The Rosin Bag: Honours

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on The Rosin Bag: HonoursJun 09, 2009

A.L. Player of the Week: Lyle Overbay

A.L. Player of the Week: Lyle Overbay

The Twit: The Weekend That Was

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on The Twit: The Weekend That WasJun 08, 2009
A season that will come to define him

A season that will come to define him

Kind of a hectic weekend, but I did manage to catch a few sporting events:

– Roy Halladay is having the season that will define his career. Now if only the rest of the Jays can deliver a playoff spot…

– I think if Doc genuinely wants to stay in Toronto as long as they’re competing for the pennant (and I believe him when he says he does), the Jays need to sustain their winning form. For this reason I think JP should go get another bat, hopefully a true clean-up hitter. Think of it as a gesture of goodwill heading into contract negotiations with the best pitcher in baseball. Can Pedro hit cleanup?

– I was totally digging the Gulf Porsche 917-inspired shirt Federer was wearing at Roland-Garros. Ok, I don’t know for sure that’s what he was going for, but as a fan of the 24 Hours of LeMans, it’s the first thing that came to mind.

– There was a hockey game on Saturday night? I wasn’t aware: it is June, after all…

– Jenson Button wins again. I found out as I flipped to the race between French Open commercials. My interest wanes further.

Inspiration for Federer Fashion?

Inspiration for Federer Fashion?

– It’s a credit to NASCAR, a sport I loathe, that I watched the final eight laps of the Pocono 500 with more interest than what I saw of the F1 race – Tony Stewart coddling his empty gas tank to victory made for compelling viewing.

– Loved the interviews with the 1989 Blue Jays during Friday’s telecast, especially the one with Tony Fernandez. Sam Cosentino’s love for the game comes through every time he speaks. Too bad only 15,000 fans showed up for the anniversary event (COME ON TORONTO, WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!).

– Is it just me or could a movie of the French Open Final be made  starring Gary Oldman as Robin Soderling and Quentin Tarantino as Roger Federer? (clicky the names for pics)

– Hope Rafael Nadal doesn’t need surgery. I think I speak for all tennis fans when I wish him a speedy recovery and a strong return to the All-England club.

Feet of Clay: Greatest Ever

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on Feet of Clay: Greatest EverJun 08, 2009
The Greatest

The Greatest

Roger Federer, in my opinion, is the greatest tennis player this planet has ever produced (disclaimer: I have not yet checked out the tennis talent on Mercury or Jupiter). I’m the type of person who makes a conscious effort not to make that claim too quick and in all honesty, I’m still a little reluctant to make it because no one but tennis scholars can really be expected to make that claim an educated one. I never got to watch Rod Laver or Arthur Ashe, just barely got to watch Bjorn Borg and I don’t have a readily available archive of tennis matches to watch and compare.

From what I’ve seen, and I’ve been a tennis fan from a very early time in my childhood, Roger Federer is the best I’ve seen. He is not only a talented champion, but a gracious one. He says all the right things, but it’s not the usual athlete PR bullshit we usually get – he is genuine and possesses gravitas. When he cried after being denied his sixth-straight Wimbledon at the hands of his nemesis Rafael Nadal last year, you could not help but feel his pain.

Federer has just claimed his first French Open, the most difficult Grand Slam event to win. In doing so, he silences the misguided claims that Pete Sampras was the best ever. Pistol Pete never won at Roland-Garros and, quite frankly, was never close to being “The Greatest”. Sampras’ game was all about a booming serve which he could keep inside the lines with stunning frequency. His cheerleaders point to his excellent serve-and-volley game, but rushing the net and burying the return down your opponent’s throat after reducing him to a desperate stab at your serve doesn’t impress nor inspire me. He was American, which is the only reason he’s in this conversation.

By winning the French Open, Federer becomes only the sixth man to complete the tennis Grand Slam (Wimbledon, Australian, French and U.S. Opens). He ties Pete Sampras for most Majors (14). He was involved in arguably the best tennis match ever contested. Even Sampras concedes he’s the best ever, joined in the chorus by John McEnroe and other legends of the game.

As Mary Carillo said yesterday, it’s possible Rafael Nadal could be even better. Nadal, however, is starting to show the wear and tear that prevents very talented people to ascend to the title “Greatest Ever” (think Mario Lemieux).

For my money, Federer will hold that title for a long, long time.

Gargs Mercied Again; Make That Seven Straight Losses

Posted by Redd FissherComments Off on Gargs Mercied Again; Make That Seven Straight LossesJun 04, 2009

 

No one fears these Gargoyles

No one fears these Gargoyles

OTTAWA (ODB) — Well, when it gets this bad, you’ve got to look for some positives.

 

And there were several, in the Ottawa Avnet Gargoyles 9-0 loss to the Acadiens Tuesday night at Hampton Yards.

Kevin Emmerson (L, 0-3) pitched a heck of a lot better than the linescore would indicate; proving again that one bad inning can have huge implications.
That inning was the third, which started off tamely with Emmerson retiring the first two batters. But a pair of walks and an error later, SomeGuy took a fastball deep over the left-field wall for a grand slam and a 5-0 Acadiens’ advantage.

“I don’t know what the f— happened in the third,” said Emmerson, over beers following the game. “That’s just one of those things that really burns, when you get the first two outs and then the tide turns so quickly,” said catcher Mark Brennae. “Emmerson was cruising along quite well, I thought. We had a good rhythm going and we were down by one, so it was looking good,” he said. “But when I saw the bat make contact with that ball, I knew we were in trouble.”

The grand slam proved the turning point, considering the Gargs’ lack of hitting in the early part of this season. The Men in Black managed but three hits and six baserunners on the evening, and of their 18 outs (yep, another mercy; the fourth in seven games), 11 were hit in the air — another indication of the Gargs season-long swoon at the plate.

“We really have to start hitting,” understated a Garg, over beers following the club’s seventh defeat in as many outings.

The Acadiens (3-5), scored one in the first, four in the third, one in the fifth and three more in the sixth, compared with the Gargs’ goose eggs across the board.

But, there was some good defence, particularly from Zach Schowalter, who moved over from third base to play shortstop, along with some snappy glove action from Emmerson, who made a couple of nice defensive plays on the mound.

The Gargs hustled and played a better team game, which was complimented by newcomer Neil, who played head’s-up ball in left field and Théo Gauthier who, returning from a two-game layoff, looked terrific at third base.

And Emmerson deserved a bit of some support, yes? “That may have been the best-pitched game of the season for us,” said one Garg, over beers. He was correct. Now. If the Men in Black can just get those bats going . . .

Gargs Largs: Theo and Mathieu Gauthier returned from Sudbury and report their father who underwent heart surgery there is recovering nicely following two stints under the knife. The Gargs family wishes its best for Mr. Gauthier . . . Some honest hustle from the speedy Mathieu unfortunately led to an out at second with a Garg at third in the fourth. Nice hustle, but wrong time, with two outs . . . Neil comes over the Gargs on a part-time basis, from Kevin’s other club, the HighSox, formerly known as the Bruins . . . The Gargs were playing their third straight game without all-star CF Bruce Turcotte. His shoulder is still a serious concern and the Gargs aren’t sure when he will return to the fold. Matthew Stephenson also was out of the lineup, watching the Gargs game on ESPN2 at a cottage . . . Brian McGregor hit three dingers in BP before the game . . . Weirdness at Whispers: some very drunken tart with a big butt and a bigger mouth was a particular nuisance. She swore like a sailor and wouldn’t leave the Gargs’ table, as uninvited as she was. To boot, she started hollering at Zach. At Zach? How does one pick an argument with the even-keeled Zach? Must have been the whiskey. But it might have been the gin . . . Quote of the night from an anonymous Garg on the quickness of the games thus far this season. You know the team isn’t performing well, he said, “when you spend more time at the bar than on the field.” Tuesday’s game clocked in at 1:18, a full 18 minutes more than the Gargs 15-4 loss to the Cards May 31. That’s progress, though, no? . . . The Gargs take on the Acadiens again, Monday night (9 p.m., Hampton Yards). The Men in Black are visitors and will have Ken (0-1) on the mound.

Box
Glen McGregor 0-3
Kevin Emmerson 0-3
Mark Brennae 0-1 BB
Théo Gauthier 0-2
Zach Schowalter 0-2
Brian McGregor 0-2
Ken Wong 0-2
Neil 1-2 2B
Mathieu Gauthier 1-2 
Rick Devereux 1-2

Kevin Emmerson (L, 0-3) 61P 9 runs (7 earned) 10H 3BB 2K

Acadiens   1 0 4 0 1 3   9 10 2
Gargs        0 0 0 0 0 0   0 3 3
Time: 1:18

The Rosin Bag: Record Night

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on The Rosin Bag: Record NightJun 03, 2009
Best in the business

Best in the business

Roy Halladay’s 14 strikeout, 133 pitch performance last night was yet another example of his dominance over every other pitcher in the league. It was an example of why the Jays must re-sign him in the off-season and why he will most likely be the American League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star game and probably win his second Cy Young award.

Bold predictions? Not really. Barring a cataclysmic occurrence of which I will not speak (kinda like Lord Voldemort), Halladay is the front runner for these accolades. I have never seen him in such dominant form, and that’s saying something. Every five days you get the feeling you can’t lose.

Before the season started, when almost everyone was predicting a gloomy season for the Jays, I mentioned that if these dire predictions rang true at least we would get to see a masterful performance every five days. It turns out these performances are the gravy on our mash potatoes, and they’re occuring in Toronto (take that Billy Bob). The mash potatoes are the fact that it’s June and the Jays are  still deeply involved in the divisional race.

I only caught the end of the game last night (Gargoyle duty), but what I saw will remain imprinted on my brain for a long time: a clearly winded Halladay, taking a seat between the eighth and ninth innings, having thrown over 115 pitches, Cito taking a seat next to him and having a chat with him. At one point they both nodded and started chuckling. I’d love to know what Cito said to him, because it’s the first time I’ve ever seen Halladay smile during a game. He then trotted out to the mound, looking a little sluggish but deadly as always. I hope there are additional indelible images coming our way this season, but that was the second one (the first being the Travis Snider bomb at the Metrodome).

JP, sign this man in the offseason. Rogers, do what must be done to retain his services. Step number one would be to show a willingness to go out and improve the team, and Sager over at Out of Left Field has a nice wishlist.

Gargs gagged again; losing slide slips to 6

Posted by Redd Fissher1 CommentJun 01, 2009

Surely not what the reporter had in mind

Surely not what the reporter had in mind

OTTAWA (ODB) — One good thing about the frigid temperatures is that it meant the Gargs weren’t the worst thing to endure Sunday night at Hampton Yards.

A season-high crowd of 22 — almost all of the attendees encouraging the Cards to a well-deserved 15-4 victory — braved nasty winds and an Octoberish nip in the air to watch the Ottawa Avnet Gargoyles lose their sixth straight.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around,” said one Garg over a lager, following the game. “We’re not fielding. We’re not hitting. We’re not winning.”

It’s a simple game, Hall of Famer Thomas Hanks once said. “Throw the ball. Catch the ball. Hit the ball.”
Maybe someone should organize a League of Their Own DVD pyjama party so these Gargs can see how to better play this game.

The Cards exploded into the driver’s seat right from the getgo, scoring five runs in the first and six more in the second. They hit four homers off Todd Duckworth (L, 0-3), who admittedly was not on his game. “It’s like, when you feel like you’ve played one season too long,” he quipped, when asked to describe his performance.

It was not Todd-like, to be sure. But it’s a little simplistic to put the goat horns on one guy. Somebody please order a full set of goat horns. Surely the Gargs qualify for a discount by now, after such a gloomy start to the 2009 campaign.

“We knew this was going to be a rebuilding year,” said manager Zach Schowalter. “But I never expected to still be searching for the first win, in June.”

Who could have a predicted that after six games — half of which they have lost in mercy-rulings — the Gargs would sport a .257 team batting average and that they would have scored a total of 23 runs? Um, that’s an average of fewer than four runs per game.

Sure, the Gargs were again without their big bat as Bruce Turcotte continued to nurse a sore shoulder following a dive in centre field in a May 20 game against Ollsons. Yes, Matthew Stephenson was out of the lineup and on the beach, somewhere in cottage country. And yes, Théo and Mathieu Gauthier were healthy scratches owing to personal reasons.

Still, you would figure the Gargs could muster more than five hits against a C Division club, oui? Main, non.

Kevin Emmerson’s two-run double in the third provided half the Gargs’s runs in the inning and on the night and when Glen McGregor, running for Mark Brennae (catcher’s rule) chugged all the way around to make a beauty of a slide, suddenly it was an 11-4 ball game.

Game on, oui? Main non.

Duckworth shut the Cards down in the bottom of the inning but the Gargs went feebly into the night from there and were unable to push a runner into scoring position from that point forward.

“It’s a test,” offered one Garg over beers following the game. “We’ve got to make sure we keep it together,” he added. By that, the veteran Man in Black meant that now is not the time to turn on one another. The Gargs have every reason to be in testy mood but they would be wise to direct that angst toward the opposition. Better yet, perhaps it’s time the Gargs had some fun, relaxed and played for the moment. After all, despite the devious weather, it’s still only June.

Gargs Largs: You know you’re the manager of an 0-6 club when the first baseman of the opposing team is offering advice. “Maybe you guys should hold a practice,” Zach was offered while he stood on first. Come to think of it . . . Todd made a nice play in the fourth to cut down a runner at third following another dandy throw into the infield from Rick in left . . . Karl Bélanger drilled a pitch deep to left that had the distance but, hey, he works for Jack, so it went a little left of the third base foul pole. . . It may have been the coldest weather for a Gargs regular season game in years. When the first pitch was thrown, the temperature read 6 C. Thankfully the sun had returned from the clouds, which made it seem like a balmy 10 C . . . A couple of Gargs and their Gargirls were in Toronto over the weekend to see a Jays game and what is this we hear? One of them actually went to see Riverdance? That’s OK. It’s not like he missed a ball game to see the show, right? . . . “Where else can you see 200 supermodels dancing in bikinis?” offered Ken Wong, regarding the aforementioned performing arts extravaganza . . . Quote of the night. Well, it’s a tie. Here’s your tidy troika: “Every woman should be bisexual.” “Let’s see some beaver.” “I used to live in Vaseline Towers.” The names of those responsible have been omitted to protect the innocent . . . The Gargs take on the Acadiens tonight (7 p.m., Hampton Yards). Emmerson (0-2) will start for the Men in Black, although there is a chance Zach may go with Wong
on the hill.

Box

Serge Leclerc   0-3, run
Glen McGregor    1-3
Zach Schowalter    0-2, run
Ken Wong     0-3, run
Mark Brennae    0-2, run
Kevin Emmerson   2-2, 2B, 2RBI
Karl Bélanger     1-2
Brian McGregor 0-2
Rick Devereux    0-2
Todd Duckworth   1-2,

Gargs 0 0 4 0 0      4   5 3
Cards 5 6 0 4 x     15 12 3

Todd (L, 0-3) 4IP 15 runs (12 earned) 12H 2BB 0K
Time: 1:00
Att: 21.

Oh my, Gargs are 0h-for-5 after 9-0 loss to Wings

Posted by Redd FissherComments Off on Oh my, Gargs are 0h-for-5 after 9-0 loss to WingsMay 27, 2009

Complacent Gargs

Complacent Gargs

OTTAWA (ODB) — O.K. This is getting serious.

The Ottawa Avnet Gargoyles continued their stumble out of the 2009 OCSL season gate with another anemic performance at the plate, resulting in a predictable fifth straight loss.

The Gargs 9-0 defeat at the hands of the Wings Tuesday night at Hampton Yards left them with an 0-5 record and their worst start to any season going way back to the lean 1996 campaign.

“We better start playing like we’re in B division,” said Todd Duckworth(L, 0-2) after a few bevvies, following a game in which he kept the Gargs close enough to catch up and to overtake their opponents; only they didn’t come close to achieving that feat. “We look a little casual — like a C team,” said Duckworth. “We’re too complacent.”

The Gargs managed only six hits on the night and unless this scribe missed something while taking a whiz in the whoods, only once did they advance a runner past second. Todd allowed a dozen hits, including a pair of two-run shots, the final blow being the proverbial walk-off dinger as it pushed the Wings’ margin to nine runs, eliciting the mercy rule. It was the second straight game in which the Gargs have been mercied and the second consecutive game in which they were unable to register a single run.

The Men in Black have scored but once in their last three games and have amassed a total of 19 runs the entire season.

Sure, they didn’t have two of their toughest hitters Tuesday night, with Bruce Turcotte (sore shoulder) and Matthew Stephenson (work) both scratched from the lineup. That left the Gargs with an unusual formation: Glen McGregor at shortstop; Kevin Emmerson at first; Mark Brennae at rover and Brian McGregor in centre.

The non-conventional defence wasn’t (stop me if you’ve heard this before) the difference, though. Despite committing three errors, including a Bill Bucknerish faux-pas by Emmerson in the first, the D was fine. It was the offence that took the night off (hell, the offence has taken the month off, but I digress), failing to bunch any hits or to assemble anything resembling a rally.

As was the case with Emerson and Ken Wong before him, Duckworth deserved better Tuesday night. But until this team starts hitting the ball, he’s not likely going to see it.

Gargs Largs: Kevin continues to look like an excellent pickup by the Gargs. Following the unfortunate Billy Buck play, he made several good catches and looked solid at first . . . Rick made a couple of terrific throws in from left, including one that nailed a runner at second on a fine tag from Karl Bélanger . . . Zach Schowalter was thrown out attempting to steal second in the first. Someone made the comment that it appeared the fine third baseman was carrying a piano on his back as he lumbered to the bag. Zach has never stolen a base in OCSL play, but he stole what would have been a base hit, perhaps more than a single, corralling a smash in the fourth that ended in a 5-3 out . . . The Gargs hit into two double plays Tuesday night and have hit into four in the last three games . . . Following the game, which was played in a swift time of a buck-14, a Gargs contingent of nine hit their usual watering hole and discussed among other topics, holding some sort of slump-busting ritual. Among the suggestions: bringing back Gary the Garg (the inflatable one, not the big rugged one that sits in Mark’s basement and is a bugger to carry around); sacrificing a chicken…The Gargs will try to get into the winner’s circle Sunday night when they visit the Cards (7 p.m., Hampton Yards).

Boxscore
Glen McGregor 1-3
Karl Bélanger 0-2 BB
Zach Schowalter 1-3
Kevin Emmerson 0-2
Brian McGregor 0-2
Ken Wong 1-2   2B
Mathieu Gauthier 1-2
Rick Devereux 0-2
Todd Duckworth 0-2
Mark Brennae 2-2

Todd Duckworth (L, 0-2), 5.1IP 9runs (5earned) 12H 4BB 2K

Gargs    0 0 0 0 0 0   0 6 2
Wings   4 1 1 0 1 2   9 11 2
Time: 1:14
Att: 4 and two dogs.

The Twit: Leave of Absence

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on The Twit: Leave of AbsenceMay 27, 2009

 

Thierry Henry: Deserving of the Cup

Thierry Henry: Deserving of the Cup

Last post before next week most likely, as I am attending to a family matter out of town. I will probably not have time to watch sports, let alone write about them. See you next week!

– Paging Doctor Halladay. Doctor Halladay to the operating room STAT!

– Looks like it will be a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup final. If the Wings eliminate the Hawks tonight, do you think the NHL will get its ducks in order and move up the series, or will we go over a week without games?

– Is it cruel of me to wish for a Magic vs. Nuggets final in the NBA? 

– Champions League final this afternoon. I think I’m cheering for Barcelona. Yeah, I think so. Always been a fan of Thierry Henry’s, and I can’t stand Cristiano Ronaldo

– Pat Quinn is back in the NHL. At least he’s out West, where he can’t grate on my nerves too much.

Zoom Zoom: The Oval Trumps Monaco

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on Zoom Zoom: The Oval Trumps MonacoMay 25, 2009
Could the gear shift and clutch save F1?

Could the gear shift and clutch save F1?

The competitive situation in Formula 1 is so dire right now that a bunch of open-wheel cars turning left 1000 times was more exciting than Monaco. A few weeks ago when I started noting that F1 races were boring, I thought it was an anomaly that would correct itself upon the return to more traditional courses like Barcelona and Monaco. Sadly, that has not materialized.

The most exciting moment of the weekend was once again the qualifying sessions on Saturday. When the purpose of the session is running hot laps it’s exciting to watch the times as they’re posted, wondering if someone can best the top time, checking to see if a perennial favourite will somehow be dropped in one of the first two sessions, and who will get the pole position. We know and accept the covenant and for that reason the sessions are exciting. The covenant also states, however, that Sunday is for racing. What we’re seeing instead is just a bunch of cars running hot laps, with nary a chance of passing their opponents.

Part of this is due to driver skill. F1 has been extremely proactive in trying to make the cars less easy to drive in the face of technology that is trying to make the cars practically automated. The removal of ABS, traction control and automated starts over the years was meant to give drivers a bigger challenge. Unfortunately, these drivers are so skilled that they are up to the task and barely ever make any mistakes. Let me be clear that by “mistakes” I don’t mean “crashes”: what I would like to see a little more is brakes locking, spin-outs and cars bumping without exploding into a million tiny pieces of carbon fiber, all of which would increase the possibility of passes. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with cars that go over 300 km/h, asking for more driver mistakes might be condemning more drivers to their death, and clearly that’s not what I’m shooting for here.

Perhaps something that should be brought back is the clutch and stick shift. The paddles the drivers use make shifting way too automatic, as confirmed by analyst and former driver Gerhard Berger pointing out on Sunday morning that the cars can shift gears 65x faster than you can blink your eye. Something tells me that he wasn’t exaggerating (he never does). Making the driver have to reach for the clutch with his foot, switch gears and release the clutch adds a “safe” element that could lead to many more mistakes, which in turn could increase the passing opportunities. The drivers might be up this task as well, however.

Best race of the weekend came from an oval

Best race of the weekend came from an oval

In Indianapolis, which I caught while flipping between it and the Blue Jays telecast, a race was definitely on, with actual passing! Sure they were going in circles, but I can’t fault them for the excitement it generated. Helio Castroneves was the winner, only a month after he was cleared of tax evasion in Florida (for which he would have served jail time had he been found guilty).

It was a perfect story (I heard “Hollywood” a few too many times during the afternoon, mind you), only diminished by the heavy religious angle taken by the broadcasters. As it was becoming clear towards the end that Helio would win the race barring a cataclysm, the pit camera focused on his sister holding a crucifix and praying. That’s fine with me, no harm done there. Where it became a little much was how every time they cut back to that scene, a new family member had joined in the prayer. The tipping point for me was when Eddie Cheever quipped “that’ll get you 10 extra horsepower right there”. No Mr. Cheever, it won’t, as any telemetry readout will indicate.

Anyhow, after the race was won the shots of an overwhelmed Castroneves were very touching. Rarely do you see an athlete (don’t go there, not today) display so much emotion, and it was very welcome. He could barely compose himself to speak with pit reporter Jack Arute. Another positive was Danica Patrick’s post-race interview, in which she came off as well as I’ve ever seen her; modest, cheerful, congratulatory – and it all seemed genuine. Hopefully it’s a sign of her finally maturing, because it’s clear she can race with the boys.

I thought the ESPN on ABC coverage was very good, especially Scott Goodyear (CANADA!). As noted elsewhere on the web (sorry, can’t find the link), the only problem with the coverage was the gear-head stuff was a little too much. Perhaps that was due to the fact that there were four pit reporters competing for something relevent to say.

The Rosin Bag: Don’t Panic

Posted by Ottawa Sports GuyComments Off on The Rosin Bag: Don’t PanicMay 25, 2009
162 games, remember?

162 games, remember?

This was going to happen at some point. It happens to all the good teams, and the Jays were not going to be immune to it. The good news is that they’ve gone on a six game losing streak and are only a 1/2 game behind Boston in the A.L. East.

Predictably, the Cito haters are out in full force at the first sign of trouble (here and here for a few examples). They’ve been lurking in the weeds for almost a year now, waiting to jump on Cito for his managerial style. His best record in baseball since taking over the Jays last year has silenced them until now.

They criticize his adherence to a set lineup card, his refusal to pinch-hit for someone who is struggling and his tendency to keep pitchers in the game too long. They’re entitled to their opinion, but I’m also entitled to call them out as spineless, reactionary, knee-jerk little shits who would throw their own mothers under the bus if she used the wrong lunch meat, the type of people who are addicted to baseball management simulators and can’t understand why someone at the helm of a ball club wouldn’t tinker to accomodate every minute statistical blip, to the detriment of a player’s confidence. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Dude won two World Series and is largely responsible for the Jays hot start, but hey, maybe you’d like to see a return to a more traditional managerial style, like that employed by Tim Johnson or Jim Fregosi – you know, the good old days for these critics. The Jays haven’t had a competent manager since, umm, Cito’s first stint, and now they want to jump all over his ass because they think his aversion to tinkering illustrates a lack of desire to win. If you can’t see that Cito’s attitude and philosophy has been a boon to the Blue Jays, I feel sorry for you. I’d like to ask these people a question, however: do you perform better in your job with a manager that tells you what he wants from you and lets you be, or a manager who likes to micromanage every little thing you do? If you prefer the latter, I have a few ex-employerswho’d like to hear from you.

The Jays hitters spoiled three really good pitching performances this weekend by Roy Halladay, Casey Janssen and Scott Richmond. It’s always a mystery to me why hitting, or lack thereof, can be contagious. It’s one thing for a couple of guys to go cold, but for the team to do it en masse is unsettling. Proponents of the DH rule got themselves some nifty ammo in Friday night’s game with Cito choosing to pinch hit for Halladay in the top of the eighth with the score 0-0 and the Doc having thrown “only” 95 pitches. It didn’t bear fruit and Jesse Carlsson gave up the game in the bottom of the inning. Neate Sager makes a good argument for the DH rule in a very well-written (as usual) post. It’s worth a read even though we disagree.

The Jays start a series against the Baltimore Orioles today, and really you can’t think of a better opponent for the bats to come alive: the Orioles have a collective E.R.A. of 5.57 (only the Nationals are worse).