Good morning everyone! There is less than one month left until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training! And less than one month left until we find out what Darren Oliver will decide to do with his life in 2013! Yay! Baseball's almost back! Exclamation marks!
This Tuesday's Bluebird Links is a little light on the Blue Jays stuff and a little heavy on MLB stuff, but they are all worth a read or a watch. But first of all, please vote on the latest "Backwards Hall of Fame Ballot". The innovative method, which coolhead2010 explained here, to elect players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is to have voters vote players that they don't think belongs off the ballot instead of voting folks on. It's an interesting experiment to see who eventually gets voted in. Keep your eye on the FanPosts here on Bluebird Banter to see when new ballots are released.
Blue Jays Related
Rasmus Avoids Both Arbitration And An Extension? - Drunk Jays Fans
Andrew Stoeten's piece on Rasmus' arbitration avoidance. He is due for free agency after the 2014 season, which means his play this year will largely determine what extension offer the Blue Jays will hand him (if any) next year. Also: thanks plen for pointing out that Emilio Bonifacio, J.A. Happ, and Josh Thole are also arbitration-eligible. I hope that the Jays fail in negotiations and end up going to arbitration with one of the players so we can stop talking about Bill Risley.
Winter Tour Day 4: Blue Jays on ice - BlueJays.com (video)
Video of the Blue Jays visiting Saskatoon. See Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencibia, Drew Hutchison, and Anthony Gose sign autographs, curl, and attend a Saskatoon Blades hockey game! You can see Gose sporting his new uniform number (#8) too. Also, here is an earlier video of the Jays having a luncheon at the Delta Bessborough. I was in that exact room this past summer when I my raffle ticket was one number away from winning an iPad. ONE number away. Perhaps I should've shoved past that pregnant lady to get to the line before the winner.
Toronto Blue Jays players give curling a try in Saskatchewan - National Post
The National Post's piece on the Blue Jays' curling in Saskatoon. Features some great photos by Gord Waldner, and this quote on curling from sports analyst Colby Rasmus: "I guess it’s kind of like hockey, except you don’t sweat as much."
Excited Blue Jays tour military base in Edmonton - BlueJays.com
Something you probably didn't know: John Gibbons' father served in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at a military base in Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Of course this visit brought one of the best photos of Colby Rasmus ever:
Kim Jong Rasmus twitter.com/Minor_Leaguer/…— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) January 15, 2013
How Good Are The 2013 Jays? (Part One): Projected Wins - Blue Jays Way
Blue Jays Way has their WAR predictions for 2013. They find that project that the team will win 92.3 games next year.
How Good Are The 2013 Jays? (Part Two): Team History - Blue Jays Way
In part two of their analysis, Matt Brown of Blue Jays Way uses some colourful graphs to compare his projected 2013 values with various Jays teams from the past.
Janssen, Delabar lead Blue Jays relievers into new season - thestar.com
Brendan Kennedy writes about the Blue Jays bullpen.
Around The League
Jayson Stark's snippet on possible rule changes for the 2013 season. The "fake-to-third, throw-to-first" pickoff move (which rarely works anyway) could officially become a balk, and each club can carry an extra coach in uniform in the dugout this year. The Blue Jays are at six coaches right now.
Please make this happen. I'm talking to you, inventors of RainGlobes. Make this and pitch it to a VC who happens to be a Giants fan (there's actually quite a lot of overlap there) and PROFIT!!!! In case you missed it, I wrote about Marco Scutaro at Baseball is Magic.
While Pete Rose is banned from Major League Baseball, there is no problem with a review of a new reality TV show starring him and his Playboy model fiancée appearing on MLB-owned Sports On Earth. Will Leitch did something bad to his editor and was told to watch it and take notes. We get to read the summary here.
Opening day MLB payrolls to exceed $3B for first time; Dodgers, Jays, Nats see biggest rise - Yahoo! Sports
MLB payroll has jumped 7% from last season and will cross the $3,000,000,000 mark for the first time. Comparing to Opening Day 2012, the Dodgers are up 124%, the Blue Jays are up 52% and the Nationals are up 39%. On the negative side, the Marlins are down 62%, the Astros down 47% and the Brewers are down 26%. This may surprise you: the Yankees' payroll is actually up 6% compared to 2012, $21 million above the luxry tax threshold.
An Early Look at MLB 2013 Resale Ticket Prices - Biz of Baseball
Maury Brown looks at data from a ticket resell aggregator and sees that the Toronto Blue Jays home games have the 10th highest average asking price at $83.26. The Cubs are highest at $120.44 and the Red Sox are a dollar cheaper due to their
playoff-bound teams historic ballparks. Lowest? The Washington Nationals ($41.27) and the Cincinnati Reds ($44.10) oddly enough. In terms of road games, folks would pay the most to see the Yankees ($148.53) and the Red Sox ($109.13). The Blue Jays are 14th ($72.89) and the Miami Marlins are last at $57.34.
Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and the top 25 players under the age of 25 - ESPN
Insider Only article from last week: Keith Law ranks Brett Lawrie 11th in his top 25 under 25 list, dropping one place since last season. By the way, Mike Trout was ranked 11th on that list in 2012...
Something Not Related To Baseball
On the Score's new blog Fanatico, Dustin Parkes wrote a piece critical of the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons after former Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke told Simmons that "the best part of today, Steve, is that I probably don't ever have to talk to you again." Go see Parkes' piece on why they didn't exactly get along. I don't really care about Burke and Simmons.
After the post went up a guy chimed in on Twitter saying that he didn't know who Dustin Parkes was but that "his lack of respect for [Simmons] was disgraceful," then some other doofus jumped in and called him "#EuroGQ," to which the first guy said "hahaha AMAZING insult." Now, I have learned that many journalists have ardent fans and when anyone criticizes the writer, those fans feel that it is their sacred duty to attack back, generally with personal insults. Of course it devolved into the age-old insult for bloggers: "Good luck getting a real job."
Normally I don't bother mentioning idiots on Twitter and the comments section, but guess what, the two buddies going back and forth weren't high schoolers: the first guy is a producer for TSN and the second guy is Jeremy Taggart, who drums for Our Lady Peace (which kinda explains his tweet about Parkes' piece being "B flat material." Additional, related question: what's wrong with B-flat? B-flat major is my second favourite scale ever after E-flat minor melodic).
None of this really angers me, really. I don't really know anyone involved and I certainly don't ever read Steve Simmons' work. But it got me wondering: what the hell do I have to do, which journalist do I have to criticize to get a member of a mainstream rock band to insult me by saying I look and dress like someone who could be in GQ? Come on guys! I get "fan-boy blogger" and Parkes get "EuroGQ"???
Colour me envious.