My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
Every time A-Rod plays against the Jays, I can’t help but think that he – with the aid of performance enhancing drugs – robbed Carlos Delgado of the 2003 American League MVP Award. In what I consider to be the best individual season in Jays history, Delgado hit .302 with 42 homers and 145 RBIs in 2003. He finished second to Rodriguez in the MVP voting.
Speaking of A-Rod, you can’t help but cheer against him if you’ve read Selena Roberts’ 2009 book “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez.” It’s easy to condemn the Yanks third baseman when you read about his womanizing, vanity and conceit. But now that I’m reading Robert Creamer’s famous Babe Ruth biography, I realize that The Bambino exhibited many of the same traits, which begs the question: Why do we deem A-Rod a self-absorbed jerk, while The Babe is considered a baseball god?
There has to be more to the Travis Snider story than we know about. In this, the Blue Jays so called “year of development,” Snider, one of the cornerstones of the club’s future, was inexplicably sent to the minors for 10 days following the all-star break. He took the assignment in stride and belted five homers during that minor league stint. When he returned to the majors on July 30, he was not in the Jays’ starting lineup for his first two games. And then Cito, of the I-like-to-put-players-in-positions-where-they-can-succeed mantra, sends Snider up in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two out in the second game. It’s time for Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston to intervene and make Gaston play Snider every day.
The Jays’ best defensive outfield doesn’t include Fred Lewis. Snider is a much better fielder. With Adam Lind likely to play first base next season, the question is, does Lewis hit well enough to be the team’s DH?
The Brett Wallace for Anthony Gose deal is head-scratcher. Wallace was ready for the big leagues now and was expected to be the Jays first baseman in 2011. Gose isn’t expected to be ready until 2013. We know Anthopolous is building for the future, but is the future 2011 or 2013?
For an example of the unfairness and cruelty of baseball, look no further than Brian Tallet. If you’re wondering why the Jays haven’t released the southpaw who’s having a terrible season, it’s because he’s an inning eater come September. While the Jays brass will baby their young arms (Morrow, Romero, Cecil, Marcum) over the next few weeks, they could care less about Tallet’s. Inconsistent as he has been, Tallet has done everything the Jays have asked of him over the last two years – whether it be start or relieve . And what will he end up with after this season for his troubles? Most likely a sore arm and a ticket out of Toronto.
How can any Expos fan cheer for the Washington Nationals when they refuse to acknowledge the history of their franchise? All of the Expos retired numbers are back in circulation with the Nationals, meaning that Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub and Tim Raines may as well have played on Mars. There is no recognition of them at the new ball park.
Speaking of honouring retired players, isn’t it time for the Jays to add Tom Henke’s No. 50 to their Level of Excellence? The fire-balling right-hander was arguably the top closer in the American League during his eight seasons with the Jays (1985-1992). Part of four division-winning squads and one World Series winner, he registered a 2-0 post-season record, while securing five saves and fashioning a 1.83 ERA. He’s also far-and-away the franchise leader in saves and games finished.