Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Canada Day with the Blue Jays!



Prior to the game on Canada Day, the roof was closed at the Rogers Centre, also know in another life as the SkyDome. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox were preparing to take the field for the third game in a four game series. Several dozen military types took the field, caressing the largest flag that I have ever seen. I was told that the roof was closed preventing an untimely gust of wind that could have transported a couple of the flag-holders to the upper reaches of the Dome.



Once the anthems had been sung, and the flag tucked away, the Blue Jays took the field for another day of baseball. Keep in mind that these guys do this 162 days a year. I only mention that to keep the losses and the victories in perspective. It is a very long season. Mark Buehrle took the mound for the Jays, and shut the Red Sox down, with the exception of a single to David Ortiz. Any time you can shut the big fella down, and leave him stranded on base, it is a victory of sorts.



Jose Reyes started things off for the Jays. To my mind, he is the straw that stirs the drink for the Jays. He is always in perpetual motion, and it is obvious that he loves to play the game. He singled to begin the game. Josh Donaldson also singled, moving Reyes to second. It was a bunt attempt, an indication from the Blue Jays that they just wanted to start the game with a run on the board. “Small ball”, they call it. They both advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jose Bautista struck out, the first out of the inning.



Edwin Encarnacion at that point was second on the team in home runs, trailing Bautista by two dingers. The ball he hit travelled to the second deck, giving the Jays a three run lead. Catcher Russell Martin was hit by a pitch, and took first base. I am certain that Major League baseball players expect to see close pitches following home runs. There is an element of frustration for the pitcher at that time, and that tiny emotional upset often leads to an errant pitch. On occasion, it is intentional.



Justin Smoak, a switch-hitter from goose Creek, South Carolina, lined an offering from Rick Porcello into the stands to bring home Martin. Kevin Pillar doubled to keep the parade alive, but was picked off at second base. Ezequiel Carrera flied out to right field to end the inning. Bottom of the first: Blue Jays 5-Red Sox 0. Always a great way to start the day. So much for small ball.



The Blue Jays continued to pour it on in the second inning, scoring twice. Smoak hit a towering home run in the third inning into the third deck, just above the name of Tony Fernandez. Most of you will remember Fernandez with a smile. Yet another Jay who played the game hard, day in and day out, somewhat in the style of Jose Reyes, without the hoopla.


Donaldson homered in the eighth inning to finish a triple shy of a cycle. He has received a voting spot to the All Star game next week. Well deserved. Certainly a step up from last year’s third baseman, Brett Lawrie. Bautista and Martin will accompany Donaldson to the mid-season classic. It is promoted as “The game that will decide who will host Game Seven in the 2015 World Series”. Pretty weak, from my perspective. Then again, the selection method leaves a lot to be desired. Fans vote to get their favourite players a chance to play. Each fan is limited to 35 votes on the internet. Maybe some astute political party will suggest the same for an upcoming election. Please, no.



This promises to be a roller coaster season for the Jays. Let not your emotions swing too high or too low. But with the guns on the staff, and the lack of sustained pitching, it will be an exciting second half for the Jays.



James Hurst


July 7, 2015  


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