My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
It’s difficult for me to separate the person from the player. Vernon Wells is a good man. He was arguably the greatest community ambassador the Blue Jays have ever had. During his tenure in Toronto, the sure-handed outfielder proved to be much classier than Jays fans. I’ll miss the person and the player, but no, I won’t miss the contract.
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has made some astute moves this off-season, but there has to be some concerns about the chemistry of 2011 team. Despite the Jays’ 85 wins in 2010, Anthopoulos opted to deal the leader of the pitching staff (Shaun Marcum) and the team’s unofficial team captain (Vernon Wells). In their place, he’s added Frank Francisco, an effective reliever who’s best known for tossing a chair at a fan in Oakland and Canadian Brett Lawrie, a high-ceiling infielding prospect that appears to have a lot of growing up to do (see Facebook pictures on Deadspin). These additions were made on the heels of acquiring Yunel Escobar, whose indifferent play earned him a trade out of Atlanta. Anthopoulos deserves credit for stockpiling talent, but I wonder about this team’s chemistry in 2011. I also wonder who will emerge as the Jays’ leader this coming season?
One player I’m not sure that you can count on to be a leader is Jose Bautista. One month away from Spring Training, Bautista doesn’t have a contract and doesn’t know what position he’ll be playing in 2011. None of this bodes well for his future with the Jays.
Congrats to former Blue Jays closer Tom Henke on being elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this week. The Terminator’s next honour should be having his No. 50 added to the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence.
I haven’t heard a better Canadian baseball story than newly elected Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Allan Simpson starting Baseball America out of his garage in White Rock, B.C. Tom Hawthorn, one of our country’s best writers, recounts the story here: http://is.gd/HpAfs7
This is what I like to see: Fergie Jenkins lobbying for a plaque in Cooperstown for fellow Canuck Larry Walker: http://is.gd/128Vyu
I’m happy that the Detroit Tigers will finally retire Sparky Anderson’s No. 11. I’m sad that they waited until after he passed away to do it.