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Or, their first home win, at least: Oakland 6, Jays 3.
  • 1 pitcher's duel (6 innings)
  • 2 miscues, Blue Jays flavour (or 1, if preferred)
  • 2 homer announcers
  • 15 860 fans
  • 50 players, divided
Mix players with fans in large Coliseum-sized bowl. Quickly add pitcher's duel (less than 1 hour, 15 minutes). Sprinkle in miscues and garnish with homer announcers. Serve Pacific-style.

The Oakland announcers are homers, and it was never more apparent when they called Reed Johnson's home run. I tuned in just before Sparky hit it out, and on contact, my instincts said, "It's gone." Watching the outfielders I knew it was gone. But the announcers made me doubt it with their presentation. Robert Dudek thought so too:
robertdudek - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#111372)
Holy mackinaw. Sparky absolutely crushes one to centre and the tone of the A's TV commentary would be approapriate if he popped up to shallow right field.

I positively hate morose announcers. The only thing worse than that is Harrelson (who does the White Sox games): he goes overboard when the Sox do something good and has a completely flat-toned delivery when something good happens for the Sox opponents.
I don't have any particular problem with announcers cheering for the home team (although it'd be nice for some reaction to a good hit or play on the opposing side); after all, it's who you see every day. It's natural to want them to win. But they're also—well, "laid back," to put it politely. Chuck, who also describes them as "an inch away from a coma," elaborates:
Chuck - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 11:36 PM EDT (#111395)
Gitz, who are the A's announcers? I'm thinking of recording the play-by-play guy for nights that I have insomnia. I've got the Clockwork Orange eyelids-pried-open thing going just to stay awake watching this one.
The final reason I'm glad I watch most of my games on Sportsnet is that Jamie Campbell (Batter's Box's very only gv27) isn't afraid to correct himself. I counted a couple of times the A's announcers started with one assumption, were proven wrong by the replay, and then continued as if they'd said what the replay showed from the beginning. According to Nolan, they went even further than that:
Nolan - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#111412)
Great pitch by Bush to strike out Ginter on the inside of the plate. However the announcers were convinced that it was a ball even after the replays showed it clearly crossing the plate. Even after seeing the replay, it was simply that "Zaun did a good job bringing it into the strike zone." Ah, admit it when you make a mistake. i don't mind a little bit of homerism, but not at the expense of reliability.
As for the game itself—well, you can't win them all. My housemate Stephen said it best: "If you're going to win 2 out of 3 games in every series, you're going to do pretty well." I'd be okay with a .666 winning percentage.

I don't think the Jays will achieve that—hell, the Yankees won't even achieve that—but I am gratified that, in the early going, they're showing the preseason critics that they're not the 3rd worst team in baseball. That said, I'm a little bit worried about a few players. Frasor, in particular; I worry that his first-half success of last year was a mirage. I worry about what will happen once the league adjusts to Hinske. Hell, I worry about what will happen if and when Delgado comes to the Rogers Centre. Will the fans cheer him (as they should)? Or, like the fickle people they've shown themselves to be in the past, will they boo the greatest player in Jays history?

All that aside, let's enjoy the ride while we can. My greatest hope for April is that the Jays return home after a very successful road trip, winning or splitting every series, and find Rogers Centre full of enthusiastic fans who want to cheer their heads off. A little goodwill from fans in April will go a long way towards a good 2005 season for the Jays.

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Nolan - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 05:02 AM EDT (#111467) #
I'm going to hijack this thread a bit.

After the Jays game tonight, I was lucky enough to be able to watch an older game on MLB.TV- the first game of the '88 World Series between the A's and Dodgers. I never have had the priviledge of seeing this classic, so it was a real treat. Some observations:

-Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola were an absolute pleasure to listen to. Their observations and descriptions were apt and relevant.

-Mark McGwire looked very skinny. Canseco looked ripped. Dave Parker was huge.

-The video of the game sometimes included a video shot which seemed like it was a field level shot. The few times they used the shot, it seemed as if the viewer was kneeling behind the pitcher watching the game. I thought it was a great camera angle.

-I can't believe Gibson hit that homerun. He was so hobbled that he wasn't using any leg strength at all and basically muscled the ball out on arm strength alone; he looked very overmatched against an in-his-prime Eck. The hacks Gibson took before his homerun were all ugly and off balance. In my opinion, the only pitch that Gibson had a chance with was a slower curveball, and that's what Eckerseley threw him.

-Uniforms were a lot tighter in 1988.

-The announcers actually talked about Canseco and steroids. It seemed as if they were defending him a little bit, implying that Jose knew how to use them responsibly to build body mass. They also mentioned that Jose was concerned about how his use of steroids might negatively affect youngsters.

Named For Hank - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#111471) #
One thing I appreciate about Jerry Howarth is that he's always excited about a good play or a home run, regardless of which team was responsible for it. Likewise, he always sounds shocked at a bad play, even if the result is good for the Jays. I'm curious as to what other teams' fans think of him when they hear our broadcasts.
Craig S. - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#111472) #
Frasor looked awful, and I do worry about him over the long term. For that matter, I'm scared whenever they trot Frasor or Schoeneweis out of the bullpen (which, in the case of SS, is almost daily).

Still, being 6-3 is nice.
Grand Funk RR - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#111474) #
In the spirit of this thread, I'll throw this out there:
Blanton looks like he's going to be an absolute MONSTER.
Named For Hank - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#111478) #
What's the basis for your concern about Frasor, Craig? I mean, what are you seeing that concerns you?

As to Schoeneweis, he's only had a few bad outings (and more good ones). Personally, I need to see him out there a few more times at least to see if he's good or bad. Similarly, I'm not panicking that Vernon Wells' season is shot or that Corey Koskie will never hit at his previous levels again.
Craig S. - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#111482) #
Hank - Frasor just didn't look good last night, and he's struggled in 2 of his 3 outings this season. I can't put my finger on the problem, but he just doesn't seem to be fooling anyone. But like you said about Wells and Koskie, it's a little early to panic. I'm just hoping he doesn't take a step back from last season. As for SS, my concern is that he'll produce numbers similar to those from last season, where both his ERA and WHIP were pretty bad. He had some decent years as a reliever in '02-03, but I've never been too impressed by him.

I'm sure Vernon Wells will pick it up, just as surely as Hinske will come down from the gaudy numbers he's put up so far. And Koskie should be decent, assuming he doesn't miss as many games as he has over the past 2 seasons.
Coach - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#111489) #
You can't win 'em all. There will be "reasons" for every loss, but if Frasor doesn't have his best stuff one day or Gibby plays a hunch that doesn't pan out, that's just baseball. Another night, Jason will strike out Manny Ramirez with a bunch of runners on, inspiring his teammates to a huge win. Oh yeah, that happened in his previous outing. Never mind.

Pessimists could argue that the Jays should be undefeated, which overlooks the multitude of ways a game can slip away, and the fact that the opponents aren't exactly giving up out there. That kind of thinking also leads to ascribing blame for imperfection, which to me, can only detract from the enjoyment of the world's greatest game.

Whether it's the Jays playing, or kids I'm coaching, I prefer to enjoy each success and shrug off the so-called failures as inevitable. Relishing three straight series wins, two against divisional rivals, gives me tremendous pleasure. Why would I diminish that by worrying about how long it will continue or lamenting how much better it might have been?

A microscopic focus on one outing by a pitcher, one at-bat or one fielding miscue isn't even a forest-for-the-trees problem, it's an obsession with bark. Many relatively new fans, who discovered the Pastime in the Internet age, are understandably impatient to become experts, and I admire their passion. Some people seem to misinterpret the brilliant statistical work done in recent years as immutable laws. There's an unprecedented amount of data available, but the necessary perspective to understand it can't be acquired overnight.

My own baseball wisdom, such as it is, has been cobbled from Stengel, Herzog, Weaver, James and countless others, over several decades. Yet I discover something new almost every time I watch a game, especially with my Batter's Box colleagues, and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to talk to "real" baseball men like J.P. and Gibby.

Some truly fantastic Web sites and blogs, too numerous to mention individually, have entertained and often enlightened me. I've also enjoyed exchanging ideas with astute observers like Mike Wilner, Spencer Fordin, Jeff Blair and other members of the working media. The learning experience never ends.

A few members of the mainstream press confuse relentless criticism and personal attacks with objective analysis, so it's hardly surprising that the same thing happens on the Net, only with poorer grammar and spelling. I'm sure there are forums where negativity rules, and snarkiness passes for wit, but they aren't for me. This site has tried to rise above that since its inception. It was never intended as a place for Jays fans to vent, it's where friends can share a mutual appreciation of baseball.

Enjoy the season; it's the only one we get this year (which is a better hand than hockey fans were dealt) and it looks like an enormous improvement on 2004.

jsut - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#111490) #
Great post Coach.
Wildrose - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#111491) #
As always Coach, the voice of reason and calm, ( For those new to the box Kent was the guy who initially got this whole sight rolling).

The best thing about this season for me , is how the team has been competetive in every game. Even last night if Johnson catches that liner or SS throws home cleanly, the Jay's have a good chance of winning.
Brent S - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#111500) #
Great to have you back Coach!
John Northey - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#111501) #
Must say this has been fun these last 9 games. First by 1/2 a game, tied for 3rd in the majors. Hinske off to a great start (367/441/700), Rios showing he belongs (321/355/464), the #4 and #5 starters on fire (Towers 2.13 ERA, Chacin 2.45). Nice.

Fun to watch and dream. Lets hope we can keep these memories fresh when the Jays (eventually) lose a series or (horrors) get swept by someone. 4 straight televised games so the wife will not be happy (thankfully we have 2 tv's). Lets hope those starters can hold on in the Texas heat.
Nigel - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#111502) #
I'd echo Coach's comments. You only have to go back to last April and think about the number of games where the Jays were really out of them early to remember a less enjoyable brand of baseball. Even a loss like last night, which was well pitched and generally well played, was highly entertaining. There were lots of managerial decisions to think about and maybe second-guess - that's the nature of a tight well pitched game - but you can't make too many judgements based upon one game (or even nine).

Right now, the only part of the team that's struggling is the bullpen. Loosely, it appears that Gibbons is going with:

Batista - closer
Fraser/SS - R/L 8th inning/set-up
Speier/League - 7th inning
Chulk/Walker - low leverage innings

I'd like to see him stick with this for a while and see if it works. I think a valid criticism of Tosca was that he changed his mind about bullpen roles too quickly last year based upon one or two good/bad outings.
Craig S. - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#111511) #
Nigel, I agree that Gibbons should stick with the current bullpen setup. Their performance so far hasn't been great, but changing everything after 9 games would definitely be an overreaction.

uglyone - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 02:31 PM EDT (#111514) #
Still don't see why Schoeneweis is getting the criticism in this one.

Zaun shouldn't have dropped that ball, and Gibbons shouldn't have let him face the righty.

Schoeneweis pitched well enough to get out of that inning cleanly, even though he came in with 2 men on. The lefties could do nothing against him.

robertdudek - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#111530) #
And Gibbons and Zaun shouldn't have walked Chavez - oh, wait a minute, that was Schoeneweis.
Useless Tyler - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#111555) #
One walk, one unearned run... this isn't crisis mode.

Schoeneweis has shown his ability to go in there and get people out - his only struggles have been accentuated by circumstances beyond his control.

When the weather starts to clear up for good 'ol SS, his statistics will better represent his value to the team.
garth - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#111582) #
Coach great to see post again. I was wondering where you have been. Great words to consider. Baseball is a marathon not a sprint.

so much negativity for a 6-3 ball team.
Grimlock - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#111588) #
Oh come on, Coach, me Grimlock don't think that's fair. Who's not enjoying the season? Who's venting? If Frasor didn't have his best stuff last night, or if Gibby's hunches doesn't pan out, isn't it fair to point that out? Isn't that part of appreciating baseball? When they do well, the people on this site would be the first people to say so.

And who's being pessimistic? No one here is projecting them to even approach the train wreck of last season. Me Grimlock take pleasure in the fact that in their three losses, they brought the tying run or better was at the plate when it ended. If not for a couple bad breaks, they could be 9-0. Wouldn't those three wins matter if they finish 2 games behind the Sox for the wild card? Couldn't that be seeing things with the glass full? As opposed to "lamenting over how much better" things could be? They've played nine solid, solid games, mostly against quality opposition. Nothing to be ashamed of, and a lot to be proud of.

As always, Coach, me Grimlock have the highest respect for you and all the people who take the time to run this site, and give us great stuff to read every day, but not all criticism is venting, or pessimism.

Game's on!

Go Jays Go!
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