VOTE FOR TOM CHEEK – DETAILS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST

5:30 PM Eastern

Honestly, I’m not sure.  Has a team come back from 8 1/2 games down with 12 games left to make the playoffs?  I don’t think so, so we can no longer say “stranger things have happened” when talking about the Blue Jays’ playoff charge.  It’s not going to happen, but that’s OK.  It was always a long, long, longshot and the Jays weren’t able to keep their long winning streak going.

A 4-4 road trip (in six days) against two playoff teams is nothing about which to be ashamed, but it wasn’t good enough for the Jays because of the hole they dug for themselves by going 21-33 in April and June.  For the rest of the season, their record is  59-37, which translates to 100 wins over the course of an entire year, but those two months killed them.

That’s not to say, by the way, that the season was over in April, as some said, or even at the end of June.  That’s just ludicrous.  The Jays were 8 1/2 games out of the wild card on Canada Day, with 78 games to play.  That’s a LOT better than 6 1/2 back with 16 to play, as the Jays were when they started the four-gamer in Boston – and they had a shot then.

A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay each did an admirable job pitching on short rest to try to get the Jays back into it, but the bats just weren’t there in three of the four games.  Even with the lack of offense, the Jays still took a two-run lead into the 7th in the nightcap yesterday and were a terrible umpire’s call away from tying the game in the 9th today.  It’s awfully tough to win in Boston, even at the best of times, and the Jays came close to taking three of four at Fenway.

Almost isn’t good enough, though, and the Jays will have to take whatever satisfaction they can from being the only team in MLB to have had a winning record the last three seasons and not have made the playoffs.

It wasn’t just Doug Eddings’ awful, awful call on Lyle Overbay sliding into second in the ninth that got the Jays today, though.  It was also the back-to-back double play balls in the 7th that resulted in a grand total of one out, the missed gamble by Alex Rios on a sinking liner by David Ortiz in the 8th, and the grand total of three hits between Jose Bautista’s first-inning solo shot and Vernon Wells’ double leading off the 9th inning.

Of the 12 games remaining, nine of them come against teams that aren’t going to be in the playoffs, though the Jays have major incentive against the Yankees, leading them by just half a game for third in the East.  It’ll be interesting to see what Cito Gaston does in the six games against Baltimore – how much will we see guys like Curtis Thigpen and Scott Richmond?  Will we see Travis Snider and Adam Lind get some starts against lefties?  Will we see Brandon League get some 9th-inning action?  Will we see Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson anymore (there’s no reason to now)?

If the Jays can finish up 10-2, that’ll be 90 wins.  It’s a tall order, but it’s the next thing to shoot for.  We also get to see Halladay and A.J. Burnett twice more, and if they each win each of their two remaining starts, they’ll be 20-win teammates.  We get to see Vernon Wells try to hit three more home runs so the Jays can be spared the ignominy of having it be the first non-strike year since 1977 that the team hasn’t had a 20-homer man.  Small consolations, but something.

And of course, we get to keep voting for Tom Cheek through the month of September!

Make sure you tune into The Blue Jays This Week at 7:05 PM Eastern tonight on the FAN590 and right here on the website. You’ll hear from Joe Carter, and Marco Scutaro will answer 10 questions.  Next week, on the final TBJTW of the season, the Jays themselves will choose the club’s MVP, Cy Young winner, rookie of the year and most pleasant surprise of this season.  I’m thinking Jesse Carlson gets two of those awards, and I’m REALLY interested to see who the players pick as the club’s MVP.  Halladay?  Wells?  Rios?  Scutaro?

Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure (man, a lot of people hate me):

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Remember, today and every day in the month of September, please vote for Tom Cheek and ONLY for Tom Cheek to be on the ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award to gain entry into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  It’ll make more of an impact on the voters if Tom alone gets the overwhelming majority of the votes.  Just click on this link:

http://web.baseballhalloffame.org/awards/frick_2008/vote.jsp

It’s a bit of a pain to fill out all the info, but it only takes two minutes at the most, and Tom Cheek was certainly worth your time.  Thank you.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

86 Responses to “Have Stranger Things Ever Happened?”
  1. 1.

    Hi Mike

    That was a very disappointing game.

    Would you have pinch hit for Macdonald in the 7th? If so, with whom?

    On another note, Brad Arnsberg was interviewed the other day and indicated that if the Jays offered AJ Burnett additional years on his contract, he expected AJ to stay. What do you think?

    If AJ does leave, do you expect the Jays to go after a DH or a front line pitcher?

    Let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks,

    MW: I would have pinch-hit for McDonald there, but would have had a hard time figuring out who to send up. The only healthy right-handed hitter was Curtis Thigpen, with Adam Lind, Travis Snider, Joe Inglett and Brad Wilkerson also available on the bench. I guess Lind or Wilkerson would have been the best option. I think Arnsberg may have been dropping a very broad hint about what it would take for Burnett to stay, though I don’t think they’re as close as they were when A.J. signed here. That said, I’d be stunned if an extra year would be enough. When he leaves, I expect the Jays to go after a DH moreso than a front-line pitcher.

    - David
  2. 2.

    They played wonderfully well. If they don’t make it this year, it won’t be for want of trying–and I can’t say that about any other season since I’ve had season tickets. I’m proud of them, and if they fall short, they gave themselves, and us, an exciting ride. There were two lousy calls today–but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    I’m still in favour if icing Ricciardi. I’m still a bit worried about Rios, player of the month or not. But the team has reminded me, in the past couple of months, why I became a fan in the first place.

    MW: You like the team, they played wonderfully well, they gave you an exciting ride, and you think the guy who put the team together has to go.

    - reyes
  3. 3.

    The Great Home Run Race of 2008:

    Scott Rolen 9
    Jack Hannahan 8
    Jose Castillo 6

    Who will be the last third baseman with at least 400 at-bats this season to reach 10 home runs?

    In a season when the Jays need some heart in the heart of the order, good thing J.P. swapped Glaus for another No. 8 hitter.

    MW: My money’s on Castillo.

    - Ken Pagan
  4. 4.

    That may be the worst Jay’s Talk ever. Nobody talked about the game at all. Everyone was all “Miked Up” to rip Wilner. Heck you only got to about 4 or 5 callers. I was more interested in stuff like what the heck Rios was thinking about with that low pecentage attempt on the ball from Ortiz in the 8th that ended up scoring the game winning run. If you give up a hit, big deal you have a slow runner on first. I just thought he should have just let it drop in. But even worse, that pathetic call on the double by Overbay. WHAT CAN YOU SAY? BRUTAL! 2 bad calls in the game and they both go against the Jays. Funny thing is, I was just thinking the other day tha twe haven’t been getting too many bad calls lately. Well, I just hope we finish the season strong and for a change, get off to a really strong start next year.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  5. 5.

    I disagree with you on many issues and wish you were a bit more tolerant of those who do not share your views or your knowledge of the game. That said, I don’t get the venom some of these folks spew toward you. You work hard at your job and add value to the broadcasts. People ought to save their hate for real evil in this world.
    Love Johnny Mac, I guess because it seems a sin not to but why was he hitting in the 7′th inning today? And why was League pulled Saturday in Game 2.
    Hats off to Cito, though. He has done very well.
    J.C.

    MW: Thanks. I don’t get the venom, either. I answered the Johnny Mac question up above, and I don’t get the League thing at all.

    - jchenry
  6. 6.

    MW: “We also get to see Halladay and A.J. Burnett twice more, and if they each win each of their two remaining starts, they’ll be 20-win teammates”.

    Mike, I am wondering if Cito should put Doc or A.J in the bullpen for the last couple of games if they don’t win each of their next two starts? They deserve 20 each and I think he should atleast give them a chance by bringing them out of the bullpen if the game was tied, just to give them another shot at 20.

    MW: That’s a little too cheesy for my tastes.

    - Beburg
  7. 7.

    As far as the Jays MVP goes, then Wells would have given Doc a tough run had he played a full season. Doc wins the MVP hands down.

    MW: We shall see.

    - Beburg
  8. 8.

    I feel like if we could get a manager with Cito’s clubhouse skills and John Gibbons on-field strategy we’d have the perfect manager.

    Non-baseball question: I’m not even sure you have time to read but what was the last good book you read?

    Thanks.

    MW: The last good book I read was Steve Martin’s autobiography, which I read in Spring Training – I can’t even remember what it’s called.

    - Jason
  9. 9.

    You’re not condescending Mike. You’re just putting these moronic Maple Leaf fans in their place. Tell your screening producers to stop putting drunk sounding buffoons who don’t know a lick about baseball on the air. Your post-game show is usually better than watching the game itself!

    MW: Why thank you! And I’m told by my fine producers that none of them actually sound drunk when they talk to them.

    - Renegade
  10. 10.

    IV4TCT

    Stranger things HAVE happened. One time a girl let me touch her. Oh, that’s only one thing.

    I, for one, (that’s the most I can for) am still going to get my hopes up in the spring, like I always do. I don’t know why that’s such a bad thing.

    One positive, looking ahead, is the run differential. I know a lot of people are disappointed that our Jays are similar in this stat to Tampa, yet not similar in record. I like that when Toronto loses, it’s usually close, meaning the game could’ve gone either way. And sometimes the wins happen to be by a bunch of runs. Oh no, how terrible. Sure, I would’ve liked to see more wins in those close games, but they’re over now. Ob-la-di-ob-la-da Charles and Becca.

    That call on Overbay’s slide pretty sucked, but after nearly 150 games, and still a huge wall to climb, I find it hard to blame that one play for no post-season this year.

    p.s. I’m not sure if I should admit to knowing this, but Unchained Melody by the Righteous Bros., originally done (I think) by the Platters

    MW: It’s not unusual at all to see teams that lose a lot of one-run games turn that stat completely around the next season since, I hate to say it, that has a LOT to do with luck. That should give you some more hope, because if the Jays’ 1-run record was turned around this season, they’d be in first place by about 4 or 5 games right now.

    - Dilly in Dundas (not the street)
  11. 11.

    Mike,
    Haven’t read the blog yet but I listened to Jays Talk today and you were absolutely awesome against your biggest critic!! Loved it!!

    Also, the first caller mentioned stuff about how much flack JP takes and whatnot about the Jays not making the playoffs. You mentioned that playoffs in the NHL, NBA and CFL distort perspective because so many teams make it. One thing I was thinking about on that point was that the Jays are really the ONLY major sport going on in Canada over the summer (I don’t consider the CFL too major, but I’m an East Coaster, and that’s just how we roll out here). Anyway, point being is that there’s nothing for the media to do aside from discuss the Jays and dumping all over them is just the better way to sell papers. Obviously a lot of people get their opinions from these papers without forming one themselves, and voila, the whole country hates the Jays… Just my two cents on the issue.

    Thanks a lot, Mike!

    MW: I agree with you to a large extent, but it’s not just the papers.

    - Luke
  12. 12.

    Hey Mike,

    I wanted to differentiate myself from some other Waynes that post on your blog.

    Comment not about the Jays, but about the Red Sox. It seems to be that Papelbon doesn’t look as intimidating as he once did. Has he lost something on his fastball? He’s blown 5 saves and almost another tonight.

    Curious to hear your insight.

    MW: Papelbon has allowed 59 baserunners in 64 innings and struck out 72, which is incredible. Strange that he’s blown so many saves, but I don’t think there’s much wrong with him. I just wish he wouldn’t make that face before he throws every pitch, then he’d look more intimidating!

    - Wayne in Scarberia
  13. 13.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    What are your plans for offseason bloggage/comment-replying? Given any thought to blogging either major election that’s currently going on now once baseball is done?

    MW: I’m not going to blog the election, for sure. I’ll still blog the playoffs while I’m hosting our coverage on the FAN Radio Network, but once that’s done, I’m not sure. I would think that I’ll probably post once a week in the off-season, unless there’s Jays news, and plenty during the winter meetings (although they’re in Vegas, so no promises), and I don’t know about responding to comments.

    - JCL
  14. 14.

    Mike,

    Do you still think Torii Hunter is a “good guy” after his shoving match with Pudge Rodriguez? I know for a fact Jeter would never play dirty like that. Shame on him, he should take a page out of Derek Jeter’s book on good sportsmanship.

    MW: I thought Rodriguez went after Hunter myself. And sigh.

    - Bernard Singh
  15. 15.

    Hi Mike,

    Today’s loss and the series loss was tough to take as a fan, but I’ll get over it tomorrow. I was hoping with Halladay pitching we would have a decent chance of winning. (Sorry I misspelt his last name during my previous posting, I really feel bad about that, he is after all my favorite current Jays player.) It goes to show one cannot take anything for granted. I got a chance to listen in on JaysTalk last night after the 2nd game of the doubleheader and I just want to say kudos to you for making such an excellent defence of the game of baseball, and differentiating between fans who love their team and the game of baseball in general, and fans who are only interested if one’s team makes the playoffs. I loved the part where you were comparing baseball to hockey. I agree absolutely that it is much harder to make the playoffs in major league baseball. In the NHL, 16 out of 30 teams (53.3%) can make the playoffs. In the NBA, it is the same. In the NFL, it is 37.5% (12 out of 32 teams). In the CFL, it is 75% (6 of 8 teams). As for the MLB, it is 26.7% (8 out of 30 teams). It is even harder in the NL where it is 25% (4 out of 16 teams), where in the AL it is 28.6% (4 out of 14 teams). It is unfortunate however that because of that, it makes the Jays not look like a good team, when in fact the Jays as of press time are 6th in the AL, just slightly ahead of the Yankees, and I think some people have lost perspective of that.

    Your comments were a wake up call for me as a Blue Jays fan and I thank you for that shot in the arm. Whatever this year’s outcome may be, I can’t wait for next year!

    MW: Glad to hear it!

    - Anthony
  16. 16.

    What are the jays plan for joe inglett next season. I love what he brings to the table as a middle infielder and as a lead off hitter as well. Very underrated in my opinion. Can he play short stop and with hill coming back next year will the jays consider putting him at short. I would love to see that duo of Inglett and Hill at the top of the order setting up are 3,4,5 hitters. With Mcdonald and Scutaro in the mix as bench players were pretty much set in the infield. If Inglett can play any type of short stop we just found are solution to a long time weakness.

    MW: OUR, even though I take slight issue with that, too. I think it’s likelier that Hill will play short and Inglett second, platooning with Scutaro, if the Jays don’t go out and get a shortstop in the off-season.

    - Oliver
  17. 17.

    Besides the 90 wins and the Doc-AJ 20 wins, I’d also like the team to finish ahead of the Yankees!

    From what I know as an average fan, the Brewers seem like the best trade partners for the Jays. They have a significant need in their bullpen AND will lose the top end of their rotation. They’ve got JJ Hardy and Prince Fielder who would look lovely in a Blue Jays uniform next year. Not sure who I’d give up – maybe Marcum, Downs, Lind and a Ricky Romero. We’ve got an excess of lefty pitchers in AAA and AA – we can’t possibly use them all in 2009, 10 and 11. Marcum, Romero, Parra, Gallardo and Bush will take care of them next year. Would hate to lose Lind … but gotta give up something to get something, and they can use him at 1B. We really DO NOT need 4 OFs for the next 5-6 years. It makes no sense to use young guys like Lind or Snider as a DH. And Lind at 1B cannot be a long term thing with Cooper around for 2010.

    Do you know much about Cito’s relationship with Cecil Fielder? I wonder if that relationship would be a good or bad thing if we ended up with Prince here. Prince and Cecil have a very poor relationship from what I’ve read in ESPN The Mag. Maybe he can come and do what his pops didn’t get a chance to do here!

    Looking forward to last 2 weeks. Thanks for the good job you’ve done this season. Your radio show will serve as the soundtrack for my memories of this season – haven’t missed one yet.

    MW: I don’t want to get into the gossip about the Fielders’ relationship, but that’s an interesting trade proposal you put forth. Personally, I think that would be too much for the Jays to give up. Thanks for the kind words, and keep listening!

    - T from NY
  18. 18.

    Was the 10 game winning streak a mirage? In that streak, the Jays’ played flawless defense, hit with men in scoring position and hit with power.
    So which offense is the real offense? The sad sack and anemic or the extra-base hitting machine of the streak. As with everything, probably somewhere in the middle. So what does that tell you, Mike?
    This team needs more than one good bat in the off-season, it needs two power bats. One from each side of the plate. Historically, the Jays’ have never hit lefties and again this year it has been ugly.
    Who they get, either through trade or free-agency, is anyone’s guess. Maybe, Ibanez or Giambi from the left side and Pat Burrell from the right-side. Then you package Lind, Overbay and Litsch for a top-notch number 2 starter. Candidates could include, Chad Billingsley or Felix Hernandez.
    See how easy it is… who needs JP?

    MW: Where are you getting the money to sign Ibanez and Burrell? And what black magic will you be using to get the Dodgers or Mariners to agree to that package? It’s really easy when you don’t live in the real world.

    - Kelly Pfeiffer
  19. 19.

    I’m actually not getting an inordinate amount of pleasure from seeing the Yankees miss the playoffs.

    Is there something wrong with me?

    MW: There may well be.

    - Jay Money
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike..

    Well, I would have liked to see the Jays make the playoffs, but I feel pretty good about the team nonetheless, thanks to this terrific run they’ve been on.

    As annoying and frustrating as the Jays of April and June were, I really like the Jays team of the past month.

    By the way, just throwing in my two cents, but I heard you ask Alex Sexiero about younger people and their interest in the Jays on the pregame show. I’m 26, so I was 10 and 11 years old when the Jays won the World Series. Those years hooked me for life, and I have a lot of friends of a similar age in the same boat. I do think there’s a solid core of young fans, but having a couple of playoff seasons wouldn’t hurt.

    Also, it’ll be a bummer not to hear you over the winter. I wish the Fan would give you a show during that time.

    Great job!

    MW: Thanks! I’m happy with the time off, though. Alex is a little younger than you, so I guess his memories of the Series aren’t as clear.

    - James H
  21. 21.

    Hey Mike,

    Yesterday, I suggested the Jays have a National League West batting order that makes it tough to compete in the Al East.

    You responded that you didn’t understand what I meant by NL West batting order and proceeded to rhyme off an obscure stat to defend the Blue Jays’ pop-gun offence. (“The Jays’ OPS this season is one point lower than the team with the best record in baseball.”)

    Actually, the Jays’ .733 OPS is three points lower than the Angels’ .736, but congrats on digging up that stat.

    If you want to showcase stats, you probably also know the Jays have a slugging percentage that is better than only three teams in the American League, all of them losing teams (Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland). Perhaps you missed that one.

    I didn’t think I’d have to illustrate a National League West batting order, but the point in making the comparison is to suggest the Jays have a lineup that strikes fear into ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, similar to the Giants and Padres, although the Dodgers addressed this by getting Manny.

    The Jays’ Rios/Wells/Lind
    meat of the order isn’t much scarier for a pitcher to deal with than facing the Giants’ Winn/Rowand/Molina or the Padres Giles/Gonzalez/Kouzmanoff/Gerut.

    That other NL West team, the Diamondbacks, addressed a need by acquiring J.P.’s buddy, Adam Dunn.

    As he prepares for Year 8 of his five-year plan, what will J.P. do to address the Blue Jays’ pop-gun offence in the offseason?

    MW: Probably nothing. Your Angels stat was a day after mine, by the way.

    - Ken Pagan
  22. 22.

    So that Tom Cheek gets as many votes as possible:

    If the vote for Tom doesn’t work at the website using Firefox (which started happening for me after installing the new version of Firefox), remember the vote will work using Internet Explorer.

    - Ed
  23. 23.

    It’s not like you need it but I want to throw a bit of moral support your way regarding JaysTalk.

    First, let me say that I am NOT calling you “condescending” or to the extent that I imply it I don’t consider it a negative.

    But my points are these-

    First, callers and posters who accuse you of being rude and condescending almost never take issue with rude and accusatory callers. At best them mention in passing “yeah some of them are rude but…” however I submit to these folks that there is no “but” – a caller or poster who brings the rude has no basis upon which to complain he has been treated rudely. Nor does anyone else have the right to claim so on his behalf.

    Second, too many callers can’t grasp the idea that the show is not a platform for them to demonstrate that they are right – for them to “win”. Seriously, how misguided does one have to be to call up a host who’s position and opinion they well know – positions they have heard the host hold forth on countless times – and somehow think THEY are that one special person who’s going to change the host’s mind – and not only that, they are not going to change it by persuasion but by confrontation, argument, and accusation. Has that EVER, in the history of talk radio, ever worked even one time? If not, why embarrass yourself with an attempt which is doomed to failure?

    Third, whether you be the caller or the disgruntled listener who thinks they hear condescension – the callers BASIC obligation if they want to be taken seriously is to have their facts right. You simply CAN NOT call up and state a point as fact that even the tiniest bit of research on your part will disprove and then expect to be taken seriously.

    I’m not referring here to opinions, I’m referring to specific factual information – Like saying that Joe Inglett has been a poor fielder, just to pull an example out of the air.
    If you, the caller, can’t have the facts you claim right, then you forfeit your right to be pontificating about how wrong the host is. And the listener should realize that.

    Finally, those who are NOT the misguided caller but feel compelled to take you to task for your “attitude” need to remember something (which I assume you won’t tell them yourself for obvious reasons):

    Talk Radio is NOT a vehicle for the opinionated fan to feel better about himself, it’s not an ego booster for the person in love with the sound of their own voice, it’s not a platform for a person with a strongly held view to campaign for it.

    What it is, is entertainment – and conflict and disagreement make for compelling “drama”. If you really got the kind of bland “let’s play nice” program you claim to want, you’d stop listening. Think about it, is THIS what you really want on jays talk:

    MW: “Joe, from London, you’re on”

    Joe: “Is AJ opting out?”

    MW: Yes. Sam from Missisaga, you’re next”

    Sam: “Can we sign Manny?”

    MW: “Maybe. bob, from Toronto, you’re up”

    Bob: “What’s up with Downs?”

    MW: “His ankle”

    ad infinitum?

    Honestly, no, you don’t.

    I suppose this is a longer post than it needs to be but the season is winding down and someone had to say it before you go on your winter schedule.

    MW: I appreciate it. As I often say, I give respect in kind, if someone comes on being rude, angry, accusatory and disrespectful, then why on Earth would I be respectful in return? I’m not argumentative on purpose, I’d love nothing more than an intelligent, rational discussion, even if the caller and I disagree. As an aside, I’ve considered several times doing a show in which I agree with everything every caller says, just to see what would happen.

    - WillRain
  24. 24.

    A.J is gone after this year and I hope J.P trades B.J. Jays don’t need B.J anyway. So that’s what 22 million bucks between the two? Jays can have three decent middle-of-the-road type players with that money or even slightly better than that. or they can have an arm and 20HR guy. Either way Jays will be better served if A.J and B.J are not in the mix next year.

    - Beburg
  25. 25.

    Hi Mike,

    On J.P. Your recently said on Jaystalk that J.P. has “done nothing to warrant getting fired”. On this point I agree that he has not done any “one” thing to warrant dismissal, but in this occupation termination almost always is not about any one specific incident.

    Based on his history, and pattern, let me make the following case why it is time for the ball club and J.P. to part company. My case looks at three areas: performance of team, personnel decisions, and corporate goodwill.

    As far as goodwill goes, J.P. is the face of the franchise to other GMs, players, fans and citizens of Toronto. Dunngate was sad. He made a mistake and then tried to justify it by saying he “let his guard down”. He should have said that he was out of line and sorry, there is no justification. Letting your guard down leads people to think you were under attack and he wasn’t, it was a simple question from a fan, he should have just said the team has no interest in Dunn at this time for reasons that he chooses to keep private. Then, to say he spoke to Dunn to apologize on the phone when Dunn said it never happened only made matters worse. He should have walked into their clubhouse when the Reds were in town the week later and done it in person. Funny to critized a player for not having a passion for the game when his own rightfeilder “passion” gave up an inside the park home run to 700 pound Cecil Feilder. His treatment of Frank Thomas also casts a bad image on the club. Clearly he released Thomas so he would not accumulate the at bats for his next contract. To release a future hall of famer, and still pay his salary does not improve the on field performance of the team. Thomas turned it around in Oakland, as most of us thought he would and just because he went on the DL in Oakland does not mean eh would have done so with the Jays. J.P.’s lie about B.J. Ryan last year was also a knock against the goodwill of the club to the fans and media. To say it is “not a lie if he knows the truth” is quite simply stupid. Needless to say, to choose to not live in Toronto, even for only 6 months a year, speaks volumes to those but inside and outside of Toronto. Imagine what is says to the baseball community when the team condones the manager physically assulting players – twice! The frist time it happened he should have told Gibbons it is unacceptalbe under ANY situation and if it happens again he will be dismissed. But to stick with him after a second incident gives the impression that the teams accepts that type of behaiviour.

    On personnel decisions he has failed. Thomas, Eckstien, Glaus, Rolen and Steward have all not worked out. Reed has proven to be a better player then J.P thought. Lind could still be buried in the minors had it not been for Cito. Marcum, Mcgowan, Litch, could also still be buried had it not been for a string of injuries last year that forced J.P.’s hand. He paid the big money to Rios and Wells before they had established themselves to be worth it and Wells has had two years where his performance is below his pay grade and Rios is making mental mistakes that combined with his lack of power is pure disappointment. He signed McDonald for more money only to have a lesser role due to Eckstein. It is widely viewed in the baseball world that Gibbons was J.P.’s old minor league roomie and as such his loyalty to him hurt the teams chances this year. To send Marcum to the minors to teach him some type of lesson was heavy handed and unfair. He should have sat him down and told him why he is going down and what he needed to impove on. As a gesture of faith that he will improve he should have said the public reason he went down was mechanical and that he would be back soon. Why send a signal like this to the baseball community, who benefits from it?

    As far as performance goes, I know it is hard to get into the playoffs, even harder to win the series, but we have not even been in a late season (or mid season) playoff race once during his 7 year term. During that 7 year period only the Royals, Pirates and Nationals have the same claim as not having been in a race. To say the Jays will be the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th etc best record in the league is misleading, they were out of the playoff race the entire season, as they have been for the previous 6 seasons.

    MW: The only thing I agree with you on the first point is that saying “it’s not a lie if we know the truth” was stupid. I don’t know where you’re getting your information from with regards to Lind, and I don’t buy the argument about Marcum and McGowan – maybe Litsch, though. Of course, the fact that the Jays had those pitchers available to them in their system isn’t a point in Ricciardi’s favour, right? Who in the “baseball world” informed you that Ricciardi’s friendship with Gibbons was getting in the way of the Jays’ performance? Finally – Ricciardi DID say for public consumption that the reason Marcum was sent down was mechanical. And how can you possibly argue with the results of both Marcum’s and Litsch’s demotions?

    - wayne
  26. 26.

    MW,

    To what does “pitching from the stretch” refer? I grew up thinking it meant the pitcher shortened his wind-up with men on base to try to prevent a steal. Lately, I am wondering if it has something to do with avoiding a balk call.

    MW: It means pitching without a wind-up, generally in order to prevent stolen bases.

    - George A
  27. 27.

    Mike, is it possible for managers to slump? Cito was terrible these last few days. No point in listing everything because it would take too long. Very disappointing in the biggest series of the season.

    MW: It’s an interesting idea. I guess managers can slump, they’re only human, after all (drawn into the stream/of undefined illusion……..sorry, couldn’t help myself). Still, the losses in Boston aren’t on Cito.

    - Chris Jones
  28. 28.

    Mike, I think some of the comments are becoming more and more idiotic as the season winds down. It’s no wonder you consider giving up on the responses to same.

    Who, in their right mind uses the word “choke” in conjunction with Roy Halladay?

    Who, in their right mind considers Roy Halladay as to not being a “big game” pitcher?

    That kind of nonsense truly annoys me.

    Nice to hear from an “educator” yesterday in post #57. Since when is it so bad or considered rude to correct ones grammar or spelling. Especially nowadays!

    Mutual respect, with regard to that also includes helping one with proper grammar, spelling and the context in which certain words should be applied.

    The internet and in particular “chat lines and blogs” have bred a whole new lingo as to communication. A lot of younger people are butchering the English language as a result.

    Interpreted as condescending or not, I believe there’s nothing wrong with what you do Mike as to pointing out grammar and/or spelling errors.

    I would bet plenty of those on this blog who comment on a regular basis, have taken the time to double check their responses as a result. How can that be a bad thing?

    Post #57 was written very nicely, brief and to the point. He/she however as an educator, should be thankful there are some who care enough to support their hard work. I think, a thank you from an educator would be a more appropriate response as to having another support them via corrections.

    As to “publicly” embarrassing the caller/commentator! I doubt a lot are truly embarrassed. Not a lot of choice here is there? What would you have our host do – personaly email corrections to those who need the help? Say nothing and give the appearance it’s acceptable? I think perhaps as an educator you would be all over the host for not taking the time to correct or at least point out the errors.

    Like most things on this blog Mike – it’s a no win situation for you.

    Keep up the good work – especially the educating!

    Thank you

    MW: Thanks, Bob! I can’t let the mistakes go because, like you say, doing so would give the impression that such mistakes are acceptable, and I don’t believe they are.

    - Bob -
  29. 29.

    So much for meaningful games in September.

    Woulda, coulda and shoulda, the heart of the Blue Jays

    - Stephen Smith
  30. 30.

    Hi Mike;

    Tough loss, but the Jays have been excellent overall, and the streak of ten was impressive, if they reach 90 wins and Halladay and Burnett reach 20 wins each with 250k’s(optimistic) then the season will have been a success overall. Cito was a brilliant move that may have saved Riccardi’s job and more importantly saved face with the fan’s, as a winning record and close birth to the wildcard is all one can expect in such a tough division. I would give jesse Carleson the vote for team rookie, Burnett cy young via team and team mvp Halladay for his great season. Good to see Bautista hit that dinger,just wish someone was on base to up the score, wish they would play Snider, Inglett, Bautista everyday, and retire “mencherson” for the season. Thx for the blog, I’m off to vote for Tom again!

    MW: Keep voting! I think Mencherson is pretty much retired for the season as it is. I don’t understand how you could have Burnett as the team’s top pitcher but Halladay as the MVP, though. It’s going to be very, very difficult for the Jays to win 90.

    - robert s
  31. 31.

    Hi Mike,

    I don’t think people hate you but you’re seen as associated with JP.Given the extent of the anti JP sentiment out there-the Fan and the papers,particularly Elliott and Griffin-it’s not surprising it bubbles over onto you.

    That being said your opinions can be strident and unequivocal and you don’t suffer the baseball fans, who love the game but don’t really get it, gladly.Those type of fans are everywhere-in my family and doing play by play on TV-and if you end up doing play by play, either on radio or TV,something that I hope happens,those fans will be even more of your audience.

    Maybe you can try and bite your tongue 1 more time each show.

    MW: I try. I can’t do it. But seriously, what kind of talk-show host would I be if I was wishy-washy about my opinions and flip-flopped depending on which way the wind was blowing?

    - Matt
  32. 32.

    On Tom Cheek’s bio on the Hall of Fame website it makes no specific mention of the 4306 consecutive game broadcast streak. Seems like that is a glaring omission.

    MW: That it does.

    - Robert
  33. 33.

    michael,
    these detractors on the subject of the legitimacy of meaningful games in sept. really really annoy me.
    i mean the things that immediately leap to mind for me are mainly this…. the examples of colorado & philly last yr. and the astos on 3 previous occasions coming from out of nowhere to go on & win divsion tiles or at least wild cards comes to mind. in fact astros are doing it once again this yr it seems … is this not their 4 time doing this in the last 6 yrs. might be. definitely 3rd for sure.
    and there’s others. fact is what everyone said the jays absolutely had no business or chance of doing seems to happen as much each yr. as it doesn’t. am i wrong? don’t think so to be honest. but more importantly, is that to say if they didn’t mount & complete those comebacks as they all did then those games in hindsight we’re all meaningless but once they did it, then they actually were meaningful games by this definition so loosely given. c’mon can’t have it both ways can you. don’t think so michael.
    one other thought that strikes me as very curious.. mccown and quite a few others are on this self proclaimed program that mlb aren’t doing it right by not extending the playoff picture and adding multiple other spots in the playoff structure as we know it. they think this is long over due and just not right in simplest terms. so is it just me that sees incredible irony in this that these same who feel the jays with j.p. at the helm are not performing adequately and he should be immediately dismissed at season’s end but under what they perceive as the proper way to set up the playoffs, the jays this yr are unconditionally in a playoff race and have been on numerous occasions under his tenure. in fact probably an actual playoff team under the same basis on a few occasions.
    very hypocritical if not at the very least just showing how wrong they are and not thinking things thru rationally and without bias.
    darrell from the dock in muskoka with some riveting conjecture once more.
    sure would love to hear from at least once mr. mike.

    MW: You know, I never thought of that, but you’re right! If the playoffs were expanded, then the Jays would have been in the playoffs in five of Ricciardi’s seven seasons, I think.

    - darrell bishop
  34. 34.

    Since the all-star break, the Jays are an improved team. Cito has done a tremendous job managing this team. I look forward to 2009 and beyond with this team. As far as yesterdays game, Greg Zaun was safe at first and Overbay was safe too.

    During the offseason, do you think the Jays could sign Raul Ibanez as their DH? Also, interesting comments by Arnsberg regarding AJ’s future? I just hope AJ does not sign with Boston or NY.

    MW: I think they’ll take a run at Ibanez, and I think that Burnett could well wind up with one of those two teams. Of course, he might wind up with the Mets or Cards, as well.

    - Tom Stewart
  35. 35.

    Mike the first thing I noticed about the Jays this weekend (Late Saturday and Sunday) is the team is just much better with Barajas behind the plate than Zaun. This may be the most important reason why the Jays record was much better later in the year . Not only is he a better receiver and thrower but I think his pitch calling is much better.
    The Jays match up well with almost anyone in the American league but they just don’t do the little things well. Three cases in point on Sunday. Lyle Overbay boots the ball at first and then feels sorry for himself so he loly gags it to get the ball and while he may not have got the runner the whole impression was just horrible (Halliday was furious and rightly so). On the ball that Overbay hit he was definitely safe but if you watch the replay carefully Overbay was so busy watching the ball that he hit that he didn’t do the obvious thing which was to hustle right from the get go. (David Eckstein wouldn’t have been a spectator). In other words if he hustles the call doesn’t matter because it won’t be close. On the double play ball hit to Rolen they had no chance to turn two because Scutaro was playing the hitter to pull and was well off the bag. The first thing I was taught when I played was know what you are going to do with the ball before it is hit. In this case, Rolen should have known the infield positioning and because the ball was hit right at him walked over to third base and tagged the bag. You still only get one out but the one you get is the lead runner. This probably cost them a run as the next guy comes up and hits a blooper to left field to score a run.

    As Jesse Barfield mentioned during the game,the Red Sox were playing baseball 101.David Ortiz’s slide is just a perfect example of hustle and savy.We have to start doing doing this more often.

    MW: I don’t agree with you on Overbay AT ALL. Interesting thought on Rolen, though.

    - mike glatt
  36. 36.

    Mike,

    A lot of people think Bob McCown is condescending too and he’s put together a pretty solid career in broadcasting. Besides, A group lovefest every show doesn’t make for particularly compelling radio.

    I appreciate that you’re not posting any more of those silly in-game comments. Although, I don’t think Toronto has a monopoly on that kind of perfidious, emotional ranting. Have you seen what some Yankee fans have written about Derek Jeter? It’s ridiculous. When 2008 is finished, he will be at or slightly below his career average offensive numbers and for that he gets stuff like; he’s old; he’s done; he’s garbage. If these guys want to ride Jeter out on a rail, I can only hope the train stops here.

    Do you think Manny Ramirez would give the Jays a discount if we pitch him on the idea that he’ll be able to put the boots to the Red Sox 18 games a season? (Just kidding) Seriously though, I keep hearing how the guys in Boston were glad to see him go. Is he that lousy a teammate?

    MW: Having not been in the dugout, I don’t know how Manny is as a teammate, but the Red Sox didn’t mind having him there when he was the World Series MVP, and the Dodgers certainly don’t have any complaints.

    - Rob Theriault
  37. 37.

    Mike,

    Back in June of this year you blogged the folowing “It’s an exceedingly long season. To look at any one week, never mind one or two games, as an indicator of what a team is or isn’t not only isn’t fair, it’s not accurate.” and I have heard you say too many times to count that you arent as bad as you are during a losing streak or as good as you during a winning streak (may be a paraphrase). Both, I beleive, are true statements but about a week agao, JP was on your show saying that during the winning streak, the team was playing the way he had envisioned the team would play and today you state that there play since Cito has been back would translate into a 100 win season. Aren’t the you guys doing the same thing that you say the fans do? Or is a fan complaining about how bad we are when we lose off base but saying this is the way this team is capable of playing when they are playing well by you guys is spot on? Just wondering.

    Anyway, I think that you are what your record is and we are a team that is not good enough right now. But for all my JP bashing, I don’t think we are too far away, and I guess I have to give JP some credit for that. I’ll just have to wait for the off-season moves to see if I will become a whiner or backer. But I got a feeling that with the Yankees opening thier wallets(again) for the opening of the new stadium, the Rays who may or may not contend next year but are definitely not door mats any more and Boston being Boston, I think it will take more than the signing of one big bat. I think we need to upgrade at a couple positions or are again going to need career years out of a few guys and stay healthy. Two things I wouldn’t bet on cause they havent happened in a while.

    Also, I don’t think it was the bats that have let us down the last week, I thought our stellar defence, which has been on display all year, really let us down and I found that surprising. Hitting can go into slumps but I can’t remember team defence going into a slump like it did. Even Jonny Mac and Rolen got into kicking it around! Didn’t see it coming!

    MW: I think the Jays were let down by the bats in each of the three losses in Boston more than anything else. As for your first point, I stand by that statement, and I don’t believe I’ve anything to contradict that. Pointing to the Jays’ record since July 7th, which is what I’ve been doing, is hardly looking at a small sample size of games. As for J.P., while he did say that this was how he envisioned the team playing, he was quick to clarify that, of course, he didn’t envision them winning at that rate.

    - Thoma
  38. 38.

    Awful call in the 9th? The ball beats the runner, the slide blocks the umpires view…what’s that call most of the time? If Overbay goes in feet first instead of the cute slide past touch with hand he is safe no doubt about it. I tell the kids I coach all the time, if you don’t want the umpire to blow the call don’t let it be close. Lyle did and the Jay got burned.

    That being said I listened to the post game so and wanted to call but couldn’t. For all those people that call to say the Jays are terrible or whatever… There is no team in baseball right now that scares this Redsox fan as much as the Blue Jays. They are a great team when nott injured. The problem is when you sign a handfull of guys with a history of being injured don’t be surprised when they are. I’m just thrilled that the Jays created some excitement this year so baseball is getting more of a spotlight in Ontario!

    MW: The Jays’ major injuries this season have been to Wells, Hill, Rolen, Janssen, Accardo and McGowan – only Rolen has a significant injury history, and McGowan did have Tommy John once. As for the Overbay slide, I don’t think he was trying to be cute, I think he was trying to beat the tag, and he did.

    - Rob C
  39. 39.

    Mike,

    At the end of yesterday’s game on the CBC broadcast some interesting things were said by Jesse and Rance. Jesse said Cito’s influence on the Jays has been significant and a huge part of their turnaround. He also said if anyone thinks otherwise that is ludicrous (these are his words). Rance then echoed those comments to basically say we would not even have been in the playoff discussion if it were not for Cito. Rance also said “I have heard people say the hitting was bound to come around” perhaps referring to you and said that is like a slap in Cito’s face (pull the tape if you wish).

    This is what I have been saying to you and why you have guys like Toth, now McCowan, Rance, Jesse all pointing out, essentially that you have no idea what you are talking about. The fact that you have such strong opinions (wrong in most cases as I have mentioned before) and you have next to no credibility in terms of baseball playing experience or managing. I even ask myself why I am wasting my breath with this email. You even went as far as to say last week in a blog that perhaps Rance and Jesse don’t know what they are talking about? And you do? Ha!

    My conclusion is that you are either pulling a Stormin Normin of many years ago (being argumentative and crazy to get your name out) or you have some serious personality traits, allegiances or otherwise that make you say such silly things.

    So for the sake of your other bloggers can you articulate why we should listen to your views based on your experience rather than the likes of Jesse Barfield and Rance Mulliniks as well as the Bobcat. My guess is you will not, but may make you think twice about holding such strong opinions on things you have very little experience with..you have created this mess so don’t go feeling sorry for yourself when you get posts like these.

    The fact that you get bloggers saying scathing things about Cito and you rarely defend him (like you did Gibbons) is all the proof I need. Like Jesse said yesterday, the only big time success this team has ever seen is when Cito has been the Manager, he should have everyones respect and admiration for that.

    MW: The truth is, I’m insane. What other reason could there be for me holding the opinions I do? I had everybody fooled for so long, but not you. Damnit.

    - Jeremy
  40. 40.

    Mike:
    I would like to offer what I think will be a unique perspective regarding your role as the voice of Jays Talk. I love the show. You are the most knowledgeable baseball person I know of and I don’t always agree with you. That’s part of why it’s always interesting to listen to you.
    Your comment yesterday about us having the same access to the stats as you do got me thinking. I am a pastor. I preach each Sunday to my congregation. Everyone who listens to me has a copy of the Bible and can read it for themselves. They also have access to the same commentaries, news reports and web sites that I do. But they have given me the job of studying the material and discovering what the message means for today. So maybe it will help you to be more patient with us if you think of yourself as the Jays Talk pastor or rabbi. Your role is to help us understand the game and love it just like you do.
    One more thing: you seem to resist talking about the intangibles of sports, and of course, intangibles by their very definition are impossible to pin down. But intangibles are fascinating. Such as, why should the fact that Boston sold The Babe to the Yanks a century ago still stir the passions of fans? There’s no logical reason, but it does and it’s fun to think about it and talk about it.

    MW: It’s an interesting perspective, indeed. But as a pastor, how well do things go over with you when someone who doesn’t have their facts straight comes to and calls you an idiot for thinking the way you do? As far as the intangibles, I think they’re overplayed. The Babe Ruth thing didn’t really stir the passions of Red Sox’ fans until a book was written about it well (I think) after the 1986 World Series.

    - WG Norman
  41. 41.

    I’ve been following the Jays all year and like many I’m sure, have had more than one occasion where I’ve felt like picking up the radio or TV and tossing it out of frustration for poor performances!

    Going into this weekend I was believer, no check that a dreamer! And I was really feeling positive and looking forward to the jays pounding on Boston to pull with in striking distance. But it didn’t happen and although disappointed and yes still frustrated, at a minimum they gave us something to cheer about for the last month… Bad calls and bad bounces turned a “they got a shot” attitude into “there’s always next year” attitude. Like the saying goes “Them the Breaks”

    I do hope we get to see some of the younger guys down the stretch, however more importantly I hope they still can make a statement putting everyone on notice that the 11 game streak wasn’t a fluke. Here’s to a strong and exciting finish to the season and to next year!! Hopefully we’ll see some improvements to the team that push them over the hump. I’ll be watching the rest of the season…

    Here’s my award picks, because I know you really care:

    Team MVP – undecided either Doc or Vernon
    Rookie of the year – Jesse Carlson
    Most Pleasant Surprise – Brandon League (can’t wait to see him in a closing roll) :)
    Cy Young – Doc (on the bias pick)

    Cheers!

    PS…. For those who hate you! There those of us who love your show. So F them.. Ooops did I say that out load!

    - Joseph
  42. 42.

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve come around to your thinking on Overbay-he may even have 1 of his 04 or 06 years in him during the last 2 years of his reasonable contract.

    However when either he or Lind are running the bases disaster is always near.I know he was safe but it took a good slide.He was the tying run with nobody out and I think you need less of a risk to go for it.

    I almost had a heart attack when on the next play Lind broke from third on Rolen’s slow roller to third.Anybody other than Rolen running and Lowell’s best chance might have been at home.

    These are just the most recent examples.Is there no way to improve their beasrunning?It does seem to be somewhat instinctual and harder to teach.Troy Glaus was an excellent baserunner despite his lack of speed.

    To paraphrase the old Animal House line being slow and stupid is no way to go thru your career running bases.

    MW: Glaus was a good baserunner, so is Rolen, who is a LOT faster – I’m surprised you’d cite him as an example of someone who’s slow-footed, because he’s not at all. I don’t have an issue with Lind breaking for the plate there, the Sox were conceding a run, and again, I don’t know how anyone can rip Overbay for going there. He was safe.

    - Matt
  43. 43.

    Mike,

    Had to add an addendum to my first post as I am listening to last nights show and you agauin say it is the whole season you have to look at so when I you guys in my first paragraph, that should just be about JP. Don’t want to put words in your mouth or misrepresent what you actually say.

    MW: I appreciate that.

    - Thoma
  44. 44.

    Mike,

    In your opinion, is there a young, up and coming star out there that the Jays could or should go after…even if it means parting with some of their prized pitching? Or do you think they should hold on to their pitching and just add a couple pieces to the puzzle? Just wondering…

    Oh, and since you know so much about baseball, I have a trivia question for you…

    Who has broken up more no-hitters with a homerun than anyone in MLB history?

    Cheers and keep up the good work.
    Dawson

    MW: That’s a tough trivia question, but I’m pretty sure the answer is Rickey Henderson. As for the young hotshot, there are several – the question is, how available are they?

    - Dawson
  45. 45.

    Hi Mike your condesending lol im just clowning dog.
    One thing that bothers that I’ve heard you say a few time is that you defend the Hinske contract by saying it was just 3 Million a year when we both no that if J.P. just would have went to arbitration that with Hinske which he wasn’t even eligible for yet the Jays would have paid him alot less and wouldn’t have had to eat half his contract in the last year. It was a mad contract J.P. gave Mr. Hinske. saying it was only three mill is misleading.

    MW: Only because it didn’t work out. Wells signed the same contract (actually, for a little less) and it turned out to be a steal. When you choose to invest early in your young talent, it’s not always going to work out, but I’d rather have a G.M. who takes those gambles than one who doesn’t.

    - Dan M
  46. 46.

    Mike, i have heard that the Jays will plan to spend around 15 million this offseason. I figure with the players they are letting go this year in Eckstein, Zaun, Thomas, Wilkerson, Mench, Burnett that JP would free up around 30 million. Not sure where the 15 comes from. Are many of the Jay players up for arbitration this year? I thought that the Jays would have some srious money to spend this offseason but it appears not. Burnett will need to be replaced and we need a big bat. 15 million won’t cut it. What do you think?

    MW: I think $15 million will cut it. I don’t know why the figures are so disparate, it may just depend on how you count Vernon Wells’s signing bonus. I think they’ll have at least $22 million to spend.

    - Ken
  47. 47.

    Mike,

    Why is K-Rod’s record so amazing..he pitches one inning a game and doesn’t blow a lead..congratualtions…there is no reason a reliever in any season should even be consider for a cy young award!!

    MW: In your esteemed opinion.

    - Mike
  48. 48.

    Hey Mike,

    Firstly, way too much time given to Andy on the show. I know you have to give people their say but yikes. He lives in the ‘hindsight is 20/20′ world. He actually made me more frustrated than the Jays’ losses this weekend.

    It is apparent that he doesn’t like anything or anyone associated with the team… (insert drum roll) including you, Mike.

    I know his Division I/Minor League Baseball experience gives him all the knowledge to run a major league team so I look forward to the presser introducing him as the next GM of the Jays.

    Also to the caller that said you can get stats easier than the “average joe” – it’s called http://www.google.ca – consider that free advise.

    Anyway, what’s your initial impression with Travis Snider? If you were a betting man does he break spring with the Jays and would the Jays do a Lind/Snider platoon between DH/LF as they are now?

    Thanks and keep up the good work and enjoy your winter off (from the Jays anyway). We’ll talk in the spring.

    MW: I would bet that Snider doesn’t break camp with the team if everyone is healthy.

    - Cameron
  49. 49.

    Mike lets face it, the last series against Boston is as close as they ever have been to in a meaningful game in September, since the start of the JP era. And they blew it. It’s obvious that this team, even with the good starting pitching, isn’t ready compete for a playoff spot. I think they need to let go of JP. When is it enough? They gave Ash 7 years too, he couldn’t do it. If we are going to make the playoffs with this crop of players, we need them to be winning series in April, May and June, not just late August and early September, when the team is everthing but mathematically out of the race. If you look over history, not too many teams ever make a huge comeback in September to get in the playoffs. Sure Colordao did it last year, and the Jays played better under Cito in 89 to do it, and there maybe more, but I am not prepared to spend time surfing my almanac to find which teams did. If ten teams have ever done it, (come back from 8 or more behind with 30 or so to go), than there have been about 300 races or so over 100 years, so the chance are about 3%.

    Anyways, I thing the Jays should still trade Halliday for good prospects or a strong bat ( I have mentioned it before). He lost his last two games when he needed to win. He maybe a horse, but has never proven he can win the big game. Rolen is prety much finished as a strong hitter. We probably wont see 40-120 from him ever again. We need serious power at first base. A 270 batting average and 10 homers or so doesn’t do it. I like Wells, I would give him another chance, but we should also try and trade Rios. Funny how his stats really get going once the Jays were pretty much out of it. Burnett is gone. He seems to be pitching for a contract.

    I think this team needs a serious shake up, if JP thinks that we only need to “tweak” here and there, than were are heading to the same old,same old next year. There is no gaurentee that they will pitch as good next year. Burnett will be gone, Halliday will be a year older, will Mcgowan be healthy ? Maybe the offense. will hit next year, and the pitching go in the toilet. We must remember, we now will have to compete with Boston, New York, and Tampa next year. New York certainlly won’t stand still.

    Thanks Mike.

    MW: Sigh.

    - Peter
  50. 50.

    When the mob doesn’t like you, you are probably doing something right.

    MW: I like to think so!

    - alex
  51. 51.

    I just wanted to thank you for encouraging everyone to vote for Tom Cheek each day in September. I grew up in southern Ohio and I used to listen to the very end of Reds broadcasts to hear Joe Nuxhall say “this is the old left-hander rounding third and heading for home.” It was corny, but I was just a kid.

    However then I moved to Ontario and started listening to Tom and Jerry. Nuxhall was an excellent baseball broadcaster, but Tom and Jerry were even better. Each day this month I am voting for Tom and only Tom to make it into the Hall of Fame. He was great and I hope he gets the honor he deserves this year. Maybe someday Joe and Jerry can join him in the HOF.

    MW: Thanks! And keep it up!

    - Debbie
  52. 52.

    Hi Mike – Great job over the course of the season.
    I have a different type question.
    The Jays being in the AL East and it is always said we are competing against the 2 biggest payrolls – which we are – if the opportunity came up to move to the National League – (I know it likely won’t) Would the Jays consider it? Was it considered when the Brewers went? Are they the only team that wanted to switch leagues or was it because Bud Selig was involved with the Brewers?
    What I’m asking – sorry for rambling is would the Jays consider the move in order to get to a different division or would the home games against the Yankees and Red Sox that would be lost be to big of a ticket sales drop?
    I’m not saying they need to move divisions in order to win – I feel the next 2 years will their’s for the taking if they can play uninjured and things go the way they are supposed to go.
    Just curious – that’s all
    Cheers,

    MW: I think the Jays would consider a divisional move, but the better thing would be for baseball to move to a balanced schedule. I think the Brewers’ move was a fait accompli from the beginning once they decided on realignment.

    - Ryan Sanders
  53. 53.

    i’m a few days late with this one, but whatever, it’s still fresh in my mind…

    in the 2nd game of sat night’s doubleheader, the biggest game of the season to date (having won the first), why on earth did we trot out that daisy fresh outfield, in one of the hardest ballparks to play the corner outfields? wells is now a month removed from his hamstring injury, and certainly it’s not too much to ask our gold glove CF to play both ends of a day/night doubleheader. having an OF of lind, rios, and snider, with litsch on the mound is just unacceptable…

    i’m a big wells fan, so i want to believe that he did not WANT to DH the biggest game of the season, but i also have to believe that he has enough pull that if he demands to play the field, he takes the field…if you can ask 3 of your pitchers to go on 3 days rest, along with all the players that fielded both ends of the double header, certainly you can demand that of your all-world CF, who happens to be your highest paid athlete (don’t get me with the semantics on that one, you know what i’m getting at)…

    being a wells fan, i really hope v dub contested this decision till game time, but was foolishly overruled…this is unlikely, cause i believe vernon has earned the right to man his CF post in the biggest game of his mlb career, to date (possible hyperbole), if he so demands to…

    either way, another head scratching line up put penciled in by cito…

    MW: That’s the downside of the 4-headed outfield/DH beast that the Jays seem to want to try out. As for Wells, I think he would accede to Cito’s wishes, because Gaston commands that much respect.

    - Jay B
  54. 54.

    Mike -

    Yesterday you argued against a caller (imagine!) saying that JP had done well in having made several moves that were, stepby step, improvements on what they had (the 3rd base and shortstop situation). As usual you completely missed the point. Maybe Rolen is better than Hinske and or Koske. And maybe McDonald is better than Adams. But the point is that they are still not good enough. Not even close. The idea is not to get a little better but to get good enough and then not have to find a new guy in 1 or 2 or 3 years. To 3rd and SS you can add 1st base and catcher.
    And of course this problem stems from the Jays not being able to develop young players. Yesterday you also said that the BJs have the best pitching and defence in the majors (or was it AL). If that is the case, then JP must have done a very very poor job with the position players (like catcher, 1B, SS, 3B) because they are still only a mediocre team.

    MW: Sigh.

    - Rene
  55. 55.

    Overbay got screwed hard.
    No dinner.
    No movie.
    I felt bad for him yesteray.

    M-Dub,
    You excited for the play-offs?
    Its Chad Billingsley time!

    (Holy cow, this “Andy” call is funny.)

    MW: I don’t even think people in Los Angeles are going to be calling the playoffs “Chad Billingsley time”.

    - slobberface
  56. 56.

    Hi Mike,
    Do you think the jays will respond to shrek (ortiz) and his raised spikes this friday with A.J on the mound?
    Also, do you have any information about Adam Lind playing first base in the minors?
    (amount of errors…etc)
    Thanks for your time,

    Joe

    MW: No and no. He never played first in the minors, he played there in college (I don’t have any info about that, either).

    - Joe MacDonald
  57. 57.

    Mike, I can’t understand why Cito would play Mench, Mcdonald and not play Lind, Snider or Inglett in the last game. Yes they’re left handed bats but I’d rather take my chances with them then Mench and Mcdonald. You have to go with the guys that that are swinging hot bats and they would have done far better than what Mench and Mcdonald did. When players are swinging hot bats, you have to keep playing them. I guarantee they would have had a better outcome if Cito didn’t tamper with the line up including game 1. This was the turning point of the season, why play guys who have not come through all season? I think Cito has done an excellent job but his poor decisions this weekend cost us the series. Another example, why have Zaun bat in the ninth when he could have had Snider to face the Boston closer? Snider has the hot bat and he’s got more power.

    Lastly, I was disappointed in the efforts of Rios and Overbay in the late innings. Rios should not have let the ball go pass him. That’s what you learn in little league. He basically gave up on the play and the game. Overbay was safe but HE’S to blame for the call being as close it was. He was so slow getting out of the batters box, he was admiring his hit. Cito poor decisions and two bonehead plays cost us the game.

    MW: Rios didn’t give up on the ball – if anything, his error was one of aggression. He should have pulled up and let it fall in front of him, in retrospect. Snider was going to bat for McDonald, had Zaun gotten on. Overbay wasn’t admiring his hit at all. I paid close attention to that on the replay. He didn’t put his head down and run as soon as he made contact (no one in the big leagues does, sadly), he hit it, looked for it for half a beat, then took off. Blaming Cito for the Jays’ losses on the weekend is like blaming John Gibbons for April and June.

    - RL
  58. 58.

    do you think that they might just call up Russ Adams?

    MW: If they were going to do that, they’d have done it by now.

    - Darren
  59. 59.

    Mike, in your opinion, are you a good baseball player compared to you opponents/teamates?

    MW: I think I’m solid.

    - greg
  60. 60.

    AS the season goes on to the end Cito will probably put the best out there until the official elimination has occured. Then we may see the not so used guys and some rooks probably get some time. But that is the way Cito works. He’ll tell his guys to go out and do their Jobs…follow a game plan. But if there are important things to achieve like AJ and Roy aiming for 20 win seasons then regardless of those days the no. 1 line up will be out. So even though the Jays are bleeding profusely…they are not mathematically dead so the guys that Cito believes will get the job done will be in the line up and on the field when he needs them.

    MW: OR he’s going to start using Snider and Lind against lefties, Bautista at second sometimes, and we’ll see more Curtis Thigpen.

    - Donny
  61. 61.

    Hi Mike,
    I have been trying to vote for Tom but keep getting a flag down that says “the system is not responding try later”
    Are you sure they are accepting votes from Canada? Is there any way of finding out if, in fact, the votes were accepted.
    You can tell I am a granny — thanks for all your support for Tom.

    MW: It’ll give you a page that says your vote was accepted. The problem might be the browser you’re using – try Internet Explorer.

    - Meredith Saunderson
  62. 62.

    how do u think Jhony peralta will fit if the jays are able to aquire him for Ryan and someother players

    if we traded Ryan + some other guys what do u think we could get from the mets

    MW: I think Peralta would fit in nicely as the shortstop. From the Mets? Fernando Martinez would be nice, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    - Jazz
  63. 63.

    I would love to see the Jays get Halladay his 20th win, that would sure make him happy and put him into consideration for the CY, even though Cliff Lee was pretty invincible this year.

    Saw that the Jays face a rookie lefty tommorrow, this season that seems like a definete portent that the Jays will lose.

    MW: Unnecessarily negative, but correct.

    - Dave
  64. 64.

    Hey Mike, what do you make of the Ned Yoast firing? I think it’s Doug Melvin pannicking that his job might be on the line at the end of the year, which is why he went out and got CC Sabathia. He only fired Yoast because Yoast, in my opinion, would be the logical fall guy or else the owner would’ve fired Melvin.

    Thoughts?

    MW: I don’t think that’s why. I think it was panic that they were going to blow their once-big lead.

    - Phil C.
  65. 65.

    Mike,
    Will the firing of Milwaukee’s manager Ned Yost help or hinder their chances of making the postseason? Is this move somewhat overplayed?

    Nonethless,the NL wildcard will be a battle between two ex Jays GMs; Gillick and Ash.

    Should the Brewers not make the playoffs wonder if the firings continue through the management ranks?

    MW: I don’t think Yost’s firing will make much of a difference. The Brewers are hoping that the little bump teams seem always to get when they change managers will propel them into the playoffs. Don’t count your chickens on that N.L. wild card race yet – Omar Minaya wasn’t an ex-Jays’ G.M. And why is it that so many people give Ash so much credit for what’s gone on in Milwaukee?

    - Mark
  66. 66.

    Mike,

    I was wondering what you think is the reason for the apparent lack of baseball knowledge among main stream media members in N. America.

    Also, why do you think colour commentators for most major league teams are unaware (or appear to be) of some of the recent revolutions in the analysis of the game?

    It seems to me that baseball is behing the other three major N. American sports in these respects. Do you agree?

    MW: I think a lot of the mainstream media in North America knows its baseball, and I’m not sure why most analysts are slow to embrace the new ideas of analysis. I’m not sure that VORP is any more difficult to understand than quarterback rating.

    - GregJP
  67. 67.

    Hey Mike.. We had a nice roll with the boys and I am pumped for next year.. Where have I heard that before? I’m a BLACK HAWK fan and I have been saying that for 47 years.. Anyway Mike ,here is my starting line-up for the JAYS first game next year if the other team starts a righty.. Rod catching, Lyle on first, no longer voodo Joe on second ,Scotty ,please dont hurt that shoulder anymore Rolen on third,Aaron I’m just glad to be back Hill on short,Alex , the one guy that is going to put up some great stats Rios in right and Adam I am not a bad fielder after-all Lind in left.. Harry the hammer will start.. I really went out on the limb on that one.. A.J. will be wearing pin-stripes and I was wondering Mike are you going to do the blog during the play-offs and what about maybe once a week when baseball has shut er’ down.. I cant get enough of the greatest sport on the planet with no clock.. I forgot center,, Wells DAAAAA.. Till next time..

    MW: You forgot DH, too.

    - FLIPPER
  68. 68.

    Mike:I think it could be done but it will be Tampa not Boston that could get caught.
    One other note:How unfair is it that Boston gets to play in that stupid little ball park.What would the Jays record be if they had fences at 300 ft for automatic doubles and the regular depth for home runs.That park is ridiculous.

    MW: The Red Sox’ opponents get to play there, too.

    - Brian Bishenden
  69. 69.

    Mike who do you think wins, the current coaches or the fired ones. Who has a better baseball IQ.

    Ernie Whitt v Dwayne Murphy
    Marty Pevey v John Leyva
    Gary Danbo v Jean Tennis

    I think the winners are Writt, Leyva and Tennis. But if I really have to pick the cream, it’ll be none other than Jean Tennis. Agreed?

    P.S:And Mike are you aware that Jean Tennis also appeared on the simpsons?

    MW: I’m not sure who John Leyva and Jean Tennis are.

    - Jojo
  70. 70.

    Humm..The Jays play their first supposed meaningful series in 15 years and they find ways to loose it..Blowing a 5-2 lead and leaving Scott Downs in the game after it was clear he didn’t have the stuff was unacceptable..Downs has been one of the best releivers in the game this season, but he just hasn’t had the location over the last few weeks..Leaving him in the game in the 8th was a huge mistake..Why not bring in Parrish?.. He can be effective if he is used in the right situations..When he pitches for less then 2 innings he hasn’t given up a run..Anyway, it was fun while it lasted..Getting a taste of meaningful baseball is a start but can they play this way in April?

    MW: Parrish? Really?

    - gump
  71. 71.

    Hey Mike,
    I don’t think I am alone in thinking that A.J. has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half. Just wondering, do you think his mid 80′s curveball to go along with his mid 90′s fastball (with a lot of movement) is the best combo of pitches by a starter in baseball? I don’t know of any other starter that has the type of ‘stuff’ he has. Thanks Mike.

    MW: I think Burnett has incredible stuff, always has. He’s had a terrific second half, for sure.

    - William
  72. 72.

    Good blog Mike!

    MW: Thanks!

    - Daniel
  73. 73.

    Mike, you said that if you don’t like the Blue Jays, then you don’t like baseball. Did you really say that?

    MW: No, I didn’t. Interesting that you would say that I did before you asked me if I did, though.

    - andrew
  74. 74.

    What do you think about Ned Yost being fired from the Brew Crew?

    MW: See above.

    - andrew
  75. 75.

    Mike W.:

    A prominent sports website features a very perceptive column on the whole Jays/payroll/competing with NYY and BOS issue – points that many on the air and on-line either willfully or blindly ignore.

    Perhaps readers would do well to read this:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=bryant_howard&id=3588364

    MW: I love the Howard Bryant!

    - Adrian, co-alumnus
  76. 76.

    Hi Mike,
    What’s Wells’ and Rios’ salary next year ? Do the increases leave the team with less than 30 million to spend ?

    MW: Wells will make $1.5 million (plus an $8.5 million signing bonus) and Rios will make $5.9 million. And depending on how you count the bonus, maybe.

    - Dilson
  77. 77.

    Mike,

    When describing the great season Carlson has had the first thing Jerry mentioned was his 6-1 record. That really annoys me.

    Do you think Jerry realizes that relievers win/loss records are pretty well irrelevant?

    MW: You’ll have to ask Jerry.

    - GregJP
  78. 78.

    Is there a rule about how many Type A free agents one team can sign in an off season? Or can a team like the Yankees sign as many as they want?

    MW: There’s no rule.

    - Nick
  79. 79.

    Parrish..Yea why not..Bring him out in to start the 8th..They are still winning the game and you bring in a fresh arm..If he can get one or two outs you can bring in Ryan to close out the game..When you play 4 games in three nights you have to use some pitchers in certain situations that you may not normally do..Downs has a wonky ankle and wasn’t effective in the 7th..Parrish is hardly reliable over a 3-4 inning stretch but when he pitches an inning or two, he has shown to be effective..

    MW: The point is it shouldn’t have gotten to that, since Carlson (maybe) and League (for sure) could have gone longer. But Parrish, a guy who has had a lot of trouble throwing strikes, isn’t the guy I’d want out their in the 8th of a big game, especially since it would have been his first action in a week.

    - gump
  80. 80.

    #69. Apology, apology, apology. It’s Gene Tenace not Jean Tennis and Nick Leyva not John Leyva. What was I thinking? Now it makes sense since Tennis is a sport, not a last name.

    MW: Thanks.

    - Jojo
  81. 81.

    RE Post #41 — “can’t wait to see (League) in a closing roll” — because he’s always been a bit of a hot dog???

    - Norm
  82. 82.

    Mike,

    What do you think the Jays can do to improve their abysmal performance against lefties? Do they need a left-handed batting practice pitcher? Or is it more psychological than mechanical? Also, do you concur that if the Jays fail to make the playoffs next year (no matter how close they come) that JP does not deserve to return?
    And finally, given the Jays’ recent slide, was the 10 game winning streak an anomaly which brought their record to where it should be, given the amount of close losses earlier in the year when they failed to hit?
    In closing, I just hope that JP takes your advice and signs either Giambi or Ramirez…God knows we need the extra offense!!!

    MW: The Jays already have a left-handed BP pitcher, and their performance against lefties isn’t abysmal, just bad. I don’t think that J.P. should be fired if the Jays don’t make the playoffs next year – it’s really not that easy. Any 10-game win streak is an anomaly, but I don’t think it made up for all those close losses earlier in the year.

    - Bernard
  83. 83.

    SLOBBERFACE + CHAD BILLINGSLEY

    MW: Is this some sort of love note?

    - slobberface
  84. 84.

    Mike you say that the Minnesota GM has a long tenure without playoff appearance, I think you might want to check the payroll in minni, he’s had very limited payroll yet has not only managed to have some winning seasons, but also to play meaningful games in september while being in a division with two big spending teams. Minnesota teams have amazingly been constructed through the draft.

    JP on the other hand has not played meaningful games in september, has not constructed the majority of the team through the draft as he made fans think he would, and has only really now showcased those in the farm. Jp has also had increasing payrolls for the past few years now totaling 98million and still no meaniful games in september.

    What does winning sesons mean without meaniful games in september, Mike I think you are trying to convert these blue jays fans into fans that give praise to years of mediocrity just like the leaf fans, Like the caller said at least the leafs and raptors eventually got to a breaking point and decided to go after someone with a track record. Eight years

    MW: I said that Terry Ryan’s Twins didn’t make the playoffs his first seven years there, and I doubt that they even played a meaningful game in August, never mind September. I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make.

    - Neil
  85. 85.

    Good point..Carlson or League could have pitched longer..I have never been a big fan of Parrish but I just didn’t see the point of leaving Downs in the game..I was shocked to see him in the 8th..

    - gump
  86. 86.

    Dodgers Vs Angels WS
    Billingsley steals the show.
    Ks 14 in his first start.
    and yes.
    Money will be placed.

    - slobberface
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