If I Ran…The Toronto Blue Jays
Posted by Mike on April 1, 2007
Baseball Season officially starts tonight, and I had volunteered early in March to preview a team for the MLB 2007 season. The Red Sox were already taken, but the Toronto Blue Jays are a team that will compete for the AL East crown. So here it is, If I Ran…The Toronto Blue Jays.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Normally on Digital Headbutt and Tar Heel Mania, I cover college sports. But my interest is also piqued by anything related to the Red Sox. The Toronto Blue Jays are a rising power to the North, and while you may not have noticed, Boston’s collapse at the end of the season was so fantastic that the bluebirds finished 2nd in the AL East, the first time since 1998 that the Yankees and Red Sox failed to finish 1-2. The Jays have already made some good moves by locking up Vernon Wells and Cy Young caliber pitcher Roy Halladay to long term deals and signing Frank Thomas in free agency. But I think more can be done for the Blue Jays to become successful enough to not only bring the fans in, but break the east coast cabal.
Off the field:
Fill the seats. I am sick tired of seeing so many empty seats every time I watch highlights of the Yankees and Red Sox taking trips to the SkyDome (sorry, Rogers Centre). The Blue Jays need to sell their product better and get more butts in the seats. Winning always helps, but do more. I heard that the Blue Jays have good concession prices, but take it a step further. Take advantage of Canada’s free healthcare, hold a weekly Clog Your Arteries day by selling delicious concessions like Donut burgers and Icelandic Porramatur at half price, for example. The organization is also making renovations to the Rogers Centre, which should also help attendance. However, there’s still a fun element missing. What could be something the Blue Jays could do besides the baseball team to make more fans attend?
Wait–I’ve got it!
Hold a Terrance & Phillip Race. The Milwaukee Brewers fill Miller park better in spite of an inferior on-field product. Do you know why? OK, besides brats and booze. The 6th inning Sausage Race! Having a similar gimmick for the Blue Jays would attract more fans, but to succeed you need to take the concept and make it distinctly Canadian. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Canada? That’s right, Terrance and Phillip! Have five staff members dress up as Terrance, Phillip, Scott, Celine Dion, and Ugly Bob, and race around the field. Even design the costumes so that their heads flap when they run, and release the smell of farts all over the stadium while they’re running.
If you are unfamiliar with these characters, go see Not Without My Anus, The funniest 22 minutes in television history. I would put Sadaam Hussein in this race, but who wants to see that guy win anything?
Blue Jays:”So, what are you going to do with your winnings?”
Sadaam: “Hey, relax, guy, take a rest. I’m not going to use the money to buy nuclear weapons.”
BJ: “I didn’t say anything about weapons.”
SH: “You didn’t? Hey, guy, just relax!”
To separate themselves from the Sausage race, have the track a little more difficult. Instead of the usual warning track, have them run through the bull pen and dodge BJ Ryan’s warmup fastball (a 1 second penalty if he hits you). Have them slide into 3rd base before heading to the finish line. The top two finishers will qualify for the final to determine the winner, a joust on golfcarts. It would be total carnage, but hey, it’s Canada. Different rules up there.
On the field:
Get your own damn Japanese star pitcher! Boston has Daisuke Matsuzaka (who I call “Mothra” to the Yankees’ Godzilla, slugger Hideki Matsui) and New York has signed Kei Igawa. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so for Toronto to compete they must sign a Japanese pitcher for their starting rotation. Is it too early to sign Go Mastumoto or Seigo Yada, the star pitchers for Kawaguchi City in the 2006 Little League World Series? It is? You’re lying. If soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo could be signed at 13 and Bastian Schweinsteiger at 11, then Toronto should be able to sign Little Leaguers.
A little off-topic, I think that “Bastian Schweinsteiger” is one of the best names in the history of planet Earth. And yes, I’m sure that’s the right spelling.
Develop Russ Adams at shortstop. I’m not just saying that because he’s a Tar Heel, although that helps. The two players in front of him in the depth chart are Royce Clayton and John McDonald. While he is a solid veteran and would make a good bench contributor, Clayton is 37 years old. He hasn’t been a good shortstop since 2001 with the White Sox. John McDonald had only 23 RBI in 90 starts in 2006, whereas Russ Adams, age 23, had 28 RBI in 36 starts. He’s also a left handed bat, which Toronto desperately needs. Considering that the Jays have Adams as the heir apparent at shortstop, they should allow him to start this year, and put Clayton in if he struggles mightily.
Fear the Southpaw. I am biased towards lefties both as a southpaw and knowing that variety in your lineup is very valuable. The Blue Jays are pretty much devoid of left handers, both in their starting lineup and in their starting rotation (they only have one of each, Lyle Overbay and Gustavo Chacin). Putting Russ Adams in the starting lineup helps, but they will likely need a trade. I suggest trading minor leaguers and/or bench players to the Detroit Tigers for a secondary lefty starter (Mike Maroth or Nate Robertson) and switch hitting infielder Neifi Perez, which the Jays will put at second base. Admittedly this trade will be harder with Kenny Rogers out until July, but Andrew Miller could fill the void if Maroth or Robertson were to leave. This will give Toronto up to four lefty hitters (Greg Zaun is also a switch hitter), and two lefty starting pitchers.
Fire John Gibbons. I don’t care who you put in his place, that guy is a f—ing lunatic. Gibbons would ruin any chance the Blue Jays have of winning by doing something stupid.
Equip all of the players with the Nutty Buddy. Trust me on this one. You don’t want to be in the middle of the pennant race when Vernon Wells goes on the DL with “scrotal bruising”. That’s a terrible way to lose.
If the Toronto Blue Jays do all of these things, they will definitely have a better product for all of their fans, increase their attendance, and should compete for the AL East crown.