Bautista, Evans, Graney, Lalonde, No Coke, SI, Thole

By Bob Elliott
The cover boys gathered before Sunday’s finale at Tropicana Field.

Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, David Price and manager John Gibbons posed for what is scheduled to be a Sports Illustrated cover shoot.

“Where is Donaldson?” asked Josh Thole. “I’m going to welcome him to the SI club.”

Thole’s picture was in a recent issue hugging New York Mets Johan Santana after the lefty pitched a no hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 1, 2012. The lefty threw 134 pitches for the first no hitter in Mets history.

The story is about the angst manager Terry Collins suffered about Santana, who only made 10 more starts pitching eight innings once. Santana attempted a comeback this spring with the Blue Jays before retiring due to an ailing left shoulder.

As the Jays began to leave the clubhouse the other day second baseman Ryan Goins loudly asked Jose Bautista: “Why are you in the picture and Kevin Pillar is not, he’s been carrying us on his back all year?”

Bautista stopped in mid-stride, answering just as loudly: “Six-time all-star, two-time major-league home run champ” and dropped the bat for emphasis.

There was laughter all around.

And thus ended the argument. 

Graney nominated: Canadian fans did their part nominating former Cleveland Indians broadcaster Jack Graney as one of the top three nominees for the 2016 Ford C. Frick Award. Graney, from St. Thomas, Ont. was among the top Facebook vote getters along with Graham McNamee and Bert Wilson. 

The others nominated for the award Tom Cheek won in 2013 and Jerry Howarth should win some day are Harry Heilmann, Al Helfer, France Laux, Tom Manning, Rosey Rowswell, Hal Totten and Ty Tyson. 

The ballot covers the Living Room Era candidates whose most significant years came between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s, The winner will be announced on Dec. 9 at the winter meetings in Nashville.


Reporting in: Advance scouts Danny Evans, former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager and Midland’s Jon Lalonde, former Jays scouting director, who both followed the Texas Rangers through the stretch run filed their reports to advance scouting coordinator Ryan Mittleman. 

Catchers know best: All the American League managers in the post-season are former catchers: Joe Girardi, whose New York Yankees faced A.J. Hinch’s Houston Astros Tuesday night, along with John Gibbons of the Blue Jays, plus Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers, Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.

And in the NL Clint Hurlde of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs, Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals were catchers.

Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers was a first baseman and Terry Collins of the New York Mets was an infielder.  
No Coke! Pepsi: All Coca-Cola products like Diet Coke and Powerade were removed from the visiting and home clubhouse at the Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Both rooms had to be stocked to Pepsi products and Gatorade, which are Major League Baseball national sponsors.

Record ratings: The Blue Jays regular season set a record for Sportsnet as the most-watched Blue Jays season in network history, delivering an average audience of 973,000 viewers (2+) an increase of 68% over the 2014 regular season average audience (580,000).

In September as the Jays clinched the 2015 American League East Division title, Sportsnet had its best month in network history, delivering a record 7.9 audience share and an average audience of 320,000 - a year-over-year increase of 114%.