Let’s Go Blue Jays

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Sunday afternoon at the Rogers centre for the Toronto Blue Jay’s game against Tampa Bay Rays.

PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS – COLBY RASMUS, QUIET SUPERSTAR IN THE MAKING

“I just see the ball and run and try to catch it. I’ve been running and catching baseballs since I could walk…”

That’s what Toronto Blue Jay, Colby Rasmus told the Toronto Star and I know exactly what he means. I started playing when I was a little boy and loved the game right away.

“The more I think about it, the more it messes me up.”

That is how he finished the thought… and I know exactly what he means by that as well. I think we all do. Whether you are or were an athlete at any point in your life or not you have no doubt been in situations where the things that are supposed to be easy for you become terribly difficult.

Maybe it’s writer’s block or parallel parking or pouring the perfect beer, it doesn’t matter. Once you get all up in your own head, you’re screwed.

It can be hard to step back and realistically evaluate the expectations of professional athletes sometimes. To take a second and recognize that there is a lot of pressure that comes with doing your job in front of tens of thousands of people every night and hundreds of thousands or more on TV at the same time. And yes, pro athletes like Colby Rasmus make a lot of money to deal with that pressure and perform. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

If it was easy I would be doing it. [Read more…]

The Play-Offs Are Coming – MLB Changes The Wild Card!

The play-offs are coming, the play-offs are coming! Get your hashtag ready!

It’s here, it’s here.
It happened, it happened.
It’s coming, it’s coming.
I’m so excited!

It was announced last week that Major League Baseball will be adding a 2nd Wild Card team to the playoff system this season. That’s HUGE news. Especially in markets like Toronto.

Here’s how it breaks down (unless I’m totally misunderstanding everything) – the 3 division winners in each league continue to move to the play-offs as per usual. The best 2nd place team becomes the 1st Wild Card team AND the new wrinkle, the former Wild Card runner-up now becomes the 2nd Wild Card team.

This is the kind of thing that baseball fans in Toronto have been dreaming about for years. Hell, I’ve been writing about it for years and even proposed my own changes here on the blog on October 7, 2009 “Reviewing My Would Be Changes To The MLB Play-Offs”.

However, none of that matters now (other than the fact that my idea is still brilliant) as we are finally moving forward! Baseball isn’t the worst at change… but they certainly aren’t the best either. And this is change. And it could be the start of even more change!

Here’s what things would look like based on the 2011 end of season standings. The division winners are numbered 1, 2 and 3 based on record and the existing Wild Card team is marked as number 4. All 8 existing play-off teams are highlighted in yellow.

The new Wild Card team is marked with the number 5 and highlighted in red.

It goes like this. The new Wild Card teams (Boston and Atlanta) would play the existing Wild Card teams (Tampa and St. Louis) in a 1 GAME PLAY-OFF to see who moves on to the next round. That game will be hosted by the 1st Wild Card team and will be crazy exciting.

So, what does this mean for the Blue Jays?

It means that the time is now to capitalize on young talent, an increasing budget and the energy and buzz that is surrounding the team.

If the play-offs weren’t already the “real” goal for the head office in 2012, they better be now. If they were waiting to make a move because it didn’t really make sense… it makes more sense now.

I know that by my own graphic and evidence the 2011 Blue Jays weren’t really close to being that 2nd Wild Card team… but we weren’t as far off as the Orioles, Padres, Marlins or Astros.

Spring Training is always a great time of optimism and hope for baseball fans. And now there is one more thing to be excited about.

The Play-Offs!

PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS: SPRING IS COMING, THE OPENING DAY COUNTDOWN

My friends, we are only 6 weeks away from the start of another baseball season and I am getting more and more excited every day. Just yesterday while Rannie and I were looking for hockey pucks at SportChek (I’m sure he’ll tell you more about that later) I made him stop so I could look at Blue Jays t-shirts and hats. And that’s not the half of it.

A week ago Friday I went down to the Rogers Centre to pay my phone bill and stop at the box office to get myself an early 30th birthday present… but when I got to the window at 2pm to buy a pair of opening day tickets I was given the worst (and best) news ever – the game was already sold out.

It’s bad news because I want to go to that game! I really want to go.

It’s good news because it means that there will be 50,000+ people at the Rogers Centre on April 9, 2012 to watch the home town Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox at 7:07pm.

Needless to say, I was a little broken hearted. I’ve only been to 1 opening day and that was 7 years ago when the Red Sox came to town and Slash played the national anthems (that was awesome) and the Trailer Park Boys threw out the first pitch (not quite as awesome) and I paid $70 each to a scalper for 2 seats in the 9th row of the 100 level halfway down the 1st baseline.

I love the things that a new baseball season brings. I’ve written and talked about that fact a billion times. But one of the things that I’m most excited about is that my friends want to come to games with me. Rannie and I hit one game together in the 1st row last summer and I would love to take him again (I’m going to turn him into a huge sports fan over time) and teach him more about the game and players that I love.

6 weeks can seem like an eternity or almost nothing. My gut tells me that for me it will feel like both.

ps. I didn’t get that hat, so if you wanted to surprise me I wear either a 7 ⅛ or 7 ¼ full back.

pps. I will gladly go and sit with any of you at a baseball game. Let me know when you want to hit the stadium and we will try to make it happen. Whether you are from Toronto or will be visiting, whether you are a Blue Jays fan or happen to root for your own home team, I would be totally into it.

Thanks again to the Blue Jays for giving us pictures of Ricky Romero and JP Arencibia and the rest of the boys of summer at spring training. See more at the bluejays.com spring training album.

Talk to you soon kids.

Remember, March Madness is coming…