Late Monday evening, Cashew Mirman (@CashewMirman) of posted a fantastic Blue Jays video that I certified as the Greatest Thing Ever. It spread through the Internets yesterday thanks, in part, to Greg Wisniewski (@coolhead2010) posting it on Reddit. Today, I give you the guide--a walkthrough of sorts--to all the references in the video:
0:00: "Blue Jays Adventure" video game main screen. Player momentarily thought about continuing an old game but ends up deciding starting a new one. Explanation: blue lettering with white line refers to the distinctive "split lettering" used by the Toronto Blue Jays.
0:03: The main character, a warrior named Adam Lind, walks out of the secret palace of the Kingdom of Rogers, which is located in the middle of a forest. Explanation: Rogers Communications Inc. is the corporation that owns the Blue Jays and most of Canada.
0:06: Adam Lind talks to a stranger named Jose Reyes next to a donkey (burro) who tells a story of betrayal by his leader. He was exiled from his homeland and seeks refuge in the Kingdom of Rogers. Explanation: Jose Reyes was traded to Toronto from Miami despite the Marlins' owner--and cartoonishly evil villain--Jeffrey Loria telling him that he won't be moved, even telling him to consider buying a house in Miami. Also, Reyes likes pointing at donkeys.
0:11: Adam Lind says , "Well if you join me in my quest it will take some pressure off me." Explanation: many Blue Jays fans hate Adam Lind because he isn't as good as he was in 2009.
0:22: Adam Lind (255 hp), Jose Reyes (287 hp), and other questmate Colby Rasmus (223 hp)--a black mage--are confronted with an evil White Sock. Explanation: the Chicago White Sox are an American League team that has a habit of trading injured players to the Blue Jays and harbouring an ultrapartisan commentator who commits acts of terror (ie. speaking) during broadcasts. In 2012, Lind had a .255 batting average, Reyes hit .287, and Rasmus hit .223.
0:24: The player tries to make Adam Lind hit a lefty--the grave mistake is exposed when Lind swings and misses. Explanation: Adam Lind hits like John McDonald when facing left-handed pitchers.
0:30: The White Sock counterattacks by sending artificial turf at the oft-injured Jose Reyes and kills him. Explanation: Some baseball fans and commentators believe that there is a very good chance that the artificial turf in the Blue Jays' home park is so dangerous Reyes has a near-certain chance of injuring himself on it.
0:39: Colby Rasmus kills the White Sock (525 hp) with a laser tank attack. Lind and Rasmus celebrate with fist shakes. Explanation: Colby Rasmus enjoys tanks, the White Sox had a .525 winning percentage in 2012.
0:57: Our heroes encounter Gregg Zaun at Hemingway's [sic]. Explanation: Gregg Zaun is a baseball personality with the television that broadcasts the Blue Jays--Sportsnet. He was a catcher for the Blue Jays. Zaun frequents Hemingways Restaurant and Bar in the ritzy Yorkdale district of Toronto.
0:58: The player tries to make Adam Lind hit a lefty--the grave mistake is exposed when Lind swings and misses. Explanation: Adam Lind hits like Billy Ripken when facing left-handed pitchers.
1:04: Gregg Zaun counterattacks with an Ignorant Tweet, almost killing Lind with a 252 hp attack. Explanation: While not having enjoying the women at Hemingways this past offseason, he tweeted "The rich girls from TO must be home from college. Tubby, unfortunately manish, and super stuck up are all at Hemingways tonight". Zaun's career batting average was .252.
1:10: The player uses Colby Rasmus' special ability to summon Tony, his loving father, in order to kill the misogynist. His 244 hp attack was enough to deal a lethal blow. Explanation: Colby Rasmus' father Tony is very hands-on with regards to his son's career and has been called on many times to defeat Colby's former master Tony La Russa. Tony Rasmus' career minor league batting average was .244.
1:31: Adam Lind meets a merchant, Melky Cabrera. He offers to sell Lind various things, including Potion, Antidote, Deer Antler Spray, and Fake website to cover use of banned substances. Lind refuses to purchase anything. Explanation: Melky Cabrera was suspended in 2012 for using testosterone, a banned performance-enhancing drug. Recently, leaked documents from a Florida clinic purports to show that Cabrera also bought "a cocktail of drugs including IGF-1". Some athletes have been caught using deer antler spray, which contains IGF-1. Before he was suspended, Cabrera created a fake website containing a fake supplement in order to try to avoid punishment. Because Lind knows the strict rules about doping in Major League Baseball, he refuses to buy the illegal goods (at least when he knows there is an overhead camera filming him).
1:40: Adam Lind meets up with Brett Lawrie, a monk, and John Gibbons, "Gibby", outside of Eaton Centre and asks them to join the team. Explanation: Brett Lawrie was at Toronto's Eaton Centre shopping mall when a shooting occurred in the food court, and was among the first to break the news on Twitter. He often uses words like"bro", "letsgettttttitttttt", and "yeaaaabuddddy". John Gibbons is from Texas and Canadians can't understand what he is saying.
1:51: Adam Lind reaches the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre. Explanation: the Toronto Blue Jays' home stadium is the Rogers Centre in Toronto which is right beside the CN Tower, separated from Lake Ontario by an elevated expressway.
1:54: Inside the Rogers Centre concourse, Adam Lind asks John Farrell to join his quest. John Farrell starts a long, rambling, speech. A single fan--dressed in white--sits in the right field seats. Explanation: John Farrell was the Blue Jays' manager for two years. He was known for acting like a polished politician--always saying the right thing but with very little substance. Two seasons ago, current SB Nation colleague Amy K. Nelson, along with Peter Keating wrote a story for ESPN about the Blue Jays employing a "man in white" to steal signs from the outfield stands. Nelson visited Toronto for a bloggers event last fall and a few days after meeting her, I got a pretty severe eye infection a few days afterwards. By themselves, these two facts are circumstantial evidence. Unsupported by data, these two chronological events might describe a scheme of uncertain impact of Nelson on my eye infection. And without proper context, my attribution of the source of my infection to Nelson could be chalked up to holding a grudge. (Actually I'm not really holding a grudge--she seemed pretty cool.)
2:14: The player tries to make Adam Lind hit a lefty--the grave mistake is exposed when Lind swings and misses. Explanation: Adam Lind hits like Juan Castro when facing left-handed pitchers. He should never ever face a lefty in 2013.
2:21: John Farrell uses an old Tony La Russa tactic to shake Colby Rasmus' confidence, causing him to flee and disappear for the half the season. Explanation: After hitting .256 from April-June, Rasmus hit .187 from July to September.
2:28: Brett Lawrie conjures up a batting helmet and throws it at John Farrell, but misses. Farrell uses a 4-game suspension counterattack to knock Lawrie out. Explanation: Last May, after a couple of very poor strike calls, a frustrated Brett Lawrie threw his helmet on the ground, which bounced back up at umpire Bill Miller. John Farrell came out to defend Lawrie after his ejection, probably in an attempt to impress Ben Cherington. Lawrie was eventually assessed a four-game suspension by Major League Baseball.
2:40: While John Farrell was boasting about his managerial skills, John Gibbons summons his secret weapon: platooning. Once activated, Edwin Encarnacion comes in to replace Adam Lind and kills Farrell with his home run swing. Explanation: John Farrell allowed Adam Lind to face left handed pitchers, not knowing that Adam Lind hits like Rey Ordonez against lefties. However, John Gibbons understands the concept of successful platooning (as seen with his use of Frank Catalanotto and Reed Johnson in left field in 2004-2006).
2:47: The game (or at least this chapter) ends with Buck Martinez announcing the winners. Explanation: Buck Martinez has the Blue Jays' television play-by-play announcer since 2010 and still cannot pronounce "Encarnacion" correctly.
Special thanks to dexfarkin for identifying the Final Fantasy characters, and to Cashew Mirman for not only making his crazy good video, but for helping to add these few explanatory notes after I sent him a quick email:
- Cashew Mirman actually composed the background music himself using GarageBand. The "walking around music" is a variation of "OK Blue Jays" (the official team song) and the "battle music" is a variation of Sportsnet's baseball theme. I didn't notice it at first, but now I hear it every time I watch the video.
- He notes that the "Well if you join me in my quest it will take some pressure off me" quote at 0:11 was a reference to Adam Lind's interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan's Jeff Blair back in November 2012 when (at the 8:43 mark) he said that Romero pitching better would take pressure off of him. He basically spent the interview throwing John Farrell, Ricky Romero, and John Gibbons' previous staff under the bus.
- He would like to note that John Gibbons had a third attack option (at 2:40) in his arsenal: bullpen management, another strength he was known for from his first stint as manager.