For Sale: One remote control
By Bob Elliott
1 used Samsung TV remote control. Formerly used to constantly click in search of Law and Order, The Office, NCIS or Criminal Minds. Has never been thrown. Lost plenty of time. Always reappears.
Ever since MLB Network aired that day on January when the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced, the remote sits on the desk.
It does not move for days at a time.
MLB Network is the greatest thing since the Ronco food slicer.
It’s like watching the first round of March Madness.
Let’s go for a look inside the stadium as Greg Amsinger likes to say: an important at-bat at Dodger Stadium, a look see at a bases-loaded situation at Coors Field, let’s go to AT@T Park ...
Some commentators I know, like Al Leiter and other former Blue Jays.
Some I don’t.
The sense of humor reminds me of standing around the batting cage in the 1980s.
(Throwback example: Pudgy grounds keeper picks up a foul ball hit by George Bell during early hitting on afternoon in Seattle and makes a weak throw into the infield. Pat Borders: “Hey George, he throws just like you.” Bell screams at Borders. Sounds like cone head. Group of five hitters howl.)
As Frank Sinatra used to sing “Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention ...
One was not getting to know Kevin Millar in 2009 when he played for the Blue Jays. Co-host of Intentional Talk, Millar is hilarious. He may mangle a few names, but man, he’s funny. And humor is as common as the complete games around major league clubhouses.
Often one host surprises the other as Chris Rose did Friday: Leiter’s daughter and her pals saying hello to pop on their way to the prom.
Peter Gammons, Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman are there with the news.
The work the people in editing do is amazing for Quick Pitch highlight show, which reminds me of The Score when it made its debut ... except longer. It’s not a voice over, but they chose from the TV and radio calls from both teams.
When the San Francisco Giants play the Dodgers you hear the home run calls by both Vin Scully and John Miller ... at least we think it was Scully. It could have been Miller doing an impression of Scully.
They debate shifts, pine tar, Tommy John surgeries, tell stories and demonstrate.
Mickey Mantle’s last home run? Ernie Banks’ 500th? Dave Stieb losing a no-hit bid with two out in the ninth? Fielding plays of right-hander Jack Lazorko who used to strap on the pads on with Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers when Lazorko pitched at triple-A Edmonton fielding comebackers like a netminder?
MLB Network shows them all.
Channel 415 on the dial.
No. 1 in my heart ... ahead of even CMT’s videos of George Strait.
Hurry-up defence: The quick pitch John Axford used to strike out Jose Bautista in the seventh inning Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre was not a Port Dover Special courtesy of his mentor, the late Doug King. Axford said he picked it up watching veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. “I saw (Jose) start to walk out of the batter’s box and almost lost my focus.” Plate ump Jordan Baker adjudged a called strike three. Inning over.
On the watch: Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle leads the majors in shortest time between pitches at 16.2 seconds; R.A. Dickey and Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks are tied for second averaging 18.3 seconds between pitches. Two more reasons why the Jays and the Baltimore Orioles were the only clubs that had yet to play a four-hour game this year while the Los Angeles Dodgers had played the most with six.
Breaking out: Someone asked a scout this spring for a breakout player of the year? He picked California Angels right-hander Garrett Richards, who had a 6.00 ERA his junior year at the University of Oklahoma when he was the 42nd pick over-all in 2009 with a plus curve, change and being clocked at 97 MPH. Richards is 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA this season.
Draft watch: Baseball America’s mock draft 2.0 has the Jays picking speedy North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner ninth over-all and high school righthander Touki Toussaint 11th. Turner is a front-foot hitter with a ,325 average with eight homers, 35 RBIs and a .944 OPS. He’s 23-for-26 stealing bases.
Draft watch II: North York outfielder Gareth Morgan of the Ontario Blue Jays worked out Wednesday at Connorvale Park along with 47 others at Walt Burrows Major League Scouting Bureau invite-only camp. There were 22 scouts from 17 teams including cross checkers from the Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. Morgan is expected to go in the top 100 picks when the three-day draft begins June 5 as the top Canadian. Brampton right-hander Zach Pop, Mississauga catcher Owen Spiwak, Toronto outfielder Brad Aldred and Oakville’s Travis Wacker all impressed.