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5 Positive things about the 2014 Blue Jays

Hey Boys and Girls it has been a while since I last posted. Sorry, I guess.
Much like the title assumes I am going to list some positive things about the 2014 Blue Jays.

1- The AL East
The American League East has been terrible. By most standards the worst division in the league and they have been generally uninteresting to watch. This has served the Blue Jays well, despite being in a slow painful tailspin since the beginning of June, the Blue Jays are only 1 game out of a wildcard spot and 4 games out from the division.

2- May
May was wonderful; hitters hit, pitchers pitched and defenders defended. It was an exciting time to be a Jays fan, they gained the division lead on May 22, which they held until July 6th.

3- Starting Pitching
If you asked anyone before the season started about the holes in the Blue Jays line-up you would have received a basic answer, second base and starting pitching. While the former still remains, the latter has shown to be a strength. Without any external additions the starting five have improved simply by getting healthy, Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman have pitched themselves to notoriety and a hot start by Mark Buehrle gave the Blue Jays a glimpse of what they remembered Buehrle to be. The initialled ones (J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey) have been serviceable starters, both showing flashes of excellence mixed with typical unreliability. Brandon Morrow was moved to the disabled list with a torn tendon sheath after a less than impressive start to the season.

4-Melky Cabrera
After an injury-filled 2013, which came to a close with the removal of a benign tumour from his back, Melky Cabrera has been moving forward proving his worth to the Jays front office. Cabrera’s contract expires at the end of the season and he is playing to cash in. He has been consistent and has shown a surprising amount of power. He has also been consistently in the lineup, playing in every game so far this season, as of July 25th (knock on wood).

5-Fans
Although currently attendance has taken a small dip by percentage, the Blue Jays are in the middle of the pack when it comes to attendance. With the disappointment of 2013 looming over the heads of the fans attendance was slow to pick up. The fans have bounced back and games have been enjoyable to attend. 
As a piece of full disclosure I am not a fan of things like “the Wave” or The Jays Force or any of the other gimmicky type of stuff that goes on at a ball game. But I am willing to deal with these types of things if the stadium is full and people are enjoying baseball. I would appreciate however if the WAPI (Wave Attempts Per Inning) would decrease from the “bro” demographic. Thanks.

Lets keep on loving Baseball!
Go Jays Go
-Joe

Observations from the Blue Jays home opener.

-The Rogers Centre seemed dead. 48,000+ fans and it felt empty. The hype machine was killed by passed balls and an awkwardly mellow opening ceremony.

-Geddy Lee is badass

-the blue jays won’t win 162 games

-a ridiculous amount of people had their heads in their cellphones during the game.

-Dickey’s walk/warm up music is “The Imperial March”, the Star Wars theme for Darth Vader. This is an awesome thing.

-Jose Bautista is still going to whine and complain about calls at the plate. (Although after review of the game the jays were not getting borderline calls, possibly due to Jose’s whining.)

-I haven’t been to a live game where the Jays have won in a while.

-the bullpen was encouraging

-even though it looked bad, R.A. Dickey pitched a by-definition quality start - three or less earned runs and six or more innings

Spring Training Stuff!

       So I’ve returned from my foray into Floridian flowering fastball, longing for more of the great game. In five days more than a fortnight we will be seeing a live Major League Baseball broadcast from Houston’s Minute Maid Park as the Astros play their first American League Game against the Texas Rangers. Closer to home we have to wait twenty-one days to pack the Rogers Centre and cheer on our guys against the Cleveland Native Americans. 
   In Florida I was able to watch four ball games, including four different teams in three different stadiums. Follow along if you would like to indulge yourself in my warm weathered baseball excursion.

Tuesday March Fifth

Toronto Blue Jays 6 
Baltimore Orioles 6

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
Dunedin Florida

I enjoyed this game with my wife, Ashley, and my Papa   

   
What is more Spring training-y than a tie?
    This game was highlighted by Anthony Gose and Emilio Bonifacio, with JA Happ starting off on the mound for the Jays. Anthony Gose showed some patience at the plate taking two bases on balls, speed on the base paths stealing a base and an arm strength gunning out a runner trying to take third base. Emilio Bonifacio had two hits, one a triple, stole a base and played a strong second base.
  The tough part was watching Esmil Rogers allow four to cross the plate off of three home runs.

Jays Office and Clubhouse

Anthony Gose stealing Second base

Emilio Bonifacio sliding into third, completing a triple

My Papa and I




Wednesday March Sixth

Detroit Tigers  4
Toronto Blue Jays  1

Joker Marchant Stadium
Lakeland Florida

I enjoyed this game with my friend, Dave, and my wife, Ashley.

   A slight breeze ruined the numbers in this amazing pitching match of Verlander and Morrow. The Blue Jays also decided to not field a professional line-up; instead bringing their AAA line-up augmented by Rajai Davis, Maicer Izturis and Adam Lind (only one is a guaranteed starter). there was a comedy of errors in the early innings, causing Morrow to rack up his pitch count and only pitch 2 innings. Verlander pitched well, only accumulating one walk and one hit to the lone starter Adam Lind.
  We arrived a bit early and caught the tail end of Blue Jays taking BP up close then we stood along the left field fence to watch the game, a great vantage point at Joker Marchant Stadium and it only cost $10 per Berm ticket.

My wife and I at Joker Marchant Stadium

BP picture

Our vantage point




Thursday March Seventh

Atlanta Braves 2

Detroit Tigers 9

Champion Stadium at ESPN WIde World of Sports
Kissimmee Florida

I enjoyed this game alone.

I would like to start this out with a big high five to Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports. It had the intimacy of a small stadium but had a professional feel with a disney twist. Overall it made a fun environment for baseball. Also, with the fact that it was a night game the stadium started to clear out after the stars started to leave in the 4th and 5th inning.
  Both teams fielded competitive teams and the starting pitchers pitched well and essentially the lopsided score was based on the depth players coming in later in the game.
  I purchased a $10 Berm ticket for the game, but stood in the concourse just to the right of home plate after the 3rd inning.

The Starting Line up


Where I started the game, also a look at the layout of the stadium


Where I spent most of the game

Friday March Eighth

Atlanta Braves 1
Toronto Blue Jays 7

Champions Field at ESPN Wide World of Sports
Kissimmee Florida

I enjoyed this game with my wife and in conversation with a couple Braves Fans.

The Highlight of this game was Josh Johnson and his 3 2/3 innings of perfect pitching. The Jays again brought the replacements to the ball game. Rajai Davis was the only major leaguer in the batting line up.
    We arrived at the stadium 2 hours early and caught the Blue Jays BP a great atmosphere and a cool breeze fooled us into thinking we weren’t being burned alive. So many Braves fans commented that they were thankful that they wouldn’t be seeing Josh Johnson in the regular season anymore.
 .
  Cal Ripkin Jr. was doing a book signing at the stadium, I didn’t want to pay for his book, so I didn’t get to meet him. Oh well.


Our Tickets

The Front Gate at ESPN Wide World of Sports

The Jays Stretching


This was one of the funnest experiences of my life.
If you can take the time to go down to Florida for spring training in the future, do it!

Florida tomorrow!

  Tomorrow begins my first foray into spring baseball, although many player have left for the World Baseball Classic I am looking forward to a bit of prospecting and Jose Bautista-ing.

   I hope my next post will involve pictures and a hilarious inside story that I have to share even though only I and maybe my wife might find it funny,
  
  Warm temperature ho!

MLB.TV

          For the past 3 or 4 years I have purchased cable around this time of year so that I could watch all of the broadcasted baseball games available to a Canadian Baseball lover. This year I have opted for something different, MLB.TV premium.
         MLB.TV has been an absolute delight, the best part currently is that my beloved boys in blue are broadcasted, not blacked out. The program/service provides radio broadcasts and video when available.
Another thing that has caused brain explosions in my two bedroom apartment is it’s multi-platform availability. If I’m out and about I can listen to the game on a data connected devise (for me IPad, for you IPhone etc.).
           But the most impressive part for me is apart of the IPad At Bat app (to which you get a free subscription). The At Bat app connects me to all of the current games, but also allows me to watch classic games. Last night I watched the 1976 World Series, that’s freaking awesome!

So in my humble opinion, it is worth ponying up the $25 to watch some great baseball, at least until the regular season when blackouts occur.

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