By Bob Elliott
Don’t engrave your awards before they have been presented ...
Or something along those lines.
In a memorable season where Josh Donaldson is the fave to win the American League MVP, lefty David Price is a strong contender for the Cy Young award and John Gibbons is mentioned in manager of the year talk, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been named the Sport Media Canada executive of the year.
How long can it be before Rogers Communications decides on whether he has a job for next season?
Anthopoulos generated excitement in the Jays from coast to coast with a series of deadline deals, turning a .500 team into the AL East leaders — 23 games over .500, the most since the 1993 World Series-winning season — following Friday’s 6-1 series-opening win over the Boston Red Sox extended the Jays lead to 4 1/2 games.
Donaldson, who leads in the AL in RBIs with 120 (110 out of the No. 2 hole), runs scored (110), total bases (331) and hitting with men in scoring position (.376) has blown past Mike Trout.
Price, a combined 16-5 in 21 starts with the Detroit Tigers and nine with the Jays, will battle favorite Dallas Keuchel of Houston Astros and Sonny Gray of the Oakland A’s.
Gibbons has plenty of competition for the manager of the year honors with Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers as the favorite, along with A.J. Hinch, Houston, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins and Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals.
In this the 39th year the franchise the Jays have won eight Baseball Writers of America Association awards. George Bell won the MVP in 1987, Cy Young awards went to Pat Hentgen (1996), Rogers Clemens (1997-98) and Roy Halladay (2003); Eric Hinske won the rookie of the year honor in 2000 and Alfredo Griffin shared rookie honors in 1979 with John Castino; and Bobby Cox won manager of the year honors in 1985.
The 20th annual luncheon is scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Royal York.
Dan Loiselle, who retired last spring as Woodbine announcer, receives the President’s Award, while honors go Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (no relation), Sean Fitz-Gerald of The National Post and Steve Russell of The Toronto Star.
Tom Tebbutt received a career achievement award while broadcaster Ernie Calcutt, scribe Alison Gordon and sportscaster Al McCann will be named to the honor roll.
Best signs: “Greetings from the Big Smoak, Stouffville, Ont.” ... “Whatever it Takes” with a picture of Friday’s starter Marcus Stroman ... “Stro-empter” ... Justin Smoak hit a two-run double to left centre in the fourth to send the big smoke into a tizzy ... Stroman pitched seven innings allowing six singles as he walked one and struck out three.
Safer landing: Edwin Encarnacion slid safely home on Smoak’s double barely beating the relay from Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts ... That wasn’t the case Wednesday at Turner Field in Atlanta when Russell Martin doubled into the left field corner. The relay from Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit Encarnacion in the head knocking off his helmet.
Rogers man arrives: Dave Dombrowski, the first choice of Rogers Communications to be take over from president Paul Beeston as president, arrived at the Rogers Centre Friday -- as president of baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox. Dombrowski was accompanied by Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Devellano of the Detroit Red Wings.
From scout row: “The injury to Troy Tulowitzki has exposed Ryan Goins.” Exposed? “Now, we’re all exposed to just how good a defensive shortstop Goins is.”
One from the room: Chris Colabello upon meeting Hazel Mae “I watched you on NESN when I was growing up.”
Mae worked at Sportsnet before joining NESN in 2004-08 and is now back at the Mother Ship.
Colabello’s final year at Assumption College was 2004 before be began his seven year stint playing independent ball for the Worcester Tornadoes and the Nashua Pride in the Cam-Am Association.
Question period: Jamie Campbell hosted the question and answer period at the Albany Club, founded by Kingston’s Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, at the annual Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
When Campbell opened the floor to questions for Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, his father Sandy, Lloyd Moseby, Duane Ward and Devon White, the first questiion was:
“Yes, I’d like to ask Alex how he was unable to unload Jose Reyes’ contract?”
Anthopoulos, who wasn’t on stage, answered the question.
Scout and about: Paul Ricciarini, former Jays scout, and Mike Wickham of the Houston Astros were following the Jays making it 11 straight games the Houston scouts have seen the Jays ... They can’t match the thick file Tim Conroy of the Kansas City Royals has prepared. Conroy saw the Jays Friday for a 19th straight night -- two less games than Cliff Pennington has played ... There have not been scouts from a post-season contender at Rogers Centre to check out the Jays in September since 1993.
Vandy bound: Speedy Mississauga outfielder Cooper Davis of the Ontario Blue Jays signed a letter of intent to play for the Vanderbilt University Commodores in the fall of 2017. Davis ran a 6.35 60 on scout day at the third annual Tournament 12 and homered to right.