10:50 PM Eastern
The smallest baseball crowd in SkyDome/Rogers Centre history showed up tonight to watch Roy Halladay pitch for the Blue Jays.
It’s sad that even in the aftermath of the strike, even with the craptacular squads the Blue Jays fielded in ugly seasons such as 1995, ’96, ’97 and 2004 – THIS was the night when everyone decided that enough was enough and that they weren’t going to head down to the ballpark anymore.
OK, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but 11,159 is pretty ugly. However, aside from the presence of Harry Leroy Halladay III, I can’t really blame people for staying away.
The Blue Jays have been one of the worst teams in baseball since mid-May. They haven’t even strung together back-to-back wins in over a month, and they didn’t give the dyingest of die-hards something to which to look forward by giving a September call-up to a Brian Dopirak, a J.P. Arencibia, a Fabio Castro or even a Bill Murphy – just so Cito Gaston doesn’t kill Jesse Carlson between now and the season’s last game.
Randy Ruiz wasn’t in the line-up again – he’s only played in six of the Jays’ last 13 games, which brings to mind a question: Why the hell is Randy Ruiz here? I kind of thought it was to see if he could hit in the major leagues, to find out if he might be a guy who could help out the team in the future. Evidently, it turns out he’s here only to give Kevin Millar the occasional day off. Granted, ONE of those days off came after Ruiz got drilled in the mouth by Tosh Jowers on the weekend, but only one.
Travis Snider was going to play every day upon his recall, remember? That’s what teams that are dead in the water, standings-wise, do with their top kids. But now Snider is sitting against lefties again.
Evidently, Cito Gaston is ignoring the entreaties from those above him, and I’m not sure why. It’s not as though it honestly matters whether the Blue Jays win 65 games or 70 – certainly not as much as it matters that Snider and Ruiz get some quality at-bats, Adam Lind gets some work in the outfield, and Millar gets some work on his cheering from the bench as opposed to first base.
Above all else, of course, this team is rudderless. No established direction and no permanent president to set one. It seems to a lot of fans as though ownership doesn’t care, so why should they?
I found out something today that I didn’t know about Randy Ruiz, and it gives a hint, perhaps, as to why he has led such a nomadic existence in professional ball – working in what’s now his 9th organization. In his minor league days, Ruiz was twice suspended for steroid use. I report this not as any sort of condemnation of Ruiz in particular – I think he was just unfortunate to get caught, as opposed to being the only one doing any kind of bad stuff – but just because it was something I didn’t know (or had forgotten), so I thought you might want to know, too.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
And, since I owe you one, here’s Tuesday night’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Tomorrow, remember to tune in to Baseball Today at noon Eastern – Shi Davidi and I double-teamed Justin Morneau, and you’ll hear that interview. Also, Twins’ beat writer Kelly Thieser of mlb.com will join me. It’s the penultimate edition of The Baseball Today, and Friday’s finale will feature A.L. Should-Be-MVP Joe Mauer along with a talk with Justin Huber about baseball down under and Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!