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:

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And, since I owe you one, here’s Tuesday night’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:

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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!

116 Responses to “Nobody Wants To See This Mess”
  1. 1.

    Hey Mike,

    In case I don’t write in again before the season is done, just wanted to thank you for a great and entertaining season of the Jays Talk and all your work with the blog! A few quick questions while I’m at it.

    1) You’ve been recommending that the Jays go out and get Chone Figgins, which I agree would be a great move. It does seem though that every other team would probably want Figgins too. Any reason why the Jays should have more than a 1 in 30 chance at landing him?

    2) Hindsight being 20/20 of course, does the Jose Bautista for Robinson Diaz trade look like a bad move today?

    3) On the subject of catchers, I read today that the Rays may non-tender or look to trade Dioner Novarro in the off-season. Do you think he’s someone the Jays should look into?

    MW: 1 – The Blue Jays have an advantage over some suitors because Figgins is a Cito Gaston fan and because they would make him their everyday leadoff man, which is what he’d want. 2 – It certainly doesn’t look like a bad move (Diaz had an unimpressive season at AAA with the Pirates), but given that the Jays spent $2.4 million on Bautista this year for a decent bat against lefties, it doesn’t look like a good move, either. 3 – He might be worth a cheap look, but he’s nothing special defensively and two of his last three years with the bat have just been awful.

    - Bret
  2. 2.

    Mike,

    I’m wondering if by now even you must objectively admit that this is now the lowest point in Blue Jays history and that over the last 7 years JP Riccardi has failed in the majority of the elements expected of a successful GM. Granted not all of it is his own fault but he has been the GM and must stand by his actions. It’s time for a change Mike. Surely even you as a fan/commentator/observer of the Blue Jays must see this. JP’s only saving grace (and his defenders such as you) the last few years is that the Blue Jays have glossed over their overall failure at playing a meaningful game in September…(and by meaningful I mean where they are within 2 or 3 games of a wildcard midway through the month…) by coming on strong in the last month or so to make it at least respectful and basically padding their stats and getting people to say oh wow their on the right track. The fact is they aren’t on the right track. 12,000 fans for Halladay. It’s pretty dad and disheartening.
    Cory

    MW: It’s amazing to me how many people lump all these last few years in together. The fact of the matter – the actual fact of the matter – is that for two years (2007 and 2008) the Blue Jays had the best pitching and best defense in the major leagues, and didn’t win with it. To me, that’s no small achievement. They most certainly were on the right track, but right now, they’re not on any track, and it comes from the top, well above Ricciardi.

    - Cory
  3. 3.

    Hi Mike,

    I’m really enjoying the show at noon, it’s nice to hear baseball being focussed on for a full hour straight!

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Snider and Ruiz. If the Jays are really looking forward to next year, these 2 would be in the lineup every day.

    Also, another thought crossed my mind today. If the Jays won’t resign Scutaro (especially if they get draft picks for not doing so as compensation), why not try Joe Inglett at Shortstop. I know he is more suited for 2B or 3B, but then again before this year I never pictured Scutaro as a full-time SS. I thought it would be worth a try giving Inglett some time at SS, as if it worked out, the Jays could bat him leadoff again next year (since he batted well in that spot last season).

    MW: It’s not worth giving Inglett a try at shortstop.

    - Jeff
  4. 4.

    I don’t get it either.

    Its bad enough when the team looks bad, and there’s a reason its bad. Like if you were looking for ways to make it better. Here we appear to be looking to make the whole thing look worse than it is, if that’s possible.

    Could some reporter ask J.P., politely, why he can’t convince Cito to play Snider every day? Exactly when is he supposed to sink his teeth into lefty pitching? Lind seems to manage just fine, and he’s about 24 isn’t he?

    It’s a little frustrating.
    And no, I wouldnn’t pay to watch this fiasco anymore either.

    MW: J.P. would say that the manager makes the in-game decisions. He can’t control Cito.

    - Greg W
  5. 5.

    As always, you are right on the money. That crowd was awful. I watched the game form the confines of home and it was a wonderful game. My favourites are always the pitcher’s duels.

    One thing I noticed that doesn’t happen to often, is that Adam Lind was a ghost in this one, not knocking him, and that will happen from time to time. That was the main ingredient in yet another perfect loss ofr Halladay. The combination of events, (1 for 7 RISP, getting the lead-off batter on in 4 of the first 5 innings while not cashing him in and an inning extending error by Scutaro) was a recipe for disaster.

    Kudos to Johnny Mac for yet again showing us what a real teammate should be. He should follow Halladay and be his personal shortstop.

    Halladay is THE greatest pitcher ever to put on a Jays uniform and will be sorely missed.

    Just a question. What is that little thing that the players (Lind, Scutaro, Wells, etc.) are wearing on their thumbs at the bat and what are it’s adavantages?

    Keep up the good work, it is very appreciated to hear a stable voice in these troubling times for the most underappreciated team in the league.

    MW: Thanks. They were actually 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position last night. The little thing that some guys wear on their thumbs at bat is a little foam shock absorber.

    - T.J.
  6. 6.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s terribly frustrating to watch the team lose every other day (at least) and not even give the kids a chance. I hope that management will come to the realization that if the don’t field a competitive team soon, the seats will only get emptier next year(at least that’s what I think).
    Dopirak is the guy I especially don’t understand why they don’t bring up. He has hit at every level and he’s not that young, that the risk of having him fail and then lose confidence, is that great.

    - Steve from NJ
  7. 7.

    Hi Mike,

    I was one of the 11,159 tonight. Highlight for me was watching John MacDonald make a couple of his routine amazing plays. Why won’t they play him at third when Hill comes back? I know he doesn’t have the most productive bat, but neither does the guy they’re playing there everyday and MacDonald’s defense is definitely better.

    MW: It’s true, McDonald has been outhitting Encarnacion lately, but Edwin’s bat has been far, far better historically. It’s a ton of fun to watch Johnny Mac play, no question, but he shouldn’t be starting at third.

    - Shawn
  8. 8.

    It is absolutely obscene that I envy Pirates fan, in the midst of watching a record 17th consecutive losing season, because their team actually has a plan in place.

    I hate to fall into absolutes, but I firmly believe that there is only one way to sell any sport: hope. You either sell the hope that you will be competitive now, or you sell the hope that at some point in the future, things will get better.

    Obviously, at this point in a painfully bad season, the Jays need to start selling hope for the future. Maybe that’s hope for next year, or 2 years, or 5. . .

    To sell the fans of this team a bad club now while at the same time keeping us in the dark about even the most immediate future tells me that this organization has the lost the plot.

    Until there is a clear statement of what there is to hope for from this team (whether that’s a bigger payroll or a young team for the future) I don’t think anybody should be surprised to see abysmal crowds like today’s.

    Also, is Cito seriously living some kind of self-made Kurtzian nightmare right before our very eyes? Who is going to bring this once proud Captain back into the fold?

    Man, I hate feeling reactionary, but, seriously, I can’t think of another reaction I might possible have right now.

    - Branden
  9. 9.

    Well tonight was my first Blue Jay game at the Rogers Centre. With the sparse crowd and Pavano and Cabrera starring in the game for the Twins, the game had an eerie Expos feel to it…

    Interesting…I mentioned to one of the ushers that the losses in September would be somewhat palatable if the Jays were showcasing some young positional players. My comments echoed yours…

    - Steve
  10. 10.

    Cito to fans:

    “In order to get back to where we’re going we certainly need our fans out here. We need their support, hopefully they’ll realize that and come out and support us.”

    Fans to Cito:

    “In order to get back to where we want to be, you need to stop hitting Kevin Millar 4th, and start giving the team a chance to see what they’ve got for next year.”

    It appears we’re at an impasse. And to think I always assumed that good players won games. All this time it’s actually been magical feel-good waves, incidentally caused by large groups of fans doing the wave.

    - Branden
  11. 11.

    Hey Mike,

    Smallest attendance in history . . . the Jays are slowly inching toward slipping down that Montreal Expos-style slope.

    I remember going to see McGwire during his last season in 2001 and there were 8,000 at the Big Owe for the Cardinals, the biggest crowd of the homestand. The guy at the beer stand in my section probably sold three cases of Molson Export all night. (A far cry from the Expos glory days when they served O’Keefe.)

    I imagine some of the Rogers Centre vendors who rely on tips are going home more and more disappointed these days.

    MW: Before we start getting all Exposy, as so many people can’t seem to wait to do, let’s remember two things: A – the Blue Jays will make more money from tickets this year than they did last year, and 2 – this wasn’t the smallest attendance in history, just in the history of the Dome.

    - Ken Pagan
  12. 12.

    does anyone else get the feeling that cito is trying to sink the team so as to assure jp firing? I think he’s doin it out of benevolence to the fans …his way of taking things into his own hands to change the direction of the team. He’s no moron cito, i he must be aware of the fact that millar/bautista/mcd etc.. arent major leaguers

    MW: No, I don’t think that’s the case at all.

    - jp
  13. 13.

    Well, to anyone that thinks Wilner is a jays apologist, please refer to this wrap up by Mike. It was harsh, critical, unforgiving, and unfortunately absolutely dead on true.

    Rudderless is too good to describe this ship. This ship is sinking to borrow a term from an old Jay.

    On to my question. How long after seasons official end, do u suspect it will take before the jays hire a new president? november? spring? next summer?

    i have an idea…just ask JP to be both president and GM for one year…you are already paying him…and then let him walk for two drafts picks.

    MW: I’m sure that won’t happen. I would hope that a new president would be in place by the end of the World Series.

    - General Zod
  14. 14.

    Hi Mike,
    Haven’t posted in a while, been on the road with the family. The attendance sounds dire….Roy obviously has no pulling power. Or the fan base in Toronto is so apathetic, they just don’t care.

    I went to a San Francisco Giants game in San Fran last night (AT and T Park). What an amazing experience. Awesome ballpark, great banter between the players and fans in the outfield during BP and the fans were into every single pitch. The first pitch by the San Fran pitcher was a strike and the stadium erupted in cheers. I was almost frightened!

    For me, it just made my experiences at the Rogers Centre this summer seem incredibly empty.

    Would a beautiful new ballpark help attendance in Toronto? In the short term because Torontonians like trendy things…but they’d soon get bored. Only a consistent winning team will bring the fans back….and even that may take a year or so.

    I think next years attendance is going to be scary.

    MW: I don’t even think that with a consistent winning (and by winning I’ll take it you mean contending – this has been a consistent winning team for years) team the fans will come back to the levels they were in the glory days.

    - OzRob
  15. 15.

    Hey Mike,

    Your mild rant regarding how Cito is handling the September playing time (Ruiz and Snider) has merit, since these decisions will impact those players’ ability to make an on-field impact heading into next season.

    However . . . the point about being rudderless without a full-time president. . . . the Jays need to make a splash and change the atmosphere around the team.

    This will only happen when the general manager is dismissed. In my opinion, that is the primary reason for the general feeling of indifference toward the Blue Jays and that “blah” feeling toward all things Blue Jays extends beyond the CIty of Toronto. It is nationwide. You’re working inside baseball, you’d have a better idea than most if that “blah” feeling toward the Blue Jays is growing inside the industry as well.

    People want to love the Blue Jays and they want the team to do well. . Installing a new general manager is one way to turn around that growing feeling of indifference.

    MW: I don’t agree. It would be good for optics and PR to replace the GM whether there’s a new president installed or not, but that’s all it would be good for.

    - Ken Pagan
  16. 16.

    Hey Mike whats the trade value of Scott Downs?

    As I see it I know he is a great setup man and can close but we have Accardo being yanked around who had 30 saves in 07! I would actually rather see Downs moved and have Accardo step into either a closing role or setting up for League (I pray every night he could be consistent) or Frasor.

    MW: Downs doesn’t have a ton of trade value. He’s the kind of guy who everyone could use, but for whom no one wants to pay a lot.

    - Sleepy
  17. 17.

    very well spoken Mike. It’s refreshing to hear someone in the media as frustrated as the fans. Because of the great start, i’m sure the rest of the season may appear a little worse than usual but, this has gone from bad to ridiculous.
    Really enjoy your blog, you’re one of the best in baseball.

    MW: Thank you! I don’t think it’s as bad as you think, though.

    - Jamie
  18. 18.

    I can see why Jay fans are staying away…. as you said… what is Cito doing with this teams roster. First it was Rios and Wells batting 3-4 at the start of the season. His Kevin Millar love affair is unfathomable … not playing Snider everyday, even though Cito said he would. Taking forever to call-up Ruiz and now not playing him. His season long lack of using pinch-hitters. Sending down Accardo and rarely using Jason Frasor but loves Carlson.
    Cito is horrible and hopefully won’t be back… but I bet he will be.

    MW: Of course he will be, he’s bulletproof. He’s the only thing the casual fans have to hold on to.

    - Kelly Pfeiffer
  19. 19.

    Is there a rational reason why the JaysTalk can’t be available for download each morning via podcast? Baseball Today was the greatest thing to happen to my commute since I bought my IPod, so I just thought I’d leave a suggestion that I’m sure many already have. Thanks for the show this summer, it’s been fantastic, and I really hope the Fan does it again next year.

    MW: I really don’t know the answer to that.

    - Ari
  20. 20.

    Maybe the reason for the smallest crowd in history, is that finally even the diehard fans have given up.

    Maybe they are sick to death of watching a team that puts out line ups that are beyond belief. Or maybe they are sick to death of watching Millar do nothing, while Ruiz sits on the bench.

    Or maybe they gave up, when the only hope was to see the kids brought up when the rosters expanded. But again the powers that be, decided that no one down there on the farm was worth bringing up. Oh of course, there is one player, that does nothing but travel back and forth, and that would be Accardo. Of course, he has one of the better ERA’s on the team, so certainly he should be down in the minors.

    Who is running this team? It certainly can’t be anyone that has any kind of clue about baseball. Is management trying to end the season in last place? That is the only excuse that I can see for these past 3 months.

    Then what would be the point of getting a better draft pick, when they don’t sign the ones they got this year?

    Then today that we learn that Halladay who is still on the cusp of CY contention, is having his starts backed up so that he can pitch against the Yankees. Did anyone ever consider that maybe just for once, he doesn’t want to be the guy that pitches against the Yankees. Did anyone consider that maybe they should try and give him a couple of easy games. I mean after all, Cliff Lee, certainly got enough easy games to help him win the CY.

    Where is Beeston in all this mess? He should be ashamed. He was hired to find a president and all these months later, there is still no one. JP is a lame duck, there is no president, the owner has died, and not a single person has stood up and made any effort to explain to fans where and what the plan is.

    That is why there was only 11,000 there tonight. And I am willing to bet they will set a couple more “attendance records” before the end of this season.

    Sorry about the rant, but I am one of those long, long time fans that have stuck with the team even when they were really lousy. But for the first time in Jays history, I am turning off the TV because I just can’t take it anymore.

    - sandy
  21. 21.

    Hello Mike

    I am enjoying your baseball today version, especially when you have players interviewed. It is neat to hear the inside story of players, their interest and point of view.

    I agree on your comment regarding the Jays being rudderless. Even JP seemed to be in never never land in the last 30 days.

    I totally do not understand why Ruiz, Snider are not playing regularly and why Dopirak, Castro are not here with the club. The season is done, Millar and Inglet has no future here, let the kids play and let’s see what they can do.

    A couple of observation on both Overbay and Wells.

    I think Overbay would do OK in teams where players behind him can bring him home. My only knock with him is that I wish he is a little more aggressive on the plate and swing at strikes in the early count as opposed to looking at them.

    As for Wells, I can see how people get on him, but consider the following – Wells, in my observation, is taking more pitches in earlier count. He also has had injuries in the past three years. He is still a very good outfielder but you no longer see those unbelievable defensive plays on a regular basis from Wells.
    I also think that he is now just a tad slower on the plate, thus making the difference between getting a hit and being out.

    Francis

    - francis
  22. 22.

    A game like this should make it clear to everyone that pursuit of a Canadian player, just because he is Canadian, is pointless and won’t be rewarded in attendance.

    Halladay, while obviously not Canadian, is as beloved as any athlete in the city could be. And the mark for lowest attendance falls on a night that he is pitching.

    Generally speaking (there are always exceptions), winning baseball teams draw fans. Individual players do not.

    - Chuck
  23. 23.

    MW: I didn’t think you were trying to be snarky – I thought you were trying to be sarcastic, and in a funny way.

    These internets can be hard places to figure out people’s intonation… :)

    Anyway, here’s a fun stat for you: John MacDonald currently has a higher OPS (.657) than Kevin Millar (.654)! Maybe Cito will throw him in the clean up spot?

    We have to find some humour in this? Right?!

    - Kevin A.
  24. 24.

    I care about as much about Ruiz’s steroid use as I do Millar having been a replacement player of some kind back in ’95 and subsequently not being in the union.

    I really hope Cito is gone after this year. He’s fine with a contending team but seems lost when its a team like we have now, retooling/rebuilding. Its not exactly rocket science that Snider and Ruiz et al should be getting more at bats than Millar, Bautista, and even Johnny Mac. You work for the Toronto Blue Jays, do what’s best for the organization, which does not include giving outfield ABs to a 34 year old career infielder/utilityman and does not include batting some rapidly aging good guy in your cleanup spot. Millar could never, at any point in his career, be considered a cleanup hitter. It’s just sheer lunacy. Either that or Cito just doesn’t give a flying crap anymore.

    - Sean in Lethbridge
  25. 25.

    Talk about rock bottom both in the clubhouse and in the stands. I won’t say on the field as this was a very good pitchers’ dual with some great defence to boot, all in all a good game to watch.

    However, in all the games I have been to, prior to last nights, I have never felt the Jays organization were in as much trouble as they are right now.

    Questions I ask myself;

    What is the sense behind JP bringing up these kids just to have Cito have them sit and watch games from the dugout?

    Why is it taking so damn long for the Jays to find a new president and get some direction going here?

    Most importantly, Why did the Jays ever bring back Cito? That question has had me bewildered beyond belief since day one!

    The best pitcher in the American League, arguably all of MLB is starting for the home team and less than 12k in the stands to watch him! Regardless of the home teams play of late, if your an MLB fan and you appreciate what Doc does on the mound game in and game out, you show. Albeit it is tough to spend hard earned dough on your team when they are playing like they have been of late.

    Most importantly, and as I have asked before, why does the media give Cito such a free ride in Toronto and bash the hell out of JP? He (JP) built the ship but the organization forgot to add the helmsman to steer it.

    Slumps and poor play happen to the best of teams. The Red Sox of late have been a prime example. However, they managed or rather they have been managed properly so as not to fall right out of the playoff picture.

    Citos’ comments to the media after the game with regard to the fans not showing up and how the Jays need the support was hillarious if not idiotic!

    Stating he doesn’t understand it – “we’re still the same team, the same guys that were hitting are still the same guys, and the guys who aren’t hitting are still the same guys”! How friggin funny is that.

    DUH, da ya think maybe that’s why Cito! You still have the same team out on the field night after night, the same guys who aren’t hitting night after night. Get off your butt once in a while,earn your keep and let’s see the future playing night after night. Afterall what else do you have to play for right now at this time of the season. It’s a joke and I have no idea how Cito and his choice of staff get away with it day after day.

    There is far too much misdirected loyalty amongst the Jays brass. Otherwise, why else would Cito be back for another long and agonizing season in 2010. I don’t see the Jays spending anything in the off-season to right this ship! Why would you spend big dollars to build a ship and keep the same captain that had a hand in sinking the one you have now?

    I am a Bo-Sox fan for certain. However, I hate to see this happening to a team like the Jays over the last 3 years or so. A team with the right guy managing that should have been contending for the playoffs or at the very least been playing meaningful games in September!

    It’s an on-going sad story for what I always considered to be a class organization. On second thought. I guess that’s the biggest reason for less than 12k at the ballyard last night.

    Thanks Mike and congrats on a successful first year with your noon hour baseball show. At least your doing what it takes to keep up your part of the best game in town.

    - Bob (from Burlington)
  26. 26.

    Hey Mike

    “even the craptacular squads the bluejays fielded in ugly seasons such as 95, 96, 97 and 04″

    At least back in the mid 90′s, the team was coming off some very successful years, which i believe is why the fans still showed up. The current attendance issues are the result of 1) a lousy season, and 2) 15 years of non contention. This is why i chirp so much about getting rid of Riccardi and bringing in someone who isn’t afraid to make some big gambles and get this team into contention.

    If management decides to trim payroll, and Halliday gets dealt, then the team goes in the tank, i’ll bet the team will average around 15000 fans/game and may eventually even fold in the next decade, which would be a huge loss for baseball fans in Ontario.

    I don’t expect the team to be contending every september, but 15 years is absolutley ridiculous and JP needs to be held accountable.

    MW: You want someone who isn’t afraid to make big gambles? What do you call Ryan, Burnett, Thomas, Wells, Rios and Hill?

    - Rick
  27. 27.

    Hi Mike,

    This has become frustrating to watch as a fan. I can put up with losing when it looks like there is a plan in place such as playing Ruiz and Snider (and other prospects). Evaluating players that could help you win in the future makes more sense to me than losing with the same bunch of losers you’ve been losing with for the past 3+ months. How can anyone think that it is a good idea to wait until spring training (only 6 months away!) to figure out what you have with Snider, et al? I’m getting past the point of reasonable and rational. I’m moving towards ambivilant and I really don’t think that is a good thing for this team.

    - Chris
  28. 28.

    Mike, I sent you an e-mail the other day asking why as a fan I should care about the rest of teh Jays’ season when the club seemed to have given up and the players were mailing it in. You replied that “the club still cares.”

    Hmmmm. The evidence sure suggests otherwise. But that aside, I look at things from a fan’s perspective, and my sense of the situation is that I’m certainly not the only one who’s said to heck with ‘em. Last night’s “crowd” of 11,000+ at the Roger’s Centre is proof of that. I fear you’re a bit too close to the ball team to understand or see the harm that’s being done to the Blue Jays brand and to fan loyalties these days. They aren’t making it easy to care . . . or to have hope that 2010 will be anything but a repeat of 2009.

    I’d have thought the Roger’s bean counters and corporate high foreheads would have figured out that bening neglect is killing the franchise. It’s sad, but true.

    MW: The guys on the field still care, without question. Bening neglect? Isn’t that up to Warren Beatty?

    - ken in kingston
  29. 29.

    Mike,
    I dont know if you did it on purpose – but it is Josh Towers! not Tosh Jowers! haha.
    Ok, regarding this brutally frustrating season – if you had to break it down as to why the fans aren’t showing up, how would you break it down? From the blog above you made it seem like Cito’s line up and the lack of call ups, along with the bad season are the main reasons fans didn’t show up. If I had to break it down it would be:
    Fans fed up with the regime – 60%
    Bad Season – 30%
    Call ups/line up – 10%

    Last question – at this point why don’t the Jays go out there and literally give tickets to children organizations, little leagues, students, etc. The young fan base is not supporting the team nor have they grown up watching a winner. In Hockey we see Florida and Dallas do unique ticket give aways to get new fans into the seats.

    MW: I don’t know what the Jays do as far as outreach to children’s organizations, but I don’t think they give too many tickets away. They probably should. I would say it’s: bad season – 50%, overwhelming negativity towards franchise – 30%, fed up with JP – 18%, call-ups/line-ups 2%.

    - Ro
  30. 30.

    You’re right, the fans’ disinterest is tied to the rudderless appearance of the organization. No one is standing up to identify the problems with the team and how they might be fixed. Be it Cito, J.P., an assistant G.M. or the president, no one has even stated for instance that we need to address the lack of offensive production or we need to have a more versatile bench or more power arms in the pen. Fans have to sense that there is someone, anyone, who has a plan to overcome this team’s deficiencies.

    And by the way, Cito should wake up and realize that this team is not going anywhere next season without Travis Snider batting everyday between the 4th and 6th spot.

    - Will, Oshawa
  31. 31.

    Hi Mike,

    I was one of the fans who didn’t show up last night. For about 20 years now I’ve been part of a group that has season tickets. I go to 20-25 games a year, spending north of $2,000 at the ball park. No more. The breaking point for me was when the Jays dumped Rolen and Rios, advising fans that the team intended to re-invest elsewhere, then — IN THE VERY NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS! — failed to sign three of its top draft picks, including prized Canadian lefty James Paxton.

    Rogers — and make no mistake this mess is their mess now –
    didn’t do anything last winter. If they don’t do anything again this off-season, and I have to watch the likes of Raul Chavez and Edwin Encarnacion
    on a daily basis, I’m out of here.

    MW: I can almost guarantee that the Jays will do plenty this winter. I don’t know which way they’ll go, but they have to do something big.

    - steve
  32. 32.

    Just noticing the Jays record versus Baker. Hill and Inglett have the best records. Inglett injured (still?), and Hill on family time. That’s an apt description of the Jays lately!!

    BTW, any chance they’ll give Hill the rest of the season off (or at least several days off)? The rest from the concussion last year may have helped him this year. That would give Johnny Mac and Mighty Joe time at second base (and anybody else like EE, Bautista, Randy Ruiz). OK the last one was kinda silly.

    Steve

    MW: No Blue Jay had more than 11 plate appearances against Baker going into today’s game (and Inglett only had THREE), so you can put exactly zero stock into those numbers. Hill will be back tomorrow, and I’d be surprised if he gets more than two days off the rest of the way.

    - Steve
  33. 33.

    Hello Mike, couple of things I want to touch on. First, Cito has been getting the free pass I guess you could say & you have been his loudest critic. I disagree with your harsh comments most times, think you are far too hard on him & think you don’t defend him enough. Funny you were the opposite with Gibbons when he was here. In professional sports, not just in baseball, if a manager or athlete leads the team to multiply championships, he will be given a longer leach with his sub par performance & rightfully so. If Vernon Wells lead the Jays to a couple of World Series wins, fans would get behind him & try to encourage him out of his slump. A prime example is David Ortiz. He was horrible the first third of the season & did Red Sox fans boo him?..No. Pretty much the opposite…Now, if the Red Sox had not won their last two World Series, Ortiz for sure would of gotten the same treatment as Wells. So, bringing the team to the promise land does reward the player/manager I guess a soft spot among fans in that city. I think rightfully so & they earned it.

    Second, I’m not the Johnny Mac fan as most but I don’t think not enough has been said how he has been such an amazing citizen & unselfish teammate being on the bench, playing only like 10% of games, being utilized as mainly a pinch runner & not saying anything. He signed a two year contract & thought he was gonna be the regular second baseman but they got David Ekstein last year & I thought he got the shaft. He didn’t say a word. With the wildcard being out of reach, Cito has put him in the lineup a lot more & rightfully so. This is why players like playing for Cito & all players will tell you that. So, just want to give props & kudos to Johnny Mac for his no “I” in team mentality. I doubt he would want to come back next year playing in as few games but he is always welcome to play on my team any year. Thanx Mike & keep up the good work.

    MW: First – you’re exactly right about the Wells/Ortiz thing, but I’m not sure it should carry over to Cito. He earned that soft spot, no doubt, but used a lot of it up between 1994 and 1997. Second – Mac never thought he’d be an everyday player, but he thought he’d get a chance to be one (at short, not second). I’m not sure as many players like playing for Cito as you think.

    - david F
  34. 34.

    michael,
    i was down there last night….
    it’s funny. as i was sitting there taking in the ambience of the evening i thought to myself, man this is one incredibly small gathering tonite.
    but had no idea until i heard jerry say it right at the conclusion of the game that it was the smallest crowd in the history of our retractable dome.
    it actually never occurred to me that that might be the case i have to admit.
    but i should have known actually.
    they announced it at around 11+ but i have to tell you michael, i took 2-3 minutes & did a quick head count myself. i had it at just around 2900 or so.
    they must be still calculating paid attendance i’m assuming.
    btw, that was me that waved up to you from section 118 in the 5th inning. i thought you waved back. i was wearing the green shirt & black shorts. you said something back to me as well but i couldn’t quite hear you michael.
    did you say, what are you doing here or get me a beer?

    MW: I didn’t wave out of the booth or say anything to anybody last night. Sorry, that wasn’t me.

    - darrell bishop
  35. 35.

    You know why Doc lost last nite?
    He was jinxed by theTV commentators.They kept on saying before the game even started that the Ywins would probably not gain any ground on the Tigers because “Halladay is pitching”

    MW: Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

    - abdur R.Jalalzai
  36. 36.

    Mike Hogan brought up the topic of the low attendance and if the Jays are turning into the Montreal Expos. I think it is an issue that being at a Jays game is not “the thing” to be seen at like it was back in the late 80′s early 90′s and what Leaf games have turned into.

    Paul Beeston said it best on the morning show, that there are Toronto fans and they will come out, but there needs to be a contender on the field.

    This has been a lethargic team, and it has turned into a lethargic fan base. The reasons to go watch games (Snider, Ruiz, other younger players) aren’t getting consistent playing time, so why go watch Millar and Bautista with there .225 BAs play more.

    Hopefully the ownership opens the vault and spends the money wisely this offseason.

    Any update on McGowan? Would Figgins be the #1 FA priority or Jason Bay? How much will either of them be looking for in the offseason?

    MW: The latest update on McGowan is that things are looking really, really good right now but the Jays are afraid to let themselves get too optimistic. If Beeston is here, I think Bay will be the number one priority, and he turned down a multi-year offer worth $10 million per from the Red Sox this July. I don’t know how much Figgins would command, but I’d think it’d be at least a three-year deal worth $20-25 million.

    - Aaron Ker
  37. 37.

    Mike, when fans and media question some of the decisions made by Cito lately (i.e. Ruiz/Snider/Overbay not playing as much while Millar/Bautista/Inglet get more playing time; Millar batting cleanup, etc.) why don’t we get any follow-up? Cito seems to have short post-game interviews so why doesn’t anyone ask him these questions? And if asked, what are his responses?

    The only thing I’m not thrilled about with Cito is his loyalty to players despite the fact they are not producing. It serves no purpose in my mind because it indirectly rewards a player for not producing (overall or in a role) or a player has no consequences for not producing. I have no problems with Cito giving roles to players so they know where they stand (i.e. Wells hitting 4th, League being used in close ballgames, Millar being the platoon DH/1B, etc.) but when they keep failing in those roles, the role should change as soon as possible.

    MW: In those short post-game interviews that we air on The JaysTalk, Cito is generally just there with one or two electronic media reporters. There tends not to be a lot of consistency with who is there and so the questions tend not to be too hard-hitting. After that, Cito goes to his office to sit down with the writers and the tougher questions tend to be asked there, if they’re asked at all.

    - Joachim
  38. 38.

    Could it possibly be that Cito Gaston has NO idea what he is doing?

    I can’t believe some of the lineups he throws out there.

    They make no sense whatsoever
    and what is it with his “love affair” with Kevin Millar…Millar seems like a really nice guy and all but, batting CLEANUP?

    Travis Snyder should be playing every day and so should Randy Ruiz…As for Gaston ignoring the orders from on high, methinks Gaston believes he is a much better judge of baseball talent then the suits..No wonder the Jays are a mess. The blind leading the blind….

    - Doug
  39. 39.

    Hello Mike,

    a few comments about your post, which I agree with wholeheartedly.

    I am, as you put it, one of the dyingest of die-hards – been a fan since about 1986 (born in 1978) and follow the Jays quite religiously. I seriously cannot imagine not being a Jays fan, as nothing has turned me off before. But really, this situation is trying my patience. I actually don’t care about the losing very much, my beloved Jays have been bad before. But, for heaven’s sake, TRY to make it entertaining, and try to give the fans something to be excited about. There is no excuse to continue to play Millar, and no excuse to not bring up someone like Dopirak (if nothing else, just to potentially see if you have a cheaper option than Overbay next year) . What is the message they are trying to get across to the young guys:
    “Come to the game prepared, be a good guy and play like absolute garbage, and we’ll put you in the clean-up spot. Hit well and maybe we’ll play you half the time.”
    So what if Ruiz strikes out a lot, he has an OBP of close to .380 – let’s see, the highest on the team. Didn’t JP used to like that?

    I read something about Cito asking for more fans. Cito – and this is unequivocally true – more fans would come if you didn’t play horrible (yes, horrible, it is true) players like Millar. As an added bonus, you would likely win more games, because anyone is better than him this year.

    I thought we had had enough of this last year with Mench and Wilkerson and so on. Wake up Jays, everyone knows now, more than any time in recent memory, that this is a young players game – both performance-wise and salary-wise.

    I must say I am somewhat glad that so little fans came. Vote with your wallets and feet. Something needs to change to get this team back in the right direction.

    Thanks Mike!

    - Rory
  40. 40.

    The attendence was sad to see. I personally would be at every game if I were living in the Toronto area.

    I am hearing that a lot of people are blaming the GM for the performance of the team. I am one of the seemingly few who don’t dislike him and think he’s doing a reasonable job. People are down on Wells and his deal, but wasn’t it a signing that was dictated from above? I don’t know if he’s a good GM or a bad one. I do remember the previous GM. Anyone is better than him, but he set the bar pretty low for me.

    Millar playing way more than he should and Snider not as much, may be due to Cito being a bad manager. He seems to be living up to his reputation of choosing vets over young guys, with the exception of Lind.
    Frasor for most of the season was like Timlin all over again.

    MW: Frasor was like Timlin all over again?

    - Erica
  41. 41.

    Mike.

    I was at the game last night, and while I always enjoy myself at a Jays game, it was disappointing and disheartening to see only 11,159 in attendance with Roy Halladay, the best pitcher in all of MLB on the mound. I thought he pitched very well last night, once again the offence gave him little to no support. Once again, another retread pitcher looked like Cy Young, Paul Byrd 2 weeks ago, Carl Pavano last night. I really hope we’ll get better attendance for the Baltimore and Seattle series to end the season. But, based on last night, I’m not holding my breath. But I’ll be there for one last game this season, you can count on me. Thanks Mike.

    Peter, St.Catharines

    - Peter
  42. 42.

    Mike, your comments in this blog would seem to suggest that you are getting as frustrated with this team as most Blue Jay “fans” already are. I think your term “rudderless” is appropos for both the team and its management. It’s sad to see and unless there is a major change in direction and thinking, the people will not come to the games. I can’t believe management is oblivious to the fans’ disenchancement but they have done little or nothing to change that image. Wait until next year wears thin when it has been 16 years since this team has been in post-season play-winning 80 to 85 games is “nice” but it’s being in the play-offs that matters to most fans. Nobody remembers who finished second!!

    MW: The problem is that, unless the Jays start spending with the big boys – top 5 in the league and such – the post-season thing is always going to be an issue no matter who is in charge.

    - Ken
  43. 43.

    Hi Mike,
    I have been wondering about something.If Vernon Wells comes back next year and performs no better than this year or even worse is there anything that would prevent the Jays from clearing him through waivers and then sending him to the minors?I know this is unlikely and they would still have to pay him his many millions but at least he would not drag the team down if he gets worse.

    MW: The thing is, because Wells has more than five years of major-league service, he can’t be sent to the minors without his permission.

    - Paul
  44. 44.

    Mike, I am fed up as a paying fan who goes to about 15-20 games a year. We need a complete overhaul at the management level. From pictures of traded/released players on the outside of the Dome to letters and numbers missing of the level of excellence all the way down to Cito’s inexplicable line ups and in game management decisions. This realy appears management doesn’t care. how in the world can you have players that haven’t been with the team serve on the outside of the buidling promoting the product. Rudderless indeed. Why again should I put my money into this team when they are dreadful to watch and they don’t even play their kids. Makes me think there is no hope.

    MW: I think the whole enormous picture on the outside of the Dome thing is a pretty significant undertaking, so I can understand that one, at least.

    - Ken
  45. 45.

    Mike

    I suppose you have a job to do, but it must be tough right now, given the indifference of most fans, and the Jays ownership. I’ve been a fan since 1984 and have to admit I’ve lost interest and not sure if it will return – and I’m not a hockey fan, so it’s not like I’m just a “between hockey seasons” Jays fan. I, like you, am completely baffled by the Jays ownership and Cito’s managing – or lack thereof. My question is, why is the ownership rudderless? Ted Rogers wasn’t that hands on, and Beeston is a very capable person, yet no one even attempts to give the fans any hope. Do you know the storyline in Mel Brooks “The Producers”? It’s almost like they’re trying to ruin this franchise.

    MW: I don’t think it’s a “Producers” thing at all (no dancing Nazis, for example), and I don’t think you really do, either. The ownership is rudderless because, I think, they don’t have a full-time president because they guy they want to be the full-time president doesn’t want the job full-time.

    - Dan
  46. 46.

    Mike, when are we going to know who the pres is going to be?

    Also, If you were the president, who would you target as your GM?

    1. Choose from any GM working or not and/or
    2. Choose from only realistic options (i.e. asst. GM’s, expiring contracts, guys working in media, not yourself ;)

    MW: Why not me? I expect a new president to be named before the end of the World Series, and I would target as GM the best guy I could find, available or not.

    - Chris
  47. 47.

    Encarnacion has really surprised me at 3rd base on the defensive side! Sure he’s not Scott Rolen but for the most part, his throws have been solid and his glove work very solid.

    - Renegade
  48. 48.

    MW: I don’t agree. It would be good for optics and PR to replace the GM whether there’s a new president installed or not, but that’s all it would be good for.

    Hey Mike,

    I understand there’s a case to make that the current GM “put together the best pitching staff and defensive team in baseball in 2008″ etc. and there are sabermetrics to defend such case.

    But there are also numerous examples of “fumbling the ball” with big-money spending that didn’t pan out, other trades/acquisitions that failed to help the team and the perception that the Roy Halladay/Alex Rios situations were bungled.

    The GM has had eight years to get something done and there just isn’t enough baseball history/tradition in Toronto to keep banking on a “wait til next year” approach like there has been for decades with the Cubs in Chicago, for example.

    The Jays need to perform on the field to turn things around and there’s no denying the perception that Ricciardi isn’t the man in charge anymore.

    MW: Certainly there isn’t, but there’s no point in firing him and bringing in a new guy who: A – the new president may not want, and 2 – won’t be able to do anything until there’s a new president anyway.

    - Ken Pagan
  49. 49.

    Hey Mike, I got a question for you. Why does it seem like you don’t like hockey fans? For example, after the last caller of today’s Jays talk said the word “ice” by mistake instead of “field” you said that “you said the word ‘ice’ so that tells me all I need to know about you”. I don’t understand why you have such an attitude towards hockey fans. Or maybe I am just imagining things?

    Thanks, and otherwise I really like your work and your show.

    MW: It’s not that I don’t like hockey fans – though it’s true, I’m not really fond of Leaf fans – it’s just that looking at the Blue Jays from a hockey perspective is going to get you in trouble. From an NHL-based perspective, grit, toughness and tenacity really matters, and mediocre teams make the playoffs with regularity. It doesn’t work that way in baseball.

    - Eli
  50. 50.

    You think Beeston would make JP sign Bay? I don’t think I could watch the team next year if that happened. There are so many higher priorities that I can’t stand to see the team waste money on yet another DH.

    MW: Bay’s not a DH, he’s a capable outfielder. But yes, I have heard that if Beeston sticks around, Bay will be a priority.

    - Torgen
  51. 51.

    michael,
    solid w today it sounds like.
    didn’t get down to the park today unfortunately.
    and very nice to see in your blog, finally an optimistic prognosis/update on our young sp mcgownan.
    him & marcum healthy & normal, needless to say would be a big part of the puzzle being solved for next yrs. squad.
    especially to save $ in that area in order to invest in others…. c, ss, dh etc…
    and no worries on my previous post re: me taking a couple of minutes to tally up the crowd last night and us waving to each other and conversing from the booth to the grandstand below. just my way of observing/commenting on how sparse the attendance was for the halladay tilt is all.
    and on that subject what did the crowd top out at today?

    MW: No matter how optimistic the current feeling on McGowan is, he won’t factor into the off-season planning. The crowd checked in at 11,461 for the series finale.

    - darrell bishop
  52. 52.

    Hey Mike

    How do you think Colorado will fare in the playoffs against the Phillies/Cardinals, Who have better rotations and better bats ? The only advantage i see the rockies holding is there defense which is outstanding but idk how guys like Del Rosa and Marquis will fare against some of the aces of the league such as Lee, Hammels, Carpenter and Wainwright.

    MW: The thing is, it’s going to be a best three out of five series. It doesn’t matter which team is better.

    - Cory
  53. 53.

    Mike: I was at Halladay’s last game. Yes the crowds are getting smaller. There is very little left to watch, I saw Thursday versus the Yankee and also Saturday’s game. Saturday’s lineup was a disgrace. Cito is a great manager when he has all the horses , but not when you have to make game decisions. How many games do you NOW thing a manager has an effect upon. Ron

    MW: Yep, it’s true. My thinking on this is beginning to change.

    - Ron Linklater
  54. 54.

    michael,
    one more…
    you know… as we watch this team play out the season, it must be very hard to comprehend to some how this ball team was the best in all of mlb for close to 2 months or more don’t you think? what’s that a third of the season, longer?
    in some people’s eyes (and by the way they’ve been playing for the last long while in particular & by the comments that i seem to consistently read & hear) it must seem the same as let’s say the pirates running the table to open the season.
    those first two months were sweet indeed weren’t they?
    i still remember back to opening day when i made the 109 win prediction for them right here on this blog.
    man… good times.
    i think i need to develop a special facetiousness “font” for this blog. it would help me greatly i do believe.
    later mr. wilner.
    and keep up the good fight….
    the finish line is clearly in sight.

    MW: I think it would help you greatly. For the first 25% of the season, the Jays were the best team in the majors. For the remaining 75%, they may well wind up the worst.

    - darrell bishop
  55. 55.

    Mike:
    Almost everyone either wants JP’s or Cito’s head on a platter(or both)….which I can understand, to a point. No one has mentioned the state of the economy, the fact that the GTA is home to hundreds of thousands of unemployed fans. They can’t come up with the resources to pay $6.00 for popcorn, $9.50 for a beer,$25.00 for parking, etc.etc. on top of admission that, in their situation, is excessive. They can do without these frills, sure,but going to a ballgame should include hot dogs and pop for the kids etc., and not a second mortgage.
    The idea of watching a second-rate (again) team helps to make up their mind….stay home and watch TV.

    MW: This team is closer to fourth-rate than second. There’s no “again”, the Jays fielded one of the best teams in the game the three years prior to this.

    - Jack
  56. 56.

    mike

    2 of those 11k who watched the game were fake umps!
    maybe its this kind of stuff where people get inspiration to go to a game.

    MW: Maybe those fake umps inspire people NOT to show!

    - TheSunkenZealot
  57. 57.

    Travis Snider dressed up as an Argo cheerleader may be the funniest thing of all-time; photographic evidence may be required!!

    - Renegade
  58. 58.

    Hey Mike. Football season starts tonight, and for the 16th straight season, I don’t have to worry about what to watch on Sundays. You are still missing the point as to what Jays fans are expecting from their team. It doesn’t have to be championships, just meaningful september games which gives hope for the next year. You do realize that JP’s record is below .500, and when you praise the pitching staff for the previous 3 years, it was Halladay, and 2 high priced free agents that were integral to that success. Basically 40 million per season for 3 pitchers. When you list the “gutsy” moves JP has made, they are all free agent signings or long term extensions to contracts. I fail to see how this is gutsy. Gutsy is trading Rios after his all star appearance, or trading Ryan to the Mets in the off season like Seattle traded them Putz. Spending money isn’t gutsy. JP showed he had no guts when he tried trading Halladay and asked teams for their best 4 prospects and 2 young major league ready players. It bordered on ludicrous. Two years ago, I mentioned to you how me and a group of friends weren’t attending any more games until JP, the embarassment that brought this once proud franchise to its lowest level, was replaced. You sighed, but I had no idea what a trend setting bunch of friends I actually had.

    MW: And I’m still sighing. Who were the two high-priced free agents in the Jays’ starting rotation the previous three years? Surely you’re not counting Ryan.

    - dave
  59. 59.

    Mike….I like all the Chone Figgins talk of Toronto being his possible home next season. But have the Angels stated at anytime that they don’t want to resign him? If he’s such an asset, wouldn’t they try hard to keep such a young talent around or does he like Cito more than Mike Sciosia?

    MW: He’s not young, he’s 31. But it’s not up to the Angels.

    - chris m.
  60. 60.

    I wouldn’t go a game if I was handed free tickets.

    MW: OK. One wonders, of course, why you’re here, then, but OK.

    - Bobby
  61. 61.

    Enough of Cito, he’s clueless…

    Hopefully the Jays will spend some money to fix this team, I still think they’re 2 or 3 hitters away from being a very good team.

    Hopefully Beasons statement that the Jays could spend 120m if he felt they had a chance is true.

    I’m a lifelong fan, and for the first time, they’re loosing me as well.

    - Kevin Daly
  62. 62.

    The big problem this season?..Beeston..In his short time here we have watched the Jays disintegrate into laughing stocks..Why is it he gets a free pass?..After all he is the president..Sure Riccardi is equally incompetent with the team he assembled- hoping Jays fans would give him a mulligan this year..

    His time here has been inconsequential..His record as GM of the Jays is now 709-721..Yea Yea the Jays play in the toughest division in baseball..Blah Blah..They also got to play the same amount of games against the used-to-be-hapless Rays and the still hapless Orioles..

    Beeston was main negotiator in the loss of 3 of our top 4 picks over what?..A stand?..If this guy is a temp then who gives a yahoo about his so called stand..Why not just doll out a few more bucks to these kids and get on with building a team?..At least its something..No real prospects are coming through this organization anytime soon..Dreadful, deeply dreadful..

    MW: Beeston gets a free pass because, as you say, he’s a temp and because of his history.

    - ray b
  63. 63.

    Hi Mike, I drove 2 hours from London to see Roy pitch last night. I figure if he gets traded in the off season at least I got to see him one last time. It really is disappointing to see such a crowd. I don’t understand it. I mean more people will spend money on Leaf tickets, and they have been worse over the years. Maybe there needs to be more grass roots work with baseball in the Toronto area?

    MW: The Jays are really up against it, perception-wise, in this city.

    - Phil R
  64. 64.

    Hey Mike, I seem to recall you asking the fans on your show to find a quote about JP’s so called “5 year plan”. This was the closest I actually managed to find. Sorry in advance if this has been posted all ready or if you’ve commented on it. I haven’t been able to skim through all the blogs or hear all the post game shows lately.
    http://torontosportsmedia.com/toronto-blue-jays-baseball/j-p-ricciardis-year-plan-fact/5587

    He’s quoted as saying…
    “realistically you’re looking at 2005″

    MW: Yes, he certainly said that. A few have beaten you to it.

    - Pramit
  65. 65.

    I used to listen often to you on the radio. 3 things really bother me.

    1. You said, bluntly, RBI’s mean nothing to you. Apparently on a team that doesn’t hit when it counts, RBI’s show that pretty well. Guys that hit in the clutch get RBIs. Someone has to knock in the guys on base. If you want OBP to mean something, then someone needs to follow that up and bring them home.

    2. You constantly reference to what Vernon “can be if he can return to form”. What form is that?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wellsve01.shtml

    Seriously… the guy has had 3 1/2 decent years, and 4 1/2 bad ones. (I say 1/2 because the one decent year he sucked until August, when the Jays were no longer relevant again.)

    3. I’m going to continue point 2 as it matters – you say OBP is a true sign of a player’s value – .380 is where it should be. Wells isn’t there. Who really is?

    You also said on today’s broadcast they can’t just get rid of the chaff and get better. I agree… but if that’s the case, who do you move to get better? Does anyone in the league care for anyone on the Jays? Unfortunately I’m afraid they have no real prospects for getting better unless they open the wallets…

    Pure and simple -

    MW: There’s no question that they need to open the wallets. I love, by the way, that you open by saying you “used to” listen to me, and then quote what I said yesterday. As to your points – guys who hit in the clutch are guys who hit not in the clutch, too. They’re the better hitters. Nobody can drive in a run without someone else having often done the majority of the work, unless he hits a home run. The number of RBIs for which a hitter is completely responsible is equal to the number of home runs he hits. Look at these two sets of numbers with runners in scoring position: .302/.362.476 and .193/.295/.300. Which one is Vernon Wells? The answer – BOTH. The first one was the 2008 Vernon and the second is this year. But he can’t hit in the clutch, right? And let’s look at Wells’ career using the link you provided. If you look, you’ll see that in five of his eight seasons as a regular (from 2002 on), Wells has had an OPS+ of over 100, and only twice has his OPS+ been below 96. In three of his eight seasons, his production has been over 20% better than the average major-leaguer. I don’t see the 4 1/2 bad seasons. I see two. One of which he spent playing with one arm. As for the .380 thing, you’re right, that’s where I want a guy’s OBP to be. But the major-league average is about .333, so if you get three guys on one team at .380 or better, you’re doing awfully well.

    - Patrick
  66. 66.

    Michael,

    I’m as confused as you are by the decisions Cito makes in regards to Kevin Millar, Travis Snider, etc… It seems like Snider is this year’s Shawn Green.

    I hope that when/if JP is replaced the move also allows for a new manager to come in. Cito seems like a decent person but I’d rather have a manager with a little more acumen, especially in the AL EAST where every win is crucial.

    On that note, did you ever get the chance to ask Alan Ashby about Larry Dirker? I mentioned it to you many blog posts back and you said you’d ask him.

    Thanks.

    MW: I never did, I’m sorry. I think Cito is bulletproof right now, but it all depends on the new president.

    - Uncle Ben
  67. 67.

    Hi Mike,
    I agree with you. I think if we were contending, we still wouldn’t fill the place. The question is why not?

    I have no idea how any of thus stuff really works, because I have never met a professional player, but do moribund crowds, a dingy stadium, and a foreign country really turn them off on a team? It wasn’t an issue 20 years ago, but those were different times.

    I just wonder if the Jays are going to find it hard getting the Chone Figgins etc. to even come here.

    MW: It almost always depends simply on the money.

    - OzRob
  68. 68.

    thing look really bad for the jays right now, what do you think the priority of the organisation should be, a team with no pres, significant holes to fill (3b, rf,dh, catcher, shortstop), fa (a tricky one in scutaro) to sign and not sign? and why do you think that fan levels wont be back as in the past if the jays keep contending or even winning a ring?

    MW: I think the glory days provided the perfect storm. New stadium, team on the rise, four division titles in the first five years of SkyDome. I don’t think we’ll ever see four million again. The priority has to be installing a full-time, permanent president.

    - nick
  69. 69.

    My suspicion is that Beeston was at least considering taking the job on full-time, because I cannot otherwise explain why it’s taken him so long to find his replacement.

    As for Cito Gaston, I’ll do for him what you, Mike, do for Ricciardi. And that is try to bring a little perspective into this discussion. This time last year the Jays were finishing strong and had a 10-game winning streak under their collective belt. The Jays did extremely well after he took over last season and did very well at the beginning of this season. Everyone was all ‘Cito Gaston Is Da Man!!’ Now we’re calling for his head. Last year, Mike, you said that the manager wasn’t responsible for how well the team plays on the field. Now you’re saying you’re changing your mind about that. Gaston has not altered his management style. If he’s responsible for the losses, then he’s responsible for the wins as well. If the team’s lousy play is down to him and his inexplicable decisions, then the team’s amazing play is down to him and his inexplicable decisions. You can’t have it both ways.

    MW: You’re absolutely correct, none of us can have it both ways. I don’t believe Cito is responsible for the losses, just like I didn’t believe he was responsible for the wins. But, and you can check back in the archives of this blog all the way back to last June and going forth, I have never believed that Gaston has generally made the moves that put his team in the best position to win, win or lose.

    - isabella reyes
  70. 70.

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your insight into the Jays. I enjoy your comments and the careful thought that you put into your answers. This is my first time for this as I usually sit back and just take it all in. While attendance is down and the season is over, I think back to the good old days when we were winning World Series. Then Cito is let go and he pulls the race card. Nobody wants him as GM and he doesn’t understand why.
    ANSWER
    1. He may be the best at managing egos but he lacks desperately in smart baseball moves. Even when we won he was way over managed by the opposition
    2. He lacks the ability to motivate his leaders. If they aren’t self-motivated like Rolin was, they end up like Rios and Wells. How can a player say that he is working hard when he refuses to run out a play that he thinks he is out on. Wells has done this all season and until the other night Cito just remained loyal. Not too effective is it.
    3. He claims that he will not pinch hit for his veterans because in his opinion it is basically ineffective in the long run because it deflates or steps on their pride or whatever. Yet he is the only manager to feel this way AND he continues to chip away at the best team player on the club–Johnny Mac–by refusing to start him at, say, 3rd base where he has better defensive and offensive numbers than Encarnacion.
    4. He gave up on winning the day that he refused to pull the egos and play those who really tried and were focused. Rios and Wells have had focus problems all season. The “I could fall asleep during long innings” mentality that carried over to their hitting.
    5. Why wouldn’t I platoon Overbay and Ruis when both have better offensive numbers than Mr. “He’s good in the clubhouse” Millar? Not a really smart managerial decision, and the list goes on.
    FINALLY
    Why has attendance dropped?
    1. The management gave up on the team long ago and placed an inferior product on the field. Even if we still have interest in this team, why would we line their financial coiffures and reward them for their inept desire to please those that pay their bills? We should boycott them completely–but we won’t.
    2. Nobody in management seem to be held accountable for their utter carelessness with their fan support. This is not the Leafs where they can be totally bereft of talent and still draw. I and my children just want a team that is less predictable at losing.
    Scenario
    The first 3 batters get on base. Bases are loaded with nobody out. Predictably, Overbay may or may not make out but odds are he does. Vernon comes up and the only question is, will he strike out or hit into an inning ending double play? HMMM…Johnny Mac has been a more consistent hitter with runners in scoring position than any of those that Cito plays in the 4,5,6,7 spots. He may have no power but he will hit with more consistancy, at least this year.

    Dave

    MW: I like a lot of what you’re saying, but the love affair with John McDonald is a little out of hand. How can you say John McDonald has been a consistent anything when he’s only had 92 at-bats all season? And only 21 with runners in scoring position? And “odds are” Overbay will make an out? Odds are every hitter in the majors will make an out in every single at-bat. Other than that stuff, though, good work.

    - Stubster
  71. 71.

    A couple of quick questions:

    1) Paul Beeston has cleverly increased the effective revenue generated per ticket by eliminating some of the discounting and free giveaways of the past. I believe that he is also responsible for the change in the manner in which ticket sales are now being counted (i.e., now counting only “paid” attendance).

    It seems therefore that a future increase in demand for Jays tickets (however they may one day achieve that goal) will result in greater future revenues. Is that what is Beeston is up to with these moves, or do you think he’s up to something else? What could it be?

    2) Around this time two years ago it was revealed that Vernon Wells had been playing hurt the entire `07 season. Therefore, do you think that Vernon’s poor performance and bizarre left/right hitting splits this year are an indication that he has been playing hurt this year as well? We all know about the bad hammy and how that may explain his apparent reduced range in CF, but maybe it’s the left wrist that has affected him for the worse (i.e., the wrist that required a cortisone shot at the end of spring training).

    What do you think the chances are that it will soon be revealed that Vernon has been hurt this whole time?

    MW: 1 – I’m not sure I follow. Won’t a future increase in ticket demand always result in greater revenues, regardless of how the counting is being done? I’ll grant you that with less discounting (but there’s still some), the revenue will increase by a greater margin with greater demand, but that difference may not be all that big. 2 – Wells was furious two years ago when Mickey Brantley revealed Wells’ shoulder injury, I doubt very much we’ll find out to what extent injuries played a part in Wells’ awful year this year, if at all.

    - Jamie
  72. 72.

    Mike,

    I’ve got a question about a baseball rule, and hopefully you can put it to rest. Here goes:

    A ball is hit in the air down either foul line, slicing such that it would land foul undoubtably. But, before it hits the ground, the outfielder touches the ball. What decides the outcome of the play as to whether the ball is fair or foul. Is it the point of contact between the player and the ball, or is it a matter of where the outfielder’s feet are? Suppose the contact point is in foul territory, but both of the outfielder’s feet are in fair grounds – fair or foul?

    As for the Jays, well, it’s been pretty uninspiring lately to say the least. BUT – I have noticed something about listening to the broadcasts that has almost made it all worthwhile: Free breakfast and internets is back! I know you love it, MW.

    Mauer for MVP,

    MW: It’s all point of contact. And yes, I love the free breakfast and internets and I’m thrilled to have them back!

    - goldsac
  73. 73.

    MIke,

    I was one of the brave few at the game Thursday afternoon -NINE pitchers used in a 3-2 game; nothing more enjoyable than sitting through pitching changes…

    Re Jays direction: I don’t understand why you think bringing in the likes of Hudson/Figgins(Bay is in the realm of fantasy) would make an appreciable difference on this crumbling team (though you must be so high on the latter because he was leading the league in walks). Just what the Jays DON’T need – more overpaid guys on the downside of their career. What they DO need is for the farm system to produce impact players, and there may be legitimate hope as far as the piching is concerned, but J.P. seems to have produced a farm system pretty well devoid of positional players of real potential… Whoever takes over this mess in October is going to have a challenge, whatever the budget… Amazing how Cito and the higherups are taking the blame from you – but not, of course, the mastermind who actually assembled this lamentable team…

    Finally, with a roster and record like the Jays, I don’t think you should harp too much on those big bad Yankees and Red Sox..uh, it’s not like Jays are the THIRD best team in the AL…

    MW: No, but the Rays might be, and they’re busy proving my point by sitting 9 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. You’re right, though, in that I think the blame falls on the higher-ups far more than it does on Ricciardi. He had arguably one of the five best teams in the majors last season and found his budget cut by 20% and then spent a season twisting in the wind. I guess the difference between us is that I don’t think the team is crumbling. I think there are some very, very good pieces here and I don’t think they’re that far away, hence the Hudson/Figgins stuff.

    - Ken
  74. 74.

    Ricciardi is horrific at public relations and a very good baseball scout. The Blue Jays can not attract a baseball man who is better than JP Ricciardi, therefore, they should extend his contract and minimize who role in PR. However, this won’t happen. The Blue Jays will under estimate Ricciardi’s baseball acumen and fire him. He’ll be replaced by someone not as good as he is in his core duties as GM.The team will gradually slide down hill over the next five years. At that point the Blue Jays will be in danger of leaving Toronto.

    Great Work On Your Blog Mike!

    MW: I can’t agree at all with two of your last three sentences.

    - Dave
  75. 75.

    Brian Dopirak is Baseball America’s Blast from the Past award winner. “BLAST FROM THE PAST

    Brian Dopirak, 1b, Blue Jays: Given up for dead after the Cubs released him during spring training ’08, Dopirak signed on with the Blue Jays, in part so that he could play for high Class A Dunedin, his hometown club. In two years with the organization, the righthanded slugger has bashed 56 home runs. The Cubs’ second-round pick in ’02, Dopirak, 25, hit 39 home runs as a 20-year-old in the Midwest League back in ’04, so the power always was there. He delivered on that promise in ’09, ranking third in the minors in hits and total bases (300), sixth in extra-base hits (71) and 11th in both doubles and RBIs in stops at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas. ”

    Why isn’t this guy here getting playing time over Kevin Millar again?

    MW: Because: A – The Jays don’t have to put him on the 40-man roster yet, and 2 – Randy Ruiz is barely getting playing time over Kevin Millar. Do you think Cito would actually play Dopirak if he were here?

    - Renegade
  76. 76.

    Hey Mike,

    I was just wondering about the decision to back Halladay up a day so that he can pitch against the Yankees.

    It appears as though this will only leave him with 4 starts the rest of the way instead of 5.

    If Cito’s main interest is to get wins for the ball club, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to have their best pitcher start 5 more games instead of 4?

    It also takes him out of starting in the Boston series at the end of the month where they could actually possibly play spoiler. Nobody will be playing spoiler for the Yankees this year.

    Maybe I am just bitter because I will be there for that series and will not get to see him pitch now.

    MW: I don’t really understand the decision, unless they legitimately feel that Halladay could use an extra day’s rest after pitching back-to-back complete games. But won’t a start against the Yankees be far more stressful than one against the Tigers would have been? I’m thinking it’s the old code of go with your best against the best if you’re out of the race, but you’re right, there’s almost no chance the Yankees miss the playoffs.

    - Brent
  77. 77.

    I guess at this point we have to hope or pray that the Jays have a big plan for the offseason. This second half has seemed so disheartening because it appears that all the things we were told about building and planning a winning team has fallen into a scrambling mess. I know Rios is doing nothing in Chi-town, but giving him away really put fans to the test. So I’m probably one of the only ones left who is still giving the Jays brass the benefit of the doubt, hoping and praying that they know more than us fans do, and still have a plan.
    Mike am I a fool? And what do you make of the recent Barajas and Cito comments.

    MW: You’re not a fool, but there can’t be a real plan in place until the front office knows how much money it has to spend in the future. As for the Cito and Barajas things, I think it’s a colossal misunderstanding.

    - Jesse Colautti
  78. 78.

    Cito specifically said that Snider would play everybody. Yet he still sits against Lefties. Blantant lie. Between this, continually running retreads (Millar and Bautista) out there in September, his horrendous in-game managing and Barajas feud.. I think it’s time for Cito to go.

    MW: It wasn’t a lie. Snider was brought back to play every day and I think Gaston had every intention of playing him every day. But then he looked bad against a lefty. I don’t think he’s feuding with Barajas, either.

    - Renegade
  79. 79.

    Any idea if Snider will be only playing half the games for the remainder of the year? I see Cito has him sitting again, I can’t understand this, especially after he said Snider would be playing against lefties this time. Cito is killing the few reasons I have left to watch the remainder of the year.

    MW: See above.

    - Clint
  80. 80.

    “Bay’s not a DH, he’s a capable outfielder.”
    UZR has Bay costing his teams 11.5, 18.4, and 17.1 runs on defense compared to the average defensive left fielder the last three years, and that 17.1 is just the 5 months of this year. 10 runs is the difference between a replacement level LF and a replacement level DH, so I think it is actually fair to say that Bay is a DH.

    MW: If UZR is the only metric you use. I’d like to see if defensive plus/minus has an argument.

    - Torgen
  81. 81.

    Mike!

    Why is Cito using Kevin Millar instead of the young kids?

    Wow do you think needs to really Really REALLY! step up next season?

    Can you please give me a few reasons why J.P should be the GM for the next 10 years!

    MW: 1 – Because Cito thinks that having a veteran “power” hitter like Millar makes his line-up better, at least against lefties. He trusts him more than he does Randy Ruiz. 2 – Vernon Wells and Brandon League. 3 – 10 years? Probably not.

    - Raps Fan
  82. 82.

    I imagine they are starting Halladay against the Yankees–who he one-hit recently, I believe–in order to up his trade value which has dropped off some since the trade deadline. I’m really not interested in rehashing that mess, and its possible effect on Halladays’ recent performance. However I thought then and still think that he should have been traded.

    This is a really important off-season, maybe the most important in the last 18 years. “Wait for 2010″ is a nasty joke now, and fan disenchantment and anger has reached boiling point. I understand that crowds are generally down in the week after Labour Day, but they’ve never been this far down. I’ll wait with interest to see what happens at the end of the season.

    MW: I don’t think having Halladay start against the Yankees as opposed to the first-place Tigers will affect his trade value positively at all. In the off-season, no one is going to go back and look at individual starts when assessing what they want to give up for Halladay. They’ll look at the season totals, and the overall body of work. Unless he one-hits the Yankees again, then people will say “Halladay one-hit the Yankees twice last September.” I’ll wager that the crowds at Rogers Centre/SkyDome have been this far down before, they’ve just not been down this far.

    - isabella reyes
  83. 83.

    Hi Mike
    Any idea if or when the MLB Network will be available in Canada?
    Can you talk to your Rogers people about it, please?

    MW: I don’t have any Rogers people. I have no clue if we’ll ever get the MLB Network in Canada, but it would be awesome if we did.

    - jeff
  84. 84.

    Mike,

    Kevin Millar is not a piece of the puzzle going forward. So, why is he in the lineup? Why isn’t he nailed to the bench? Better yet, why is he taking up a valuable spot on the 40 man roster? I know a lot of Cito’s decisions fly in the face of conventional wisdom but his insistence on trotting out an unproductive veteran playing out the string on his career beggars belief. It smacks of sending an “up yours” message to all and sundry who question his authority. I just don’t get it.

    What’s your take on Barajas? He seems like a pretty reasonable guy based on the everything I’ve heard from the guy. Although, I seem to recall he had some kind of meltdown the first time the Jays tried to sign him.

    Finally, I want to commend you for taking the time to read and respond to all the comments here. You don’t have to do it but you do and it is much appreciated.

    MW: Thanks. Let’s go backwards. My take on Barajas is that he’s a pretty nice, bright, thoughtful guy, and that he was upset by the notion that the Blue Jays wouldn’t want him back next year. However, I don’t think Cito Gaston meant that the Blue Jays didn’t want him back next year. He didn’t have any kind of meltdown a couple of years back, he just fired his agent and had things blow up in his face. As for Millar, at least he’s not taking up valuable space on the 40-man roster – that is, it’s not as though his presence prevents the Jays from adding to the 40-man if they want, it doesn’t. Why he keeps getting playing time when and where in the line-up he does? I think Gaston honestly thinks Millar has a better chance of contributing than Randy Ruiz or, say, Travis Snider does, because he’s a veteran.

    - Rob Theriault
  85. 85.

    Michael,

    Randy Ruiz has a AB/HR ratio of 11.8/per this year. I’m sure he can’t keep it up but that’s a fantastic ratio.

    Do the Jays have control over him next year or is he a FA?

    MW: The Blue Jays control Ruiz through the end of the 2015 season.

    - Uncle Ben
  86. 86.

    have we noticed a pattern with JP that he labels a player first and then no matter how he performs good or bad he keeps that label. players that are bad like mench, wilkerson, millar etc keep getting time but good players like ruiz and accardo have been labelled bad and so are discarded at every chance

    MW: No, I don’t see that. Ruiz has yet to be discarded, and I don’t think Accardo has been labelled “bad”. Ricciardi doesn’t control playing time.

    - carlos
  87. 87.

    MW: This team is closer to fourth-rate than second. There’s no “again”, the Jays fielded one of the best teams in the game the three years prior to this.

    Mike, I was referring to repeat attendance at the games THIS year. There is no “again” for these fans(hence the dwindling numbers).Second or fourth rate, the Jays do not provide an incentive for spending the necessary big bucks to enjoy a game. In the “three years prior to this” they(the fans) probably had a job. Big difference.

    MW: The economy has definitely had an effect, no doubt.

    - Jack
  88. 88.

    Do you think roy had enough and will demand a trade in offseason or will he stay put?

    MW: Neither.

    - nick
  89. 89.

    Hey mike, first Id like to say that I think this blog has gotten better as the season has gotten worse, because only people with well thought out opinions bother to write.

    Also, now that Randy Ruiz has almost 100 PA, and slash stats of .269/.363/.513 (ops of .875) What do you think of him. Obviously not gonna be a huge part of the future, but does he deserve the chance to platoon with Overbay for the beginning of next year?? Would it depend on his Spring Training??

    cheers

    MW: I’d love to see the Jays give Ruiz the reins until he shows he doesn’t deserve to be in there, but I wouldn’t want them to go into next season with him there as their DH and no viable back-up, like they did with Travis Snider in the outfield this season. He actually hits right-handers better than lefties, so I don’t think a platoon is the best use of his talents. I don’t think Ruiz will get much playing time with the Jays next season, which is too bad.

    - Dave J
  90. 90.

    I agree with you 110% on your comment about Snider and Ruiz. Is there something wrong with hitting homeruns? Ruiz hits them and it doesn’t seem to impress Cito very much. I’m done watching this season. If Ruiz isn’t a guy that Cito likes then J.P. shouldn’t even bring him into the organization. My interest MIGHT come back when they get a GM who actually picks his coach and they have the same philosophy on what a team should look like. Thank-you Mike and take care.

    MW: So you’ll be back if the Jays re-hire John Gibbons?

    - Domenick
  91. 91.

    Hi Mike.

    I should have corrected myself. I used to listen a lot more than I do now…

    I just can’t take the Jays lately. They’re seemingly on the road to nowhere. If they are always going to be 3rd best in their division (and that’s the excuse we hear – they are the 2 highest spending teams so it’s tough to compete), then why bother selling the fans on “we can build a winning team”? Really what they’re saying is “we will lose most of the games we play the Sox & Yanks but we’re competitive against the rest”.

    As for the Wells thing – the guy is just pure & simple overpaid. That’s not his fault, being Toronto they probably had to spend a bit more to keep him and that was the going rate at the time. Since he was on the upswing, it looked ok at the time, but now they’re stuck aren’t they? Because really, if you could take the $20m+ what would you get on the free market these days? That’d pay for an awfully good top 2 hitters and still have something left over…. and that’s the frustration.

    The only other comment I have is regarding the young starting pitching. As fans (and I count myself as one of them right now, even though the interest is waining fast) we need to curb the enthusiasm a lot. You can count the # of “bad” contracts the Jays have signed in the last 4 years based on 1 or 2 good years. No guarantees in life obviously, but what happens if the group of young pitchers aren’t as good as “they” say they are? We’d be having the same discussion as Rios with that group, and that’s a real problem ….

    MW: It’s only a real problem if they give any of those pre-arb pitchers a contract like they gave Rios, which they won’t.

    - Patrick
  92. 92.

    Mike….Your riveting story of your 9/11 experience literally gave me goosebumps and that’s not any exaggeration..I heard the repeated version at 2 in the morning driving home from “boys’night out” on the 410 and it added to the effect with the feeling that it was just you and I up at that time..Thanks for sharing it with us and it must drum up all different kinds of emotions and memories that us as individuals can put our personal adjective beside.

    - chris m.
  93. 93.

    It would be interesting to get the MLB Package and be able to listen to some of the other broadcasters describe Toronto and Cito’s lineup. Hats off to Ashby yesterday as he read the lineups at the beginning and made a very clear point that Kevin Millar was batting fifth AND BATTING ONLY .217.

    Two games against the Twins with 11,000 in attendance probably shouldn’t be enough to draw the huge anguish that we’ve seen this week but low attendance like this the rest of the season has to cause some concern.

    The team next year has to look much different than the one we have this year. Bautista, Millar, Barajas, probably MacDonald, maybe even Overbay and definitely Gaston and Co. need to move on. And like even the greatest political leaders who the academics feel should have had a longer time to serve, the public confidence in Ricciardi seems to have eroded to the point of it being irreparable. I think he needs to be replaced too as it seems many fans no longer believe he is able to the job. I’d be in favour of a veteran GM and veteran field manager with a whole different approach. At this point a hothead manager may even be needed here to wake up some of these players whose enthusiasm at times seems to be lagging.

    And finally I’d love it if you could post that Alex Rios thing you played on Baseball Today on Thursday somewhere on here. I thought Bob McCown was harsh when he said Alex couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the c and the t…I wonder now though…

    I also find it bizarre that the commercial about the salon gives you grief. You must be taking SUPER long “br8ks” from listening to certain commercials that the rest of us have more than had enough of during this miserable season. You lucky we like you guys so much to stick around.

    MW: Remember, the main complaint of the fans with regards to John Gibbons was that he was too much of a hothead. I agree with you, that the perceptual problem with Ricciardi (with the fans) is likely irreparable, which will likely lead to his dismissal following this season. As for the Rios thing, it’s going to be on The Blue Jays This Week on Sunday night in its entirety.

    - Rob M
  94. 94.

    Mike…Using 1977 as a starting point going forward to the present, the only AL uniforms (not including caps or batting helmets) that have NOT changed are the Yankees (both home and away), Boston’s home and Detroit’s home. Does that sound right to you?

    MW: Sounds about right.

    - chris m.
  95. 95.

    Mike,
    Does Adam Dunn like baseball?

    MW: Probably. I know he likes Alan Ashby.

    - Nitin
  96. 96.

    Anybody notice??? Wells finally passed Scutaro, the lead off hitter, in RBIs this weekend. But he is still 4 RBIs behind Barajas, who has about 180 less at bats…WOW now that’s a bad year.

    - Steve
  97. 97.

    In your opinion, where do you think Roy Halladay be pitching opening day?

    MW: I really don’t know. It all depends on what the payroll will be. If it goes up, Halladay will be here, if it goes down, he won’t. If he’s not here, I’d say the likely front-runners are the Mets, Cubs and Cardinals.

    - Adam
  98. 98.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/whitesox/2009/09/oz_being_oz.html

    Must read Ozzie on Rios.!!!

    MW: That was particularly awesome.

    - tony43
  99. 99.

    we hear that vernon will work in the offseaon on getting his hitting back? how will this be done? and why was it not done during the season? and i think really its all about a fresh start that might improve him, what do you think, work must be done or just resting?

    MW: It’ll be done the same way he tried during the season, by watching video of his good seasons and trying to get back to those mechanics in the batting cage. I think a fresh start will help as well, but he can’t take the winter off.

    - nick
  100. 100.

    whats a pitcher’s pitch? and any other baseball jargon that you can tell me about?

    thx

    MW: A “pitcher’s pitch” is a pitch at which a pitcher wants a hitter to swing or one he hopes will be a strike, but one that fools the hitter into thinking it will be a ball. It can also, simply, be a pitch in a favourable count for pitchers, like 0-2 or 1-2. That clear it up? As for other baseball jargon, wikipedia has a list (which doesn’t include pitcher’s pitch, by the way).

    - nick
  101. 101.

    Well now we know: Rod Barajas hits well at the beginning and the end of the season. So all we need is a catcher that hits well in the middle part of the season and we’re in business.

    MW: Sounds good to me.

    - isabella reyes
  102. 102.

    Jays need to get themselves another good lefty in the bullpen for next year. Cito should have gone to Carlson for Huff. Also, man Travis Snider looks lost up there.

    MW: Next year, the Jays will have Downs, Carlson and Tallet in the bullpen.

    - Renegade
  103. 103.

    According to Bob Elliot:

    “The Red Sox offered Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront and Nick Hagadone [for Roy Halladay]”

    Is this a possible scenario that JP turned down? If yes, why?!

    MW: The only possible reason that Ricciardi would have turned that offer down would have been if ownership had told him he couldn’t trade Halladay. I would say, conservatively, that there’s about a 5% chance that offer was ever made.

    - Geoff
  104. 104.

    Mike,

    The 11000 fans that were on hand to see the game vs the Twins with Roy Halladay pitching represents a clear sign.
    Michael Farber of TSN’s The Reporters, said ” All he can remember when he see’s shot’s of how empty the stadium had been, was the Montreal Expos at the end of their era.

    I truly believe if Rogers puts this franchise up for sale it will take a maracle to unload it. Secondley it is simply not true when you keep saying that the Jays situation is not even remotley close to that of the expos. I can clearly see that it is gradually becoming fairly simualar and clearly it has begun with 1. the dropoff in overall attendance this year 2. A record setting lowest attendance at a single game at the Rogers Centre.
    3. Rogers has shown over the years that they would like to keep this a low maintainance business venture as it is not a core property in the empire and they have lost millions already just by purchasing this team with a lousy canadian dollar.

    MW: Again. This is the first time in seven years that attendance has not gone up. The Blue Jays will make more gate revenue this year than they did last year. This is NOTHING like the Expos’ situation.

    - Thomas
  105. 105.

    Mike…A couple of questions concerning topics from Sunday’s Jays Talk:

    a) On the subject of Jays’ closers for 2010: Do you believe in the mindset that if you have 2,3 or more guys closing games, it means you don’t have 1?
    b) The talk of the smell of green grass is nice, but it’s not THE reason fans come out to games. If the team is good, they will come. I remember (and you do as well Mike) going to games at the CNE where my dresser at home was empty because I was wearing everything I owned. But I admit now being older, it’s comforting knowing there’s going to be a ballgame played regardless of the elements. Mike..Do you think the 30,000 plus the Jays averaged in 1985 is just as impressive as the lofty Skydome figures, considering The Ex wasn’t a fan friendly venue?

    MW: A – No. B – No.

    - chris m.
  106. 106.

    Mike,
    Where does Vernon’s contract rank in terms of worst of all time?

    CK

    MW: I’ll tell you in five years.

    - Cory
  107. 107.

    I loved that piece on Rios. But Alex being Alex, he might come back next year and hit homer after homer. Or maybe he’ll wait until his contract year in 2011 to do well.

    Wait, what?

    MW: Which Alex Rios do you mean? I wasn’t aware there was one who had a contract year in 2011.

    - isabella reyes
  108. 108.

    Mike, can Aaron Hill teach Lyle Overbay on how to be more aggressive at the plate? And can Lyle Overbay teach Aaron on how to be more selective? The Jays really need Aaron to get his OBP higher, and I want Lyle to get back to his 2006 form.

    MW: 2006 was likely a career year for Overbay, I think he’s just a shade below where he ought to be this season. You’re right, though – if Hill and Overbay could share each other’s strengths with each other, they’d both become far better hitters.

    - Eli
  109. 109.

    In regard to post #94, the Red Sox have had subtle changes to their iniform since 1977. In 77-78 they wore the double-knit pullover v-neck jerseys. They went to the button ups and belts again in 1979. They also used to have “Boston” in blue lettering on their road jerseys but switched to “Red Sox” in red lettering for a time before changing their road jersey again this year. Sice 1977, only the Yankees, Dodgers and Tigers home jerseys have not experienced some kind of change or alteration. I wish the Jays would return to the original logo.

    - Jim in Ohio
  110. 110.

    Hey Mike!

    What do you think about the Blue Jays signing Vladimir Guerrero to play DH next season? He wouldn’t be that expensive, and I think he would be a solid bat that could help the Blue Jays lineup next season.

    Also, I mentioned before in your blog how I would love the Blue Jays to go after Brad Hawpe in the offseason to play right field. What kind of package would it take to land Hawpe in your opinion?

    Thanks.

    MW: Look at what the Rockies got for Matt Holliday – one of Oakland’s top outfield prospects in Carlos Gonzalez, one of their top pitching prospects in Greg Smith, and a one-time rookie-of-the-year closer in Huston Street. That was only for one year of Holliday, Hawpe would be coming over for two years. I don’t like the Guerrero idea – great hitter, but too brittle.

    - Silvio
  111. 111.

    What a difference a year makes. Tonight will be their 144th game. One year ago their 144th game was the last of that 10-game winning streak that filled us with some degree of hope before they imploded at Fenway. They were 78-66 at that point, and if they win tonight in Detroit they will be 66-78. Sigh.

    Earlier this year (during the fab 41) I posted that I was hoping they would at least match the 86 win total. Now I’m just hoping they win at least 8 more games so they avoid the 90 loss mark. Double sigh.

    On a positive note. I really liked seeing some of the recent aggressive base running. Scutaro stealing 2nd before Hill’s HR in the 9th inning, and Vernon taking 3rd on the foul-out, which later allowed him to come home to tie the game on a wild pitch. Let’s hope for more of that in 2010.

    - Rez
  112. 112.

    heard you talk about an interview with Rios back in the spring – how do one find it???

    MW: It should be in the Audio on Demand section of this very website. It aired on The Blue Jays This Week on Sept. 13th.

    - eddy
  113. 113.

    I find it hard to beleive the Blue Jays will make more in ticket revenues this season, when they will be down over 500,000 in attendance by years end. At an average ticket price of 20 bucks lets say, thats 10 million in lost sales. More smoke and mirrors from Rogers if you ask me.

    MW: Not if you ask Rogers.

    - Rick Grace
  114. 114.

    Hi Mike,

    The sadder thing is that some callers waste your airtime arguing that the solution is a new grass-field stadium. Some simple numbers:

    - Cost of new retractable roof grass stadium (CAN$600 million)
    - Cost amortized over 20 year with interest ($CAN71 million per year)
    - Extra fans due to new stadium/field (probably less than 1,000 per game after a few years of continued losing)

    Spend CAN$71 million extra on players. Some simple numbers:

    - For CAN$71 million a year keep AJ Burnett, sign Manny Ramire and CC Sabathia and have a little pocket-change left over.

    - Extra fans, 5,000 – 20,0000 more per game depending on how well they do.

    I use those players for illustration purposes only, but I think you see the point (which is yours).

    - Peter Kobayashi
  115. 115.

    Lack of bloggage much?

    MW: Yeah, only two posts in eight days, huh? But I’m answering comments every day.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  116. 116.

    MW: Which Alex Rios do you mean? I wasn’t aware there was one who had a contract year in 2011.

    It was a joke, Mike. In normal circs Rios would probably have a contract year in or around 2011. If it weren’t for that 6-year monster he got out of Ricciardi Which is why I put that ‘wait, what?’ thing at the end.

    By the way, if I recall correctly, the year Rios hit all those home runs, he turned up for spring training carrying 20 extra pounds of muscle. Said he’d been weight training in the off-season. But then the muscle disappeared, and so did the comments about weight training, and he was back to hitting doubles in the gap. Not that I was complaining. Hitting doubles is a perfectly good way to play and I was always against forcing him to be a power hitter if he wasn’t.

    Now of course he’s not really any kind of hitter but he’s not our problem any longer, and of all the deals that Ricciardi caught sh*t for, this one didn’t bother me. Let the White Sox eat that contract. Maybe Rios will work out for them. Maybe not. But they are paying him all that money and we aren’t.

    On another topic–another walk-off win by the opposition? Man that is getting annoying. I’m sure we’ve had a walk-off this season, but if we did I can’t remember it. All I can remember is watching the other side celebrate time after time.

    MW: The Jays have had five or six walk-off wins this year – four of them during the glory days of 27-14. Rios actually would have been a free agent after the 2010 season. I don’t remember Rios muscling up significantly.

    - isabella reyes
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