Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

…And Boy, Are My Arms Tired!

Just got back from a fun-filled week in beautiful Toronto, Ontario. Did all the fun touristy things – saw the zoo, took a bus tour, went to the top of the CN Tower, visited the Hockey Hall of Fame. But from a blogging perspective, the highlight of the trip was walking down to SkyDome on Father’s Day to see the Blue Jays play the Expos…errrr…I mean, Nationals.

The Blue Jays showed all the Dads in attendance some love, as we all scored a kickin’ Blue Jays tie, complete with manager John Gibbons’ facsimile autograph. Is “kickin’” appropriate slang anymore? It’s hard for me to keep up with what the kids are saying nowadays.

Also in honor of Father’s Day, my beloved wife encouraged my to splurge on a fancy-shmancy Jays replica jersey. Wary of buyer’s remorse, I dithered over the decision for a while before settling on a very attractive black number, complete with “Halladay 32” on the back. The Younger Heir to the estate scored himself a spiffy Toronto cap, and a Vernon Wells t-shirt.

The Blue Jays provided one last Father’s Day surprise – this cornucopia of licensed apparel was enough to net me a complimentary hardcover edition of the Blue Jays’ 25th anniversary Commemorative Book. There’s nothing that says “Happy Father’s Day” than a free copy of a six-year old remaindered book.

The game itself was better than I could have expected from this clash of Titans. The Jays took a 1-0 lead in the first, only to lose it four batters into the Nats’ half of the second.

Frank Thomas tied it up in the home half of the third with a huge home run (which we had a great view of – our seats were down the left field line, four rows from the field). Unfortunately, that was the last Blue Jay hit of the game, as the hometown heroes spent the rest of the afternoon making Micah Bowie and the highly estimable Washington relief corps look like for-real Major League pitchers.

Cub Fans may remember Micah Bowie from his eleven starts for our team back in 1999. In forty-seven innings, he got slapped around for 9.96 ERA, a 2.19 WHIP, and a .358 BAA. I give him credit for hanging in there long enough to get another shot. This year, he’s 4-2, and pitched pretty well. It’s only a matter of time before Dr. Phil pens a column wondering why we ever got rid of this guy…

Josh Towers started for the Jays, and pitched better than I expected. He gave up four earned in seven innings, and aside from one mistake to Ryan Zimmerman (who hit a dinger even longer than Thomas’, also hit right past us) looked like a for-real Major League pitcher, too.

But even with the quality start, it’s hard to win when your offensive “support” consists of two walks over the last six innings of play. Final score: Washington 4, Toronto 2.

Looking especially ignominious was Vernon Wells. He singled and scored in the first, but then went down swinging his next three appearances. And he didn’t look particularly good doing that.

A few other random notes:
** With Lyle Overbay hurt and Wells not hitting very much, it’s a wonder that Thomas gets anything to hit. The Jays’ lineup with not very inspiring – their fifth and sixth hitters were Aaron Hill and Curtis Thigpen. Would you throw Thomas a strike with those two coming up?

** The bottom of the lineup wasn’t any better than the middle. The catching tandem of Jason Phillips and Greg Zaun, Adam Lind, and Royce Clayton could rival the Astros for the crummiest three hitters in the Major Leagues.

** Surprisingly, the Nationals looked OK. Not a good OK, but the kind of OK that means they won’t lose 120 games. As long as the pitching holds out. And they don’t suffer a lot of injuries.

I think Washington’s biggest issue right now is a lack of depth. They just don’t have the guys on the bench or on the farm to step in if someone gets hurt (or bombs). It will be a few years before the new regime there can rebuild the system after suffering the tender ministrations of MLB (and, before that, Loria the Destroyer).

** I did see quite a few people with Nationals gear wandering the ballpark. If Nats fans are willing to make the roadie up to Canada, perhaps they’ll be patient enough to stick with their team the next few years…

** The Jays have a chili pepper race (sort of like the Brewers’ sausage race, but not as good) between innings. I don’t understand it, either.

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  • What a great Fathers' Day! My cats never do anything on Mothers' Day

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:57 AM  

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