Happy Rosh Hashanah everyone, especially to our Jewish readers out there. I wish all a prosperous and happy 5773!
I am happy to be back in Toronto and following Blue Jays baseball after being away for almost a month. In the time when I was away, the Blue Jays compiled a 9-12 record--which isn't all that bad considering that in that stretch injuries befell Jose Bautista, David Cooper, J.A. Happ, pitching coach Bruce Walton, and even the dome of the Rogers Centre. And of course, the team had to contend with the loss of Jesse Chavez to Oakland. The team even climbed to fourth place from the cellar during my time in India.
The Blue Jays are now in the final stretch of the season, going into a 10-game road trip which will be their last of the season. They will be facing the Yankees, Rays, and Orioles, all of whom are still vying for the American League East crown (although the Rays seem like along shot at the moment). The Blue Jays are currently 66-79 and 13-games under .500 with 17 games left.
The biggest news around town this week will be about the Blue Jays potentially shifting their AAA team from Las Vegas to Buffalo, and it is covered below in the "Affiliation Changes" section. What do you think the Blue Jays should do with their AAA team? Should they keep their current affiliation with the Las Vegas 51s or join up with the Buffalo Bisons? Answer in the poll below!
Blue Jays Related
Timely hitting helps Toronto Blue Jays avoid sweep by Boston Red Sox - National Post
What a great scene it was yesterday afternoon to see a veteran shortstop at the end of a 24-year career, who had just broken a 0-0 tie, wait at home plate to high-five a 22-year old rookie shortstop who had just hit a two-run homer. As reported by Damaso's Burnt Shirt in the game recap, Vizquel now owns 2,872 hits in his career, just one behind Babe Ruth. And in perfect timing, the Blue Jays are travelling to Yankee Stadium, and manager John Farrell said that he will be giving Vizquel a chance to tie the record in house across the house that Ruth built.
The benchmark of base-running - Sportsnet.ca
On the basepaths, the Blue Jays are ranked 3rd with 98 outs on unforced errors, but they are also 3rd with the 32% of their baserunners scoring eventually. Shi Davidi talks to manager John Farrell and third-base coach Brian Butterfield about the baserunning game and what needs to be improved for next season.
Blue Jays Could Be Spoilers Down The Stretch - Jays Journal
We Jays fans have read articles with titles like this one for too many years in a row already, but it's true: the way the scheduling was done gives the Jays an opportunity to make it hard for the Yankees, Orioles, and Rays to clinch the AL East crown.
Lovullo on Red Sox radar? - Sportsnet.ca
Can any duck get lamer than Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine? There is nothing official yet, but I think it is obvious to most fans that some other man will be exchanging lineup cards with Joe Girardi when the Red Sox open their season in Yankee Stadium next April. There are rumours that Boston may be looking at Toronto manager John Farrell to take the helm, but Shi Davidi reminds us not to forget that they actually interviewed the Blue Jays' current first base coach Torey Lovullo for the big job last winter.
Eaton Centre shooting victim throws first pitch at Toronto Blue Jays game - Toronto Star
Before yesterday's game, 13-year old Connor Stevenson, who was shot in the head in the Eaton Centre food court in early June, got to throw out the first pitch.
Things Learned - Hum and Chuck
Joanna writes about her recent trip down to the Rogers Centre.
The Case of Carlito - Hum and Chuck
Joanna's latest post is on Carlos Villanueva and specifically on what Alex Anthopoulos said about him. Frankly I was surprised reading those comments and had a hard time believing that it came from Anthopoulos. I can understand not praising too highly a free agent-to-be, but did those comments hurt the chances of seeing Villanueva in a Blue Jays uniform next season?
Bird’s eye view of Blue Jays from comfort of in-stadium hotel - Toronto Star
The Toronto Star's Brendan Kennedy uses up the rest of the season's budget to experience a game in a field-view room at the Renaissance Hotel in Rogers Centre. I've never been up to one of the rooms but I think I'd be too distracted with the random capitalization of the word "Objects" in the window to actually enjoy the game.
Exclusive Interview: Blue Jays Mascot Ace Reveals All - NotGraphs Baseball
Notgraphs' Canadian correspondent Navin Vaswani sat down with Ace, and the Blue Jays mascot revealed his heartbreaking relationship with Diamond and being a single parent to Junior. I am slightly disappointed that Navin didn't ask how Ace felt when Buck Martinez asked "Ace? Who's Ace?" during one of the broadcasts.
Woodward goes out in style as 51s win finale - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Here's a piece of news that I missed when I was away: Chris Woodward has played his last professional baseball game, deciding to retire after 18-years in the Majors and minors. I had a chance to chat with him briefly in Spring Training and he was the one who handed the Mike McCoy flight map to McCoy in the dugout. Congratulations on 18-years in pro ball, Chris--not bad at all for a 54th-round pick.
Yesterday was the first day that Major and Minor League clubs were allowed to find new partners with whom to sign a player development contract (PDC). Ever since the Syracuse Chiefs ended a 30-year marriage with the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2008 season, the Blue Jays have been stuck with the Las Vegas 51s, a AAA affiliate that sits over 3000 km away. There are frequent direct flights between Toronto and Las Vegas, but the long distance probably wears on the players who get shuffled back and forth (just ask Mike McCoy).
However, this season the Buffalo Bisons have allowed their PDC with the New York Mets lapse and may be seeking a new big league club to work with. Personally, I would love for the Jays to affiliate with the Bisons: minor league callups can be made mere hours before game time, pitching prospects can be evaluated at the AAA level in the more balanced International League, and I (along with other Jays fans in Toronto) could zip down the QEW to watch AAA games without having to stay overnight (unless we get too drunk).
More on affiliation changes after the jump!
Bisons, Jays officially open talks on affiliation - The Buffalo News
The potential re-affiliation from Buffalo's perspective. It seems that even team owner Bob Rich's friendship with Mets owner Fred Wilpon and manager Terry Collins will not be enough for the Bisons to remain as New York's farm team.
Bisons should benefit from Jays' upcoming talent - The Buffalo News
Another article from the home of orange-coloured chicken wings. It seems like they are more than ready to ditch the Mets' relatively threadbare farm system and are looking forward to seeing the likes of Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony Gose, and Adiney Hechavarria next year, and the eventual arrival of the Lansing Lugnuts' stars.
Keep the Mets or Switch to the Jays: What Say You? - Artvoice
Artvoice (Buffalo's #1 newsweekly) features a point/counterpoint article with Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell argue about whether the Bisons should stick with the Mets or go with the Jays.
'Meet the Mets,' indeed: A guide to 51s' next minor league incarnation - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Ron Kantowski gives Las Vegas 51s fans "10 reasons to be at least marginally titillated" with the expected coming of New York Mets prospects in 2013. My favourite? "It could be worse. It could be the Astros. In fact, it might be the Astros."
Let The Affiliation Shuffle Begin! - Baseball America
All of the Blue Jays' other affiliates are secured at least through 2014, but other clubs will have to deal with shuffling in the lower minors (there will be a maximum of one change in AAA, and nothing at AA). Josh Leventhal reviews these changes over at Baseball America.
Baseball In Germany - Mop Up Duty
The well-dressed and groomed Callum Hughson (see his professional profile pic near the bottom of that article!) is in the middle of a series in which he profiles the international baseball scene. Having already covered France, Israel, South Africa, and the Czech Republic, Hughson tackles baseball in Deutschland in his latest article. I was surprised that baseball first flourished in Germany after the 1936 Munich games.