What a great weekend it was! Baseball returned and our Blue Jays are an undefeated 2-0, and we had 373 comments from yesterday's game after 601 for Saturday's game thread! And our fan confidence meter has creeped to 84%! Tell me Jays fans aren't excited about 2012. Here's your Monday morning link roundup:
Besides Tom's quick recap, check out these from BlueJays.com, the Toronto Star (someone put a lizard on Chad Mottola's shoulder), the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. If you're not much of a reader (then why are you here?) here's an audio game recap from Sportsnet 590 the FAN, which is basically a compilation of highlight clips.
Blue Jays Related
BlueJays.com: "Left-hander Aaron Laffey motivated to try to make Blue Jays' rotation"
"I obviously have some work to do, but first time out, I was happy with it, and for the most part, I kept the ball down, changed speeds, threw all of my pitches over the plate for strikes. So I was pleased." - Laffey on his start in game 2 of Spring Training.
Laffey is looking to make the 25-man roster, either in the rotation or the 'pen, but if he doesn't make the Jays, he will be starting in Vegas.
North of the Border: "More bad luck for Litsch"
Gregor Chisholm's blog entry is not just about Litsch, he also talks to Travis Snider, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Casey Janssen, Francisco Cordero, and John Farrell in Dunedin. Some quotes:
"I don’t ever go out there rooting for Eric to do bad. It’s a spirit of competition that drives both of us." - Travis Snider on his competition with Eric Thames for the big club's left field spot.
"Everybody welcomed me, they opened their arms and say hi and embraced me and just made me feel at home. When I said yes to the Blue Jays, I thought it was a good decision. Now that I’m here, for sure it was a good decision. It was the right decision to make. From the front office, the coaches, players, clubhouse guys, everyone has been really nice to me. I got no regrets." - Francisco Cordero on joining the Blue Jays.
"I am a closer. I just got to close the eighth inning." - Francisco Cordero on not being the closer.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell postgame chat (video)
Kevin Gray captures John Farrell after the game, who refers to Mathis' play as a "web gem". Too bad there is no video proof of it happening.
Sergio Santos Interview (audio)
Mike Wilner talks to Blue Jays closer Sergio SAHN-tos without getting angry.
ESPN: "Can Toronto Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus ever live up to his past high expectations?"
Mike Sheets discusses Colby Rasmus' chances of ever breaking out and becoming a star (spoiler alert: he doesn't think so). Includes a video of ESPN geeks on laptops talking about Brett Lawrie's place in fantasy baseball.
The Globe and Mail: "Blue Jays pitcher Drabek takes father’s advice in return to majors"
Interesting quote: "The Jays have placed yellow ropes from both edges of the pitcher’s rubber toward home plate to keep him focused on a centered landing for his delivery." So if Drabek's mechanics are off, he trips over the ropes and gets injured?
CBC.com: Crowded catcher picture 'a good sign' for Blue Jays
The CBC, not known for their exceptional baseball coverage, has a nice article on young catcher Travis d'Arnaud.
"I talk to everybody and try to take as much knowledge as I can [...] I even ask [Jeroloman] questions." - Travis d'Arnaud in a quote, highly edited and out of context.
The National Post reports that Dwayne Murphy is expected to be back in camp today, after having to deal with an unspecified family matter. I hope everything is OK.
Much more after the jump.
Chad the Beer Guy at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (video) seems like a cool guy, can't wait to buy a beverage off of him in 13 days! #bragging
If you are wondering why centrefield shots seem so much closer this season, this may be the reason.
Mike Wilner's first ever pocket tweet has nothing on Peter Gammons'.
And we're back! Bluebird Banter Podcast Episode 12
If you missed it on Friday, JohnnyG hosted a podcast episode and talked baseball with Tom, Hugo, and Jesse. Listen closely and you'll hear a train passing by Jesse's boxcar/home!
Around the League
Dirk Hayhurst's advice for young baseball players. A great read for young athletes or really anyone who is starting his or her career. Oh, and get his book Out of My League if you haven't already, it's only $17.52 from Amazon.ca. I've finished it but I'm not lending my copy out since I never got back my copy of The Bullpen Gospels. And give him a follow at @TheGarfoose--I'm excited to hear about is adventures as he sets out to play in Italy this season.
Every year, the head groundskeepers from around MLB gather for a three-day conference and the New York Times was there to film this little video. I'd imagine that the Jays' and Rays' head groundskeepers get awfully loney when others share stories about mowing grass and getting the field ready after a storm. At least they get to go out golfing during the grass and dirt seminars.
Hours after playing the Blue Jays, the Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly made CF Andrew McCutchen a wealthy man, after he agreed on a team-friendly six-year, $51.5 million contract, including a club option in the seventh year worth $14.75 million. Dustin Parkes did the calculations, and this deal will keep him in club control at least through his second free agent year.
Fangraphs analyzes another budget-friendly extension of a centrefielder, the Padres' budget-friendly extension of Cameron Maybin. Maybin will be paid $25 million to stay with the club through 2016, and will be given an additional $9 million if the Padres decide to exercise the club option for 2017, again keeping him in club control through his second free agent year.
Today, a U.S. Federal judge may or may not decide to rule whether the New York Mets are or are not liable for $386 million or a lesser amount for the victims of the Bernie Madoff scheme.
The person who leaked Ryan Braun's drug test results has been identified, but the MLBPA will not be considering legal action. However, Braun has not indicated whether or not he will sue. On the same topic, former Jay and current Cub Reed Johnson and his teammates shows their support for Dino Laurenzi, Jr., the collector who took Braun's urine samples home.
Folks in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are worried about how the recent CBA changes and the potential for an international draft may affect player development out of their countries. The money guaranteed to players would decrease, and unlike other jurisdictions, college is often not an option for undrafted high schoolers.
OMG BEES in Spring Training! And not the Sacramento, Burlington, or Mormon variety either! The Arizona-San Francisco game was delayed due to the invasion of swarms of angry bees. Reminds me of the time when insects launched an invasion of the SkyDome (I wasn't old enough to actually remember it, but read it somewhere).
In a televised Spring Training game that many on the BBB Game Day Thread were watching, Roy Halladay looked sharp and in fine mid-season form, despite giving up a homer to A-Rod.
Like, whatever: Mets' Ike Davis is diagnosed with Valley fever, but it probably won't affect his playing. Valley fever, if you are interested, is caused by a fungus called Coccidioides immitis, a microbe that was featured in an episode of House.
Twins RHP Joel Zumaya will pay a visit Dr. James Andrews to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow at the end of March after tearing his UCL on February 25 during a BP session.
Continuing on the injury front, there's some bad news out of Milwaukee. RF Corey Hart's right knee swelling was actually caused by a torn meniscus, and he will go under the knife to fix the problem, sidelining him for a month.
Rockies RHP Alex White was arrested on Saturday in Scottsdale for allegedly driving under the influence. Meanwhile, President Epstein discourages drinking and nightlife for the Cubs.
Cuban defector and video star Yoenis Cespedes finally arrives in A's camp, and works out with baseball role model Manny Ramirez.
The fish have arrived in Marlins Park. Odds of fish getting startled from having their aquarium hit by a foul ball within the opening series: 3-2. Odds of a foul ball breaking the aquarium glass leading to a fish massacre on national television: 105-1. Odds of the Jeffrey Loria adding premium "best view in the house" tickets which involve SCUBA gear in 2012: 42-1. Odds of fish getting startled by the home run sculpture in the outfield: even.
First World Problems: The Globe and Mail reports on one of the most under reported catastrophic consequences of climate change. I wonder if the folks in Vanuatu really understand how serious this problem is.
NHLers back Patrick and Brian Burke's push to get rid of homophobia in hockey. Good luck--it's a worthy cause but it's going to take a while.