My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Being named the Toronto Blue Jays’ closer is becoming a lot like being tabbed the starting goalie of the Philadelphia Flyers. No matter who assumes the role, they seem doomed to fail.
I hope Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow isn’t teasing fans with his recent dominance. After today’s game, the perpetually promising hurler is 4-1 with a tidy 2.27 ERA and it appears as though he’s finally putting it all together into a nice Roy Halladay-like package. What Halladay does best is induce weak contact to preserve pitches, but he can still ramp up the velocity when he needs a strikeout. That’s exactly what Morrow has done in his past four starts.
I pity Yankees right-hander David Phelps. After the infamous Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps swap (a trade so bad that it was slammed by Frank Costanza in a Seinfeld episode) on July 21, 1988, anyone named Phelps seems jinxed in The Bronx. Just ask Josh Phelps, who clubbed just two homers in 36 games with the Yankees in 2007.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., opened its doors for its 15th season on the weekend. The Hall’s director of operations, Scott Crawford, and the museum crew of Zach Harmer and Stephen Harding always make visiting the museum an enjoyable experience. For more information on the Hall, visit: http://baseballhalloffame.ca/
George Farelli, of the Canadian Baseball Network, points out that Canadian left-hander Jeff Francis (Vancouver, B.C.) won his first Triple-A game in eight years on April 27. Pitching for the Reds’ Triple-A Louisville club, Francis held the Norfolk Tides to three hits and one earned run over eight innings for the victory.
The deal that saw the Yankees acquire young right-hander Michael Pineda from the Mariners for prized prospect Jesus Montero, only to discover that the hard-throwing hurler would require season-ending shoulder surgery got me thinking about Mike Sirotka. On January 14, 2001, Jays GM Gord Ash consummated a six-player swap with the White Sox. The principal players in the deal were veteran hurler David Wells going to Chicago for the left-handed Sirotka. Coming off a 15-win campaign, Sirotka, almost eight years younger than Wells, appeared to be a nice fit for the Jays’ rotation until he showed up to camp with a torn labrum. The whole Pineda saga got me wondering what Sirotka was up to these days. It turns out he’s alive and well and the proud franchisee of the Phoenix location of The Joint, a chiropractic health and wellness center specializing in affordable chiropractic care.
I’m not sure whether to believe this or not, but former Blue Jay Josh Towers’ Wikipedia page says that he’s “studying Media at Macquarie University” in Sydney, Australia.
Speaking of Towers, did anyone else find it worrisome that Blue Jays studio analyst Gregg Zaun said that Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison reminds him of Towers?
What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?! He hit 40 home runs last year with over 100 RBIs, he’s got a rocket for an arm. You don’t know what the hell you’re doin’!
The funniest thing about that scene was that Frank Costanza made those comments when Steinbrenner came over to his house to tell him that his son was dead.
Jay Buhner was one of my favourite players. He was awesome.
Thanks for the plug on the Hall of Fame Kevin.
I sure hope Drew doesn’t turn into Towers. However, remember that one game Towers pitched in his terrible season that he won I think 1 game and last about 12 games. That one win was like a 2 hit complete game shutout or something like that. He was magical for one game!
I shouldn’t be too hard on Josh Towers. He did win 13 games one season. But he was the epitome of a soft-tosser who if he didn’t his precise spot, hitters would send his pitches into orbit.
Hey, Kevin. Zaun comparing Hutchison to Towers scared the crap out of me. If you could pick one pitcher from the past decade to epitomize mediocrity, that would be Towers. Poor Drew.
BTW – I don’t attend many games (maybe 3-4 per season), but was in the stands during Towers’ last game. Honestly, I can’t say I was sorry to see him go.
Thanks for the comment, Eric. I shouldn’t be too tough on Towers. He did win 13 games for the Jays one season, but you just knew that with a 83-mph heater that his success probably wasn’t going to last. But good on him for being a big leaguer as long as he was.
From Devon Teeple:
Kevin, great reference to Mike Sirotka, I haven’t’ heard that name in years. And with the comparison to the Pineda situation. Could get really ugly if he can’t come back.
And re: Zaun’s comments on Drew Hutchison. I would say right now he’s a poor man’s Shaun Marcum!