Alomar: Jays need help from 26th Man. Busy days in Birdland
By Bob Elliott
Joe Carter homered at 11:37 on the night of Oct. 23, 1993.
We’re not sure what time the honking and bumper-to-bumper traffic around the SkyDome and on Yonge Street ended the October before when Mike Timlin fielded Otis Nixon’s bunt and fired to Carter at first to wrap up Canada’s first World Series.
But four hours after Carter’s home run traffic outside the SkyDome was about the same as an hour after the game:
plenty of happy people celebrating in Hockey Town. Some were not drinking.
Will Blue Jays fans fill the Rogers Centre with the hope of getting the chance to celebrate with the franchise’s first post-season game since?
Well, with the busiest three days -- or second busiest if you are counting World Series rings -- has ticket buyers lining up: almost 32,000 were sold Thursday and 15,000 the day before.
Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos with approval of president Paul Beeston and Rogers Communications added two five-time all-stars in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and lefty David Price, a former Cy Young award winner, plus reliever Mark Lowe.
“It’s like Beeston told Anthopoulos to go for it ... back up the truck,” said an opposing executive.
Never mind the won-loss record, the Jays have a solid chance for a post-season berth (46% heading into Friday, according to Baseball Prospectus).
All that’s needed is repeat of Dave Winfield telling the legendary Jim Proudfoot in 1992 “a symbiotic” relationship needs to exsist between the fans and the players which led to “Winfield Wants Noise” signs.
We can’t ask Winfield since he works for the Players Association and has to be impartial.
So ... Robbie Alomar, who arrived here in a franchise-altering three-days session in 1990, what about it?
“We have the players,” said Alomar from San Juan, Puerto Rico where he running a camp, “now we need the 26th man. Players need the fans to show up and get behind them.”
Players traded or signed as free agents by the Jays often notice the difference the Rogers Centre crowds
A) A departing starting pitcher from either team can be cheered when he exits.
B) How the crowd is reactionary: applauding after a strikeout compared to Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium and other places when fans stand and cheer when an opposing hitter gets a second strike ... ready to applaud a strikeout.
C) How fans in the outfield chirp opposing outfielders for nine innings.
Fans were on their feet in the ninth Thursday as Roberto Osuna recorded three grounders for his sixth save.
The crowd nowadays is much younger than it was in the World Series days, especially the WestJet Flight Deck area in centre.
That’s from walking on the concourse then and now, but the numbers show now that adults 18-44 represent 54% of attendees and 46% are female (up from 33% in 2010).
The female-to-male breakdown is 5% higher than major-league average similar to the Jays number of fans in the 25-34 group, which make up 24% (4%)
One opposing scout had praise for Anthopoulos hiring additional scouts when he took over.
“What I’ve found is that concept of hiring all those extra scouts worked,” said an opposing scouting director. “Daniel Norris was a popular guy, but Drew Hutchison, Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino were not. The thoroughness and the deterrent looks they got helped them acquire all those arms and Dane Johnson got them ready for the majors.”
Is the Jays cupboard bare in the minors?
“They have to replenish their arms, but they made these trades and they still have four solid centre fielders in Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford, D.J. Davis and Reggie Pruitt ... four pretty good prospects.”
Busiest times in franchise history
1977 Winter Meetings
Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii.
GM: Pat Gillick.
Tuesday, Dec. 6: Acquire LHP Tom Underwood and RP Victor Cruz from the Cardinals RHP Pete Vuckovich and OF John Scott.
Thursday, Dec. 8: Acquire C Pat Kelly and DH Butch Alberts from the Angels for 1B Ron Fairly.
1986, Exhibition Stadium
Saturday, July 5: Acquire RHP Duane Ward from the Braves for RHP Doyle Alexander.
Sunday, July 6: Acquire RHP Joe Johnson from Atlanta for RHP Jim Acker.
1990 Winter Meetings
GM: Pat Gillick.
Sunday, 10 PM, Dec. 2: Acquire CF Devon White, RHP Willie Fraser and RHP Marcus Moore from California for OF Junior Felix, INF Luis Sojo and C Ken Rivers.
Wednesday, 3 PM, Dec. 5: Acquire 2B Roberto Alomar and OF Joe Carter from the Padres for INF Tony Fernandez and 1B Fred McGriff.
1998 Non-waiver trade deadline
GM: Gord Ash.
Thursday, July 30: Acquire RHP Pete Munro and RHP Jay Yennaco from the Red Sox for C Mike Stanley.
Friday, July 31: Acquire RHP Nerio Rodriguez and LF Shannon Carter from the Orioles for RHP Juan Guzman.
Friday: Acquire RHP Leo Estrella from the Mets for INF Tony Phillips.
1999 GMs meetings
Dana Point, Calif.
Monday, Nov. 8: Acquire OF Raul Mondesi and RP Pedro Borbon from the Dodgers for OF Shawn Green and INF Jorge Nunez.
Thursday, Nov. 11: Acquire LHP Lance Painter, C Alberto Castillo, and RHP Matt DeWitt from St. Louis for RHP Pat Hentgen and LHP Paul Spoljaric.
2001 Winter meetings
GM: J.P. Ricciardi.
Monday, Dec. 10: Acquire RP Felix Heredia and INF Jim Deschaine from the Cubs for SS Alex Gonzalez.
Thursday, Dec. 13: Acquire RHP Luke Prokopec and RHP Chad Ricketts from the Dodgers for RP Paul Quantrill and INF Cesar Izturis.
2015 Non-waiver trade deadline
GM: Alex Anthopoulos.
Tuesday July 28, 12:30 AM 2015: Acquire SS Troy Tulowitzki and RP LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies for SS Jose Reyes, RP Miguel Castro, RHP Jeff Hoffman and RHP Jesus Tinoco.
Thursday, July 30, Noon: Acquire LHP David Price from the Tigers for LHPs Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jario Loubert.
Friday, July 31, 2 PM: Acquire RP Mark Lowe from Mariners for LHPs Nick Wells, Jacob Brentz and Rob Rasmussen.
Friday, 3:30: Acquire OF Ben Revere from the Phillies and cash for RHPs Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado.