But What Do I Know? … A-Rod, Travis Snider, Brian Tallet, Montreal Expos

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.

6 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? … A-Rod, Travis Snider, Brian Tallet, Montreal Expos

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  1. Well Kevin, as usual, you are showing that you know a lot–or at least have a lot of very well-formed, educated opinions.

    I totally agree with you about A-Rod. He seems to be more vilified because of his off-field antics. Maybe The Babe’s reputation was not as sullied because the press didn’t go after him in the same way, and the public [perhaps] didn’t care what players did off the field; they just cared what happened on the field.

    You make some other really good points. I hope the powers-that-be are reading this and taking heed.

  2. It seems that “Canada and baseball” really do not seem to exist in most of America’s minds. I even noticed Regis talking this morning about going to this afternoon’s Yankee game to cheer ARod on for his 600th HR. He did say the Yankees were having a bit of difficulty in this series but not even one mention of the BlueJays–not even Once! (The Jays,I might say, have “handled” the Yankees very well in this particular series.)

  3. You know what, I am sick of people (not you) lamenting the Expos and romanticizing their existence. Where was everyone back when the team drew 8K per game? The bottom line is that the town they were in didn’t care enough to support them. And if Toronto doesn’t soon wake up, they’ll be wondering what happened to the Jays, too.

  4. Hey Tony, I don’t disagree with you. But if you talk to people from Montreal, they will tell you that it was the suits from MLB and a double-cross by Jeffrey Loira that ripped the heart out of baseball in Montreal. Charles Bronfman will tell you that approval on a new downtown stadium would have saved the franchise. I’m not sure who’s right, but I certainly want to make sure the Expos players are remembered. Thanks for reading my entries. I appreciate your interest.

  5. It seems that the more time goes by, the more distilled historic figures become. People who lived long lives and accomplished countless things are often remembered for a quote here or a single incident there. It’s the same with athletes. Ruth is mostly remembered for his 714 homers, the called shot, and a few other things. Character traits tend to be forgotten, especially if the achievements were great. (Ty Cobb is an exception.)

    I agree with you about the Nationals: it makes the retired numbers meaningless. I wonder how the players involved feel about it, especially the ones who were honored by the original gesture.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I know I’ve been harsh on Andre Dawson on this blog for not wanting the Expos cap on his Cooperstown plaque, but my guess is that one of the reasons that he (and Gary Carter for that matter) didn’t want the Expos logo on his cap is because the franchise is not represented in any big league ballpark anymore. It’s like the Expos didn’t exist.

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