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It is quite possible that Reed Johnson, with his frankly incredible diving catch to rob Victor Martinez of a double in the ninth inning tonight, may have saved the Blue Jays' season.

There are almost no words to describe the significance of Johnson's miracle play. Leave alone the impact on the game and the impact on Jeremy Accardo, the psychic impact of bringing back a player who will dive face first into the warning track on the day he returns from back surgery is utterly immense.

I have no doubt in my mind that Sparky's catch (to say nothing of his bat being immediately in leadoff form with a hit and a walk) was the difference between a win and a loss tonight. In addition, Jeremy Accardo was about to face a serious crisis with Travis Hafner as the winning run (and with the tying run on second with one out). Instead, Reed Johnson made a play that I am quite confident no other leftfielder in baseball would make. Geoff Jenkins might make that play. No one else comes to mind.

That was the manifestation of the will to win that the Blue Jays seem to have been missing this season. I sincerely hope that with Zaun and Johnson (the Jays' twin atavars of effort and indomitability) back in the saddle now the lackadaisical effort we've seen from time to time will end.

Reed, once again you did it your way - pure guts. God, how we've missed you.
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CeeBee - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#171244) #

Amen brother!... Reed's absence showed just how important he and players like him are to a team.  That catch should make all the highlight reels but I suppose Janssens cartwheel will steal the show even though it probably shouldn't.

westcoast dude - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 10:58 PM EDT (#171245) #

Johnson's miracle catch

This miracle is a blessing from God.

HippyGilmore - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 11:10 PM EDT (#171246) #
I can't even express how much better I feel about the team overall with Johnson back. This is like making an impact trade because the effect he is gonna have on us the rest of the way is bigger than almost any of the deadline deals will end up being.
Thomas - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 11:21 PM EDT (#171248) #

I first noticed Johnson in spring training in the early 2000's (can't remember which year, but I think it was 2003) when he dropped a bunt for a single with 2 out and the winning run on third in the bottom of the ninth.

He's been my favourite player in baseball for about 18 months. Tonight reaffirmed that with an exclamation mark.

DiscoDave - Friday, July 06 2007 @ 11:24 PM EDT (#171249) #

I missed the game (mother in law does not have TV), it sounds like one heck of a catch.  I am glad he is back.  Now we have a leadoff hitter again.

Mylegacy - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#171250) #
Sparky was SO good I almost forgot the two playable balls Rios botched.
jbrains - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 12:50 AM EDT (#171251) #
Well... Carl Crawford, I'm sure, makes that play in his sleep. :)
VBF - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 12:59 AM EDT (#171252) #
Boston wins the series, Jays sweep the Tribe and you're back in this thing.

Some people got their wish as Burnett responded to JP's comments. To the people who put stock into what people say to the media, you will note Burnett's true professionalism. To the rest, you probably already knew already.

I just don't get what the big deal is. Burnett will make 28 starts this year. He's going to have an ERA hovering around 4. These vultures of media are having a field day. God forbid you talk about the fact that he saved the team from the tank earlier in the season or that the people replacing him are some of the finest young arms in baseball.

But thank you Toronto media, for bringing us to reality. Thank you for opening up my eyes, who knows what rosy sunglasses I would be wearing if you hadn't existed!

China fan - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 02:21 AM EDT (#171254) #
    Excuse me, VBF, you blame the media for this?  Ricciardi criticizes his own $55-million pitcher and you think the media should ignore this?   The Jays management are clearly unhappy with Burnett and the media should stay silent about it?   What, we're all just one big happy family and nobody should criticize anybody?    There wouldn't be much left of Batters Box if nobody was allowed to criticize a player or a manager!   So the media should not be as critical as most of the Bauxites who criticize players and managers?
Sanjay - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 02:23 AM EDT (#171255) #

What a double header in Chicago today.  The Twins scored 36 runs over the day-night doubleheader.  36 RUNS you read that correctly.  Incredible. 24-12 in the first game and 12-0 in the second. 

Morneau had 6 hits, 3 HR's and 9 RBI's over both games. 

Sanjay - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 02:28 AM EDT (#171256) #

Sorry it was only 32 runs over 2 games.

And Matt Garza had to bat in the 2nd game after Redmond got injured and Mauer had to go from DH to Catcher mid-game. 



BigTimeRoyalsFan - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#171262) #
China fan, I do blame the media for the whole Burnett fiasco. I am not one of JP's biggest supporters, and when I heard the interview, I had no problem with it. It seems the media grouped together 2 of his points which really weren't meant to be combined. Yes, he did say AJ needs to learn to differentiate between different levels of pain, but that was not the reasoning behind why he said he wouldn't sign him again. The point there was that at the time, the team didn't have young starting options like Marcum, Mcgowan, and Janssen, so a bigger risk needed to be taken and he went out and signed Burnett. Saying that he wouldn't do it again if it were this offseason is not a knock on AJ but rather a ringing endorsement of his young starting pitching. All he did was say that AJ needs to learn some pain management, and he is probably right. If nothing is showing up structurally wrong with him, it's tough to see him sit out 6-8 weeks with making one start in between with just a "sore" shoulder, especially if that pitcher is your $55 million investment. The media blew the original conversation WAY out of proportion, in my humble opinion.
jmoney - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#171263) #
I agree that was a great catch, but saving the season? That's wishful thinking.

This team seems to lack the preparation or whatever it is to put together anything better then a .550 month of ball.

This sort of play isn't going to catch Cleveland/Detroit for the wildcard and its certainly not going to catch Boston.

christaylor - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#171275) #
I'm not sure why people go ga-ga over Reed Johnson - he seem so overrated by Jays fans. He's a 4th OF. He makes the occasional nice play in the OF and surprises people with his arm strength. He works hard, but I'd rather see someone in LF with more talent.

I hope he has a good half season so the Jays could move him for a useful part (an IF perhaps) to make room for Lind who has nothing left to prove in the minors.
Rob - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 06:01 PM EDT (#171276) #
I'm not sure why people go ga-ga over Reed Johnson

He makes the occasional nice play in the OF and surprises people with his arm strength. He works hard

Still not sure?
King Rat - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 06:22 PM EDT (#171277) #
When Johnson went down, a lot of people, myself included, thought that he'd lost his job for good: Lind was going to come up and take over. That, um, didn't happen.

A couple of things about what Chris seems to think is Johnson's unmerited popularity. First, he's better than a "mere" fourth outfielder. He puts up league average OPS numbers, which isn't chopped liver, and plays good defense and runs the bases well and handles the bat well and does all of the little things I tire of hearing broadcasters rave about, but he nevertheless does them well. If he's your fourth outfielder, you have the perfect fourth outfielder, and he can contribute to a good team as a starter.

Second, popularity, as we all know, does not directly correlate with usefulness, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. I root hard for John McDonald-and I'm fully aware of his significant limitations as a ballplayer. One of my favourite Jays ever was Chris Michalek, who's become something of a punchline in the Advance Scouts, and not without reason. Reed Johnson's a much better player than either of those guys was or is, but he exhibits the same traits that endeared Michalek and McDonald to me-evident hard work, a sense that he makes use of every ounce of his talent and so forth.

I'll admit that the well-documented racial dimension to discussions of "gamers" and "scrappy" players makes me a little leery of wholeheartedly boosting Johnson as a deservedly loved scrappy gamer. The thing is, he deserves it. And while it's entirely forseeable that he might not fit into the team's plans in the next year or two, I think it's entirely understandable that most fans are enjoying him while he's here.

Now, if he'd only shave that horrendous goatee...

Magpie - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 07:48 PM EDT (#171278) #
if he'd only shave that horrendous goatee...

He did ! I was so happy!

But it looks like he's growing it back...
Wildrose - Saturday, July 07 2007 @ 11:31 PM EDT (#171283) #
A couple of weeks ago Blair sounded off on Burnett, at the time I wondered if this was a reflection of how management perceived the player as well, subsequently the almost always honest ( some say to a fault) J.P. Ricciardi certainly let us know his feelings about Burnett.   

Blair has proven to be  an excellent conduit to  the thinking of the inner sanctum of the team, so when he made this comment ( scroll down) about the future of Gibbons in today's print edition, I certainly took note.


Flex - Sunday, July 08 2007 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#171290) #
Interesting comment about Gibbons. I've long believed that what the Jays at least this particular incarnation need is a take-charge manager. Somebody along the lines of Jim Leyland, who comes in, establishes a tone and a direction, and gets results.

The Jays had a version of that with Cito Gaston, and now they need another. Gibbons, from my fairly uninformed vantagepoint, seems like a nice guy who looks out for his players, but he doesn't have the cred or the personality to focus his team and get the best out of it.  In my view the fact that this team does not have a personality and can't get untracked, despite terrific pitching most of the year, comes down to him.

Ricciardi needs to swallow hard and hire a manager with a strong will and a winning track record, not just somebody who'll do his bidding.

subculture - Sunday, July 08 2007 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#171296) #
Johnson is the kind of guy that winning teams need to surround their 'star' players with.  Unless you're the Yankees and can afford all-stars at every position, you need good supporting guys that provide good value for their relatively small salaries and low-maintenance.  The only thing he doesn't do is have a ton of power or blazing speed.... and if he did, he'd be on the Yankees already making $15M.

He's the only real leadoff-hitter the Jays have, and his defence is probably top 3 for left-fielders in the AL...

I'd also rather "see someone with more talent" in most of the Jays positions, but I can still appreciate what guys like Reed bring.  The term is used more in the NBA, but 'glue guys' is how I'd describe him, Zaun and McDonald. 

What bugs me a little bit, despite my deep affections for Wells, Glaus, and some of the more 'talented' guys, is that sometimes they seem a little bit lackadaisical, particularly in running out grounders, and even double-play balls where I'd expect anybody to be running 100%.  Now I see Rios, Hill, they younger guys doing this as well, and it just looks bad IMO.

Mike Green - Sunday, July 08 2007 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#171297) #
I have not yet seen Hill give anything less than full effort.

Josh Towers might look around the infield today and wonder.  McDonald, Clayton, Clark and Stairs is not exactly  going to terrify people with the bats, and only McDonald has a good glove.

CeeBee - Sunday, July 08 2007 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#171299) #

"Josh Towers might look around the infield today and wonder.  McDonald, Clayton, Clark and Stairs is not exactly  going to terrify people with the bats, and only McDonald has a good glove."

It must be working then as Josh is pitching pretty darn good after 5 innings ..... with a little help from the P.M. of defence. :)

Dez - Sunday, July 08 2007 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#171304) #
Alex Rios will be participating in the Home Run derby! Hopefully he does better than Glaus last year.
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