Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Finally Got On The JumboTron!....And Other Musings

After 19 years of attending ballgames at the Sk....Sky...SkyD....Rogers Centre, I finally got on the Jumbotron. It occurred last Thursday, during the Blue Jays' 13-inning loss to Tampa Bay. My buddy Dave and I were shown mid-game, around the sixth inning or so, sort of out of nowhere since we were up in the fifth deck and just calmly sitting watching the game without waving a sign, wearing face paint or accompanied by a blond in a tank top. I was so surprised I actually reacted with an 'Oh!' and looked like something of a yutz on the big screen. Fortunately the crowd was tiny enough that nobody noticed.

Then it happened again! This game, for those who didn't see it, could've served as one of the Lord's tests for Job. The Jays had their usual offensive dry spell and were down 3-0 going into the ninth. Tampa brought in their closer, Troy Percival, who hadn't allowed a run all season. I was mentally planning the route I was going to take on the drive home when, unbelievably, Toronto actually scored three runs off of Percival to tie the game. Extra innings, baby! Since I wasn't at work at the ballgame, extra innings rule! Then, after their outburst, the Jays reverted back to their usual crappy situational hitting in the extra frames. Alex Rios led off the 10th inning with a triple and, three awful strikeouts later, he was stranded. Blimey. Tampa, of course, ended up winning in 13 after Dioner Navarro cranked a grand slam to make the score 8-3. What was left of the crowd started pouring out en masse until there were literally under 1000 people left for the bottom of the 13th. It was at this point that Dave, Dave's friend Tyler and myself (who I think were the last three in our section) got on the Jumbotron yet again. This time, being a veteran of the process, I just waved.

Pamela Anderson's career got started after she was shown on the screen at a B.C. Lions game out in Vancouver. So who knows what these two (two!) JumboTron appearances may get me. Perhaps my future life will end up being a bizarro version of hers. I'll be on the cover of Playgirl magazine. I'll star in the title role in Trip Wire. I'll contract Hepatitis A. I'll make a sex tape with the drummer from Hole. The sky is really the limit here.

Of course, this isn't my first time being featured on a baseball stadium's video screen. Back in 2000, my pals and I went to Montreal and attended some Expos games. For the first few games I wore a hat, but on the last I thought to myself, "Self, you're in a domed stadium. You don't need a hat. Let the wind breeze through your hair!" This thought was pretty deluded, for one because there was no wind inside the dome and two, at this time I was balding on my way to becoming fully bald. Anyway, my decision to wear a hat ended up coming back to haunt me when Youppi, the Expos mascot, grabbed me in a headlock and started to rub my head for luck. This ended up on the scoreboard for all of the thousands...er, hundreds...er, dozens of Montreal baseball fans to see.

In an unrelated note, Youppi had better watch his damn back. Once my lawyer finishes law school, Youp Youp's harassing ass is mine. Hurry up and pass, Kyle!

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Here's the most amazing part of the Blue Jays' lack of success this season. Until the Indians laid a 12-0 whupping on them over the weekend, Toronto had a chance to win every single one of their losses this season. The Cleveland game was their only blowout. I might add the 5-1 loss to Detroit on April 21 (which I attended) just because the Tigers got out to an early lead and it was clear the Jays weren't hitting that day, but even still, the final score was only 5-1.

So, just to recap, if Toronto's hitting had been just bad, the Jays would be in first place right now. However, their lineup has been completely, embarrassingly atrocious. I dunno if these stats are totally current, but as of this moment, Yahoo is telling me the Jays are hitting .209 with runners in scoring position. It's become a joke in the press box. During the last homestand, a Jays hitter led off an inning with a single and then stole second base. My pal Jordan joked that the steal was a bad move, since now he was in scoring position and nobody would drive him in. We all chuckled...and then watched as the runner was left standing on second after a pop-up, a strikeout and a grounder. Blerg. When the Jays hired Gary Denbo as the hitting coach and propped the guy up as a video guru, they checked to make sure he's actually showing them baseball film, right? Not, say, VHS tapes of Weekend at Bernie's?

Some might look at Toronto's 19-22 record at the quarter-pole of the 2008 season and actually see it as a positive. "Look," they might say, "the Jays aren't providing any offense at all, but yet the team is still just three games under .500! Once they get swinging, they won't be stopped!"

That's all well and good, but anyone who thinks this is probably also about to log into their Hotmail folder and sent their bank account info to the Kenyan prince who's trying to get his fortune. Baseball is a game of cycles, and just as the hitting as floundered, the pitching will eventually slow down. I can believe that the Jays' rotation will have a hell of a season, but they're not going to keep up throwing quality starts each and every time out. There's nothing harder in the game than finding consistent pitching, and when you get it, brother, you'd better take advantage. And, after six weeks of largely magnificent pitching from Halladay, Marcum, McGowan, Litsch and Burnett, Toronto is just 19-22 because their hitters couldn't hit a damn beachball with men in scoring position.

So basically what I'm asking is, could the Jays be moved to the NL East for next season? Since they apparently decided that having a DH is too much trouble, they might as well be in the league where the pitcher has to hit. Swap Toronto out with, say, Florida. The Marlins can start up an interstate rivalry with the Rays, the Jays can start fierce rivalries with Atlanta and Philadelphia over the 92-93 World Series results, I'll start running through three scorecards a game trying to keep track of all the double switches, everyone wins.

Oh, remember that Rios-for-Lincecum trade that was rumoured to be on the table over the winter? Just imagine if that had gone through. Toronto's pitching would've been even better --- and the hitting would've been even worse.

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One final baseball note. Asdrubal Cabrera, so you got an unassisted triple play. That don't impress me much. Yes, that's right, I'm so unimpressed that I'm mocking you via a Shania Twain lyric. Timmins represent.

You're late to this dance, Asdrubal (if that is your real name). While unassisted triple plays may be rare up in the big leagues, they're old hat to this writer. Yes, that's right, I myself pulled off the ol' UTP back in eighth grade softball. It was more or less the same play, too. The batter hit a liner to me at second, I stepped onto the bag and then tagged the runner coming from first. Easy as 3.14. Now, some might argue that my play had a much lower degree of difficulty given that it was eighth grade gym class and that the baserunners may or may not have known the rules of baseball. To this I say, pfft. I had an added degree of difficulty too! I'm a terrible baseball player! I once tried to steal second base when there was a runner already on second! (Though I did make it back to first --- top that, Cool Papa Bell.) Surely of all the people who you'd think would turn an unassisted triple play, I'd be near the bottom of the list. It would go me, Stephen Hawking, Chuck Knoblauch and then you'd have to start getting into the lists of dead people like Sideshow Bob's mayoral campaign. So the fact that I turned a UTP means that it surely can't be all that difficult. Nice try, Asdrubal. You'll have to work harder than that to top me. You'll have to, like, post a FOUR-hour AIM chat about Survivor on your own blog.

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This isn't baseball, but this is unbelievably funny. This is from the TNT basketball crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. They've got Kobe Bryant in for an interview, and Kenny has a spoof of Kobe's infamous 'jump over a car' video ready to go. This is just brilliant. I laughed for a good five minutes after seeing the clip. The best part is Barkley and some of the studio crew, who apparently hadn't seen the spoof, just cackling away after seeing it for the first time.



In hindsight, this video was a much better idea than Kenny's secondary plan, which was to do a spoof of Kobe raping that girl in Colorado. That might not have gone over so well. Ernie Johnson would've had a cameo in that one too, as the girl. If you've never seen Ernie Johnson in drag, well, it's quite a sight. Imagine Bea Arthur. Now, imagine the girl that Bea Arthur goes out to the club with in order to make herself look better by comparison.

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Happy belated birthday Bea Arthur!

2 comments:

Kyle Wasko said...

It's my understanding that the Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct don't even apply in Quebec.

Oh...Youppi is going down, my friend. Not to worry. [cackles maniacally]

Emmett Macfarlane said...

Agreed with your sentiments on the Jays prospects. The assumption that the bats even will come alive is starting to look questionable by itself, let alone that the pitchers can keep it up. BUT, it is interesting that they are only 4 games back (3 back of the wild card) and have played this miserably...