Do some research before posting crap…

The Internet has its obvious advantages – which I don’t have to tell you about. It, however, has its disadvantages as well, and one of the biggest is that anybody can post things online.

Take this guy who “tried out for the Phillies in 1987.” He was commenting on whether or not Barry Bonds would have broken the major-league home run record….

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If this guy was a baseball fan as he suggests, then how come he didn’t realize that 1994 was the strike season? Read the following excerpt:

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Now, the guy clearly was referring to 1994 as one of the seasons Bonds went on the DL. Uhm, no. That year, the Giants played 115 games before the strike hit. Bonds appeared in 112 games. So, nice try.

Learn to do proper research – heck, none was needed to begin with because most baseball fans remember ’94 as the strike year – before posting crap.

Gutless.

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Stats and numbers that don’t make sense…

Recently overheard in a break room: “Pretty soon, all Canadians will be homeless because nobody will be able to afford to pay rent.”

Uhm, no, I don’t think so. I didn’t argue with the guy, though. No point. If someone is that negative, there’s nothing you can say that will change his or her mind.

THIS guy, meanwhile, is seen almost daily outside Renfrew SkyTrain Station asking people for money to feed his brother and him. It’s always, “Hey. Hey. Can you spare some change for me and my brother so we can get food?” Always. The same thing. Almost every day, if not every single day (literally).

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I am sure I am not the only one, but I don’t feel sorry for him. I’ve heard others tell him (nicely) to go find a job instead of asking people for money.

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Moving on to sports… I just learned this week that in some places, it’s legal to start gambling when you’re as young as 12 years old!

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this – but there was the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach talking about how he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl – live or on tape – since he was allowed to bet on the sport (ie. when he wasn’t a coach at any level yet)… and proceeded to throw out the number 12 in terms of age. I would think he was exaggerating about that part, though I guess I believe he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl for many years.

And who are those people talking about the Ravens defense? They allowed the Bengals’ Andy Dalton to throw for four TD passes in the first half on Thursday Night Football in Week 2!

Then there’s also the NFL Power Rankings by ESPN.com… some head-scratchers on this one… The Jets blew out the Lions in Week 1 while the Giants lost their game… and yet the Giants (#25) are ahead of the Jets (#26) on the rankings? The Titans (#22) are ahead of the team they lost to – the Dolphins (#24) – for crying out loud! There were others, but those ones were the ones that jumped out…

Finally, the Red Sox in MLB reached 100 wins this week – the first time the franchise has reached that mark since 1946… Wow… That’s a long time. Prior to being a writer, I rooted for the Red Sox. But THAT is woeful. Of course, if they don’t win the Series this year, the season will be regarded as a failure.. .We shall see.

 

A whipping boy for each team…

On Wednesday, news broke that the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani might require Tommy John surgery, and I had an interesting discussion with a friend about baseball.

Now, I’ve thought all year that the Angels were a team capable of sneaking into the playoffs, and I said this on TSN1040 earlier in the summer even when Seattle had jumped out to a huge lead in the wild-card race. I’m no fan of either ballclub, but I just thought the Mariners were pretenders and the Angels might be a team to catch them.

Regardless, I said from day one that there was too much hype about this Ohtani kid. He’d suffered injuries in Japan prior to coming to North America, and from what i understand, the schedule in Japan is not the same as the 162-game grind in Major League Baseball. So, for me, the fact that Ohtani has had injuries this season is no surprise.

Then, the discussion became the fact that I’ve often criticized Ohtani on the Angels and James Paxton on the Mariners. And Doug Fister, on every team he has pitched for. I acknowledged the fact that on every team, there’s probably a favorite whipping boy for me to pick on.

But I then commented that Mark Shapiro, the president of the Blue Jays, would not be such a person for me – despite the fact that many Toronto fans whom I know like to crucify him.

Why would I not pick on Shapiro? Simple. As a journalist-type, as a writer, I don’t have any bias when it comes to liking or hating various teams. I try to look at it as being objective. I root for people, individuals who have been kind enough to help me along the way.

The writing journey that I’m currently on first began when I was writing Tom Candiotti’s biography. At that time, I emailed or sent letters to players, managers, and executives who had had dealings with Candiotti during his career. General managers and managers such as Joe Klein, Art Howe, Pat Gillick, Doc Edwards, Fred Claire… and Shapiro responded and were receptive to my interview requests.

For me, I don’t forget that. I certainly appreciated their time and the fact they were willing to spend a few minutes chatting with me about that book.

So, in my book, Mark Shapiro is a first-class human being, a guy that I would root for. At the end of the day, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about the human side of things. Mark Shapiro, in my book, is a Hall of Famer – to me.

I don’t forget these things.

Yes, I still believe the 2018 M’s will collapse

I’ve been on TSN1040 Vancouver the last few weeks discussing baseball as an in-studio guest. Every time the Seattle Mariners were brought up as a topic, I kept saying they are going to choke. I said it on air three weeks ago, two weeks ago, and even this week (with last week not having a show).

I am no Angels fan. I am no Mariners fan. I’m no Mariners hater. I don’t like the Angels. But crazy as it sounds, I still believe the Angels, with Mike Trout, could surpass the Mariners. Yes, the deficit is huge for that second wild-card spot. But if people are saying that Trout is always an MVP candidate, well, okay, then prove it by rallying the Angels to the playoffs!

The Mariners’ biggest concerns? Look at their run differential. As of Thursday, their run differential was +1. And since they lost Friday night in extras in Anaheim by a run, that means their run differential now is zero. That’s not a playoff team. Also, the James Paxton factor – once again, he’s on the DL. It’s an annual occurence. I didn’t get a chance to say this on the air, but look at Paxton’s last two good starts – one was against Baltimore and the other was against KC – teams struggling to play .300 baseball this season. And also, the Mariners have now lost 11 of their past 17. Good for them!

The links of the radio shows will be posted later, but I still feel the Mariners will choke.

EDIT: Here are the links.

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More talking points for future shows

Mariners. Guys are saying, “If the Mariners go .500 the rest of the way, they’ll make the playoffs.” Well, has anyone considered that they might NOT go .500? Guys are assuming they would. But the M’s have 13 more games vs. Houston, seven vs. the Angels, and 10 against Oakland. A lot can happen between now and the rest of the season. As of today, July 26, the Mariners have lost 10 of their last 16…

In addition to those teams that coughed up big leads, here are a few more:

1964 Phillies – lost 10 straight down the stretch to blow a 6.5-game lead over St. Louis with 12 to play.

2007 Mets – a team with Pedro and Tom Glavine coughed up a seven-game lead on September 12 to the Phillies.

2009 Tigers – spent 164 days in first place, but allowed the Twins to steal the division crown

1969 Cubs – had a 9.5-game lead on August 14, which was cut down to two games just 13 days later. Mets won the NL East by eight full games.

1978 Red Sox – led the Yankees by 14 games in July, and 7.5 with 32 to play. We all know what happened at the end.

Possible talking points for next radio show or in the future…

Okay, so I have all kinds of ideas and opinions, but when I go on air, sometimes I forget the points or don’t have a chance to express them. Moving forward, I will try to update those thoughts right here – so that I refer back here as a reference for myself. This time, I included the 1994 Expos because they were a talking point in Vancouver as the local Single-A Canadians wore throwback jerseys featuring Montreal’s former baseball team.


Speaking Points:

Mariners. Give Shantel Chand some credit. Weeks ago we were all in this studio, and Shantel suggested that Oakland might be a dark horse. But I looked at the standings on Tuesday (July 24). And what jumped out was that Seattle was 20 games over .500 but the run differential was plus 1.

The Angels’ run differential was plus 22 and they weren’t even .500. Again, I checked the standings a couple days ago and noted this. And the thing is, the Angels had allowed fewer runs than the Mariners, and scored more runs. But the Angels had a worse record! So, I’m going to say that Seattle has been lucky.

And James Paxton. Again, I talked about this, on this show, before. He has never pitched a full season in the majors. He’s been on the DL almost every year. He’s got a history of injuries. If that’s your staff ace, you’re not making the playoffs. I mean, as Lou discussed a couple of weeks ago, this rotation is a bunch of no-names with ERAs not that impressive. They’ve been getting the job done for the most part, but not a playoff-type rotation, not one that can get you into the playoffs.

 

1994 Expos–So many people in Canada cry about how the 1994 strike screwed the Montreal Expos. First of all, there was no guarantee they were going to make the playoffs. There were almost 2 months left. In 1991, the Dodgers were 9.5 games ahead of Atlanta at the All-Star break. The Dodgers missed the playoffs. In 1993, the Giants were 10 games ahead of Atlanta in July. The Giants missed the playoffs. In 1995, the Angels would have an 11.5-game lead over Seattle. The Angels collapsed. How do we know the Expos wouldn’t have collapsed? Those teams had great players too.  

Pedro Martinez. As a rookie in 1993, Pedro threw 107 innings for the Dodgers. 1994 was his first full season. He wasn’t going to pitch effectively for the entire season. He was 11-5, 3.42 at the time of the strike. People forget this, so I’ll tell you guys here. In the month of July in 1994, Pedro’s ERA was 6.89 in six starts. So, there were signs that he was showing fatigue. Half of those starts were mediocre or horrendous. There was no guarantee that he was going to pitch effectively down the stretch. And I mean, Randy Johnson once lost 7 consecutive starts in the playoffs. So, anything can happen.

John Wetteland. He was the 1996 World Series MVP with the Yankees. But people forget in 1995, in Wettleland’s first taste of postseason baseball, he was so bad that Buck Showalter refused to put him into the game against Seattle in Game Five, and David Cone gave up the lead and the Mariners won it in extra innings against Jack McDowell. Wetteland gave up the go-ahead grand slam to Edgar Martinez the night before and had looked bad earlier in the series. So, Wetteland was the closer for Montreal in 1994. Had the Expos made the playoffs in 1994, Wetteland was no sure thing for Montreal.

Felipe Alou. He took the 2003 Giants to the playoffs. They had the best record in the National League. Lost in the first round to the Marlins. Their RF Jose Cruz was a gold glove player in the regular season. Dropped a flyball in extra innings in game 3. THings like that happen. It cost the Giants the series. Felipe Alou was the manager. There’s no guarantee in any playoff series who’s going to come out on top.

Trades. There were a lack of trades. I remember because it was on the sports news at the time. The Dodgers had a horrendous bullpen. They wanted to trade for Randy Myers from the Cubs. But that didn’t happen because teams knew there was a strike coming so nobody made any significant deals. Atlanta could have bolstered its lineup the way it did with McGriff in 1993. I mean, Randy Milligan was the Expos’ first baseman. So.

Views from the Press Box at the Nat – Part 1

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The view from outside the press box as the sun was setting

Friday night, June 29th. The Single-A Vancouver Canadians, after winning their last series against Tri-City, spanked the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 11-1, in the opener of a five-game set.

THE GAME: Yes, it was a rout, but the chatter in the press box early on was about LF Brandon Polizzi, the No. 9 hitter in the Vancouver lineup. A few of us were impressed with Polizzi, who started the game in left field before moving over to second base after two innings. Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 35th round in 2017, Polizzi has good speed – and is arguably the best base runner on the Canadians this season. If he’s not hitting .148 (coming into tonight’s action), he’s probably the leadoff hitter on the club.

Anyway, the exciting Polizzi thrilled the crowd on this night by smacking a run-scoring triple to right field to cap a three-run second inning, as the Canadians took the lead early and never looked back.

3B Bryan Lizardo, the regular third baseman playing first base on this night, was 4-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, and three RBI. Five games into the season, when the Canadians had their home opener at Nat Bailey, Lizardo was hitting just .071. Tonight’s four-hit game raised his average to .325.

RF Griffin Conine continues to impress. One of the highlights of the C’s offensively – there were plenty on a night the team scored 11 runs – was Conine’s two-run triple to right during a five-run sixth-inning outburst that put the game out of reach. The son of former major-leaguer Jeff Conine, Griffin had homered the day before in the 3-2 victory over Tri-City.

North Vancouver’s Will McAffer, meanwhile, has become this team’s “vulture.” Entering the game with two outs in the fifth in relief of starter Jordan Barrett, McAffer got out of a bases-loaded jam to preserve a 5-1 lead and then proceeded to work the next three innings to earn his third win of the season.

Barrett, the starter, didn’t throw harder than 90 mph, according to the radar gun. He did, however, have good location in the first four innings before seemingly tiring in the fifth and came one out short of a victory. Some in the press box were crowning Barrett “Cy Young” – until he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, that is. Still, it was a good night for the left-hander drafted by the Blue Jays in the 18th round in 2017. He gave up just one hit with eight strikeouts – walking five.

The only player who struggled offensively was CF Hunter Steinmetz, who was making his Canadians debut. Called up from Bluefield (rookie ball) the day before, Steinmetz went 0-for-5 hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup. The native of Jefferson City, MO, was selected by the Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 2018 draft out of Missouri State.

Overall, a great night for the home team, as the C’s banged out 16 hits – they outhit the Volcanoes 16-2 on the evening – to send Salem-Keizer, the league’s top team at 10-4 entering play, to the lopsided loss.

THE ANECDOTES: And oh, by the seventh inning, the game had dragged on so much that I desperately needed a Coke. I walked over to the fridge to grab a bottle – before Jordy, one of the media relations assistants, persuaded me to put it back. I needed that. It’s easy to give in to temptation – on a long night, sometimes I just have a craving for a pop. But I definitely needed the awesome Jordy to keep me in check. Yes, I placed the Coke bottle back into the fridge and stuck to water.

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OTHER SIGHTS: What can I say about the sunset? Well, a picture is worth a million words, so I’ll let the follow image do the talking…

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