Off Day Blues Vol. 5

Thursday, July 15 2021 @ 07:36 AM EDT

Contributed by: Eephus

I jumped into the river
Black eyed angels swam with me
A moon full of stars and astral cars
and all of the things I used to see

Pyramids aside, this will be a short one. A little nibble to tide us over. You know my schtick already so lets get into it.

Top of the Fifth

Are You Bobby Ray?

Who wants to know? Who wants to know about me???

(If you get the reference.... I sincerely apologize. I'm so, so sorry)

The Blue Jays gambled on Robbie Ray this past offseason, and at this point it clearly is one of the best moves made by any team for 2021. Grunts aside (it must be the tight pants,) Ray has been better than anyone could've possibly expected. He's gonna get some money this winter, no doubt, and I've been won over enough that I want it to be here. It makes sense for the Blue Jays to lock up a pitcher who has clearly flourished and unlocked personal potential, but also for Ray in terms of comfort, familiarity and the "whatever the hell they've done to make me throw strikes" element. I'm not one to speculate or really even care on contract terms, but get him at 4 years at say 90 million bucks and there's your great #2 starter for the next half decade. It'll probably take more though... but meanwhile lets just enjoy how good he has been. I really feel like he might have the second all time Blue Jays no-hitter in him coming soon. Legit stuff.

Spring Shoes

It sucks that he hasn't played much, but I've seen enough to know George Springer is a goddamn ballplayer. He's a bit like Bautista without the flare and temper: truly a professional hitter who doesn't chase trash a foot outside of the zone (*cough Grichuk *cough) and obviously a far superior outfielder than Bats ever was. It's hard to judge from such a small sample, but I do think his intelligence will keep him in centerfield longer than people suspect. He's still way better in right, even now, but on a team with only two genuinely good defensive outfielders plus Jonathan Davis... well get used to Spring Shoes playing CF in 2023 unless Austin Martin shows up ready real early. I'm optimistic on that front, for the record.

Springer can clearly hit. He has a good approach, hits the ball hard... even as a meh defender by the end of the contract I do think he'll still be a valuable part of a good ballclub. Just as long as Teo and Vlad by then haven't made him too self-conscious about his bald spot of course...

Bottom of the Fifth

All-Star Game Badness

I did not watch the all-star game this year. Vlad Jr. won the MVP? Cool, but whatever. MLB currently, seems to be currently excellent at losing the plot: changing things that don't need to be changed at all... while meanwhile allowing serious issues to linger and manifest until there is true hell to pay.

Full honesty, I used to love the all-star game. I recorded the 2001 game on VHS and watched it a million times (I think Paul Quantrill was the Blue Jay there? Shout out to the great Q). I was just so delighted seeing these legends on the field, wearing their iconic jerseys. Cal Ripken Jr. or Ichiro's rookie season. Bonds. Clemens. Say what you will, they were special in that moment in time. Tony Gwynn was an all-star that year. Tony. Goddamn. Gwynn. And there he was, 40 years old, in that awful bland 2000s Padres uni... it is seared in my mind.

My favourite all-star game is 2006. Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells, B.J Ryan... maybe someone else? They were our Blue Jays and had a significant influence on how that game played out. Glaus I remember hits a huge 9th inning double off the centerfield wall that either tied the game or put the go ahead run in scoring position. I watched it live with a friend who enjoyed baseball but wasn't quite as into it as I... but that night we were on the edges of our seats and weren't disappointed.

Baseball will always have the best all-star game because... well Magpie explained why with poetic excellence in a recent post, as he reliably does. From my perspective, as a still active ballplayer in various leagues... the nature of baseball itself demands any competitive game be played with maximum intention. I love basketball, but playing a showcase game that doesn't matter? You're not going to witness the great LeBron James play like it's the NBA Finals. He's going to take it easy, still try to provide a spectacle, but this isn't an actual game. Baseball though... you can't be a pitcher and think: "ah this doesn't mean anything, I'll just throw 40mph trash"... because you'll get destroyed and embarrassed. I can hit 40mph trash... what do you think actual professionals would do to it?. The game itself demands full effort.  Even a baseball pickup game is still baseball... it can be casual around the edges but it's still somebody on a mound trying their best to get a batter out. That is the fundamental truth of the game.

Anyways... long story over I did not like these "all-star" jerseys this year... and said jerseys looked like a spell check printer error bled onto a T-shirt. Just horrendous in multiple directions. Previously It was beautiful how each player wore their team jersey every year, and was unique to MLB. Hey MLB! Stop messing with something that doesn't need to be messed with!

Sigh. All right I'm done. Have at it, everyone. And please forgive my grouchiness.