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Wednesday Bantering: Jays Bits

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Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Today in ‘baseball was better when I played’:

Is Vernon Well really old enough to do this stuff?

Anyway, I always think that players, when they are playing, must hear this ‘we were better when I played’ stuff so much that they won’t do it when they get older. But no, they forget that stuff the day they retire and jump on the bandwagon.

One of my favorite bits in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is his finding a quote from former players in every decade baseball has been played, telling us how today’s players aren’t as good as we were.

In 1916 former player Bill Joyce said:

Base ball today is not what it should be.

When I was playing ball, there was not a move made on the field that did not cause every one of the opposing team to mention something about it. All were trying to figure why it had been done and to watch and see what the result would be. That same move could never be pulled again without every one on our bench knowing just what was going to happen.

I feel sure that the same conditions do not prevail today. The boys go out to the plate, take a slam at the ball, pray that they’ll get a hit and let it go at that. They are not fighting as in the days of old.

Vernon’s right, they didn’t have cards on their wrists in the old days. Course, they didn’t have complicated shifts. They didn’t use four outfielders at times. Heck, when I started watching baseball, you could see where the outfielders played, because they wore out the grass where they stood in the outfield. Sure they might move a step to the left if there was a lefty at the plate, or a step to the right if there was a right-handed batter.

I often say that, just a few years ago, if you saw a ground ball go over the pitcher’s mound, you knew it was a hit because the 2B played to the first base side and the shortstop played to the third-base side and they couldn’t reach a ball up the middle.

I think there should be a seminar for players when they retire, telling them ‘yes the game is going to change after you leave it, don’t let it bother you’.

Yes, the game keeps changing, and there are things I miss about the old game, but the players are better, smarter, faster than they have ever been. Really, the thing I miss the most about the ‘old days’ is that there were fewer teams and I knew every player on every team. Beyond that, and some of the personalities, I enjoy the game so much more now. I mean, everything is best when you are 14, but the game keeps getting better.

Time to move on to the next controversy:

It is very pretty, but I don’t think I could hit a ball with someone that pretty.

Hard to imagine that anyone has four better starters for a series:

You want to have a bat like Vlad Guerrero’s, well, for a price, you can. Lousiville Slugger is offering the same bat Vlad used in the All-Star game.

From the press release:

It features the bold colors of the Dominican Republic flag and the word “Family” emblazoned on the barrel; a salute to Guerrero’s loved ones who have supported his baseball career since childhood. The Louisville Slugger center brand prominently features the Dominican Republic flag – with added gold foil accents that pop off the barrel. The end brand also features maple leaves representing his ties to Canada and his Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero’s days with the Montreal Expos, along with a Bible - a nod to Guerrero’s religion. A special knob medallion boasts a silhouette of Vlad Jr. as a child alongside his father, both wearing the number 27 – which they share.

Today’s lineup, Reese gets a start.