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Monday Morning Media Mashup: Munenori Kawasaki Appreciation Edition

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Tom Szczerbowski

The Blue Jays continue their long homestand with a couple of games against the Atlanta Braves in a rare home-and-home series with the Jays travelling with the Braves down to Atlanta for games on Wednesday and Thursday. Tom and Carm (and maybe I) will be at the game tonight, with Tim Hudson going up against Mark Buehrle.

Kawasaki Related

Kawasaki plays role of hero to Lawrie’s villain as Jays stage comeback - The Globe and Mail
Jeff Blair got it bang-on when he wrote that Kawasaki's walk-off hit saved Brett Lawrie "from once again being a storyline for all the wrong reasons." If the Blue Jays had lost Sunday's game every single game story would've focused on the way Lawrie acted. Or maybe how the Blue Jays let two rallies fizzle in the 7th and 8th. But because of Kawasaki, Blue Jays fans and the media turn their focus on the hero.

Omnisport reporter Arash Madani conducted an interview with Munenori Kawasaki that has gone viral - Sportsnet

Munenori Kawasaki saves Toronto Blue Jays with walkoff double against Baltimore Orioles - National Post
Most people would've just seen that one line from Kawasaki's English phrasebook, but John Lott captured a few more of them in his game recap, also reminding us that Kawasaki was involved in the relay throw that got Nick Markakis at the plate.

Lott also reports that John Gibbons announced that Tom Dakers' favourite pitcher, Esmil Rogers, will be starting (and hopefully last long enough to bat) in Atlanta on Wednesday. Rogers' career batting line is .224/.224/.286 (56 PA). Through 201 career PA, Kawasaki is hitting .219/.301/.259.

5-4, 1 Out, Bottom of the 9th - Baseball is Magic
Greg Wisniewski writes about the magic of walkoffs in baseball, looking at Joe Carter's World Series shot, Kawasaki's walk-off double, and Angel Pagan's "come-from-behind-inside-the-park-walkoff-home-run." Doug Kern of ESPN wrote about this week's walk-offs in the MLB--including how both the Blue Jays and Red Sox won 6-5 on a walk-off double to left-centre. Jacoby Ellsbury probably gave a much more boring interview though.

The Last Samurai - The Tao of Stieb
Kawasaki is magic indeed... he even got The Org Guy to blog! In his post, T.O.G. compared Munenori Kawasaki to the previous fan-favourite no-hit shorstop John McDonald.

Down on the Farm

Jared Macdonald and I attended the Buffalo Bisons game against the Indianapolis Indians at Coca-Cola Field on Sunday afternoon. We were in the press box for most of the game, so I was able to load the Jays game on (crossing the Peace Bridge meant crossing out of the blackout zone!). The Buffalo News' Rodney McKissic had a game recap here so I'll just share some interesting points:

  • Brooks Brown, the Indians' starter, struggled in the first inning and the Bisons capitalized. As McKissic wrote, Mauro Gomez started the scoring with a two-run homer to left-centre. Indians centre fielder Jason Pressley jumped at the wall and actually had the ball hit his glove, but the force of the hit knocked the glove--and the ball--over the fence. A camera guy actually ran out to toss him another glove. Maybe he should've just asked Moises Sierra to boost him over the fence to retrieve it.
  • Josh Thole hit a homer right after Gomez's for a back-to-back. He would later leave the game after his hand was struck by a foul ball in the seventh. The hand didn't swell up, so hopefully it wasn't broken. (Side note: how lucky was Tommy Hunter to not have any breaks in his hand?)
  • Indians' first baseman Matt Hague hit a homer over the netting in left field and landed across Oak Street (about where the white car is in this aerial photo) where a passer-by picked it up and waved for the cameras.
  • The Bisons' Luis Jimenez also hit a bomb, this time to right-centre field. He was pretty awesome in the post-game scrum, talking about how he is "praying to God" for warmer weather.
  • Dave Bush was OK, giving up just a couple of runs on five hits over five innings. He didn't strike out anyone. Michael Schwimer (the reliever the Blue Jays acquired for Art Charles) struck out the side in the eighth, but had a walk thrown in.
  • The Bisons were up 6-2 going into the 9th and called on Mickey Storey, who turned out to be ineffective, giving up two hits and a walk, leading to two runs crossing the plate. With the score 6-4, manager Marty Brown called on Neil Wagner--Buffalo's closer. Wagner got Indianapolis to their last strike when Alex Presley singled in a run to make it 6-5. Funny enough, the Bisons play-by-play guy Ben Wagner (no relation, at least I don't think) thought it was a strikeout by catcher Mike Nickeas' reaction. Good thing for Ben, Neil got Felix Pie to fly out to secure the victory.
  • Ricardo Nanita went 1-for-4 but made a pretty jumping catch at the wall in the bottom of the second. Moises Sierra looked fine in centre field (he and Mike McCoy have been manning the position since Anthony Gose was recalled) but he really wasn't challeged with anything difficult.

Deal with Bisons helps Toronto team, boosts business in Buffalo - Toronto Star
Last week, Morgan Campbell looked at the Toronto-Buffalo affiliation with a business perspective for the Blue Jays and the City of Buffalo.

    Down in New Hampshire, Deck McGuire was starting and reporter Kevin Gray tweeted this out:

    Since it wasn't followed up with any other tweets or a game recap, I have no idea whether he was being sarcastic (referring to Sean Nolin's premature promotion, perhaps?) or truthful in that statement. In any case, looking at Deck McGuire's 73 other pitches, he doesn't look like he is, being charged with five earned runs on nine hits and two walks. He did strike out four though.

    Around Baseball

    There is a player in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization named Jose Jose. Now I am intrigued and would like to find out all I can about him.