12:11 AM Eastern

I ask because you’d never know that the Jays salvaged the finale of their series with Tampa Bay by listening to the The JaysTalk or by checking out my twitter feed.

I honestly have a lot of trouble understanding why so many people seem to feel the need to be first in line to be negative, to try to splash cold water on what’s been a pretty exciting summer of Blue Jays baseball.

I swear, it often feels like I’m covering a 100-loss team based on the feedback that I get from a lot of listeners/readers/tweeters.

Tonight’s game was a very good one – the Jays got solid starting pitching, timely hitting, a couple of big home runs, a bunch of stolen bases, terrific work out of the bullpen and even a couple of bloop triples to beat a team that I’m told is much, much better than they are.

Yes, it’s the dog days of August and yes, the Jays just wrapped up a pretty awful 2-5 homestand that felt as though it went on a lot longer than a week.  But the truth of the matter is that they have won exactly as many games as they have lost this season, and that they’ve had ONE losing season in the last SIX years - which is another reason I don’t get the whole “here we go again” thing every time something happens in a game that doesn’t go the Jays’ way.

I get legitimate criticism, and it’s fine that there are those of you who don’t buy into the Anthopoulos/Beeston plan.  But at least make sense – please.  Ignoring how young the Jays’ players are, or the fact that they traded three of their best four relievers a month ago isn’t fair.  Saying that every player in professional baseball has an equal chance to be a star because of how Jose Bautista emerged isn’t fair.  Suggesting that the Jays simply add a whole big whack of money to their $18 million payroll (listen to The JaysTalk for more on that) whether or not there’s anything decent at which to throw it isn’t reasonable.

It’s true that this will be the 18th consecutive year in which there has been a post-season and the Blue Jays have not been a part of it.  But there hasn’t bee one lengthy 18-year rebuild, and they haven’t been competing for a playoff spot on a level playing field.  The fact that they’re a .500 team in the A.L. East while in the middle of a rebuild is astonishing, and I know that most of you understand that.  But forgive me, because I think on this night, the wall against which I have been banging my head lately seems to have gotten the better of me.

At least such things make for an enjoyable JaysTalk to listen to, and here it is:

 Download

The Jays hit the road, and for the first time this season a trip will begin without manager John Farrell, who is staying behind to continue his battle with pneumonia – they hope he’ll be able to meet the team in New York for the series with the Yankees that starts Friday.  Brett Cecil will pitch the opener in Baltimore on Tuesday night – the native Marylander has never allowed a run in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and this will be his second career start.  Jeremy Guthrie answers for the O’s.  We’re on the air at 7:00 PM Eastern – join us, won’t you?

Please give me a follow on The Twitter, at least to have a laugh, if nothing else.  You can find me @wilnerness590.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

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50 Responses to “Can You Believe They Won?”
  1. 1.

    Maybe it’s my heart talking, but I’d like to see Dirk Hayhurst back in a Jays uniform next spring, if not in September.

    - Leo
  2. 2.

    I agree that Jays fans can be too negative sometimes, Mike, but sometimes I feel like the press is too pro-Jays. I suspect this is more perception than reality (since Rogers owns everything from the team to the cable network to the radio station to the reporters to the internet). But this year, especially it seems, the reporters are too quick to forgive the team. Too quick to look for the silver lining (I mean, Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler comparing Ricky Romero to David Price? Get real…).

    Even you’re not immune to this trend across reporters, Mike. I can remember a time not too long ago when you, Mike, would either empathize with fans or prove them wrong with hard stats.

    Not write a rant about how the fans are wrong for being upset that the Jays went 6-8 against Seattle, Oakland, Kansas, and Tampa. Three teams we should easily go 6-4 or 7-3, and one team we should at least split a series when we’re playing on home turf.

    I beg you, prove us wrong. Show us some stats that suggest we shouldn’t be upset about that. About things like the number of blown saves, or the number of one-run games we’ve lost to divisional rivals (especially Tampa), or our 22-29 record against divisional rivals, or our below-500 win record at home even though we’ve got that man in white out there helping us hit homers (err, well, uhh…).

    All of those problems have existed before we traded away 3 of our best 4 relievers.

    Please, Mike, show me some stats. Prove to me why I shouldn’t be upset that I pay $11 a ticket and $10.50 a beer and haven’t had post-season ball since I was 5 years old. Show me with some numbers why I should cut them some slack.

    But congrats to the Jays today. They played great.

    MW: You’re entitled to be upset about about 2-5 homestand (though there’s no reason in the world you should ever be upset about a winning west coast road trip, regardless). There are no stats to suggest that you’re wrong to be upset, because a loss is a loss. If you can’t see the track on which the Blue Jays are, or understand the place on the spectrum of contention on which the Jays stand right now, well, I’ve tried to explain it.

    - Sean
  3. 3.

    Mike,

    Well said!

    - Mark in Windsor
  4. 4.

    Hi Mike!
    don’t get too down – perhaps just a strange night with the pessimists!
    I am of the opinion that the Yanks and Red Sox are not winning because they spend a lot of money – I think it is a combination of good minor league systems and an outrageous amount of money. Frankly, many big money free agents are almost equally likely to be terrible/inconsistent as good (Zito, Wells, Soriano, Werth, etc.). The secret then for the Yanks is when this happens, they just buy someone else (or trade good farm pieces). This is not really feasible for the Jays – they don’t have THAT much money available. I believe they are on the right track with the Tampa Bay-style model (with AA’s own inventiveness!), but they have the potential to be even better (long-term) with the money for intelligent acquisitions.
    Actually, even the World Series Jays didn’t sign the biggest guys – more shrewd pick ups like Winfield, Molitor, etc. I can’t recall but perhaps Morris was the biggest of the year after 1991?
    No question really, but just hopefully providing a bit more optimism to your day!

    MW: Thanks!

    - Rory
  5. 5.

    Mike, you obviously know baseball, and are great at what you do, but with all due respect, if doing it is making you crazy as you “bash your head against the wall”, why do you do it? If Jays fans are not as enlightened as you would wish, then give up the Jay’s talk..Seriously, sometimes your show reminds me of a disgruntled, disappointed grade school teacher scolding his kids for being kids.. sorry to be blunt, but that is how i hear it, and often i feel like calling to tell you but i am too afraid of being derided and dismissed as you sometimes do to callers..
    Not bashing you, just pointing this out.

    enjoy the last 25 games or so , then take a long vacation..

    MW: I’m not frustrated at all by kids being kids. I understand that fans are going to be reactive and some will be ill-informed. What I don’t understand is the consistent refusal to acknowledge facts that counter their feelings. It’s the whole “I’m mad! The truth doesn’t matter!” thing.

    - frank
  6. 6.

    Easy Mike. Don’t feel you need to be the rational voice in the hurricane of Toronto Blue Jays fandemonium. There will always be investors who buy tickets, listen to your show, write blogs, scrawl on the walls of the gamezone, and just share opinions at the water coolers at work. It is great you answer your blogs, try to convert the misdirected on the radio shows and set everyone right about the business of baseball but after all, we are all just fans. Some will be more informed than others. Many consider this all just a hobby and a place to vent and get away from real life problems and maybe agree with others about a passion they share. I agree, this has been a great season but looking at the last 10 years without a playoff berth…oh well. Stay cool. Sadly, in a month it will all be over. I hope to hear from you this December when the trade action gets heated up again.

    - Joseph P.
  7. 7.

    Hi Mike

    tonight’s edition of Jaystalk was crazy. Man, some people want their cake and eat it too. I think they want instant win, complain when things don’t work out. Of course, we don’t hear about Boston’s flop when signing Julio Lugo, or the performance of JD Drew for the money they pay him, or what Yankees pay for Burnett and what they get out of it.

    I still think the Jays need to look for one accomplished starting pitcher next year, a 14-15 game winner who can consistently go 7 to 8 innings to compliment the young pitchers. I think getting a good pitcher is much more important than getting Prince Fielder.

    Thought?

    MW: I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “14-15 game winner”, but an upper-echelon starter wouldn’t be a bad add at all. They’re tough to pry away from teams, though.

    - francis
  8. 8.

    one more thing Mike..
    again, with respect, i understand your wanting to promote your position, but your incessant reminder to follow you on Twitter can be a bit tiring.. personally, i don’t need to tweet no matter how many times you tell us

    thanks.

    MW: You may not, and that’s your prerogative, but there are always people who are reading or listening for the first time, and there are things they need to know.

    - frank
  9. 9.

    Mike this is a very frustrating team to watch. A few games with strong performances followed in a snap of your fingers by a series of games where they appear completely lost. They do it as a group, all in or all out without any evidence that they are improving. With all the changes is this ‘team’ any better than the one that started the year – no. Is it going to be? Who knows. The fans have been told the team is going to be better – just wait until next year. Or the year after. Or … . It’s frustrating.

    - Kenneth
  10. 10.

    Hello Mike

    Here is what I can say about the supposed negativity: I am not a scout. I do not see promise, only results. You see a ball squared up on and hit hard and caught and refer to as “a productive at-bat”, I see that our guy got out, again. I do not see the late movement in the pitch, and the promising nature of “the stuff”, I see another pitcher with a 4+ ERA and a 50/50 won/lose record and nothing special. I do not work in baseball. I do not see ahead. I see what is in front of me. I see that we are in the toughest division in baseball and that the Jays have finished in fourth for generations, and can not even challenge the team above them, let alone the ones in front of them. I see a .500 team in a division where a .600 team will not get in the play offs.

    My nephew was an infant the last time the Jays were successful. He is now graduating college. Neither he, nor his younger brother and sister have ever seen the Jays succeed. All are of legal drinking age. None are ball fans.

    Bud Selig said that all a fan has is hope and faith. In April I have both, by July they fade. By August they are gone. I get discouraged. I get heart-broken. I wonder why I care so much. I try to teach my co-worker my Jays cheer “We’re number four, we’re number four”. I hear about the multi-year plan. I see players moved around. The commentators on the radio – who work for the company that owns the team, so what they say has to be taken with a grain of salt – make the plan seem plausible, but it always seems the Jays are an over-promise and under-deliver team. The Yankees talk about their difficulty finding pitching, but they are an under-promise and over-deliver team. They find ways to win, the Jays – my Jays, our Jays – stay in fourth.

    What I see is a team with two solid hitters, one promising hitter, one solid starter and a bunch of average, young guys. Am I being harsh? No. I am being honest. I’m depressed, and we are in fourth – again.

    MW: OK, I guess. I mean, I don’t know why you’re proud that you only see what’s right in front of you, but that’s OK. This will be the fourth straight year that the Blue Jays have finished fourth in the AL East, and before that the last time they did so was 1996, so I don’t know about the generations thing.

    - Shooter
  11. 11.

    Hello Mike, since I think the Jays are going to be a few a games within .500 by season’s end no matter who they play, I’m going to go off topic a bit today. I heard you on the Joey Vendetta show Mon morning & I think you’re not giving Jays fans enough credit for their intelligence or you’re just naïve in what Jays fans mean when they say things at times. I say this because you think that when fans say that they want the Jays to spend money, you think that they mean spend it irresponsibly. Fans, including myself want the Jays to spend money(& I don’t mean 5-15 million extra), they mean spending it wisely. It goes without saying that they want to spend it wisely & not irresponsibly. Obviously, they are don’t mean spend the money dumbly. It’s also like saying fans & you assume this a lot, want the Jays to spend money & you thinking they mean like a few million. Yes, that is spending money but you know they really mean a significant amount in the baseball world(example: $100 million payroll) to improve the team(with impact players). That goes without saying. I have yet to hear a caller tell you that they want to spend it on anything or spend for the sake of spending when being asked. You gave an example & mentioned that if they spent the money on Wells, Werth & another player(forgot), they would have a $120 million payroll this year which is true but what Jays fan in the world wants that??..You mentioned probably one of the worst 2-3 overpaid players in the game to prove your point. I can bring up 2-3 great under paid players to prove the opposite point.

    This brings up another point why baseball is too stats orientated & is that you & other sportscasters like to skewed numbers just to make your point. This is very easy to do in baseball where it’s stats, stats & more stats. For instance, you mentioned a week or two before Juan Riviera got designated for assignment that he was one of the hottest Jays hitters in the last month or so to defend him from callers on Jays Talk that was criticizing his performance. What you didn’t mention was that he was hitting near the Mendoza line in the last 10 games. It’s more important how he is doing the past 10 games than what he did from the 20-30 game ago time frame. If you’re talking about a month, I don’t care if a player is hitting say .450 between the 20-30 games ago. I’m interested if he is hitting .200 in his last 15 games. So, it’s easy to say this player is hitting .350 in the past month overall to paint the picture you want to callers so you can defend a player like Riviera. Another example is that last night on Jays talk, you mentioned to a caller how well the Jays are doing in the AL East being a “re-building” team. It wasn’t long ago you were arguing callers on Jays being a “building”, not a re-building team.

    Sportscasters, & especially you do it often Mike because you are a stats guy, who like to paint the picture you want to prove your point, which I’m saying is not a terrible thing because it’s just the nature of this flawed game, from a fan standpoint. In most cases, it’s just as easy for someone else to prove the opposite point by bringing up a different time frame or a different specific stat of the same player. I find that sportscasters who really value the intangibles that can’t be measured with numbers like character, leadership, or chemistry don’t skew stats as much to viewers/listeners. How often do you hear that sportscasters bring up a player & he’s hitting so well in his last 19 games, or say 27 games or 36 games??..Why pick these numbers of games?..Why not a universal number like game 40, 80, 120 & 160 to point out a players performance since those are quarter points of a season?..Or why not 20 games or 30 or 40 games or some even number??..Because it paints a picture of what they want the listeners to see. I have never got why sportscasters like to say this hitter ‘so & so’ is hot with ‘so & so’ numbers in the month of July & not in August for instance. Why is stats divided into months?..Why not say mid-month like the 15th of the month?..I mean players don’t try harder or less just because the month has changed on the calendar.

    Another example, a person can point out how great this player has been hitting in the last month with a .350 BA. Another person can point out to prove his point that the same player is really terrible because he hasn’t hit with pitchers that have a less than 4.00 ERA during that time frame. So, who is right?..Both??..I guess it depends on who is making their point at the time…On top of this, he can point out his awful numbers in day games or in dome stadiums or maybe even with pitchers who are younger than 25 years old. If sportscasters want to point out stats with an even numbers like 30 games(month), they should stick to that, not change all the time & pick odd numbers. Can’t have it both ways. Sportscasters tend to pick the number of games or a certain specific stat that want to point out a player’s performance to prove their point the best or to paint the picture that they want the listener to believe & that is where baseball discussions/arguments can be really skewed. I can see how young fans can get turned off by this trying to learn the game nowadays. Any comments are always welcome Mike. Thanks

    MW: So giving you stats for a month is OK, as long as a player is doing well in his last 10 games, because that’s all you care about? I’m confused.

    - David F.
  12. 12.

    I have these conversations every day with people when we talk about this team. When I give them “reasons” why the team doesn’t win the division, they call them “excuses”. Is the fact the team is in this division, a reason or an excuse?

    MW: Some people don’t like when facts get in the way of their arguments.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  13. 13.

    Mike,
    I replied to yours and Jamie C’s rebuttal of my assessment of Johny Mac’s skills, but you have not posted it. Could you tell me why?

    MW: There’s nothing unposted that isn’t spam. I certainly don’t remember seeing it.

    - Cito Man
  14. 14.

    You talk about an environment where every team has a “fair” chance to make the playoffs and that a balanced schedule would do that. I’m not sure that that alone would do that. In a league with no salary cap, no matter what the schedule, the environment will never be fair. That’s why fans like me would like to see more opportunity by creating more playoff spots, because the league won’t address it’s real problems.

    MW: A balanced schedule would at least make things fairer.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  15. 15.

    “the fact that they traded three of their best four relievers a month ago isn’t fair”

    Pushing it? Jays started the season with below average relievers and trading them was a non story.

    MW: Trading them may have been a non-story, but the fine work of Trever Miller, Wil Ledezma and Rommie Lewis since the trade certainly hasn’t been.

    - Steve
  16. 16.

    Hi Mike, wonder what your early impressions of Kelly Johnston are??

    MW: Johnson has some power that he hasn’t shown yet, but I’ve liked his plate discipline so far and he’s been fine in the field.

    - douglas mccallum
  17. 17.

    Does Kyle Drabek have The Thing?

    MW: No

    - Flaming Moe
  18. 18.

    Hey mike i would like to thank you for all your hard work and for not jumping off a building. No the jays are not going to the playoffs this year but they have still been a lot of fun to watch. If people can’t apreciate that i feel sorry for them. keep up the great work mike you truely make the listening expirence better all around. Also hopefully you get the chance to call more innings next year.

    MW: Thank you!

    - Chris
  19. 19.

    You know what isn’t fair, and if somebody else said it you would tear it apart, Mike? That “the Blue Jays have a potential all-star at every position”. While I appreciate the fact that one day Rasmus/Lawrie/Yunel/Arencibia could be all-stars, it’s a serious stretch to say that when the team has exactly one player who has been to an All-Star game in Jose Bautista, and 3 guys in Lind/Johnson/Thames who don’t ever project to be making All-Star games. Quit the hyperbole.

    MW: Lind should have been an all-star in 2009 and had a great chance to be one this year. Whether you think Snider is still a top prospect or not, he is, and I have almost always kept second base out of the equation.

    - @NorthYorkJays
  20. 20.

    Wow, tough night Mike, the naysayers came out in full force and I commend you for keeping a level head. I find it hard to believe some of these people call themselves Jays fans and try to find all the negatives in what has become a pretty successful season. the record isn’t glittering but the foundations are being placed. How can a fan not be excited?

    Keep doing what your doing Mike!

    - Randy
  21. 21.

    Just looked at your twitter page and saw a picture of Hill, McDonald and Wells.

    I gather this was the time when Aaron Hill interviewed Wells when he was visiting – great interview, great picture, great memories.

    Thanks

    - francis
  22. 22.

    Now I don’t want to be accused of running an – ahem – vendetta against any 590 presenters, but part of the reason for the level of garbage from fans is that they’re hearing something similar come out of the radio from so-called experts a couple of hours earlier. Yesterday morning I heard something very like moral outrage from a presenter about the 12 run loss and at least sympathy for the ‘go buy me Prince Fielder now or we have a dying franchise’ camp.

    I don’t ask much out of my sports presenters, but I do ask that they know a bit more about sport than I do (which is not very much). I also ask one other thing – that presenters remember they’re on sports channel and to dial back the self-righteousness a bit. We’re not curing cancer here, we’re watching grown men hit balls with sticks. If presenters reminded fans of that once in a while, the fans might also manage to keep stuff in perspective a bit more often.

    - Ben
  23. 23.

    love your blogs. I am subsciber.
    I read up on the minor league teams tosee how the prospects are doing. Noticed that Drabek got bombed again.
    Do you think they have to send him back to AA. there is something wrong.Do you have any insight.

    MW: There’s definitely something wrong, but for now I’m going to continue to believe it’s all about Drabek having a hard time dealing with failure.

    - dave
  24. 24.

    michael,
    indeed. listening to some of the viewpoints these days on this team and organization and where they stand and where they’re going is somewhat puzzling no doubt.
    hopefully for the sake of these individuals it’s just frustration at the end of the day causing them to spout off like they’re doing.
    but seriously who are some of these knuckleheads i ask you?
    cause’ the way this team is going about things is absolutely the “only” chance they have in getting this to happen going forward. the only chance michael…
    and you said it. cause’ this at the end of day is true too.
    this team still might not make the promised land when it’s all said and done.
    but it is the only shot they got to try & do it…..
    building a base as best you can, develop & acquire young talent (if you can)
    so “maybe” travis snider isn’t going to be one of the answers in the end. that’s ok. just keeping throwing enough up against the wall and hope enough of it ends up sticking….
    don’t believe me. go ask the tampa bay rays they’ll tell you…
    some of these folks have to get the needles out of their arms my friend.
    cause’ you tell me… what’s the other option based on the overall circumstances this team and organization finds itself in.
    ie… the precarious predictament of this a.l. east division and the economics they’re up against..
    knuckleheads. god love them michael….

    - darrell bishop
  25. 25.

    Mike,
    As one of the knuckleheads who is not buying into the ” Jays of the Future” hype that the tram is trying to jam down our throats,

    I wonder where you came up with the :
    Potential ALL-Star at every Position ” mantra you keep repeating ?

    Does that include Drabek, Snider , Kelly Johnson, Morrow?

    The Jays are an interesting .500 budget-conscious team whose future is uncertain unless they buy All-stars like Yanks, Boston and Philly have done , don’t you think?

    MW: No, I don’t – very obviously (since that’s what you’re complaining about). I didn’t mean a five all-star pitching rotation but yes, Snider, Drabek and Morrow are very much included among the potential all-stars.

    - Bert C.
  26. 26.

    Well said Mike! Tampa Bay is so talented in the pitching department as well. Keep up the great job Mike! I will keep listening!

    - Lonnie
  27. 27.

    Mike,
    Just read your sermon above . No one is ignoring how “young” the Jays are.
    How can we? The announcers have been using the word ” young ” for a few yrs AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY.

    The point is – the Jays are relatively young by choice. It’s mainly for budget reasons, despite all your specious arguments to the contrary.

    No one said the Jays had to trade away 3/4 of their best relief pitchers.

    Some fans don’t want to hear the Rogers media people seemingly shilling for their teams . We get this with the Rasptors constantly.

    MW: OK, maybe some don’t understand, then, what it means to be young in baseball. And I don’t think my arguments are specious – budget should be a consideration. If you can be a .500 team at $65 million and a .500 team at $90 million, you should do it cheaper. There has yet to be an instance in Anthopoulos’ tenure in which a lack of finances has impacted negatively on any move he’s wanted to make. And thanks for the “seemingly”.

    - Oscar
  28. 28.

    michael,
    so busy day for a.a. and his group i see.
    just signed 7 young latin american prospects to contracts.
    not just 1 or 2 michael. 7!!
    wowsa…
    just keep throwing it up against the wall & hopefully enough of it sticks…
    it’s all you can really do…

    - darrell bishop
  29. 29.

    Shooter, making the playoffs in baseball isn’t easy(remember the Jays in 1987 had the 2nd best record in mlb and DIDN’T make the playoffs because they were and are still in the most difficult division. Your nephews haven’t seen the Jays win a world series, how would you like to be a Cub’s fan who haven’t won since 1908, yes 103 years ago, many generations of Cub’s fans never saw their team win a world series and we thought the Leafs were in a drought of 44 years, how would you like a 103 year drought, the Leafs aren’t even half way there. The Blue Jays are looking better, but the division is their demise.

    - Mark
  30. 30.

    michael,
    one last one…
    got to thinking. as it just sprung to mind.
    what the heck ever became of often injured but speedy, good hitting outfielder podsednik possibly joining this team.
    vanished into thin air michael didn’t he??
    never did hear on that one….

    MW: He was hurt in Spring Training, and by the time he was healthy Thames had passed him on the depth chart so he asked for, and was granted, his release.

    - darrell bishop
  31. 31.

    You hate the comparison of Morrow to AJ Burnett.

    Burnett in his 2nd full year of starting had 8.94k/9,3.96BB/9, 0.53HR/9 and a FIP of 3.19. He also had similar numbers in 2004 when he was Morrow’s age. Morrow this year has had 10.35ks/9, 3.14BB/9, 0.95HR/9 and a FIP of 3.38. I believe Morrow is similar to what Burnett was, a pitcher with great stuff who may or may not be real good. Why do you not like the comparison?

    MW: I love the fine, reasoned argument! But I have to tell you, when people compare Morrow to Burnett they’re not suggesting that Burnett is a pitcher with great stuff who may or may not be real good. They’re suggesting the Burnett is a .500 pitcher at best, but who actually sucks, a head case with amazing stuff who can’t get out of his own way.

    - Matt
  32. 32.

    I’m not from Toronto, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think it’s symptomatic of Toronto sports culture in general, with regards to the hockey and basketball teams being more or less awful for so long. It seems there’s a natural cynicism and pessimism at play here, what with the utter lack of results for a generation (or more). Toronto sports fans seem to be quite wary of being duped, and as such adopt an attitude of wanting to be right rather than happy, so they can board the “I told you so” train/be first off the bandwagon. In the event they are wrong, and this team achieves success, they can silently and namelessly step back onboard. And this is all quite understandable as the two other major franchises are managed by people who quite like to share their visions and sell hope. The Blue Jays are also selling hope, but to my mind there is one critical difference. Where the cynics err is in their categorization of Alex Anthopoulos. He’s not really much of a talker. Talked-about, yes, very much so, and many media-types, not just in Toronto, have been rather effusive in their praise. And so it seems to me that the pessimists pleading overkill with regards to positive outlooks of the Jays future should be whining about those who fan the flames. Anthopoulos has lit the candle, and keen baseball minds everywhere acknowledge this, but he’s not the one aggressively telling people it’s an inferno. In the end, I think it’s the real sports fans who can appreciate the journey. The people you’ve decried in this post, Mike, are, to a man, the worst kind of sports fans – those cliched bandwagoneers – because they only care for the ultimate destination. It boggles my mind how you are even able to feign politeness.

    MW: I sort of have to. You make some excellent points.

    - Glass Half Full
  33. 33.

    Mike…

    Listened to you on with Jeff Blair this aftternoon… Brandon Morrow is NOT having a Better year than last as you said on air.. i’d say it’s about the same, better in some categories, worse in others, so let’s call it even.

    The thing is… ‘m starting to think he’s basically A.J. Burnett. Loads of talent, but essentially a.500 pitcher… I think we’ve seen enough of him to say that he will NOT be a #1 guy alla a Roy Halladay. OR even a Ricky Romero.

    Yes, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the club this year.. because of the ‘way’ we’ve lost.. blown saves, etc.. and a TOTAL regression in the Starting Pitching staff this year… except for Romero..

    The way I see it, we have 1 elite starter. Romero. We need another Elite starter. therefore we could have #1 Elite, #2 Elite, Morrow, and Cecil and 5th starter.. Imageing if we could slot Cecil against other teams’ #4 guy.. That would be AWESOME…

    So, totally agree with you on the Jays over TB Rays, position-by-position analysis ( as per the guy from Boston who called in..) BUT the Starting Pitching is where we are weak now… and THAT was not something that NO ONE expected to happen this year. and our crummy bullpen… Hence the frustration.

    BTW why should we not care about the bullpen as you said on air.. i know u mean that’s because most of them may not be back next year, but then… are we going to go thru this again next year, with a brand new, unknown bullpen next year?!?!?! SP and RP MUST be a priority in the off-season…

    whew.. cheers.

    - Ed
  34. 34.

    Mike,
    We respect your opinions, but “at least make sense- please”

    The fact that they’re a .500 team in the AL East ” is not “astonishing” to thousands of fans, as you suggest.

    You have every right to use the “rebuild ” excuse that all Toronto teams use, but fans don’t have to swallow the Jays’ way of doing business.

    MW: Well, they don’t have to like it, but it’s reality, so they should accept it, no? Begrudgingly or otherwise.

    - Garry G.
  35. 35.

    I don’t believe that they won, especially when they were down in the 1st!!

    Right now, the Jays lineup I would say looks very good and I think will only get better with experience.

    It’s the bullpen and starting pitching I still am worrying about. In a rebuilding year, you expect the team to look better at the end of the season than at the start. You can argue that with Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia, and Thames, you’ve accomplished that. All we can hope for now is a Johnston that resurges and is worth a contract in 2012. Then you have a round the field lineup that looks very good. Bring back in a healthy Snider, a good backup catcher, Encarnacion as the DH, a utility infielder (come back Johnny Mac), and perhaps Rajai Davis and you have a very good hitting team.

    But the starting pitching is 3/5ths there in Morrow, Romero, and Cecil. The other two failed (Drabek and Litsch) to materialize and we had to work through with Jo Jo and Villanueva. At least one more good starter is required.

    But I have to take back my words on some of the bullpen. Francisco, Janssen, and Francisco all have WHIPS (for August) of <0.9. However, the rest of the pen has not been good since the trades.

    Still, what is AA's plan for the pen in the offseason?

    - Tim, in California
  36. 36.

    The name of your future autobiography –

    “The Fact of the Matter”

    Good right?

    MW: Not bad, indeed. But who the heck would read my autobiography?

    - Scotty B
  37. 37.

    Mike,
    It’s funny to hear Alex A. give his reasons why it was necessary that Lawrie go down to Las Vegas after Spring training .

    It would have been far better to bring him up to Jays, excite the fans , and maybe win the Rookie of Year award, don’t you think ?

    MW: I don’t. You’re suggesting Lawrie would have been as good in the majors in April as he was with those extra months of minor-league seasoning. I don’t believe that’s the case.

    - Sauble Sal
  38. 38.

    Hi Mike,

    Love your show. It’s obvious EE cannot get it done with RISP. What’s wrong with moving Lawrie up in the order. Let EE bat 9th to get on base for the top of the order. Would love to hear you discuss on the postgame. Thanks,

    MW: I don’t think it’s obvious at all that Encarnacion can’t get it down with RISP. He’s been very successful in the past, just not this year. Are you saying he has lost the skill to hit with RISP?

    - Jeff in Halifax
  39. 39.

    Just looked up the OBP leaders in the AL. There are 79 qualified hitters on the list (ESPN.com). At the bottom Alex Rios and Vernon Wells! Good on the Jays for unloading those two contracts.

    - Roch
  40. 40.

    To address your original point, I find the need to be negative because we simply are not that good. And we are being hyped by both our radio and TV broadcasters as contenders as early as next year. I feel we won’t contend until at least 2013 and probably 2014 until we get more than the 3 solid arms that we currently have. And AA has decimated our pitching staff to the point where we have one bona fide Top 3 starter (Ricky Romero) who I would classify as a 1A; each of the 5 contending teams has at least one if not two starters who they likely wouldn’t trade for Romero – taking nothing away from him but he is a 1A starter on a championship team. With all due respect to Richard Griffin of the Star, Brandon (Jim Clancy) Morrow is not a #2 starter on a championship or even contending team. Again, do the test: is Morrow a 2 or even 3 on the Yankees, Boston, LA Angels, Texas, Detroit or Tampa. He’s a #2 for us but we are mediocre at best. Cecil would be 5th starter at best on all those previously mentioned teams. The bullpen is a joke presently. There is one guy (Janssen) maybe two (Francisco) with any prayer of pitching in big spots with good teams. AA has done a great job building position players but I still think Escobar will be proven to be weak mentally over time and we have no one at second. Also Lind’s back is way worse than anyone lets on – those things usually linger. AA has done a nice job at building his first 8 but the pitching is a MESS with at least 2 more front line starters, a reliable lefty in the pen, one more set up guy and a closer; other than that, the staff is unreal. I want to win and want to believe in the Jays and AA just like most people and hopefully have presented a strong case for why feeling that we are a LONG way off without sounding like a bandwagon jumper. Please, show me where my judgements on this team are off base.

    MW: I don’t know how you could possibly compare Morrow to Clancy, and I think you’re drastically overrating some other pitching staffs, for starters. Like, drastically. There’s no question that Morrow would be the Yankees’ #2 and Cecil would be their #3 – now THAT is a pitching staff in shambles. I don’t know who is touting the Jays’ as a playoff team for 2012 – it’s certainly not me. I also don’t know how you would have even the slightest iota of insight into how Adam Lind’s back is feeling or Yunel Escobar’s mental state.

    - Mark from Ottawa
  41. 41.

    Hi Mike,
    okay I’m not going to bash people out just because they want to be on “negative” not my thing…. I’m gonna say this once and once only FOLKS BASEBALL IS A GAME… you win some you lose some… The jays are playing in a tough division and AA has a good plan going and sticking to it. As far as for those who are bashing them on the jays talk and twitter and and the blog….GROW UP!! Mike Wilner is doing a remarkbale job in helping you guys and fielding your phone calls and tweets, and chatting about it on the live blog!! Mike I never met you but you and that whole crew of baseball down at the Rogers Center – Alan Ashby, Jerry Howarth and Yes even Gregg Zaun do a remarkble job on jays game. I love your jays talk and quite frankly you can say “follow me on twitter” anytime you wish:)

    Good job Mike!!

    MW: Thanks!

    - Cdngrl
  42. 42.

    Hey Mike

    Its easy to understand really. Your covering a team that has not been to the postseason in almost two decades. And many of the Jay fans are probably Leaf fans as well. Not hard at all to see why everyone gets so fed up with mediocrity.

    I have been one of those negative fans over the last 10 years, especially when JP was running the ship and I knew they had no chance to build a winner. I believe AA is one of the best GMs in baseball, and his creativity will get the Jays into the playoffs within the next tow or three seasons. I’m guessing thats when you will stop fielding calls from so many pessimists.

    - rick
  43. 43.

    “I still think the Jays need to look for one accomplished starting pitcher next year, a 14-15 game winner who can consistently go 7 to 8 innings to compliment the young pitchers.” – francis. Francis, they had one, Shawn Marcum, and they traded him away.

    MW: Yes. Shame they didn’t get much for him.

    - AdamG
  44. 44.

    Please, Mike, enough with the “budding star” and “potential all-star.”

    Morrow has a ratio of 1.3 and an era of 4.79. In comparison, sore-armed retreads Colon and garcia in new york are 1.24/3.64 and 1.27/3.09.

    Between Morrow, litsch and Snider, please put the pom poms down.

    MW: You need to re-assess what I’m saying through the prism of potential. I feel like this is about the 178th time I have said this in the last three or four days.

    - Evan White
  45. 45.

    Hey Mike
    Just wanted to get your opinion, on what AA is planning to do in terms of the pen next year. Though Franky Francisco has been good in past years, and has shown some promise since the All Star break, I don’t think he is a good fit for this Blue Jays team. I also don’t see Mr. Rauch coming back next year. Thus I have to agree with what you’ve been saying all year, that being that I think its about time Casey gets a stab at the closers role. I would than like to see Jesse Litcsh move into the eighth inning role. The thing is, however, you can’t run a bull pen with only two guys, so should we be expecting AA to go out and get some middle relievers this offseason, or do you think that other players will emerge from the jays system to help bolster up this weak group.

    Side note: I guess Shawn Camp has shown, in the past to be able to be relied of for some innings, but he hasn’t proven much this year.

    MW: I think there’s going to be a drastic and almost complete overhaul of the bullpen this winter.

    - Jamie C
  46. 46.

    I think most of the negatives come from those that don’t understand the plan, and the fact that they have to build a strong foundation if they want to build sustainable success. Much like a real building site, much goes on below ground level before any of the main structure can be seen. From the looks of recent moves, it looks like there is enough infrastructure in place to support the big club, and look for more Colby Rasmus type moves in the future. In the meantime, this is a very young team, and they are going to be inconsistent while they mature in the next couple of years.
    In the meantime, the Tampa series only points out how far they have to go, NOT where they are going!

    - George
  47. 47.

    Add a simple skill testing question to the call in screening similar to scratch and win contests.

    - Dev
  48. 48.

    I have these conversations every day with people when we talk about this team. When I give them “reasons” why the team doesn’t win the division, they call them “excuses”. Is the fact the team is in this division, a reason or an excuse?

    MW: Some people don’t like when facts get in the way of their arguments.

    mike, i love the direction the jays are going, i’ve had a ton of fun watching it all take shape as the season has gone on, but this is an instance where you’re being an apologist…

    after all this time of being in the same division, there comes a point where it’s not a reason or an excuse, it’s just a fact, and you have to find your way around it…if you’re going to say the only way around it is to have a balanced schedule, or re-alignment, or whatever, then you ARE making excuses because those are things that are out of the blue jays’ control. If you think that being in the AL East is a ‘reason’ as to why they haven’t made the playoffs in 18 yrs, then you’re just being too easy on them…for sure it’s a contributing factor, but at what point do we acknowledge that our owners are MUCH MUCH MUCH richer than either of the yanks or sox? We’ve been drafting in the top half of the draft for the past 18 yrs (give or take), while in most of those yrs, the yanks and sox weren’t even drafting in the first round…yes, it is difficult to be sustainably good in this division, no question there, but to not have figured it out in 18 yrs suggests that there is much more to it than simply ‘the yanks throw money at their problems’…i won’t bring up the rays because i do agree with your basic point that they had to be the armpit of the league for 10 yrs to achieve 3 yrs of success, but the jays being stuck in that state of purgatory where they wouldn’t stock up on talent to make the playoff push, yet they wouldn’t trade away their assets for youth, really set the movement back 2 yrs for every yr they did it…

    i’ve gotten pretty long winded, but my basic point is that being in the AL East is no longer a ‘reason’ for not making the playoffs, it has become an excuse…you cannot point at the same fact for 18 yrs, and use that as a ‘reason’, it’s simply a lifelong loser’s line of thinking…(which i’m not calling you, obviously, i’m saying if the jays believe that, they’ll never be anything more than what they’ve been for the past decade)…the new regime has definitely brought a new outlook and gameplan, and in 2 or 3 yrs, the AL East will be scary BECAUSE of the Jays, not FOR the jays, so at that point, the fact that we’re in the AL East is no longer a ‘reason’ for our lack of success? it’s unfair to turn a blind eye to the mistakes that have been made in the past (and i’m a ricciardi fan), and blame all the uncontrollable aspects of the business, when in a couple of years we’ll see that there always was a way to win in this division, we just hadn’t found it…our road is tougher than, say, the twins year in/year out, but it’s not impossible…as such, saying 18 yrs of futility to mediocrity, with a sprinkle of ‘damn good team in the wrong division’ is based mainly on the division we’re in is just letting them off the hook too easily…

    MW: The problem I have with your comment is that it hasn’t been 18 years that the complaint has been the division. It started in about 2002, when the Yankees decided to raise their payroll to the highest reaches, and a year or two later the Red Sox did the same. Prior to that, there was quite a bit of mismanagement in the Gord Ash era, then Ricciardi tore down and tried to rebuild. The division has really only been a reason for the Jays’ failures since about 2006.

    - Jay B
  49. 49.

    by the way, i know my last post probably ate you up inside reading all the ‘we’ and ‘our’ stuff, but i don’t agree with your stance that we, the fans, shouldn’t take ownership of the team…so please just power through that part of it and focus on the content of the post, not your pet peeves with the writing style…

    - Jay B
  50. 50.

    MW: The problem I have with your comment is that it hasn’t been 18 years that the complaint has been the division. It started in about 2002, when the Yankees decided to raise their payroll to the highest reaches, and a year or two later the Red Sox did the same. Prior to that, there was quite a bit of mismanagement in the Gord Ash era, then Ricciardi tore down and tried to rebuild. The division has really only been a reason for the Jays’ failures since about 2006.

    that still discounts the cold hard fact that our ownership is wealthier than both those of the sox and yanks, and possibly even both of them put together.

    granted, the team itself doesn’t generate the revenue, and it would be a waste of time to get into that whole ‘chicken and the egg’ debate about whether we’d generate more revenue if rogers spent more, or vise versa, BUT, the bottom line is that ownership has made the choice to not spend with the yanks and sox. it was never beyond their fiscal capabilities, it was simply too big of a risk for them to undertake…which is understandable because at the end of the day, they’re still running a business, but as a fan, i don’t sympathize with that choice…yes, they did bump payroll to 100MM for a yr or two, spent it poorly, and then pulled the rug out…like i said in my first post about the issue, i LOVE what they’re doing now…anyone who pays attention should feel the same way, but if it was always simply a matter of spending with the likes of the yanks and sox, then apart from maybe 2 seasons, they simply made the choice that they didn’t want to compete, because if they wanted to, they could outspend both those teams…but it’s much more than that…it’s a matter of spending money poorly, drafting guys like russ adams, zack jackson, miguel negron, and gabe gross in the first round, and so on…it would be easy to blame our division, but an old coach once told me that when you point your finger, you have 3 pointing back at you, and i think there is a fair amount of blame to be dispersed amongst the organization before we start blaming the structure of the league…

    MW: It’s not at all untrue that Rogers has a ton of money and could easily handle having the majors’ highest payroll – but if they did that, it would be money taken away from their other divisions as opposed to the baseball team generating enough money to sustain it, and that’s not a great business model. So if you want to say that the Jays could be spending that money but choose not to and therefore they can’t point to the division as a reason for their lack of success, I guess you can. But the truth is that even if the Jays were an above-average payroll team, they would still be far, far behind the Yankees and Red Sox.

    - Jay B
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