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We don't really want a monster
taking over
Tiptoe around
tie him down

We don't want the loonies
taking over
Tiptoe around
tie them down

The Blue Jays are gonna want to go to sleep after this current stretch of 25 games in 24 days, especially since it concludes with a west coast road trip. It has been a pivotal point in the season, a stretch that truly would define whether or not this squad is a contender or pretender. There are still seven games to go and they happen to be against key opponents like the Angels and Seattle, but I think we can safely say this run (thanks to the killer homestand) has been a success and adding talent to the team instead of selling it will turn out to be a great choice. Perhaps not from an asset maximization standpoint, more from a serious fan excitement standpoint. Besides who really wants to be a Rays fan anyway.

Hey, speaking of the homestand...

Top of the Sixth

Dome Sweet Dome

I find minor league ballparks endlessly charming. The closest thing here in Toronto we have to that would be Christie Pits where the Intercounty Maple Leafs play home games, a field so perfectly situated in the bottom of a hill that the grassy sides of the hill act perfectly as bleachers (granted bringing a blanket is recommended). Sahlen Field is obviously a significantly more professional and developed park (hell I've pitched on the mound at Christie... pretty confident that ain't ever happening in Buffalo) but likewise it has a bit of that small-time appeal to it. At least what I've seen on television or in photographs. Advancing through the minor leagues as a player can be romanticized akin to a musician starting out in a small town, gradually moving up and booking larger venues, bigger cities... until at last you get the big gig at Massey, Danforth Music Hall or Bud Stage.

The Blue Jays have been, relative to my analogy, one of the biggest bands in the world but forced to play smaller parks because of very unfortunate circumstance. Once you've made it playing a smaller venue a few times may have its charms, but this ain't the difference between the Cameron House and the ACC (Scotiabank Centre whatever) because you're not even playing in front of people who like your music... I mean team... as much.

Anyways my bit here has completely collapsed (probably a good thing) but while I want to thank Buffalo for clearly embracing the Blue Jays for two half-ish seasons (Dunedin... meh), I am so very very glad this good team will now see what it is like to play in Toronto in front of a truly hungry, passionate fanbase. Again no disrespect to the Buffalo faithful who came out and supported the team while they were there, they clearly were several steps above most folks in Tampa who treated the Raptors as a novelty at best... and the Blue Jays should return to Sahlen Field in future years at least for exhibition games, truly. It's just that, really... there's no place like your own place. Yankees fans aren't gonna be drowning out Jays fans here in Toronto (the biggest weakness of Buffalo) and Rays fans clearly had some kind of convention in Dunedin since I didn't know that many of them even existed.

I'm going long on this first bit but I will say, seeing the Dome on television once again after subjective centuries away... yeah it still isn't a great park. Sahlen in my opinion looks significantly nicer. Still, the little charms of it popping back up again tug my memories and my heartstrings. It's a cavernous ballpark but it surely isn't lifeless when even a limited crowd is watching a good ballclub on a cool summer night. The building knows how to hold a buzz, and I look forward to experiencing it myself in the coming months.

The Barehanded Wizard

It's as though Santiago Espinal found a wand, said "Accio Bat!" and now here we are.

With Biggio back on the Injured List (I still almost write "DL" every time), Charlie Montoyo seems to still be giving Espinal not entirely the full-time work at third base, instead switching Biggio's starts over there with Valera. Which I guess is fine? Sorta kinda? Kinda sorta? I haven't seen enough of Valera defensively to have any opinion, beyond a ball he botched in CF during the 8th inning of a spring training game (an observation about as useful as being able to name Sirius Black's great uncle twice removed. Bam! A Sloan and a Potter reference!).

If Espinal can actually maintain being a league average guy though while starting 4-5 times a week... he should be doing that because damn his glove over there is that good. The Blue Jays have been fortunate to employ some mighty fine glovemen at the hot corner over the past decade or so and Espinal might be right there. He's obviously not as huge and technically perfect and gorgeous as Scott Rolen was (I mean who is? The man played that position as well as it can be played)... not as insanely athletic and juiced up on Red Bulls as young Brett Lawrie... strangely enough Espinal reminds me of Donaldson over there. Their styles could not be more different (and Espinal is smoother... Josh probably had a better arm though and could afford to double clutch more) but the comfort with the barehanded play was very much a Josh Donaldson feature. Donaldson likewise could throw the ball away on occasion, usually on rushed throws... what have Espinal's errors been? He's made four this season and I don't recall any of them.

(So I looked it up, and three of the four all came in that late May period which should never be spoken of again. Besides, two of them were in Tyler Chatwood Total Meltdowns it is no wonder I scrubbed them from my memory).

None of this matters if he reverts to being a 70-80 OPS+ guy. There would still be plenty of room on a big league bench for a player like that, with that glove, if teams didn't carry 28 relievers these guys (and get off my lawn!). If he can give you even a .280/.335/.400 line... I dunno maybe I just love really good gloves at third base but on a team stacked with monster hitters I'd be very cool having that guy bat 8th or 9th most of the time. 

The Jacket

As much as I despise the Red Sox passionately (only the Rays get under my skin more it seems) I do rather enjoy their ritual after a home run of riding the guy through the dugout in a laundry cart. It's fun. This is supposed to be fun, and I like stuff like that.

The Jacket is very cool since like the laundry cart thing, it's unique and visually delightful to watch. Whether it be Vlad Jr wearing it (who I suspect the jacket was tailored to since it fits the big fella the best) or Gurriel Jr. taking off his hat for the camera to show off his appealing vet bewildering hair, or Espinal looking like a child trying on his dad's clothes (might have borrowed that from Fairservice, sorry Drew) and especially after Semien's walkoff... where Hazel Mae finally could be comfortable conducting an on-field interview knowing a Gatorade shower wasn't coming because they wouldn't do that to the jacket!

I love it. Pure delightfulness. I've tried to interpret the Spanish on the bottom back of the jacket and the best I can paraphrase through Google Translate (should've asked my friend before writing this who actually speaks the language) is "all of us in the neighbourhood".

Hey I was close! Er... Google was close.... "People from the neighbourhood" is the translation. Certainly is an inclusive celebration regardless and good on translator Hector Lebron for proposing the idea. Anyway if you can, go check out Kaitlyn McGrath's piece on The Athletic if you want the entire story behind it. All I can say beyond that is the obvious: this team is clearly a talented roller coaster with extremely good vibes. I'd prefer that over a hopeless squad overachieving far too long or a talented squad underperforming and getting booed in their actual home stadium. You know who you are.   

Blue Berri(os)

It's been only two starts, I really like Austin Martin (prospects who draw walks are my endless Kryptonite... I always liked Ryan Noda too) plus Simeon Woods-Richardson... Berrios though can deal. Everything he throws moves in different directions, he locates on the corners, doesn't seem to get rattled (he saved his one emotional release for striking out Bogaerts on the pitch he wanted to throw but hung on the Verdugo homer) and as I believe poster Nigel has mentioned he fields his position with exceptional awareness and energy better than anyone since Stieb. For my own record Shaun Marcum is probably the best fielding pitcher I've seen on the Blue Jays in my time, with special shoutouts to Mark Buehrle (duh), R.A. Dickey was pretty darn good also and Marcus Stroman was hilariously good (like throwing on the run on routine comebackers for no damn reason at all... but always making the play). Maybe Bob File? God now we're digging too deep into the lost teams of my early youth.

Berrios though is an impressive defensive pitcher, something hard to notice from a good-not-star pitcher in another division you previously saw pitch maybe once a season. He's quick, smart, knows how to cover instantly and seems to always time a throw to a base precisely. Dude can also pitch too. I'm onboard lets go... I already really like this guy.    

Bottom of the Sixth

Junior's Harm

For the record I don't like Wings very much at all, as much as I marvel at Paul McCartney's versatile brilliance. Some good tunes (Band on the Run, Jet, 1985) but... ahhhhgggg.

This is the only clever title I could devise to describe Vlad Jr's non "Vlad like" stretch for the past couple weeks. He's clearly cooled down significantly, perhaps to at least provide evidence he is mortal and not some baseball smashing deity descended upon the American League to wreck havoc. Without diving into specific numbers (because everyone does that and I can add little to the discussion) all I can say this that his bat looks a little slow right now but he's still trying to smash everything on the outside to compensate. My guess is fatigue: the dude has played every game this season except one and he's so energetic his teammates taped him to the poles of the dugout just to get him to relax for a while. Nevermind the 25 games in 24 days thing. Even truly exceptional athletes can't just go out and live up to their high standard every day when asked to.

I predict the off day Monday will somewhat recharge Guerrero Jr. but he might need a few more days off down the stretch run, obviously difficult when you're in a playoff hunt and every game has serious importance. He has clearly made notable progress to get himself into significantly better shape in the winter for this season, and the results are obvious. Thing is, nothing you do physically can prepare you for playing 162 games in six months. Hurts happen, almost always unexpectedly. Fatigue can leak in, just enough to make that bullet you hit to centerfield go 405 feet instead of 410. It's a hard game, and it doesn't forgive.

New York Serenade

This would be so much easier if the Yankees had just said: "ah... we're giving up more runs than we allow, our bullpen is the only thing keeping us from being the Royals, our fans are booing us anyway... lets punt 2021 and evaluate later".

Ugh. They still aren't that good. I play hardball with a dozen Yankee fans and in our groupchat they all hate this team, even after getting Gallo and Rizzo (damn it I love Rizzo). Now they've won 9 of 12 and are at least in the role of serious playoff disruptor, if not participant. It's never easy out here in the wild AL East eh.

I don't trust em, but you can't ever count out the Yankees. They needed lefty homer power and they got it.

Around The League

The Philadelphia Phillies were 44-44 at the all-star break. They won 3 of their next 4, then lost 8 of their next 12 to sit at 51-53 right as August began, an objective non-contender.

Now they've won 8 in a row, seized first place in the pathetic (I mean competitive) NL East by sweeping the then leading New York Mets. Not really sure I believe in the Phillies since they're exactly middle of the pack in most offensive stats for the National League. Meanwhile every pitcher they employ not named Zack Wheeler is likewise moderate at best. This shouldn't be a playoff team... although what exactly is a playoff team in this sad division. Speaking of better teams...

The Cincinnati Reds are rolling, now 10 games over .500 at 61-51 (despite missing all-star bat Nick Castellanos for significant time) and just five games back of the division leading Milwaukee Brewers. I commented about a month ago, or something, how the Reds best shot at the postseason was to overtake the Brewers... since the NL Wildcard appeared certain to be exclusively western teams. The Reds are only 2.5 games back of the San Diego Padres now for that second wildcard spot. They're in it, baby. Oh and Joey Votto still bangs.

I'd love to say more but I've done plenty of that, so enjoy the off day and have at it.

Off Day Blues Vol. 6 | 66 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Petey Baseball - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 11:52 AM EDT (#404581) #
On the eve of another August west coast road trip, two previous come to mind.

August 2006 the Jays just finished a great homestead highlighted by winning 3 of 4 against the Yankees (big crowds, walk off homers, the works). It pulled them to within 4.5 games of the division. They proceeded to go out west, lose 2 of 3 to a terrible Mariners team and get swept in Oakland. The margin for error was razor thin in the AL East in those years, but that team never recovered.

August 2015 post trade deadline with Tulo and Price, the Jays went on an epic west coast trip and bludgeoned the Rangers and Angels going 6-1, scoring a ridiculous amount of runs.

Going back previous years, holy crap I forgot they used to make teams play all 3 Pacific time zone teams in one trip. That's insane.
ISLAND BOY - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#404583) #
Great writeup, Eephus. I agree on all of your points. Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the jacket and them not wanting to get it wet because Hazel Mae interviewed Semien after his walkoff homer and nobody went near him. Then yesterday they doused Springer with icewater during his interview so hopefully it doesn't shrink and only fit Espinal.

By the way, what song are those lyrics from?
James W - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#404590) #
Not just water, but a couple bottles of whatever-ade as well. I suppose they can afford the dry cleaning bill.
greenfrog - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 02:38 PM EDT (#404593) #
Fangraphs ranks the Jays 10th in its latest power rankings.
Mike Green - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#404594) #
Personally, I prefer the projections on a "season-to-date basis".  Blue Jays rest-of-season winning percentage .603; Red Sox  .533; Yankees .514.  They are going to have do better than that to have a decent shot to win the division though.
uglyone - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#404595) #
on fangraphs' standings page, you can see the jays ranked....

#4 in run differential
#3 in projected rest of season run differential
#3 in projected full season run differential
#6 in baseruns run differential
#5 in full season projected WAR
92-93 - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#404596) #
The division will definitely be tough. TB has a similar schedule to TOR in that they still have a home-and-away remaining vs. both MIN and DET. They have one less series against BAL because they just finished sweeping them. The hard part of the Rays schedule is the 10 games they have left with BOS, who Jays fans might be rooting for before long. The Jays will likely need to win both of the remaining series vs. TB (if not sweep one of them) to have a chance at the division but there's lot of baseball to be played and a soft schedule for the Jays until the first one on September 13th.

The Jays embark now on a 9 game road-ish trip through LA, Seattle, and Washington. The first game of tomorrow's doubleheader is a home game in LA (?!), and the M's games always brings out a pro-Jays crowd. This Thursday should be Berrios vs. Ohtani.
Magpie - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#404597) #
For the record I don't like Wings very much at all, as much as I marvel at Paul McCartney's versatile brilliance.

I have a Theory of Paul McCartney, although it's closely related to my perhaps minority opinion that by far the most impressive stretch of his solo career begins roughly around 1999.
mathesond - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#404598) #
Speaking of Paul McCartney, I watched Backbeat for the first time last weekend. His character does have a minor role...
Magpie - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#404599) #
By the way, what song are those lyrics from?

Eephus put them there? It'll be Radiohead. Count on it.
hypobole - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#404600) #
"Going back previous years, holy crap I forgot they used to make teams play all 3 Pacific time zone teams in one trip. That's insane."

I would think it preferable to get the west coast swing done in one trip to minimize both travel and jet lag. IMO, the 2019 schedule was insane, especially since the AL East played the NL West.

April 15-21: @ Minn, @ Oak
April 23-28: Home
April 30-May 5: @ LAA, @ Tex
May 6-12: Home
May 14-19: @ SF, @ Chi

3 separate west coast trips within a month. Plus the very next road trip at the end of May took them to Colorado. That still left road games vs the Mariners and Dodgers, but those they did in one trip in August.

Petey Baseball - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#404602) #
Very true hyperbole. That's way more brutal.
I was watching an old Detroit Tigers broadcast from '93 (Skeeter Barnes charged the mound vs Randy Johnson, which was hilarious) and George Kell mentions an 11 game road trip the Tigers were on through California, Seattle, and Oakland. I'm sure it has to do with the differences in scheduling now, though.
Gerry - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#404605) #
Ryan Borucki has been placed on the development list. This suggests he has gone to Dunedin for some in depth analysis and adjustments.
scottt - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#404606) #
I guess that's more a Bisons thing.

Normally, going to the minors sucks, but in this case, there is less travel and Buffalo is a familiar gig.
Unless they are currently on the road.
Mind you, going to Florida in August sucks too.

greenfrog - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#404608) #
Out of curiosity, what do people believe is the minimum benchmark the Jays need to attain for their 2021 season to be considered a success?

1. Staying the postseason hunt until the end of the season?
2. Playing in the WC game?
3. Winning the WC game?
4. Making it to the ALCS?
5. Making it to the WS?
6. Winning the WS?

For me it's probably #2, though of course I would like to see #4, 5 or 6 happen.
SK in NJ - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#404609) #
Even if they miss the playoffs with 85-90 wins, it would be hard to view it as a failure because in a literal sense they would have played 137 "road" games this season and 25 home games. Even the makeup "home" game against the Angels will be in LA. They were put in a very difficult situation. Hard to place a number on how many wins it may have cost them, but IMO if they played at RC all season, or at least 1-2 months earlier than they did, then they are probably in a playoff spot right now.

A lot will still have to go right, but the most realistic best case is WC1. I don't think anyone is catching the Rays for the division. Two of Boston, New York, or Oakland have to fall back while the Jays continue to play to their projected win total. It's going to be difficult, but this 9-2 homestand combined with Boston's regression has changed the picture dramatically in 2 weeks.
electric carrot - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#404610) #
It's looking a lot better for the jays at the moment but I think a cold-hearted view of the Blue Jays situation is as follows:

Most likely two of Oakland, Boston, NYY, TO are going to get the wildcard. Maybe Tampa gets cold and maybe another team under (LAA?) gets hot, but since chances are pretty even that one of those will happen let's do a probability cancel on that.

TO has the worst record of any of the four.
These are all good teams.
TO does not get a karma badge for their pythagorean offset.

I think TO is the best team here but none of these teams I don't think is going to lose a lot games.

I think getting the wildcard spot is a big victory if it happens and given the hole we're in -- I will consider that a pretty big victory.

Would love to have more.

uglyone - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#404611) #
I'm not nearly as high on OAK and BOS as that. Both have been falling for a while now and imo won't stop anytime soon.

I'm prepared for a showdown vs NY for the wildcard.
bpoz - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#404612) #
Not convinced about our pen.
John Northey - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#404613) #
I'm liking this team more and more.  Wild Card is the minimum for the season to be a success imo.  For the Jays a general rule is 90+ wins = big attendance boost and TV ratings up (based on a basic check I did years ago).  So I figure that is what the GM/ownership is after.

Right now the team has 9 guys with a 100+ OPS+ on it, then 3 in the 90's (Grichuk, Gurriel, McGuire).  Everyone with a sub 90 OPS+ is either IL (Biggio, Jansen) or minors (Palacios, on IL in minors) or released/traded (Panik, Tellez, Davis, Adams, Hoying).  That is a nice offense.  For comparison the Yankees have 8 guys with a 100+ OPS+ but only 2 are active (3 on IL, 2 on 40 man but in minors, 1 I'm not sure about).  DJ LeMahieu has just a 96 OPS+, Joey Gallo a 79 so far as a Yankee, and Jonathan Davis is actually on their ML roster right now (1 for 8)

Our starting 6 by ERA+ as a Jay are 603 (Berrios), 172 (Manoah), 152 (Ray), 122 (Ryu), 103 (Matz), and 100 (Stripling).  When your #6 starter has a 100 ERA+ for you things are good. 

The pen is 750 (Cimber), 190 (Richards), 180 (Snead), 166 (Romano), 102 (Dolis), 102 (Saucedo), 95 (Murphy), and 90 (Hand).  Weird that the highest paid has the worst ERA+, but that's baseball.
The IL is Soria with a perfect 1 IP, Castro at 84, Mayza at 118.  Castro won't replace anyone, but go back to AAA, Mayza for Saucedo, Soria for Murphy I suspect.

Yeah, I get nervous with that pen but if all can keep ERA+'s in the 90 or higher range and the rotation stays at 100+ then this team should be in the playoffs with ease.
greenfrog - Monday, August 09 2021 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#404614) #
The Yankees keep ekeing out wins. They just took the lead 2-1 over KC in the 8th inning. As well as the Jays have been playing, New York has stayed a step ahead.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 12:24 AM EDT (#404615) #
Kasi - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 01:14 AM EDT (#404617) #
Yankees did win it eventually. I mean the Royals might take one of them but Iím not seeing them take more than that.
Eephus - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 03:10 AM EDT (#404618) #
It'll be Radiohead. Count on it.

There are far worse bands (and things in general) to be associated with. I'll happily take it. The song is "Go To Sleep" on their crazy underrated 'Hail to the Thief' record.

This west coast trip playing mediocre teams does feel like an ambush, right? That 2006 team was sunk I recall on a huge home run in Oakland off the otherwise insanely dominant B.J. Ryan (pretty sure I heard it on the radio and it was an afternoon game). Lets see if this squad can dodge such carnage and keep rolling. 
scottt - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 07:02 AM EDT (#404619) #
Yankees are a royal pain, so no surprise.
bpoz - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 08:45 AM EDT (#404621) #
1) Staying in the post season hunt until the end of the season.

This is good enough for me as a successful season because the young core is growing into their competitiveness. They will know what to do in the next few years to succeed.

How we win and lose will show us our weakness.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#404622) #
Success and failure, and Lennon and McCartney.  I'll tackle them one at a time.

I don't think that every season is either a success or a failure.  Some (most?) don't fit neatly into one category or the other.  For me, 2021 will be a success if the team wins the World Series but it is unlikely to be a failure unless an important piece or two are seriously injured in the next few months rendering the possibility of competition in 2022 very low.  The Berrios trade was a large bet on 2021 and 2022, in my view.

Lennon and McCartney never moved me the way countless other musicians did and do.  The music they made doesn't speak to me in times of great happiness, sorrow or just about any other emotion you can name.  They made many well-crafted pop melodies that are perfect to hum or whistle while you walk. This is no small feat. And the sum of the two of them was greater than the parts- they had classic high peak early careers likely due to the dynamic between the two of them, followed, in my view, by a rapid and steep decline. 
Parker - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#404623) #
"Live and Let Die" isn't a good song?
scottt - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#404624) #
The Jays absolutely won the offseason. Totally crushed it.
It's mid August and we won't know until the very end if the season was a success, so it probably is.

Mike Green - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#404625) #
"Live and Let Die" isn't a good song?

It's no "Maybe I'm Amazed" or "Band on the Run". Kidding.  It doesn't move me, it doesn't make me want to dance, I don't feel like humming the melody aimlessly.  It's just a Bond tune, which if you like the movies (I don't), is something.  The modern equivalent would be Skyfall, which does nothing for me much as I admire Adele's work and voice.

Speaking of music, I haven't heard walk-up music in ages.  For people who have been to see a game at the RC, are there any interesting/good new choices?
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#404626) #
I Want a Hold, Brad Hand
uglyone - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#404627) #
I was nodding along mostly with that critique Mike but now I'm trying to fight through the overplaying and think whether any of their songs moved me and I think they did.....Eleanor Rigby, Come Together, While My Guitar Grntly Weeps, Helter Skelter, I am the Walrus, Strawberry Fields.....Hey Jude, Yesterday...and of course A day in the Life....that stuff is legit good tbb.
99BlueJaysWay - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#404628) #
UO, the Aís arenít fading at all. Theyíve won 4 in a row and 8 of their last 10, keeping pace with the Jays.

Is anyone else hoping the Red Sox sweep the Rays so that the teams can be more closely bunched together?
scottt - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#404629) #
I saw that Merryweather was back throwing off a mound in Dunedin.

"hopefully, some live ABs and some games here soon next week"

"probably the best I've felt"

Seeing is believing.

GabrielSyme - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 11:49 AM EDT (#404630) #
I too want the Rays to fall, even if it's the Red Sox beating them. It would be much better to win the division outright than slip into a wild card, and Tampa needs to start losing games for that to happen.
Eephus - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#404631) #
I'm definitely a Beatles guy (it runs in the family, heh) and I maintain the belief that George Harrison might be the greatest underused secret weapon in pop music history. He still has the best solo record of any Beatle in my opinion, though it is admittedly too long, overproduced and uneven near the end. Still just some fabulous tunes on that one though.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#404632) #
I'd like to see the Rays fail,too, but they just keep winning and Boston seems to have lost their horseshoes or rabbit's feet or whatever lucky talisman kept them as high as they were. Speaking of luck, you look at the Yankees lineup and their batting averages, and it makes one wonder how the heck they are winning consistently.

I'd rate this season a success no matter what happens from here in. When you consider losing a potential closer in Yates, then a slew of other bullpen pitchers, plus others that were ineffective, not to mention a rotation that looked shaky for a few months, and playing in 3 different home parks, I think that the Jays did good to be even over .500 at this point.

The positives are many : the trio of Ray, Springer and Semien have been maybe the best free agent signings of the offseason, Vlad Jr. is having a monster season batting and looking great in the field,too. Alek Manoah has pitched very well as a rookie and Ross Stripling has emerged as a reliable starter after tweaking his delivery. Reece McGuire has come back from being DFA-ed in April to being a solid left-handed hitting catcher. The acquisition of Berrios shows that management thinks the team can win and we no longer have to watch Drury and Fisher scuffle along. If you don't produce, you're out as Tanner Roarke and Tyler Chatwood found out.

And, finally, Bo Bichette is having a great season,too. It's hard to believe he's only 22 games over a single full season of major league baseball, not to mention that Vlad Jr. is 32 games short of two full seasons. So, making the playoffs is nice, and winning in them is even better, but a season can still be a success if the team overcomes adversity and grows in a lot of different areas.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#404633) #
Charlie is pretty cool playing the congas.
uglyone - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#404634) #
And radiohead is amazing of course.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#404635) #
It is, of course, my oft-expressed view that the Beatles are the greatest and most significant artists of the entire twentieth century, all fields included, by an order of magnitude. And they are withou a doubt the best thing to come out of England since Shakespeare himself, who was likewise from the sticks. I put the fan in fanatic, I admit.

My McCartney theory is basically this: he found his true love, he started raising a family with her, and for roughly thirty years his day job simply didn't have his full attention. But Linda died and the kids left the nest....
electric carrot - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#404636) #
Well Mike Green I can't be on board with your Beatles critique. I have even softened a little to Paul who was for a time my least fave Beatle. And I do love GH but not sure I can rise to Eephus' level of praise. What's amazing to me is that everybody -- and I mean everybody -- has tried to mimic in some way their songwriting/recording/arrangements. And despite 1 million times the amount of control one can now exercise in the studio -- no one has done it. There was just a little bit of magic there. My theory is that they had the right personnel AND somehow they made ALL the right decisions -- big and small. And when you bat a 1000 on decisions -- your stuff's gonna be great. Wayne Gretzky could do that too.
Eephus - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#404637) #
the best thing to come out of England since Shakespeare himself

I suppose that absurdly good band from Oxfordshire can settle for third. A debatable third... 

hypobole - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 01:44 PM EDT (#404638) #
Thing is, music is like food. On an individual level, the good/bad lines are blurred, because they are often not really good or bad, but a matter of taste. I like brussels sprouts but dislike salmon.

The Beatles were the best. When I didn't like a song on the radio, I'd change the station. I don't think I ever changed the station for any Beatles song other than maybe Helter Skelter. But when I listen to music, I don't play Beatles. To me, they are like food that I would eat and enjoy if someone else made it, but if I make the food, I would make something else that I really want to eat.
Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 02:02 PM EDT (#404639) #
The music aside, there are two things about the Beatles story, mythic as it is, that can not be emphasized enough. First, how unbelievably lucky they were. In an industry that has never been more than a cruel and shallow money trench, they ended up with Brian Epstein - naive but honest and devoted to his lads - and George Martin, who trusted his artists and didn't demand a piece of the songwriting credits. Simply unbelievable.

And how mind-bogglingly ambitious they were. Their goals kept getting bigger and bigger until the only thing left was world domination - and that was what they went for. The Rolling Stones, by comparison, were just some humble lads who just wanted to get a foothold in their home town and play some Chicago blues properly.
Chuck - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 02:18 PM EDT (#404640) #
But when I listen to music, I don't play Beatles. To me, they are like food that I would eat and enjoy if someone else made it

My thoughts exactly.

My very first personally purchased albums, with saved up birthday money, were the red and blue albums, shortly after they came out. I recently gifted those albums to a Beatles collector friend. I listened to the Beatles a lot growing up in the 1970s. I even had to learn the French version of Maxwell's Silver Hammer in music class in Quebec (yes, it's bad in French too).

I saw the touring production that was Beatlemania in the early 1980s. I have seen the cover band Rain. I have seen Classic Albums Live perform various Beatles albums umpteen times (including the White Album; wonder what Revolution 9 is like "performed" live? strange, very strange). I have seen the Cirque du Soleil show Love, both in its early days and its revamped incarnation a decade later. I watched the very mediocre movie Yesterday and found the scene with non-Beatle John Lennon oddly moving. I recently enjoyed the McCartney 3,2,1 documentary with Rick Rubin. I have enjoyed all of this Beatles consumption immensely. And yet and yet and yet... I do not play Beatles music. I think I will, freshly inspired by whatever I have just seen, but for some reason I don't. I can't explain why.

Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 02:36 PM EDT (#404642) #
Eight Days a Week is part of my singing setlist.
Mike Green - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#404651) #
When my daughter was about 5, I purchased her first two CDs- Rubber Soul  and Blue. I told her they were good and left it at that.  For the next 5 years or so, she played Rubber Soul a lot, but after that...  It is definitely a taste thing.  I do really like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", but only the live version where Prince arrives and makes the guitar weep gently and also howl not so gently.  That's it- I find the Beatles passionless, and what moves me is music played or sung with feeling, whether it's Billie Holiday or Jimi Hendrix or Aretha Franklin or Joni Mitchell or Glenn Gould.  I don't want music to be like food that satisfies my caloric needs; at their best, the Beatles do a little better than that for me but not much.  Chacun a son gout.

BlueJayWay - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#404660) #
When it comes to the Beatles their stature and influence and songcraft is just about unimpeachable, but I tend to often go for their lesser known songs over the uber-famous ones. I really like Cry Baby Cry and Tomorrow Never Knows and For No One and Dear Prudence and I'm Looking Through You and Because and songs of that ilk over, you know, hearing Let It Be or Come Together yet again.
scottt - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#404661) #
A chacun son gout. To each is own.

Chacun a son gout is some hillbillies version that sounds like everyone tastes different to me.

greenfrog - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#404662) #
If a team loses both ends of a doubleheader, would this qualify as a hard day's night?
scottt - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#404665) #
But is any of this actually Blues?
Magpie - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#404668) #
I find the Beatles passionless

Roughly the opposite of what I think, as you can probably guess - I generally feel their passion far outstrips their technique, which was none too shabby either - but I do feel that way about Presley sometimes. Although in the case of Elvis, it's as if his talent was so vast, so awesome, so infinite, that actually applying it was almost excessive. And downright dangerous, likely to cause a rupture in the space-time continuum.
ayjackson - Tuesday, August 10 2021 @ 10:56 PM EDT (#404716) #
I'd be in favour of banning MG for a week or two.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 08:25 AM EDT (#404743) #
I'd be in favour of banning MG for a week or two.

Concur.  Gotta keep those lovin' good vibrations happenin'.
ayjackson - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 08:35 AM EDT (#404744) #
Are you hinting at your favourite when it comes to passionate 60s songwriters? ;)
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#404745) #
Not exactly.  It's not passionate at all, of course, but it's one of the few tunes of its type (pure pop magic and craft) that lifts me up.  Maybe it's the voices- I am a sucker for vocal harmony. 

hypobole - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#404749) #
On another musical note, the Red Sox seem to be changing their 7th inning anthem from Sweet Caroline to the chorus from a Tom Petty hit. :)
92-93 - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 09:54 AM EDT (#404750) #
It's quite satisfying that "BlueJayWay" prefers the songs tucked away on the albums to the hit singles. Within You Without You usually goes with loving Tomorrow Never Knows.

Hopefully there will be no fog in LA today and our friends will not lose their way.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#404751) #
If the Sox are going to play the chorus from I Won't Back Down (presumably) in the middle of the eighth, they must also play the chorus of Last Chance for Mary Jane in the middle of the ninth.  It's only fair. 
hypobole - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#404753) #
Wow! I'm disappointed, Mike, and all the rest of you as well.
THIS song's chorus is the new Red Sox anthem:
92-93 - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#404755) #
Oh, it's not You Wreck Me?
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#404756) #
Thanks, hypo.  They should play that one before the game to capture the season mood. 
Magpie - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#404761) #
Oh, it's not You Wreck Me?

I just assumed it would be "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)"
ayjackson - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#404766) #
At teh end of a series, Fenway can send the home 9 off with Don't Come Around Here No More.
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 05:31 PM EDT (#404768) #
Nice, ayj.  

This study of racial discrimination in umpiring is fascinating.  Empirically according to the study, white umpires have favoured white pitchers and batters (and this has not changed over time), and African-American umpires have favoured African-American players, while Hispanic umpires have had a reverse bias.  Another reason for robo-umps. 
Mike Green - Wednesday, August 11 2021 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#404769) #
There are more particulars on the study findings in the author's twitter feed. 
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