Toronto Blue Jays


Greatest Blue Jays Defensive Plays

I haven't watched much Blue Jays baseball these past two months. I watched quite a bit in April, but by mid-May I found myself doing other things. It was clear the Jays weren't contending for a title this year, and I found myself more inspired by their AA team, so I decided to take a break.

On reddit today, there was a discussion about the greatest Blue Jays defensive plays of all-time. That post has inspired his one.

Here are five of the greatest defensive plays in Blue Jays history.

Roberto Alomar vs. Lenny Dykstra

Josh Donaldson vs. David DeJesus

Buck Martinez vs. Broken Leg

Kevin Pillar vs. Luke Maile

Devon White vs. David Justice

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The Elusive George Bell

Ten days ago, I shared an important message from George Bell. My pal Mark Hebscher met George at a charity golf tournament and was kind enough to record that message for me. I love it.

While Hebsy was recording George, he managed to ask him a few questions about his first big league game, his infamous drop-kick of Bruce Kison, and the Drive of '85. George is so elusive, this is a real treat for us fans of #11. Here's the video.

By the way, Hebsy has been sharing clips like this at the end of each episode of his new podcast, Hebsy on Sports. Hebsy on Sports is recorded twice a week in my basement, and we talk for thirty minutes about what's happening in sports, always with a GTA slant. And don't worry, it's 95% Hebsy, only 5% me.

Subscribe to Hebsy on Sports at HebsyonSports.com.

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An Important Message from George Bell

George Bell

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Watching the Blue Jays on Facebook

The Blue Jays game against the Kansas City Royals is taking place at the dome right now, but it's not on Sportsnet. This game is a Facebook exclusive.

I thought I'd check it out, so I logged into Facebook and searched for "Blue Jays". Lo and behold, there was a link to watch the live feed from the game.

On my laptop, there are these icons that fly up from the bottom on the right side. There's also this live chat on the right that's super annoying. (Update: If you click the icon to go "fullscreen", the icons and chat disappear - and I just discovered "quiet mode" which seems to do the trick.) Here's how the game looked, with those aforementioned icons, when I wasn't "fullscreen" or in "quiet mode".

jays

Luckily, I have Chromecast, and that's how I watch Netflix and CraveTV and YouTube and every other form of streaming video. So I put the game on my TV via Chromecast and the annoying chat and flying icons disappeared. Much better.

2018-04-18_04-19-31

Not the most fluid stream, however. It's a little pixelated for my liking, and there's a slight lag now and then. I don't ask for much, but a clear HD image without buffering is rather important. I don't experience the lag when I watch on the laptop, just when I Chromecast it to the big screen.

The commenters aren't great, either. One guy just asked how it is we don't have an ice storm every winter "considering it's minus 100 every day". Of course, this may be because I'm not used to them. They don't really call the game, they just sort of chat while you watch the game. Change of this magnitude can be jarring.

When projected on my TV via Chromecast, the "LIVE 60K" overlay is right over the score chyron, which makes no sense at all. On my laptop, it was in the top left corner, where there's no interference.

It's not awful, but there are some wrinkles to iron out. I certainly wouldn't pay for this experience. Only one more Facebook exclusive game to go.

Go Jays Go!

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Ben Wagner and Dan Shulman Calling Jays Games on the Radio this Summer

When Jerry Howarth announced his retirement from calling play-by-play for Blue Jays games on the radio, we had a spirited discussion about who would replace him. Click over and read the comments for a refresher. I stated that Dan Shulman was in the city and the ideal replacement, and if he wanted the gig, it was his for the taking.

Today, Rogers announced that Buffalo Bisons play-by-play man Ben Wagner and Dan Shulman are replacing Jerry Howarth. Mike Wilner continues to be a part of the broadcast team and will host Blue Jays Talk throughout the 2018 season.

Dan Shulman is also getting his own podcast, because why not?! Everyone else has one! Dan, if you're out there, it's time for you to appear on Toronto Mike'd.

Now let's play ball...

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Stuck at 11

It's an interesting coincidence that both the Blue Jays and Raptors have strung together multiple win streaks of 11 games but never 12. I believe the Jays have hit 11 at least five times now and I know the Raptors have reached 11 at least twice. When I have time, I'll try and find precise numbers.

With the Raps loss today to halt their streak at 11, here's the longest winning streaks in franchise history for each of Toronto's main five professional sports teams.

Raptors - 11
Blue Jays - 11
Maple Leafs - 10
Argos - 10
TFC - 6

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Jerry Howarth Retires After 36 Seasons Calling Blue Jays Games

Jerry Howarth has announced that he's retiring as Blue Jays radio play-by-play broadcaster after 36 seasons. I have no personal memories of Jays games on the radio before Jerry, as I only started listening during the summer of '83. Jerry joined Tom Cheek in 1981.

I've written about my blue transistor radio. In the summers, I listened to 1430 CJCL which was carrying Blue Jays games called by Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. I'd fall asleep to their voices, or Scott Ferguson's Out of Town Scoreboard. I'd often wake up to "The Music of Your Life" before heading on over to Tom Rivers on 680 CFTR.

Thank you Jerry for 36 great years. Saturday afternoon barbecues with the Jays game on the radio won't ever quite be the same. Coincidentally, with Keegan Matheson over for an episode of Toronto Mike'd, I played some old Jays songs featuring Tom and Jerry just yesterday. Here's one such classic. Enjoy.

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MLSE Buys the Argonauts - Are the Blue Jays Next?

In a surprise announcement, MLSE is the proud new owner of the Toronto Argonauts. It was previously owned by the Kilmer Group (Larry Tanenbaum) and Bell Canada, but now it's owned by the Kilmer Group, Bell Canada, and Rogers. The Argos join the Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Marlies as MLSE properties.

My initial thoughts are that this is very good for the Argos. Let's face it, the Argos and CFL were all but ignored by Rogers properties like Sportsnet and The Fan 590, and now they'll get more exposure on those key sports channels. It will also help the Argos to have the weight of MLSE's sports marketing expertise behind them. I envision Argos tickets bundled with Maple Leafs playoff tickets and the like. The Argos need to draw better at BMO Field and this will help.

My next thoughts are of the Blue Jays. David Shoalts one explained the accounting advantages if Rogers owned 37.5% of the Blue Jays as opposed to the current 100%. If MLSE were to purchase the Blue Jays from Rogers, they'd have a monopoly on all major Toronto sports franchises. I don't know if this is a good thing or not.

The sale is expected to close in January 2018.

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Gregg Zaun Fired by Rogers Sportsnet

Gregg Zaun will no longer be a part of Blue Jays telecasts. He was fired today. Rick Brace, President of Rogers Media, sent the following email to employees this afternoon.

This week, we received complaints from multiple employees at Sportsnet regarding inappropriate behaviour and comments by Gregg Zaun in the workplace. After investigating the matter, we decided to terminate his contract, effective immediately.

This type of behaviour completely contradicts our standards and our core values. We must all be held to the same standard - regardless of our position, our contributions or our status.

We believe in a professional workplace where all employees feel comfortable and respected. We believe in a culture where our employees share their feedback or our status.

We are grateful to the employees who spoke wth us and we will take every measure to protect their privacy.

If you have concerns related to inappropriate behaviour of any kind, I encourage you to talk to your manager, HR business partner, or phone our anonymous hotline.

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment.

Rick

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Why Didn't Roy Halladay End Up Working With Blue Jays Minor Leaguers?

I have a great deal of respect for Bob Elliott. In fact, when he visited me eleven months ago, I let him become the first guest in 207 episodes to go beyond two hours. Elliott spent decades covering the Expos and Blue Jays and the players trusted him and confided in him. I wanted to hear as many stories as possible.

Bob Elliott and Me

Following the tragic death of Roy Halladay, Elliott wrote a great article about Roy for the Canadian Baseball Network. It included this nugget that caught my eye.

This off season he wanted to work with Blue Jays minor leaguers. He applied -- yes Roy Halladay was made to apply for a job with the Blue Jays -- with the high performance committee.

And then the decision whether to hire him was kicked upstairs.

The Jays did not hire him. Instead, he was re-hired by the Phillies to work with their young pitchers.

I read this and was left wondering why Roy Halladay didn't end up working with the Blue Jays' minor leaguers. There may be an excellent reason Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins took a pass on utilizing Roy's services, but I'd rather not speculate. I'd like to know.

I tweeted about my desire to know and was accused of piling on current management.

Admittedly, a few moves made by Shapiro and Atkins have me scratching my head, but I certainly have no interest in "piling on". Someone linked me to Andrew Stoeten's entry about the piling on but I still think it's absolutely fair to ask why the Blue Jays didn't want Roy Halladay working with their minor leaguers. Our loss was Philadelphia's gain, as you'll read in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Again, I don't know anything is rotten here, and I'm well aware knowing the truth won't bring Roy back, but my hope is that one of this city's fine sports journalists investigates the story and brings to light the truth.

I think we fans deserve to know.

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