Monday, October 01, 2012
Don't Poke The Bear!
Blue Jays completed a four game series against the Yankees last weekend. The series
ended in a draw, two games apiece. More importantly for the Yankees, they have
scratched out just enough wins to gain a berth in post-season play. The Blue
Jays have three games remaining at home. They will then pack their bags and
head to warmer climes, one would hope. New York
It has been a frustrating season for all concerned in the Blue Jay organization. They have been plagued by injuries. As a result, they have used more players this season than ever before. Several players have not lived up to their potential. Then again, that is always the case when you just don’t win. There has been a spot of controversy, here and there. The end result? No World Series rings this year.
The game on Sunday had all the earmarks of a fine outing for thousands of fans. The first 20 000 fans who entered the
Centre were given a Jays T shirt, numbered and named. They were also greeted
outside the stadium by a drummer who sits on the main level hammering his
drums: smiling, posing for photos, acting
as a goodwill ambassador for the organization. A congenial type, he told
me he has been there since the first game played at SkyDome, shine or shine.
(Rain is not great for the drums!) Rogers
I was also greeted by half a dozen musicians playing “Take me out to the ballgame” in the rotunda inside the stadium. Nice homey feeling, enhancing the experience.
The game itself? Mostly forgettable for Blue Jay fans. They built up a 5-1 lead, then watched it vanish as the Yankees woke up and scored at will, winning the game 9-6. The
scratched and clawed their way to victory. They did get one home run
from Eric Chavez in the third inning, but that was their lone run until the
floodgates opened in the late innings.
They won with singles and doubles, sacrifice hits, and good defensive play. In the third inning, Ichiro Suzuki chased a ball hit by Edwin Encarnacion far into the corner of the right field. Ichiro will be thirty-nine years old this month. He shows no sign of ageing, as he again demonstrated that he is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He snagged that ball, and was pounded by his team mates when he got to the dugout.
Last year, for the first time in his major league career, he was not an all star, nor did he win a Gold Glove as a premier fielder. But for the ten previous seasons, that is what he did. No other player in the history of the game has ever achieved that success, from his rookie season onward. He accomplished this after nine seasons with Orix in the Japanese league. The Yankees picked him up in July. Talk about the rich getting richer!
Derek Jeter ended the game with three hits, adding to his impressive lifetime totals. It is a joy to watch him play. Sure, he has lost a step or two chasing down ground balls. But he is still a premier ball player, and I am certain he will enjoy yet another season of post-season play.
The Blue Jays’ shortstop, Yunel Escobar, is winding down his sixth season at the Major League level. I am continuously impressed with his skills in the field. At second base, a fellow Cuban, Adeiny Hechavarria, is also brilliant. The Jays would be wise to lock up both of those players with extensive contracts. Strength up the middle has always been critical to the success of any baseball team.
In his post game session with the media, Manager John Farrell tried to put a positive spin on a difficult season. He said that his starting pitcher, Henderson Alvarez, will go into the off season with plenty of confidence. He started the season well, struggled in the middle, and finished strongly.
Before you know it, they will be stretching in