Thursday, September 22, 2016

Surviving September Baseball

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dosh


(With profuse apologies to Stanley Kubrick)

Everyone's Seen This Movie Right?

Part One : Turning The Corner....

Ahhh...the approach of Fall...the crisp air..the falling leaves...the need to actually wear clothes again, and just maybe if you follow the right team meaningful baseball games.

After a 22 year migration we've been blessed by the return of that magical situation. To be totally honest though, 2015 was like a blitzkrieg of passionate joy en route to the AL East title.

 2016 is shaping up to be more like a slow tease at the drive in while you're wearing long johns and extra thick corduroy pants. Pass the popcorn. 

But Dr. Risley "How do I know if I have September baseball?"

Let's run down the list of symptoms :

You can trust me ...I'm a Doctor

  • Sweaty palms before and during games?
  • Queasy pangs of anticipation before game time ?
  • Compulsion to check the out of town scoreboard every 10 minutes?
  • A sphincter so tight that if you ingested a chunk of coal during the game you'd render the Hope diamond?
  • Violent bi-polar mood swings depending on the current play?
  • Fatalistic outlook on life after a loss? (This might only apply to Dabbles)
  • Compulsion to imbibe far more alcohol than normal? (This is relative to the individual subject....some us consume the same amount during the off season know who YOU are.)

If you've checked off three (hell...even two) of the above symptoms then congratulations my friend! You have meaningful September baseball.

And now a disclaimer :  This is NOT a survival guide. I had to hook you in SOMEHOW.

We all deal with September baseball in our own way.
Some of us :
  • Drink.
  • Possibly suck our thumbs whilst clutching a security blanket.
  • Shout at the TV or radio.
  • Stoically follow the game and accept the results with quiet dignity and grace.
  • Ignore the game and catch the score the next day.

I think we've all had this moment.

  • And lastly but the least practical : Flip tables.

(c) The Wolf. Used By Permission

Time and your emotional make up will lead you to the path that is right...(except for Dabbles...he's NEVER right).

This is my best advice :

We all have that ONE friend.

We have a varied age demographic at the House. This feeling might be new for some of you. For those of us over the age of.. oohhhhh... let's say 45, this is old hat. A sexy, well worn, love it to death hat.

This is a quick (Ha!)  reflection on a golden period of meaningful September baseball spanning the years from 1983 to 1993.

From 1983 to 1993 The Jays were contenders and we had every legitimate right to think "Hey we could win this thing."

1983 ...Final record : 89-73 4th place...Ok so this doesn't look so rosy but up until August 23rd we were only 1.5 games behind. That was the start of a 4 game series against the division leading Shitbirds....We won the first one only to suffer three (3!) ball crushing, chew your arm off, slit your wrists extra inning losses in a row to them. That fucking dumpster fire of a bullpen! 

Look! It's Joey McLaughlin!

Post Applicable Year Here

Wait...that seems familiar. Sadly it tainted the season and we fell out of the race, but to be honest the Shirbirds refused to lose.

 Tippy Fucking Martinez

The promise of 1984 loomed large. If the bullpen was decent we might win a LOT more games.

Highlights: Dave Stieb starting and winning the all-star game. Willie Upshaw being the first Jay to get 100 RBI's . Moseby and Barfield in the outfield . Some kid named Bell might get a shot next year.

1984...Final record : 89-73  Deja Voodoo But hey! 2nd place! Ok this season is the red herring of the 11 but a 35-5 start by your divisional rivals will skew your season pretty fucking quick. Again the undoing was the bullpen but we trade Dave Collins and Alfredo Griffin for Bill Caudill in the off season...Our troubles are over ...right?? Who's gonna play SS?

Highlights: Doyle Alexander...George Bell...Rance Mulliniks...The best outfield in baseball is in play...Some kid named Key in the BP... 

Year of The Tiger and some eye candy whichever way you swing.

Get Your Free Ball Crushing Here!
 Roy Lee Jackson VS. Dave Bergman

1985...Final record 99-62..First place finally!! We win the division!! What a boot stomping, shit kicking, Motherfucker of a team! As late as September 28th we were 40 (40!) games over .500!

Sadly Caudill's Juggling Skills Were An Indication Of His BP Contributions

We never trailed in the standings after May 18th...but there was drama ...plenty of it.


  • Buck Martinez in Seattle ...what is there to say? It's an epic tale. And God bless YouTube.
He sucks at play by play but what a warrior

  • We led the league in ERA at 3.29
  • The Stieb near no hitter against Chicago on August 24th only to be lost in the 9th .He'll get it next time right? 
  • Sir David winning the ERA crown at 2.48 but with a 14-13 record and 206 hits vs 266 Cy young worthy these days methinks.
  • The best outfield in baseball has arrived. More to come on that front.
  • Ernie high 19 Hr's and an all star selection to boot.
  • Tony Fernandez.....yup he can play SS...
  • The Bell - Kison karate kick ...I was at this game...Ernie hit a slam and screamed at Kison all the way around the bases... :)

September 12th...We head into the Bronx for a four game series up by 2.5 games....this place is a fucking zoo. First off, Mary O' Dowd butchers our anthem ...I'm sure that will never happen again. I mean the only thing worse would be some sort of disgrace involving our flag right?

Actually  we got off to a good start and had a lead until two Fernandez errors and some erratic BP contributions. I can't express the dread I felt as a 16 year old watching the outcome of that game. It's over.

Not quite....We take the next 3 games and leave with a 4.5 game lead...fuck you Bronx!

From there on in we manage to get the lead up to 6.5 games but those vampire Yankees won't die and come into Toronto for the final three games needing a sweep to force a tiebreaker.

Friday Oct. 4th... The air is thick with delicious anticipation...we need just ONE win and the division is ours. The Ex is jammed with 47,686 filling it. Even the grandstand is almost full though what the actual fuck anyone sitting past centerfield saw is beyond me.

The game is a tight affair and we enter the 9th with a 3-2 lead and the Terminator on the mound. Nothing can go wrong, right?


The Shaker drops a routine fly and we lose 4-3. Fuck me! Maybe we will never win the division.

October 5th....A blustery cold fuck of a day with the wind gusting in from right field. Doyle Alexander is on the mound and there's a sense of growing nervousness gnawing at both the crowd and myself. TSN has graciously allowed CTV to carry their feed of the game and I actually get to watch instead of listen. Funny how things change, but back then we only had Sundays and Wednesdays for broadcasts.

Back to the game...that nervous feeling? We needn't have worried. The game chugs along with the Jay's building a 5-1 lead and there's a fly ball to Bell!!

 Can't beat Fergie Olver on play by play!

CBC Piece Just Before ALCS Game 1

ALCS Game 1

Ultimately we know how the rest of the season played out but with this talent we'll win the division every year right?

To be continued....