Baseball is (kind of) officially back. ‘Nough said. Here’s the latest:
Toronto’s long, eight month journey begins today with a game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Set to begin at 1:05 ET, Casey Lawrence, a lifetime minor league Blue Jay, will start for Toronto, while fan favorite Bartolo Colon gets the nod for the Braves. Lawrence has yet to make a major league appearance, but is in the mix for the final two or three spots in the Blue Jays bullpen.
Spring training games, as much as we may want to think otherwise, don’t actually matter, so Toronto is simply playing minor league players for today’s game. Since tomorrow is a split squad day, the Blue Jays will reserve most major leaguers for one of those games, per Mike Wilner.
#Bluejays are bringing zero position players who are expected to be on the opening day roster to their Grapefruit League opener tomorrow.— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) February 24, 2017
The game will be broadcast on SN590 (available through MLB.TV), but not aired on TV, unfortunately.
Josh Donaldson’s strained calf, injured at Toronto’s first full squad workout of spring training, is progressing ahead of schedule, but still maintains the same timeline. Donaldson should be ready in two weeks or three weeks, at the latest. George Poulis, the Blue Jays’ trainer, shared earlier today that the injury is “still fresh,” and, in the meantime, Donaldson is working on his upper body.
MLBPA representatives, including president Tony Clark, held a meeting with the Blue Jays yesterday morning, beginning at 8:00 AM. The meeting, discussing the new CBA and recent pace of action rule changes, ran “unusually long,” ending at around 11:00. As a player strongly against the added intentional walk rules, Russell Martin was the last player to leave the meeting.
While digging around my house, I came across a rally towel from a few years ago. I got to wondering whether rally towels were a unique Toronto tradition, or if I was just blind when watching games at other ballparks. This lead to an overall question I felt interested enough in answering as to pose it in an article. What baseball traditions are unique to Toronto? Atlanta has “the chop,” Boston has Sweet Caroline, but what does Toronto have? Besides rally towels, the only exclusive Blue Jay practice I can think of is the fog horn after home runs and triple-horn after a win.
On a side note, do rally towels actually exist south of the border?