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49 games without a sweep doesn't sound that bad. There are 113 games left and surely the Jays will sweep someone. Last year, the Jays swept a series six times, nailing the Rays, Royals, Red Sox, Mariners, Angels and Tigers. I doubt they'll go down to zero this year.

Come on, even the 2003 Tigers swept the Orioles, White Sox (twice!) and Indians. (How would you like to be one of those teams?) The Jays are on pace to win twice as many games as those Tigers, and if you call me on that because it's too early, then it's also too early to worry about not sweeping anyone. Also, if you look at the last game of the Red Sox series (May 26, 2005) and the last game of the Mariners series (July 21)...well, that looks very much like two months to me. Nobody noticed that because it didn't happen at the beginning of the year.

But that's not the reason I'm here today. No, this Series Report is only tangentially related to the series we just watched.

Without Friday night's game (and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday) on TV, I was treated to the radio broadcast. Now, there are far worse things than listening to a bad radio broadcast. You could be suffering from malnutrition, living in a war-torn area of the globe, or considering a run at the Liberal leadership. But I don't know about any of those things and so, I have but one thing to complain about today.

Our own Named For Hank sort of brought up the issue in his Angels report. Lyle Lovett's mother, apparently, once said, "Sometimes people will say they like your hair when they have nothing else nice to say." And I must say, Warren Sawkiw does have very nice hair now that the frosty white bits that we saw during his TV bits with Jamie Campbell in previous years are gone.

But even if his hair was bad, it wouldn't matter. Ron Burgundy might take offense to his hair being insulted in the middle of a terribly unfunny movie, but come's radio. And it's bad radio now, unfortunately.

What did it for me? Glad you asked. It was Alice Fazooli's.

One of the best cheesy moments of a Jays radio broadcast a few years back was the third or fourth inning when the late Tom Cheek would move perfectly from calling the game to dropping a plug for the downtown Toronto restaurant. "Just three blocks north of the SkyDome," we all remember. What happened when Sawkiw had to advertise? By the time it took him to say "294 Adelaide Street West," Tom could have gone with an entire "You know what the Yankees and Red Sox can agree on? The garlic shrimp" story, Jerry Howarth could have updated us on the two pitches we missed during Sawkiw's extended plug or Mike Wilner could have said "Texas Rangers of Arlington" about seven times.

If that was the only problem, things might not be too bad. Last year, I actually didn't mind the new guy so much as I figured he was nervous or excited or something. Turns out, he just isn't very good. It's not just me, if you've never listened to the station and are wondering what I'm ranting about. Dave Perkins of the Star and William Houston in the Globe have both brought up the Sawkiw topic, and neither had anything nice to say. I'm not even alone at Batter's Box.

The Star and Globe are just two newspapers, though. I've never said this before and never will again, but let's see what the Toronto Sun thinks. Well, Mike Ulmer had a puff piece in April of 2005. It's telling, however, that even in this article, we were treated to this line: Sawkiw finds himself at the top of the announcing food chain without any formal media training.

That gets to me as well. Surely there are plenty of qualified candidates who would do a better job. Look down inside the organization at the excellent Mike Murphy in New Hampshire. Look inside the same booth at Mike Wilner. His baseball knowledge and "listenability" is exponentially better. Just don't look at one local guy. Cringing every time Jerry Howarth finishes a sentence and gives air time to his partner is not what you want your radio listeners to experience.

Whether it's acting like a routine 6-3 grounder shows maturity, predicting things in hindsight after a Blue Jay gets a hit ("You know, Aaron Hill told me he was feeling good this morning") or even omitting letters (Zaun was apparently "fustrated" after his error yesterday and many players have been "fustrated" since April 2005), not five minutes went by this week during a game where I didn't roll my eyes and curse the Memorial Cup.

After 200 games of experience for Warren Sawkiw, you'd expect some improvement. Instead, he's the Alex Gonzalez of colour men. (It remains to be seen if his career will be as long, but it's worth noting that Gonzo retired recently.) So this is it. In a typically Canadian way to protest, I am not listening to the FAN anymore. Not during a Jays game, not at 7:30 in the morning when eating breakfast, not even during any segment with the possibility of Mike Wilner. I'll return to my much-enjoyed radio habits once they bring in a legitimate broadcaster to replace Warren Sawkiw. He has done the impossible by making baseball painful and I cannot listen to him any longer.

But he certainly has great hair.
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Dave Till - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#147845) #
I'm wondering: why doesn't Jerry have a broadcast partner to help him call the play-by-play? Most radio announcers only have to call half a game. Does he prefer to have control over the whole game, or does The Fan not want to hire someone else?

What will The Fan do if Jerry comes down with laryngitis? Will Sawkiw have to broadcast the game all by himself?

Gerry - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#147846) #

On the Fan590 this morning John Gibbons said that John McDonald would go on the DL today, that Edgardo Alfonzo would be called up to take his place, and that Aaron Hill will be at shortstop tonight.

Does the 40 man roster need a move to accomodate Alfonzo?

Mike Green - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#147855) #
Alex Gonzalez was once considered by some scouts to be the best prospect in baseball (ahead of Carlos Delgado and Chipper Jones).  Aside from what that says about the scouts, I'd like to suggest another "comp"...Ken Huckaby. As the resident chauffeur in the house, I get to listen to the game broadcast a fair bit.  You have to like your pleasure spiked with pain to enjoy it.
Maldoff - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#147856) #
Can't say I'm overly excited about moving Hill to SS and calling up Alfonso.  Even last year in SF, Alfonso was not great offensively, batting a decent .277, but had an OPS of only .672. Even Russ Adams had an OPS of .711 last season. And that doesn't include his struggles this year. Seems like a very short-sighted, needy move by the Jays.
js_magloire - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 10:24 AM EDT (#147858) #
Seems like a very short-sighted, needy move by the Jays.

Why? Considering the Jays options, the Kennedy trade didn't fall through, Adams may very well end the year as our full-time 2b but will not be coming up in 3 days, let alone 10 (at least in the month range), and with McDonald on the DL, the only other option is having Glaus play SS (or Hinske maybe? why not - he played third)......the Alfonzo situation was going to happen sooner or later. I think this is Alfonzo's audition, if he does poorly, then Adams comes up for good. Maybe playing fulltime will help his bat become serviceable. But you gotta ask how much offense you want to give up to mend over 40 errors per year by adams?
Flex - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#147868) #
Oh, boy. One of my favourite topics.

Warren I'll-Sock-You is, unfortunately, a relentless cheerleader who has nothing but warm and trite things to say about the "great job the coaching staff is doing" and how so and so gets such great jumps on the ball and how so and so is really working hard in the batting cage. It has been unlistenable from the beginning, and it remains unlistenable. And it is a travesty that Rogers Media and the Fan 590 have chosen to repurpose one of their bad TV announcers as a terrible radio personality in order to save money, rather than invest in somebody that would make it fun to listen to a game.

It tarnishes the memory of Tom Cheek to replace his body in the booth with someone so ill-skilled.

Jordan - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#147874) #
Personally, I wouldn't have chosen the opening night of a three-game series with a bitter division rival, with my groundball-inducing ace on the mound, to debut a middle infield in which neither member has played his position all year. I'm sure McDonald's injury forced this move ahead of schedule, but I think the Jays could have lived with Luis Figueora one more game. Very risky, and easily confused with a panic move.
Geoff - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#147879) #
Yeah, but what are you going to do? Play Glaus at short with Alfonzo at third and Hill at second? Alfonzo and Hill up the middle does look desperate, but not Bernie-Williams-in-center-field-type desperate. I expect Alfonzo to have a good renaissance party here for 2006. Now if only the team can play well enough to inspire A.J. to come back soon.
AWeb - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#147881) #
As someone who listens to most of the games on the radio (no cable for me), I unfortunately have to agree with the assessment of the radio broadcast team. One thing that really bugs me is when Sawkiw has a game where he mentions that he remembers seemingly every player from his time in the monors. It's not every game, but sometimes he just keeps mentioning it.

I get it, Sawkiw, you played in the minors and came across other players. Either relate a personal story about a guy ("I played against him once, seemed liked a nice guy and played hard" doesn't count), where you talked to him, or interacted with him in some way, or shut up about it.

Aside from that, though, the most damning thing is that I just can't think of anything he contributes to the broadcast. He never disagrees with decisions, he doesn't poke fun at anything (I don't want over the top humour, but geeze, try to be amusing sometimes), he basically seems like a typical ex-player, still hypothetical friends with everyone who plays. He seems like he's kissing up to everyone. Maybe he's laying the foundation for a future career not in broadcasting.  Or maybe he'll be like Rios, and suddenly turn into a great broadcaster next year. Not holding my breath though.

Bruce Wrigley - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#147883) #

Does the 40 man roster need a move to accomodate Alfonzo?

Yes.  Alfonzo is not on the 40-man roster.

Very risky, and easily confused with a panic move.

If your starting shortstop throwing everything into the third row and his backup getting hurt isn't a time for panic, I don't know what is.  That said, like you I'd rather see Figueroa back out there tonight.

Alex Gonzalez was once considered by some scouts to be the best prospect in baseball

Too bad he never showed the passion for his profession that even the Rogers Centre concessionaires do for theirs.  I guess he got his.  Thanks, Gord Ash, for providing us all with such a valuable lesson about hard work and dedication.

I expect Alfonzo to have a good renaissance party here for 2006.

I certainly hope so; the reality is that he looks like he's reaching the end of the line.  He still can make good contact but his bat was really slow when we saw him earlier this year.  He actually might not outhit Luis Figueroa.

Gerry - Monday, May 29 2006 @ 02:20 PM EDT (#147884) #
At this point AJ Burnett could go on the 60 day DL to solve the roster issue.  Burnett went on the DL on April 22nd and it looks like he will not be back until at least Jun 22nd.
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