My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
This quote from Vernon Wells in Richard Griffin’s article in today’s Toronto Star reiterates why I don’t mind V-Dub being paid $126 million: “I think the most important thing about getting contracts like this is you get to go out and do so many different things in the community. You get to go out and impact lives. The way I feel about it, I was blessed with that contract to go out and do things. Everybody would say I’m not worth the money and I would totally agree that I’m not worth that contract, but I don’t think there is anybody . . . but I know what I can do with that contract will far outdo what that contract’s worth.”
So long to Fred Lewis, the Jays’ primary leadoff hitter in 2010 who has signed with the Cincinnati Reds. While a great athlete, Lewis was the worst defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something, I witnessed George Bell’s entire tenure in Toronto.
I’m still wondering who’s going to start at third base for the Jays in 2011. I’ve heard that Jose Bautista will be in right field and that Edwin Encarnacion will be spot-started at first base and DH. I like John McDonald, but he just doesn’t hit enough to be an everyday third baseman.
Born in the Netherlands, 2011 Cooperstown inductee Bert Blyleven lived in Canada from the time he was 16 months old until he was five. His family worked on a farm near Melville, Sask., home of Canadian baseball great, Terry Puhl, before they moved to California. Unofficially, that would make Blyleven eligible to pitch for Canada at the next World Baseball Classic.
In a week where the Orioles signed all-star first baseman Derrek Lee, the Jays claimed journeyman left-hander Wil Ledezma off waivers. I believe in Alex Anthopoulos, but coming off an 85-win season that had the country excited about the Jays again, this off-season has been much too quiet.
It’s good news that the Jays are reportedly interested in moving their Double-A team to Ottawa. Our nation’s capital has a beautiful stadium that’s woefully underused and unappreciated. But wouldn’t it make more sense for the Jays to move their Triple-A club to Ottawa (from Las Vegas) and their Double-A team to Labatt Park in London, Ontario? The oldest continuously used ballpark in the world, Labatt Park is one of the best places to watch a game in Canada.
And their Single A team to St. Marys at the Hall of Fame! It waas in St. Catharines, so why not St. Marys!!!
Do ya move Hill to 3rd now and plus McDonald in at 2nd since one option down the road (2012) is to move Hill to 3rd and have Brett Lawrie play 2nd!
Good idea about bringing their Single-A team to St. Marys.
Thanks for the comment.
Ireally like the idea of moving the Jays teams to Ontario–I would hope that they would be adequately supported.
I do think that a Blue Jays Double-A team or Triple-A would be supported in Ontario, but I might be incredibly naive.
Bottom line for any move is whether the new community will support the team. Ottawa has booted the Lynx and the Roughriders/Renegades twice recently. London poorly supports the Majors and has seen 3 other teams pass through their dugout in the past three years (If you include the Monarchs). London is soccer crazy. I doubt City Council would put a nickel or a word towards upgrading dugouts and player facilities at Labatts. There is a better case for a Single A team in St. Mary’s than AA in Ottawa or London.
Thanks for the comment, David. I knew I was dreaming a little when I made the comment about London, but hey, in a perfect world …
I like that Vernon Wells quote. He sounds like a class act, which is saying something these days.
It seems like Vernon Wells was brought very well. I like his attitude and hopefully he has a good year.
I mean –Vern was brought “up” very well–probably the result of good parenting and a common sense approach to life.
I think Vernon is one ballplayer who understands and takes seriously his role model status. He also understands the importance of helping others and being involved with the community. People may criticize his play, but it’s hard to criticize the person.
Ottawa is an incredible stadium, one of the best in the minor league world. But our climate and Canadiana mindset just doesn’t match up with a team that begins play in April and plays 70 home games. Being a Blue Jays farm club would present the best chance of AAA or AA ball working there, and the idea of their affiliates occupying Canada’s former AAA stadiums is apple pie, but I believe Ottawa would have to be A or below to be a feasible operation. London is more a case of twice beaten, thrice shy, but again, a Blue Jays sibling marketed properly could work there. There isn’t a prettier setting for baseball above the 49th parallel.
Thanks for the excellent insight as always, Tom.