and 12 saves in 29 innings in AAA. Kind of a lot of hits given up (32), but not terrible, and only 7 walks. At the major league level, Accardo has a 2.50 ERA with 14 K’s in 18 innings. He missed most of 2008, but was awesome in 2007 and seems to be doing better than fine in Las Vegas this year. So given that this season is effectively over for the Jays, why is Accardo still in Vegas? I don’t know, and neither does he.

I loved this quote from the article:

“There’s really no rhyme or reason to some of the decisions that are made, and that’s out of your hands as a player,” Accardo said Saturday before the 51s’ x-x win/loss over/to Reno at Cashman Field. “All you can do is pitch, and pretty much this whole year I’ve thrown well. I feel better than I ever have, and my stuff is as good as it’s ever been.”

Looks like somebody forgot to finish their research before publishing the story.

Anyway, the Jays will finish no better than fourth in the AL East this year, the eighth of Ricciardi’s reign. In that time, they have never had a sniff of the postseason, and have only finished higher than third once – and that was when they grabbed second place on the last day of the 2006 season. They were never in contention that year either and finished 10 games back of first. Since Ricciardi was hired as Toronto’s GM, every other team in MLB has either made the playoffs at least once or fired their GM. Now, I have questioned many of his moves, but to be fair, he’s made some good ones too, and honestly, I think Ricciardi has proven that he’s a decent baseball guy. He might have some success in a different division, but being in the same division as the Yanks and Red Sox, the Jays need either a decent baseball guy and bucketloads of money (i.e. $150-175 million), or a great baseball guy. Since they’re not likely to get the bucketloads of money, they need to fire Ricciardi and begin the search for the great baseball guy. What’s Pat Gillick up to these days?

We’ll take Rios, do you want a ham sandwich in return? No thanks, I’m not hungry.

The Jays let Alex Rios go the other day, and by “let go”, I mean “let go”. They got nothing back for him, they just put this 28-year-old speedy power-hitting great defensive outfielder on waivers and watched Chicago pick him up. There are those who have said this is a great move because it frees up some money, but looking at the team now, what’s the best thing they could do with that money? Find a young speedy power-hitting great defensive outfielder. Sorry José Bautista, but you’re just not going to be the starting right fielder for the Jays World Series run next year.

J.P.’s strategy confuses me. He didn’t trade Roy Halladay because the offers he got weren’t enough, and he wants to keep him for the playoff run next year. Romero is blossoming nicely as is Brett Cecil, and if Marcum, Litch, and Janssen return from injury (from what I’ve heard, McGowan’s return is unlikely, and it’s possible he may never pitch again), we could have a seriously good pitching staff. Rolen wanted out so we got a couple of young pitchers for him – that’s great, but now we need to find a full-time third baseman. Sorry Edwin Encarnación, but you’re just not going to be the starting third baseman for the Jays World Series run next year. So if 2010 is the year of the World Series drive, why dump Rios now? Ricciardi has said that this was not a salary dump, but what other explanation is there? Sure Rios isn’t having an MVP season, but he’s not having a terrible year – it’s not Vernon Wells bad. But instead of working on getting a third-baseman, Ricciardi dumps Rios, so now we need a third baseman and a right fielder. Rios was making some good coin (and yes, I agree he’s overpaid given his performance this year and last), but can Ricciardi get a starting third baseman and an outfielder that’s remotely comparable to Rios and pay both of them with Rios’s salary? Perhaps Ricciardi believes Travis Snider will be ready next year and so all he needs is a 3rd baseman. So why is Snider still playing in Las Vegas? Shouldn’t they be giving him as many major league at-bats as possible? Well, he has been injured for much of this season and so perhaps he needs the rehab. But then it’s a bit risky to bet the farm on his being able to be a starting outfielder at the major league level next season. Plus he’s a left fielder, as is Adam Lind. Who’s playing right?

Some J.P. apologists on Twitter are saying that this is a good move because it gets rid of a bad contract. But didn’t J.P. give Rios the contract in the first place? You bring a player through your minor league system, watch as he blossoms into a bona fide star player and give him a rich contract, then a couple of years later let him go for nothing because he’s too expensive. And J.P. is hailed as a genius for getting out from under a contract that he created. I don’t get it. J.P. said that he talked trade with Chicago for a while and couldn’t come up with anything. I guess Chicago never considered “Tell you what – you give us Rios and we’ll give you nothing. How’s that?” Obviously Ricciardi would have jumped at that deal – and eventually did.

Update: The Jays called up Randy Ruiz from Syracuse Las Vegas to take Rios’s spot and what does he do? Hits a home run in his second at-bat as a Blue Jay. Problem solved!

The Hall

Every year, baseball writers around North America vote on which retired ball players, coaches, and managers will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The voters have rules to follow, since you only want the best of the best in the Hall. But not all of the rules make sense, and there are some unwritten rules which are just ridiculous.

There seem to be some voters for whom precedent is extremely important. For example, no player has ever been inducted with more than 98% of the vote. When Cal Ripken became eligible, there was no doubt that he belonged in the Hall – every baseball fan (and writer) knew this. But some writers purposely did not vote for Ripken because they felt that if they did vote for him, the vote might have been more than 98%. The baffling logic is that if Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and George Brett didn’t get 99%, then Cal Ripken shouldn’t either.

One of the rules that has always confused me is that only a certain number of people can be inducted in a single year. Why? What is the point of limiting the number of inductees? Maybe there’s a good reason for such a rule, but I don’t see it. But that rule is responsible for this one: there have been people voted in after several years of eligibility because they didn’t get enough votes in their first couple of years. This means that some voters did not vote for player X one year, but did the next. What changed? The player in question has been retired for years anyway, his numbers didn’t change, the “intangibles” and “leadership” (and all those other weasel words that they use on players whose stats may not stack up as well as others) didn’t change, so why was he not worthy last year but he is now? The voters’ reasoning on this is a direct result of the rule limiting the number of inductees: player X does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but maybe he deserves it slightly less than some other potential inductees. So we’ll vote for those other players (unless of course we think they might get more than 98% of the vote) this year, and then vote for player X next year.

I don’t get it. The Hall of Fame is not an ordered list of players. If someone deserves to be there, vote for him. If he gets 100% of the vote, well good for him, but it doesn’t mean that he’s better than Ruth or Cobb. If there’s no limit on how many can get inducted in one year, then whether someone gets in on the first ballot or the third is irrelevant, so just vote for who deserves to be there and be done with it. Who knows – maybe in another ten or twenty years when the dinosaur writers of the “old boys club” have all retired, some younger writers with less of an agenda might clean up the voting process a little bit and get rid of these insane unwritten rules.

Eight of Five

I have posted a couple of times in the past about J.P. Ricciardi and whether he should be fired. First I complained about a couple of stupid moves that he made. Then I decided that he definitely should be fired. The last time, I was questioning my previous decision. Then when they let Burnett go and did nothing else in the off-season, I decided (though I guess I didn’t post anything to this effect) that Ricciardi’s time was over. Now they’ve started the season (a season with zero expectations) at 10-4 and have looked seriously awesome. Lind, Hill and Rolen are all hitting above .325, while Overbay, Wells, Snider, and Scutaro are all above .280. Everybody listed above has at least two homers after 15 games, and everybody listed above except Wells was acquired or drafted by Ricciardi. Ricky Romero, another Ricciardi draftee, is 2-0 with a outstanding 1.71 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Shaun Marcum (also drafted by Ricciardi) and Dustin McGowan are out for the season because of injuries, but injuries aren’t J.P.’s fault and if those two were healthy, the Jays would have a pretty impressive rotation. So maybe Ricciardi does know what he’s doing.

Obviously this is really early in the season, and for Romero at least, very early in the career, so it may not mean anything. The Jays are on pace to win 115 games. Do I think that will happen? Not a chance, but I’m certainly enjoying watching them right now.

Then again, the only team with more wins than the Jays are the 11-1 Florida Marlins, and the World Series Champion Phillies are under .500.  Last year, Tampa Bay won the East and the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs. All of these put together make a compelling argument that the end of the world is very close at hand. Sinners repent.

There’s been a lot of talk over the last year or two among Jays fans, many of whom think that Ricciardi has had his chance and deserves to be fired, since the Jays are no closer to the pennant now than they were when he took over. J.P. originally said that he had a plan to make the Jays contenders in five years, and we’re now into year eight. But has Ricciardi really done a bad job, or does it seem like that because he gave us a hard deadline that he didn’t meet? What would we think had J.P. not said anything about how long it might take? Well, as I posted before, he’s currently the longest-serving GM that hasn’t seen the playoffs. And it’s not like we’ve been close – the Jays haven’t had a sniff of the playoffs since 1994. So I think that even if J.P. hadn’t given any time deadline, we’d still be calling for his head. But given the awesome start to this season, I’m willing to give him just a little more rope. But unless the Jays get to the post-season this year, he’s done. In fact, if the team isn’t still in it by the All-Star break – and by “in it” I mean within 2 or 3 games of first place in the East – then that should be it for J.P., and the Jays should start looking for a new GM, preferably someone named Brian.

The World Baseball Whatever

The second World Baseball Classic is in progress and once again, I just cannot get into it. The idea is great; as a baseball fan, any way to promote baseball around the world is fine by me. But until I looked up the wikipedia entry, I couldn’t remember who won the last one. Off the top of my head, I can’t name more than three members of the Canadian team (Jason Bay and Justin Morneau because they’re awesome and Stubby Clapp because I can’t imagine anyone willingly going by the name “Stubby”).

I did watch a bit of a game earlier today while folding laundry, but I didn’t finish watching it, and did not later feel compelled to find out the final score like I did watching women’s softball during the Olympics. Now maybe that’s because the game I happened to be watching was the Cubans wiping out the South Africans 7-0 in the 5th; if the game had been close, I might have been more interested. Canada plays Italy tomorrow night with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser going home, so I may check that game out, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it slips my mind.

It would be different if this was a competition featuring the best baseball players in the world, but it’s not. It’s a competition featuring the best baseball players in the world who aren’t injured, weren’t injured last year, didn’t have off-season surgery, whose teams allowed them to play, and who give a damn about this tournament. When players like Halladay, Pujols, Beltre, Santana, Papelbon, Lincecum, and Dempster are all skipping it so that they don’t miss spring training, you can tell the level of interest in this tournament. I don’t remember many American basketball players or Canadian hockey players who have passed on the Olympics for any reason other than they were physically unable to play.

It’s pretty simple, really — if the best players in the game don’t care about the tournament, why should I?

Next morning update: I totally forgot about this game last night. Turns out that this might have been a good idea since Canada lost.