Check Mate

bluejaysI still hear those ads on the radio. They feature a kid playing A.J. Burnett in chess. A.J. is ultra competitive, mentioning his no-hitter and fastball. The ad complements the numerous print ads I've seen featuring Burnett, the expensive free agent signed last December by the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was an exciting signing and worthy of such an agressive marketing campaign, but there is one small problem. A.J. doesn't play. Thus far in 2006 he's pitched 10 innings over two games, going 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA. Like every other Jays fan I'm hopeful he'll come off the disabled list and play well down the stretch, but I have that sinking feeling in my stomach that makes me recall Bill Caudill. We're paying this guy $55-million US over five-years and he doesn't play.

At least he can beat kids at chess. That's gotta count for something.

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I love those ads. The TV campaign has one where Troy Glaus goes yard with a children's birthday Pinata and Roy Haladay throwing at a hornet's nest to drive off some loafing kids.

With the amount of money the Jays have invested in Burnett, I don't blame them for being cautious. Luckily, the team isn't doing too bad without him. Imagine how much better they'll be with him? Besides, if Burnett doesn't go down, we don't find out how good Jansen really is.

June 8, 2006 @ 11:29 AM

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