Bluebird Links - When Baseball Was Perfect

It was a slow news day yesterday, but I caught this quote in a Hardball Times article earlier in the week, and it made me think of when baseball was perfect for me. The quote if from Joe Posnanski, from the panel discussion on "The Future of Sports"  held on the weekend.

Baseball is absolutely never better in any era than it is when you are 10 years old. And when you are 10, baseball is perfect.

I like it because for me, it's true.  I turned 10 in 1992.  In 1992, the Jays were the best of the best, winning their first World Series against the Atlanta Braves.  Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Devon White, Dave Winfield, Juan Guzman, Tom Henke, Kelly Gruber and Pat Borders were heroes when I was 10.  When else is baseball perfect, really?

The Links and my story of when baseball was perfect after the Jump.  When was baseball perfect for you?

I remember watching Bell, Barfield, Moseby, Steib and Fernandez in the 80's, but I was young.  The memories of sitting in the bleachers with my family for an afternoon ball game at the old Exhibition Stadium are there, but not vividly.  I didn't really know what was going on, I remember being at the games, but I remember the smell, the crowd and the sun shining, more than I remember the actual play on the field.  Those memories are great; not because baseball was perfect but because they are early childhood memories of time spent with my family.

I have many great memories of baseball from the mid to late 90's too.  Shawn Green, Jose Cruz and Shannon Stewart in the outfield, and Carlos Delgado at 1B, getting paid more than the rest of the infield combined.  Pat Hentgen winning his Cy Young.  Roger Clemens pitching maybe the best baseball I have ever seen.  They are memories of the teenage years though.  Realization that my favorite team couldn't be good forever.  Realization that my childhood heroes wouldn't play forever and realization that money was far more important to a great many of the people involved in the game, than the hopes and desires of the fans.

The memories of the 2000's are far less than perfect.  I still love baseball, and I likely always will but far too much has changed to love the game with the open heart of a 10 year old.

But when I was 10, wow.  I understood the game enough to know what was going on, but not enough to care about free agency, player salaries, advanced statistics and managerial decisions, and that made the game perfect to me.  I will always remember going to a game in 1991 (okay, I was 9 but who's counting?).  It was the first game I saw in the Sky Dome.  I was there with my Dad, and we always went to the games really early to catch batting practice and whatever.  We were sitting somewhere down the 3B line in the 1st deck that night and the Detroit Tigers were warming up.  But we walked through the tunnel, into the stands, I stopped in awe because I couldn't have imagined it being better than it was.  The turf, the mound, the size of the stadium, the 50,000+ fans there and the players.

I have no idea who one that game but it doesn't matter.  I was 10, I was watching my boyhood heroes excelling at the greatest sport, and that moment was perfect.  In general, '91 to '94 was like that for me, before the strike.

Blue Jays Links

Griffin: Keeping up with the Joneses tough in AL East - thestar.com

Unlike the previous regime under the previous GM, Anthopoulos does not see Toronto as a small market unable to compete. He sees it as a dormant mid-market waiting to become large.

Good quotes from AA in here. Sounds to me like he's looking to build another Gillick-like dynasty, and not just a one year 'flash-in-the-pan' type team.  Griffin has another one here.

Blue Jays lay foundation for rest of offseason | bluejays.com: News

The Blue Jays general manager says his club's lack of activity isn't surprising. He believes it's easy for some people to get caught up in all the hype surrounding this annual event. But for him, it's more important to stay on an even keel and not divert from the long-term plan of the club.

I like it - a plan

The Tao of Stieb: An irrational argument for Cliff Lee
The Tao has an interesting motiviational argument for luring Lee to Toronto.

Winter League Update December 2010: Pitchers | Jays Journal
Jared Macdonald takes a look at how Blue Jays pitchers are doing in the winter leagues, with a look at position players here.

The Blue Jay Hunter: Let J.P. Arencibia Play, They Say
Talking JP - what do you guys think, do the Jays enter the season with JP has the number one catcher, or do they bring in a another player for a 1A/1B type situation?

The 5th starter: A Toronto Blue Jays Blog: Buy Low Targets
A look at some potential buy low targets? Who is everyone interested in?

Around the League

The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame | Baseball: Past and Present
The 50 best players not in the Hall, as voted on by baseball writers, researchers and anyone else interested

Radical change: realignment
Four leagues? Twelve playoff teams? It could happen ...(according to the article anyway).

Splits Leaderboards | FanGraphs Baseball
FanGraphs now has 'splits' leaderboards. This is great stuff! If you want to check out how Lind and Hill fared against LHP against the rest of the league then head on over (really, don't bother, it's depressing)

THE BOOK--Playing The Percentages In Baseball
Tom Tango looks at a different posting system, in lieu of the A's recent failure to sign Hisashi Iwakuma

10,000 days since a very famous mid-season homer
The Hardball Times breaks down Brett's 'pine tar' home run.

Baseball Prospectus | Spinning Yarn: The Forkball
Mike Fast takes a look at the mechanics of a low spin rate pitch, and the three pitchers that throw it in recent times. Good read.

The Worst Contract Extensions in History | FanGraphs Baseball
Alex Remington takes a look at some albatross contracts. Hint - Vernon is mentioned here.

Jack Of All Trades: Rickey Henderson: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com
Howard Megdal takes a look at Henderson's career with emphasis on how many times he switched teams.

Rays Interested In Edwin Encarnacion: MLB Rumors
Dierkes speculates it's as a DH/1B option.

Cincinnati Reds reward Jay Bruce with 6-year millionextension - MLB - SI.com
Outfielder Bruce and Cincinnati  have reached agreement on a six-year, $51 million extension that includes a $13 million option for 2017

Rangers make offer to Cliff Lee - thestar.com
"We made an offer with substantial additional commitments in years and dollars," Greenberg said. "It was a very constructive conversation." Anyone want to take a guess at what Lee signs for? 7 years / $165M?

Twins acquire Guelph lefty | Baseball | Sports | Toronto Sun
Canadian content - Elliott has a write up on Diamond, taken by the Twins in yesterday's Rule 5 draft.

Late Addition

Butterfield:  Red Sox 'a little scary' with Crawford | Bangor Daily News

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