Rules of Engagement

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Rule #1 “Never sleep on a team that has a point to prove, that’s when they’re the most dangerous.”

Truer words have never been spoken. And for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays, those words couldn’t ring more true.

It’s no secret the Blue Jays vastly failed to put it all together in 2013. Sure, there were glimpses of greatness followed by the occasional memorable moment, but other than a handful of walk-off hits, an 11 game win streak, and a surprisingly phenomenal bullpen, the Jays were nothing to write home about.

Finishing below .500 yet again and being bit with the injury bug all season long, the Jays GROSSLY underperformed to say the least.

With that said, fans still poured into Rogers Centre showing their support. Game after game, series after series. It was odd to see but the place was actually packed for once.

Still suffering from the heart breaking Game 7 loss in the NHL Playoffs, Toronto turned to the Blue Jays to numb the pain. There was a baseball resurgence throughout the city and for the first time in a long time Torontonians were truly excited about the game of baseball.

How could you not be excited when you have this guy…

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A year removed from winning the offseason sweepstakes, away from the limelight, letting the hype and hysteria die down, the Jays are pretty much an afterthought in 2014.

The AL East will be sleeping on the Jays this year and boy do they have a point to prove.

Rule #2 Respect the power.”

Let’s be real. The Jays have pretty much no starting rotation to speak of. But those who cannot pitch, simply hit.

Toronto has one of the most high octane offenses in the league, so producing runs is never a problem especially with the Dominican Bash Brothers leading the way. If healthy, expect Bautista and Encarnacion to put up 80+ HRs and 200+ RBIs collectively.

 2014 Potential Starting Lineup & 162 Game Avg. Stats

  1. Jose Reyes – 13 HR, .292 AVG, 53 SB
  2. Melky Cabrera – 11 HR, .284 AVG
  3. Jose Bautista – 31 HR, 85 RBI
  4. Edwin Encarnacion – 29 HR, 91 RBI
  5. Adam Lind – 26 HR, 91 RBI
  6. Brett Lawrie – 18 HR, 70 RBI
  7. Colby Rasmus – 23 HR, 73 RBI
  8. Dioner Navarro – 12 HR, 55 RBI
  9. Ryan Goins – Only 119 career at bats

When it comes to home runs and putting runs on the board, the Jays have continually been amongst the game’s elite. Putting up big power numbers is what they do best and for the team to be successful in 2014, they must continue their offensive prowess.

And continue they shall…

Although offensively gifted, the Jays still have many unanswered question marks.

  • Which Brett Lawrie is going to show up? The extremely talented, future All-Star or the one who bats .200 during the first two months of the season?
  • Is Goins offensively sound enough to be a starter?
  • Will relying on a 39 year old knuckle-baller to be our “ace” bite us in the butt? (Probably)
  • Can Bautista stay healthy?
  • Can Reyes stay healthy?
  • Can anyone stay healthy?

Even with our shaky rotation and unanswered question marks, I still whole-heartedly believe the Jays are postseason bound, which leads us to…

Rule # 3 “Always Believe.”

If you don’t believe in your team, who will?

Here’s to you, Dickey. Go out there and get us a win.

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Happy Opening Day and may the odds be ever in your favor!!!!!

 

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Opening Day: The Great Equalizer

Fantasy-Baseball-2014-is-OPEN-FOR-BUSINESS-Getty-ImagesRemember the first date you went on with that really cute boy or girl you were crushing on last year?

Palms sweaty, knees weak, butterflies in your stomach, the feeling that something magical is right there on the cusp.

Slightly daunting yet oddly comforting, the feeling is almost therapeutic.

That’s precisely how I feel every year on Opening Day.

It’s the feeling of 100% uncertainty. Six months of doubt. 162 games of nail biting nervousness all culminating to that one question on everyone’s mind. “Is this the year?”

Such a loaded question. Is this the year? The year for what? More disappointment, more heartbreak, more anguish, more unkept promises by the front office?

No, I reject that.

This is the year of finishing above .500, the year of the postseason, the year they cheered, revered, and feared us. The year they said “Now, that’s a ball club.”

That’s the magic of Opening Day, it’s the great equalizer. All teams are humbled before it, bowing in reverence to it’s sacred power. On that day ALL teams are considered equal, free to carve their own destiny. Free to dream, free to hope, free to ask the question: “Is this the year?”

No longer weighed down by the chains of last year’s disappointments, Cinderella Stories and unlikely heroes emerge fueled by their insatiable appetites. Team after team, hungry for the taste of victory.

Last year’s record? A thing of the past. Gone. Erased. Replaced with a clean slate. So you tell me, is this the year?

The Astros on Opening Day – “We have a clean slate?”

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Failing to Connect

la-20120523-001Ever meet those people who swear they can hit Major League pitching?

They’re perennial all-stars in their men’s slow pitch softball league and they’ve convinced themselves if it weren’t for some abrupt unfortunate injury “back in the day” they would’ve most undoubtedly gone pro.

Well leave it to me to shatter their dreams and substantially vast delusions of grandeur.

FACT:  A Major League batter has less than four-tenths of a second to decide whether a pitch is a fastball, slider, curve, change-up, or at the off-chance a knuckleball.

In those four-tenths of a second it is absolutely imperative that the batter doesn’t blink, cough, sneeze, or pay any amount of attention to the scantily clad woman busting out of her halter top from the third row dugout seat.

Not to mention he still has to swing, make contact, and have the ball somehow miraculously land fair between nine defense men. Sounds hard, right? Now add 40,000 screaming fans, a heated rivalry amid a pennant race, and the pressure of justifying why you get paid $15 million to play a child’s game.

Plain and simple, hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in professional sports.

Good luck catching up to a 95 MPH fastball cutting in on your hands with late movement. Ever try keeping your weight back on a knee-buckling curveball, how’d that work out for you?

The mark of a good hitter is being able to hit a baseball 3 out of 10 times. That’s a 30% success rate. Meaning elite level players fail 70% of the time.

Still think you can hit Major League pitching?

Try hitting this 3 out of 10 times…yeah, not happenin’

Strike one.

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Strike two.

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Aaaaand you’re out.

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Get the point? 

You have absolutely no chance. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. So go back to your slow pitch men’s league with what little self-respect you have left and try to salvage any morsel of baseball credibility anyone is willing to lend to you.

Because there’s no way you’re hitting an Aroldis Chapman slide piece coming in at 90 MPH. You honestly and truly have a better chance of winning the lottery…twice.

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Flirting with the Enemy

NoYankeesSo, there’s this girl…(such a cliché way to start a sentence, I know.)

Nevertheless, there’s this girl I’ve had a crush on for quite sometime. Beside the obvious fact that she barely knows of my existence and is so completely out of my league we might as well not even be in the same sport, there’s one other teeny-weeny,  minuscule, microscopic problem…she bleeds Yankee blue.

You can see how liking a Yankee fan would be most inconvenient for me since I’ve sworn to loathe them for all eternity. But for some reason when it comes to her, I can’t help myself.

Not only does she have a face individually handcrafted by angels but she also is an amazing, sweet, kindhearted person. And here’s the best part. SHE LOVES BASEBALL. I was so sure such a woman didn’t exist, maybe in fables or children’s books perhaps, but not in real life.

Do you know how hard it is to find a girl who genuinely loves baseball?

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You’d think I hit the jackpot. Yes, on the surface all the pros seemingly outweigh the cons, but how can you be so sure? Let’s dig deeper.

Pros 

  • Loves baseball
  • Has a face handcrafted  by angels
  • Loves baseball
  • Kindhearted
  • Loves baseball
  • Completely amazing
  • Loves baseball
  • Super sweet
  • Loves baseball

Cons

  • Yankee fan

I have to be honest, that’s a big con. Probably too big. Definitely a deal breaker 99% of the time. I mean if she was an Astros fan or something it wouldn’t be a  big deal, but she’s a Yankee fan. That’s unforgivable. To the casual fan this might seem outrageous or absurd but for a die-hard Blue Jays fan, this is something I can’t take lightly.

Sure, we’re talking about the girl of my dreams here, but is she really worth sacrificing all that I hold dear and sacred? On the other hand maybe this is why I need a girlfriend, someone to help me wean off my extremely unhealthy baseball addiction.

It’s not like I’ll grow a pair by the end of this paragraph and text her to hangout soon. There’s probably a better chance of her actually remembering my name. But who knows, life’s full of surprises. Maybe I’ll take a leap of faith and flirt with the enemy. Maybe she’ll actually remember my name. Either way, it couldn’t get  much worse, right? I’ve already professed my love for a Yankee fan all over the internet. What could be worse than that?

Maybe this…MAYBE.

For Love of the Game

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Red Sox are red, Blue Jays are blue.

Without you baseball, I wouldn’t know what to do.

I’d be lost, I’d be hurt, I’d be really afraid

’cause you’re more than just a game, you’re the source of my strength.

Leading off second, getting ready to steal

you stole my heart once, now I’m head over heels.

You’ve changed over time, but to me that’s just fine.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the world’s greatest Valentine.

HAPPY V-DAY BASEBALL!

a dozen pete roses

Sex and Baseball

Hot-Baseball-Girls-5-277x400For those of you who genuinely believe baseball is a boring and mundane sport with minimal action and no ass, I vehemently urge you to take a second glance at the picture to your left.  No rush, take it all in. Still think baseball’s boring? Didn’t think so.

See, baseball and sex, at least in my mind anyway, are completely synonymous. I can remember very vividly, on multiple occasions bragging to all my school buddies on how I got to “second base” with this girl or hit a “home run” with that girl, of course none of it was ever true but they didn’t know that. Point being,  you can’t separate the two. Sex and baseball will always be connected on some post pre-teen adolescent level.

Still confused?  Take note of “The Base System”.

  • 1st base = Kissing.
  • 2nd base = Touching above the waist.
  • 3rd base = Touching below the waist.
  • Home Run = SEX.

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Most of my friends ended up being like Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire during the 1998 home run race, hitting home runs at will. I, on the other hand have had a less impressive career. On occasion I display warning track power,  a few doubles here and there, maybe a triple if she’s as desperate as I am and equally intoxicated, but typically there’s a lot of lonely nights,  a lot of strikeouts, and a lot standing on first base.

But it was during these lonely nights and the barrage of strikeouts where I put my baseball knowledge to good use and decided to make:

Kevin Swish’s Top 10 Baseball Metaphors for Physical Intimacy

  1. Caught with PED’s =  Using Viagra
  2. Rain Delay = Her roommate unexpectedly comes home
  3. Brushback pitch = She’s not interested
  4. Error = Broken Condom
  5. Set-up Man = Foreplay
  6. Invite to Spring Training = She’s open to dating
  7. Pine Tar = Lube
  8. Extra innings = Lasting longer than expected
  9. Caught Stealing = Denied when trying to further the intimacy
  10. Long-term contract = She’s pregnant.

All jokes and metaphors aside, ultimately it doesn’t matter whether you’re stuck on first, rounding second or sliding into third base, you’re still in the game.  And as the game of baseball has shown year in and year out, anything can happen at any moment.  So lace up your spikes, pray there’s no rain delay, and keep swinging for the fences. Who knows, you just might pull a Joe Carter. 🙂

JOE CARTER’S WORLD SERIES WALK-OFF HOME RUN

Damn Yankees

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All too often I find myself surrounded by the likes of wolves in sheep’s clothing. You know the type, the fair-weather fans cleverly masquerading as diehards or the self-proclaimed world’s biggest fan. Unfortunately living in New York City only exacerbates this problem. Two words: YANKEE FANS.

Newsflash, just because you’ve caught the latest episode of TMZ, updating you on the latest Alex Rodriguez scandal or you’ve watched the Yankees front office aimlessly squander half a billion dollars this off-season doesn’t make you a true Yankee fan.

Look, I get it, being a Yankee fan is hip, it’s trendy, and God knows no one’s lining up to be Mets fans anytime soon, but have you no shame?

I’ve run into tons of so-called “Yankee fans” who can’t for the life of them remember which position Derek Jeter plays. I’ve run into “Yankee fans” who’ve heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease but have no clue who the hell Lou Gehrig actually is. I’ve even ran into “Yankee fans” who couldn’t tell you which borough Yankee Stadium is located in. (Really bro? You’ve never heard of the Bronx Bombers?) You’re no more of a Yankee fan than the New York Post is a reliable and credible news source.

DON’T BE THIS GUY

Honestly, when did the standard of being a baseball fan become so mediocre? I’ve never been around so many people claiming to be die-hard fans that end up knowing little to nothing about the organization they swear undying allegiance to.

See, the word “fan” is short for fanatic and if you’re anything less than fanatical about the team you root for then you’re not really a fan at all, you’re just a guy, an observer, some schmuck in an outdated Robinson Cano jersey, sitting in the nose bleed section, getting drunk off $12 Heinekens. Sure, you root for the Yankees but calling yourself a fan is nothing short of blatant embellishment.

A true fan is the very fabric that holds a franchise together, someone who has invested in the statistical, historical, and commercial parts of that franchise. Personally, I loathe the Yankees. Historically, I love and respect what they mean to the game of baseball. But every day I find it increasingly harder to respect such a storied franchise with such a large population of ignorant and oblivious “fans”.

So the next time I’m headed to Yankee Stadium on the 4 train and you find the urge to make Canadian jokes or laugh at my Toronto Blue Jays jersey, just know I may be the butt of the joke for the moment but you’ll forever be a joke in the eyes of true baseball fans everywhere.