108: Geography, Norris, Martin
It’s a good thing the Blue Jays won on Wednesday because I definitely did not feel like writing another “the sky is falling” post. Something tells me you’re also sick of reading them.
So let’s bring a little positivity back to this team, shall we?
Winning the latest series at home against the division leading New York Yankees definitely helps numb the pain left behind from that god-awful road trip.
It’s hard to imagine a 3-and-7 trip being anything more than a disappointment (OK, I lied, the positivity will come later). The Jays dropped their series in Tampa, Boston, and split a four game set in Cleveland. But even the split felt like a loss as the Jays squandered a 6-1 lead in the final game, despite the first career grand slam from team saviour and American League rookie of the month, Devon Travis.
By the way, I really wish someone would have told me that Cleveland was only a four-hour drive from Toronto. Who knew? (Answer: apparently half the city).
Had I known it was such a quick trip I would have been down there heckling with the 1,000s of other Jays fans who made the trek.
I feel rather ashamed for not knowing. Perhaps I should have paid more attention in high school geography … “The Geography of Blue Jays Road trips” … now there’s a lesson I would have never slept through.
The fans that descended upon Progressive Field seemed like a real rowdy bunch, and let me just say they made Section 108 more than proud – not to mention a little jealous. Watching the games on TV it looked more like a Canadian invasion than a Indians home series.
Consider the Jays vs. Indians roady added to the bucket-list.
Since we’re on the topic of fan antics, a group of young Jays supporters took distraction techniques to another level in Wednesday’s home game. When Yankees catcher Brian McCann stepped to the plate in the eighth inning, the fans began waving their cellphone flashlights from centre field.
Was this some coordinated section selfie (which also gives me a great idea) or one ingenious distraction ploy? Either way, Yankees manager Joe Girardiwasn’t at all impressed with the display and even had some words about it with home plate umpire Toby Basner.
A fair complaint, Mr. Girardi, although I couldn’t help but wonder: “why hadn’t I thought of that?”
Now let’s be clear, I’m not saying I would have done it. A batter has enough to deal with … you know, with a solid rock being hurled at his noggin at 90 MPH and all.
Safety concerns aside, I’d also like to consider Section 108 to be a group of, shall I say, ‘ethical troublemakers.’ Tasteful humour is always the weapon of choice … for the most part anyway … I’m reluctant to make any guarantees beyond the seventh inning.
Alright, I promised you some positivity.
CALL OFF THE SEARCH PARTY, ‘CAUSE RUSSELL MARTIN HAS FOUND HIS SWING!!!
After a (painfully) slow start Russell Martin’s average has spiked to .286. He claims that adopting his two-strike approach for the entire at-bat has been a catalyst to this turnaround. A little ‘see-ball, hit-ball’ may have been just what the swing-doctor ordered.
These aren’t slump-busting bloop singles Martin’s slapping out there either. Right now he’s hitting the ball so hard you’d think it owes him money. He has a home run in each of his last four starts and his seven total homers tie him with Travis for the team lead.
Travis’ average has dipped of late, all the way down to a lowly (sarcasm intended) .297. That we can even call .297 a “dip” for a rookie infielder has to be more encouraging than anything else. Admittedly, he has been getting beat by junk balls down and away, but if a pitcher can make an adjustment so can a hitter, right? (seriously, I’m asking you … I’ve always wondered).
At first glance, the Jays 14-and-15 record looks mediocre at best. And honestly, you can’t really say they deserve better or worse based on their play. But consider that seven (!) players on the current active roster were in the minor leagues on opening day …
The injury endemic and poor player performance have led to sweeping roster changes a mere month into the season. It’s no wonder the Jays are reluctant to fork over the dough for big contracts, they must be spending a small fortune on gas money for the AAA shuttle bus.
Even with the losing record there are plenty of reasons for Jays fans to be optimistic. That the team can even hover around .500 with such a make-shift roster is miracle enough. Of course, my optimism is based on the now ridiculous assumption that we will one day have a fully healthy team.
I’m not sure what I should wish for more, a healthy roster or for Daniel Norristo figure it out – his command and velocity couldn’t have gone far … after all, they were with him in spring training.
Truthfully, I believe Norris is a key piece to this team and that the Jays need him back up in the big leagues SOON. With the way our pitching has gone the season could depend on it…
But I must confess, I do have an ulterior motive for wanting Norris back so soon … I’ve thought up a few golden ‘van-puns’ that I’m just dying to use.
So get back up here, Daniel, for the Blue Jays sake and mine.