It appears that all of Toronto have fallen madly in love with Price, Donaldson, Encarnancion and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays. Understood that it has been more than twenty years since the Blue Jays have made the playoffs, the longest streak in major league sports, but I still find this sudden blind adoration too much. Where were all of these Torontonians over the past twenty years, when the likes of Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green and Roy Halladay were wearing the good old BJ?This notion of supporting a team only when it wins is superficial to say the least. It’s not that I don’t like the Blue Jays – I remember their first game against the White Sox like it was yesterday – but I do not jibe with this fanaticism. Because it’s not just the winning, not in the least. It’s the hard grind of building, the many long seasons, the many downs….yes, that’s where true fans are born. Go Leafs Go.
The best thing about Toronto Blue Jay Edwin Encarnancion’s home run against the Miami Marlins on June 9th wasn’t the swing. It wasn’t the look. It wasn’t the trot. It wasn’t the celebration at home plate of the walk-off winIt wasn’t even the high five with BJ Birdie. It was the moment when this Sportsnet reporter got shrugged off.Oh, the desperation! The indignation!“Edwin?! Edwin, please!!”
I don’t drink coffee. And for good reason. My brain is on constant whirl. It starts from the moment my eyes are half open. My dream? What was that? What did I do? I was a lawyer? I was that. And a murderer? No, that was him. And he got off. I was all right. My health was good, even if I always had the pain deep in my back and ribs. What was the point of any of this? I was alive. Yes. I had to get to work. I had to get back to the book. How were the Leafs? Oh right. Shit.Sometimes I want to hide from my head, get into the corner of it and let it spin on itself. It never stops, whirling from the banal to the introspective back to the banal. Lots of doubt. Lots of darkness. Lots of sex. Sports too. That helps tone everything else down – the nothingness and all that. And then I do what I have to do. I eat and walk, teach and talk, email and grade, write and plan, blog and argue, reason and mount the elliptical, try to make some sense of what’s to come. And then I have a drink and think and have another and try to ride the round slow arc, going up, my arms almost out, warm and clear, and chase that well, and slump, giving in to my urge to play Texas Hold ‘Em. Watch something and something else, sleep and do it all again.
Wow, what a great trade for the Toronto Blue Jays, right? I mean, right, eh? Eh?!? The Toronto Blue Jays have just acquired two bona fide starting pitchers – Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson – as well as All-star lead-off hitter Jose Reyes. Not to mention speedy infielder Emilio Bonifacio – remember how Dominicans flourish in Toronto – and former Blue Jay All-star catcher John Buck. And all of this for pitcher Henderson Alvarez, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, three minor league prospects and the obnoxiously homophobic Yunel Escobar. This is a trade that promises genuine World Series contention, as these players enrich an already strong hitting lineup – Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie – and potentially strong pitching staff – Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, J. A. Happ, and just one or two of Dustin McGowan, Shawn Marcum or Jesse Litsch. It seems that the glory days of 1992-93 might very well be on the horizon. And it could even work out for the Florida Marlins in the years to come. Who knows? Who cares? Oh. I see. It appears that this does matter in the US of A. Not only do we have American sports journalists weeping and screaming about what is fair, but we also have Commish Bud Selig doing his ‘official’ review thing. What’s this about? Does he want in on the pipeline? Was there a suitcase of coca in this deal? Or perhaps some fine Canadian dollars? What’s with all of this weird talk about making sure the deal is right? Where did this hate for Toronto the Good come from? Truth be told, this reminds me of the Jays-Braves World Series of 1992 when the National Guard accidentally (okay…sure) paraded the Canadian flag upside down. When did baseball become something other than a capitalistic deal? Is there truly some kind of wayward morality or ‘rightness’ that can be applied here? The concern, as I understand it, apparently revolves around a stadium that had 80% public financing from the city of Miami, and therefore granted those citizens some kind of rights. If that’s really the concern, maybe they could have cut back on expenses, like the aquarium behind home plate… Or perhaps the plastic marlins that pop around after each home run? That might have saved an American dollar or two. Otherwise why don’t we get back to reality and accept the fact that baseball is all about capitalism. America loves that, right? I mean, what about the Yankees! All of that money and all those…rings? Okay, the Blue Jays probably don’t want to buy crazily into this, but if good old Bud green-lights the deal, we’ll have to start to talking about a manager. There are a lot of options out there. Ozzie Guillen could be all right. Canadians are forgiving toward the bombastic and they don’t have such a problem with Castro. Or what about a Ernie Whitt/Buck Martinez tandem? Or John Olerud? What’s he up to these days? He could co-manage with George Bell. If all else fails, the one to really consider is Cito Gaston. If he could somehow be coaxed out of retirement again – maybe be allowed to smoke in the clubhouse or hang out on a La-Z-Boy at the clubhouse stairs – that would be it: the ground out to first base, the ball in the glove and the dancing in the streets! And if he won’t do it, what about that guy, Phil Jackson? I mean, he likes money, right? Why the hell not?