Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Return of WTFJITH! (Otherwise known as Saturday Night Spanish Guitar)


As Wolf would say: 

It's time once again to break out your best (or worst) music choices to share with the class. As always, music is the theme but baseball/hockey/basketball/other stuff can of course be discussed. Enjoy everyone!

Let's get started by featuring a new track from the patron saint of this tradition:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Hump Day Gratitude


Another week, another gratitude post.

I'm grateful I was taken out to dinner at The Keg last night. I'm grateful that my acupuncturist is back today. I'm grateful that this time next week I'll have done my surgery. I'm grateful Doctor Who brought back the Classic Doctors and companions. I'm grateful for the internet.

What are you grateful for?

Monday, October 24, 2022

Monday Morning Blues


Yup, it's Monday again!

I really wanted the Padres to go all the way. I also wanted Cleveland to meet them in the WS. What can you do? At least Yankee tears will sustain me.

Today is voting day in Ontario. Don't forget to do your research and vote!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Very Brief Book Review - The Boys of Summer


Roger Kahn's classic 1972 book

I read "The Boys of Summer" many years ago but recently found it on the shelf and had the urge to give it another look.  You see, I have an exam that I must study for and under these circumstances, other aspects of life suddenly gain a vibrancy that they otherwise don't generally have.  Even the most obscure items, ideas, or experiences take on an a heightened air of importance!

There are endless numbers of great baseball books out there. A great place to start that covers the last several decades is the annual Casey Award winner, found at the Spitball Magazine website.  You can browse it to see the last 37 winners but also quite a few nominees from each year -

Spitball Magazine itself is also worth a look - it's a literary baseball magazine that includes anything from poetry to interviews to short stories.  A good starter is the old compilation "The Best of Spitball".  Now, on to the main extremely short synopsis of "The Boys of Summer"...I'm tired so I can already tell I'll be mailing this part in and it'll be short!

The book mainly covers four distinct stories.  It first delves into Kahn's childhood in Brooklyn, including his relationship with his parents, a titillating encounter with his nanny, and some detail about the city and baseball at that time.

As he gets older, he starts to get into journalism and I found the parts of the book that discussed the inner workings of the newspaper and sports writing business to be very illuminating - few of us even get a physical newspaper anymore and folks who write about sports are in a completely different world that the old-timers were.  We should start a JITH newspaper that covers the Jays but issue it ONLY in physical form!

As things move along Kahn finally gets assigned to the Dodgers beat and covers the team for a couple of seasons.  There is some coverage of the games, particularly playoffs, but a lot of the action takes place in the locker room or elsewhere, as this was back in the day where the reporters had good access to the club and players, travelled directly with them, and often drank and played cards with them on a regular basis.  Some effort is also put into detailing the relationships Kahn and the players had with the front office (i.e. the owners).

Likely my favourite part of the book is when Kahn decides to visit the main players in 1970 to catch up on what everyone is doing. Unlike today, the players were poorly paid so most retired without vast wealth and ended up working as executives, business owners, or pitchmen.  Things ended up well for many but there also seemed to be a lot of regrets and even tragedy.

As promised, I am cutting this short!  I refuse to proofread it so you'll have to live with any mistakes.  The Boys of Summer is viewed as one of the all-time classic baseball books.  I would suggest that there are now many newer books that have surpassed it but it's an entertaining read and can be found cheaply at second hand shops.  Good Day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Hump Day Gratitude


Yes, it's the return of your favourite offseason thread!

(Yeah, I know it's WTFJITH. Humour me.)

I'm grateful that today I finally get surgery nailed down. I'm grateful for ball who use the Amazon link, which let me get new gloves for my sore hands, an alternate pillowcase for my body pillow, and a book to store my Mom's coin collection in. I'm grateful for the surprise income that came in from a blog post I did in 2010. I'm grateful my friend is treating me to Body Blitz tomorrow. I'm grateful for the Toronto Public Library who has kept me well stocked in books, graphic novels, cds, videos, and audiobooks. (I've read 169 books this year.) And I'm grateful for all of you.

What are you grateful for?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Monday Morning Blues


This is mainly so we have a fresh thread. However, if you have something that's bringing you down, feel free to share.

For me, it was the hospital messing up communication between my surgeon's office and the check in point. I arrived at the right time on Wednesday, told my appointment was later so I left and came back when they told me, only to sit waiting for 30 minutes. When I followed up, the surgeon had just left for the day and I'm not able to see him until this Wednesday. Since this meeting was to set my surgery date, I was pissed. The silver lining in this was that everyone was so upset by this that they will be bending over backwards for me now. 

I'm also pissed that the Yankees are right back in it. Cleveland didn't step on their throats.

Friday, October 14, 2022

First Random Jays Thread After Season's End!

1985 Blue Jays Fire Safety Set

The old thread is getting jammed up with comments and is threatening to destroy lesser computers and phones.  Desperate times call for desperate measures so here is a new random thread.  It's still early in the off-season but hopefully most have had a chance to decompress and are feeling, if not better, then less angry about this year's elimination.  I was able to transfer my anger from the Jays to the Canucks, who managed to blow a 3-0 lead to lose their season opening contest.

There are lots of interesting storylines to consider for this off-season:

  • How will Atkins make this club take the next step?  It's a good club but not good enough to win it all unless they get lucky and everything falls right (and we squint?)
  • Will Kikuchi be back?  If he is, how will Dabbles react?
  • Is it time to move Bo to 2nd or trade him?  Who would replace him that would offer more value?
  • Can the club upgrade their Outfield and perhaps also optimize which players are at which positions?
  • Will the bullpen be strengthened to hopefully match up better with some of the stronger ones other clubs clearly had this year?
  • Can they risk not upgrading 1 or, hopefully, two of the #4 and #5 starters?
Things tend to slow down a bit around here over winter but hopefully folks will continue to show up to discuss baseball, a bit of hockey, and life in general.  I will definitely be posting some baseball card articles over the winter, starting with a discussion on the 1909-1911 T206 set, which boasts the rare, valuable, and notorious Honus Wagner card.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Ten Random Thoughts: A 2022 Season Review


The 2022 Blue Jays season came to an abrupt end yesterday after an epic collapse in an elimination game where the Blue Jays were up 8-1 heading into the 6th inning. Alek Manoah was pulled with 10 outs to get and the Mariners torched a normally reliable bullpen for 9 runs over the next 3 innings and eliminated their expansion cousins. The Blue Jays had a solid regular season, winning 92 games, good for 2nd in the AL East, 7 games back of the NY Yankees, who had a monster 1st half, but came back down to earth in the 2nd half. The Blue Jays won 27 series, earned series splits in 6 series and lost 9 series. They swept 7 series and were swept 4 times. Charle Montoyo was fired after a disastrous road trip that saw them win just one and being swept in 4 games by the Mariners, who won 7 straight, including the WC series over the Blue Jays. Here is the final random thoughts post of the season looking back on the season that was and ahead to the off-season.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Wild Card series Game #2- Seattle Mariners (2-0) @ Toronto Blue Jays (0-2) - game recap


Teoscar Hernandez drove in 4 runs and scored 3 in a 10-9 bome-from-behind loss to the Mariners 

After a nightmare opening to the 2022 WV series against their expansion cousins Seattle Mariners where the offense produced almost no opportunties and the Mariners built a commanding three-run lead off ace Alek Manoah, the Blue Jays were looking to save their season against former Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray,  who was primarily allowed to walk in free agency last winter because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19. Ray won the Cy Young in 2021 with the Blue Jays and had a record of 14-8 with a 3.03ERA in 37 games (36 starts) in a Blue Jays uniform over a season and a half (the 2020 campaign was an abbreviated 60 game, 2 month sprint due to COVID). Against the Blue Jays, Ray is 1-1 with a 3.50ERA in three career starts. Kevin Gauman got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Santiago Espinal was back in the lineup at 2B after missing the last 2 and a half weeks with an oblique strain. Whit Merrifield was in LF with the Blue Jays opting for an all right-hand batting lineup against lefty Ray. Alejandro Kirk was the DH. Could the Blue Jays even the series and extend their season? Here is today's game recap.

Wild Card Series - Game #2 Seattle Mariners (1-0) @ Toronto Blue Jays (0-1)


Friday, October 7, 2022

Wild Card series Game #1- Seattle Mariners (1-0) @ Toronto Blue Jays (0-1) - game recap


George Springer had a pair of hits and was hit by a pitch in a 4-0 loss to the Mariners.

After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays opened the wild card series against the Mariners, who won the season series 5-2 outscoring the Blue Jays 28-21. However, the Blue Jays won the series in Toronto and the disastrous sweep in Seattle came in very extenuating circumstances with the team still grieving and in shock over the sudden death in a tubing accident of Julia Budzinsky, daughter of Blue Jays 1st base coach Mark Budzinaky. Also, it was at the end of the Charlie Montoyo managerial era. Alek Manoah got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after the final day of the regular season off Wednesday. Teo was back in the field after DH'ing in the season finale Wednesday and as was Raimel Tapia, who started that game on the bench but later pinch hit. Danny Jansen served as DH today. Could the Blue Jays open the 2022 playoffs with a win? Here is today's game recap.

Wild Card Series - Game #1 Seattle Mariners (0-0) @ Toronto Blue Jays (0-0)


Thursday, October 6, 2022

Games #161 and 162- Toronto Blue Jays (92-70) @ Baltimore Orioles (83-79) - game recap (records will reflect what they were after the 2nd game)

Gabriel Moreno hit his first big league HR as the Blue Jays split today's double header to end regular season play, dropping the 1st game 5-4 and winning the 2nd game 5-1. Moreno also got his first career game in LF after starting game 1 behind the plate, his natural position.

After a rain out yesterday, the Blue Jays wrapped up regular season play with a double header in Baltimore. Casey Lawrence was called up as the 29th man. Trent Thornton was recalled for the 2nd game and Mitch White was optioned to AAA-ball. The Blue Jays went with bullpen games for both games to save their starters for the playoffs with Trevor Richards starting the 1st game and David Phelps starting the 2nd game. George Springer got the day off in both games with Bradley Zimmer starting in CF both games.  Gabriel Moreno was behind the plate in the 1st game and in LF the 2nd game (Raimel Tapia was in LF the 1st game). Danny Jansen DH'd in the 1st game and was behind the plate in the 2nd game. Vlad was at 1B in game 1 and Cavan Biggio was at 1B in the 2nd game (Biggio was at the hot corner in the 1st game. Matt Chapman started the 2nd game at the hot corner). Joel Otto got his first career big league start at SS with Bo Bichette getting the 1st game off (Bichette was back at SS in the 2nd game. Otto was at 2B in the 2nd game. Whit Merrifield was at 2B in the 1st game).  Finally, Jackie Braley Jr. started both games in RF. Also, Teo DH'd in the 2nd game. Could the Blue Jays sweep the last 2 games of the season and earn their 7th sweep of the season? Here is/are today's game recap(s)

Monday, October 3, 2022

Game #160- Toronto Blue Jays (91-69) @ Baltimore Orioles (82-78) - game recap


Jose Berrios pitched 6 solid innings in a 5-1 win over the Orioles

After beatiing the Red Sox for the 9th straight time and sweeping them for the 3rd straight time (6 series sweeps on the season), the Blue Jays hit the road for their final series of the regular season in Baltimore. The season series against the Orioles is even at 8 wins apiece. The Blue Jays have outscored the Orioles 86-76. Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after DH'ing yesterday. Vlad got the half day off as DH with Cavan Biggio at 1B. Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak to four straight games? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Whit Merrifield singled scoring Matt Chapman and Teoscar Hernandez
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 3rd as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hammered a solo bomb to left-center 
  • The Orioles got one back in the bottom half of the inning on a sac fly by Anthony Santander that scored 
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 5th on a wild pitch by Dean Kremer that scored Merrifield 
  • Dean Kremer pitching line: 6IP 6H 4R (3 earned) 1BB 4K 82 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • Jose Berrios pitching line: 6IP 3H 1R (earned) 3BB 5K 91 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 8th as Chapman singled home Bo Bichette 
  • Tim Mayza pitched the 7th for his 2nd save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Orioles 1

My Take:

  • Jose Berrios had a solid outing in his final regular season start. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits and a walk. He had a rough 3rd inning, loading the bases with one out on an infield single and a pair of walks. Berrios finished the year 12-7 with a 5.23ERA. It may be that was his last start of the season. The Blue Jays can't risk him having a bad start in a decisive game three. Should the Blue Jays advance to the divisional round, he'd likely start game 4. 
  • With the inclement weather ending the game an inning and a half early, Tim Mayza, who pitched a perfect 7th, earned his 2nd save of the season. The Blue Jays will need to play at least one more game to secure the top WC spot. Both remaining games may be necessary, especially if the Mariners come back tonight (they were down 4-1 in the 5th inning against the Tigers at the time this recap was published) and they sweep tomorrow's double header. The Blue Jays may well be looking at their own double header Wednesday with the forecast suboptimal for tomorrow.
  • Offensively, Matt Chapman and Whit Merrifield did the damage, combining to drive in three runs and score twice. Vlad also went yard.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their 5th straight win and their 27th series win of the season. Mitch White starts against Orioles righty Mike Baumann

Game #160 Toronto Blue Jays (90-69) @ Baltimore Orioles (82-77)


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Game #159- Boston Red Sox (75-84) @ Toronto Blue Jays (90-69) - game recap


Teoscar Hernandez drove in 3 runs and scored twice in a 6-3 win over the Red Sox

After a 10-0 drubbing of the Red Sox on the backs of monster days from Danny Jansen, Teo and Raimel Tapia (the trio combined to go 9-13, driving in 8 runs and scoring 7. Jansen and Teo were a triple shy of the cycle), the Blue Jays wrapped up the home portion of the regular season schedule. They were looking for their 3rd straight win, 9th straight win over the Red Sox and 3rd straight series sweep of the Red Sox and 6th series sweep of the season. Kevin Gausman got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. George Springer got the half day off as DH with Jackie Bradley Jr. in CF. Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak over the Red Sox to 9 games (overall win streak to 3 games), get their 3rd straight series sweep over the Red Sox (6th series sweep on the season) and end the home portion of the schedule with a win? Here is today's game recap.

Game #159 Boston Red Sox (75-83) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-69)


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Game #158- Boston Red Sox (75-83) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-69) - game recap


Danny Jansen was 3-4 with 5 RBI and a run scored in a 10-0 win over the Red Sox.

After a resounding 9-0 shutout win over the Red Sox a day after the Blue Jays clinched a playoff berth with the Red Sox beating the Orioles Thursday, the Blue Jays were going for 2 straight wins and their 26th series win of the season and eight straight over the Red Sox. Ross Stripling got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Alejandro Kirk was DH. Could the Blue Jays make it 2 straight wins overall, 8 straight over the Red Sox and 26 series win? Here is today's game recap.

Game #158 Boston Red Sox (75-82) @ Toronto Blue Jays (88-69)