Watch as I discuss the 2015 Blue Jays with Cito Gaston, and we make connections to the 1992 and 1993 World Championship teams that he managed. The 3-part interview is posted below.
At the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays State of the Franchise, season ticket holders had emailed in questions ahead of time for Paul Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos, and John Gibbons.
Full Q & A session in the video above explores topics such as the Blue Jays playing on a grass surface at home, Roy Halladay joining the Level of Excellence, the ownership’s level of financial commitment and concerns surrounding financial obligations towards other sports (Maple Leafs and Toronto FC). Other topics discussed included Gibby’s predictions for players who will have break out seasons (spoiler alert – expect a lot from Melky, Lawrie, and Morrow this season), and Anthopoulos discusses the current position on pitching and if they plan on adding more before the start of the season.
For other videos such as the introductory speeches for this event, click here.
Click here to listen to: Brock Picken interview Carlos Delgado, Roberto Alomar, Cito Gaston, Duane Ward, and many more.
Carlos Delgado was named to the Toronto Blue Jays Level of Excellence on Sunday, September 21st, 2013. So how did he celebrate? By hosting a training camp the following day at the Rogers Centre, in support of his Extra Bases Foundation, which strives to “improve the quality of life of people in need”. Joining Carlos, was a well-recognizable group of former Blue Jays greats.
Listen to the interviews that Brock Picken conducted with:
- Carlos Delgado
- Roberto Alomar
- Cito Gaston
- Shawn Green
- Duane Ward
- George Bell
- Juan Guzman
- Alex Gonzalez
- Candy Maldonado
- Lloyd Moseby
- Tony Fernandez
Click Here to Listen To: Brock Picken Discuss Brett Lawrie’s Temper, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, & LA Dodgers.
On this episode of The Dugout, I discussed the expressions (temper explosions) of Brett Lawrie and whether or not they are justified. I think we can all agree that Lawrie’s “Helmet Incident” with the umpire last year was unacceptable and inexcusable. This past Friday (May 24, 2013), Lawrie was called out on a third strike and tossed his helmet and batting gloves aside in frustration, resulting in another game ejection. I personally feel as though it was a bit more of a personal attack against Lawrie, as he has remained a “target” of sorts for the umps ever since last year’s incident. I don’t feel as though his actions justified an ejection. Now, having said that, I was disappointed to learn of his gesture towards Lind and third base coach Luis Rivera in Sunday afternoon’s game. Lawrie, having hit a fly ball to right field, thought Adam Lind should have tagged and scored on the play. He gave several “dirty looks” towards Lind and Rivera as he jogged back to the dugout. Gibby and Bautista put an end to Lawrie’s shenanigans right away:
The whole Lawrie incident became a mute point just minutes later when Kawasaki hit a walk-off double. His speech after the game was epic:
If the Jays can keep up with the other AL East teams through June and July and pick up ground on lesser teams like the Padres, Rockies, and Twins, they might be able to shift gears and make a move towards “playoff contention” following the All-Star break.
This of course would be easier to accomplish if Lawrie could make it through a full game without being ejected or injured.
In today’s podcast, I also mentioned my interview with Jays Assistant GM, Andrew Tinnish, where we discussed Jays pitching prospects, as well as my show with Alan Coombs of CJBK London Radio, where he predicted the Cleveland Indians to be a hot team right out of the gate.
Click here to listen to: Arash Madani of Sportsnet on The Dugout with Brock Picken
Brock Picken speaks with Sportsnet Author Arash Madani about the Toronto Blue Jays current performance. They discuss the return of Brett Lawrie, the strikeout woes of Colby Rasmus & JP Arencibia, and pitching performances of numerous starters and relievers. Arash gives an insight into what to expect for the upcoming series’ against the Orioles, Yankees, and Red Sox.
So the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays season is finally upon us.
The Jays played their first game of the season last night. And lost.
If you are one of the Blue Jays fans whining today about how disappointed you are, allow me to inform you of something important to recognize –
in a 162-game regular season, they’re going to lose games.
If we’re fortunate enough this year, the Jays will lose about 40% of their games (last year that would have been good enough to win the division).
A lot happened in last night’s game, both good and bad. I was lucky enough to be able to attend last night’s home opener, and I will break down both the positives and negatives.
- Rasmus looked uncomfortable at the plate. This is a season where he needs to get it together, or we’ll be seeing Gose sooner than expected. And I get it, it’s a long season and it takes some guys longer to get into a groove. But where some guys were making loud outs on hard-hit balls, Rasmus went down on strikes three times.
- Arencibia set a franchise record within the first two innings of the game. Unfortunately, it was for allowing three passed balls. This was then followed by ground balls that likely would have been double-plays. Arencibia looked good catching Dickey during the World Baseball Classic for team USA, so last night was likely an anomaly. However, don’t be surprised when by the end of the season Arencibia leads the majors in passed balls. If it’s tough to hit, it’s just as tough to catch.
- Dickey didn’t throw as many strikes as he usually can. His control was a bit off, and he admitted to not feeling as comfortable with his release point. He walked more in last night’s game than he did the entire Spring Training. He threw only 56% strikes, which needs to be higher. Having said that, with the potential fire-power in this Jays line-up, they typically should be able to recover from a 3 or 4 run deficit.
- Honda gave away a CRV last night to a fan. Then they took it away and gave it to another fan. To be honest, I’m still not sure what happened. The sound system was difficult to hear (at least in the 500 section), so I’m still a bit confused. The contest definitely could have been organized much better.
- And my final negative, on a more personal note, were the lousy Jays fans we happened to be sitting with in the 500 level. I don’t know why getting so drunk that you don’t even watch the game and throw things over the railing has become a thing, but it is these “fans” (in quotations because they are anything but true fans) that ruin the experience for the others, and make a bad name for Jays fans in general. So to you rotten people, I say please stay home next year. Oh, and this is my reaction to your disrespectful behaviour: (Click here to see what everyone thinks of you).
Ok, enough of the complaining. After all, as fans we have a lot to be excited about this year.
- The Jays hit the ball hard. Really hard. Unfortunately, it was right at guys wearing gloves. Cleveland fields a solid team and made some great plays. But most of the time, when you consistently hit the ball hard, good things happen.
- After serving up a HR, Dickey struck out the next two batters on straight strikes. It seemed that he was ticked at himself and was taking it out on the batters. I see this as a great channeling of anger. He has great control of his emotions, which is so important as a pitcher.
- Even though Santos gave up a big hit on his first pitch, he was able to work out of the jam without allowing any runs and looked strong. If he and Janssen can stay consistent throwing strong innings in the 8th and 9th, we may have our Ward-Henke combo we’ve been waiting so long for.
- Cecil looked terrific on the mound, and was hitting 93-94 mph on the radar gun (where the heck did that come from?!). When Brett Lawrie comes off the DL and it’s between Cecil and Jeffress to go back down, they may have a tougher decision with Cecil now throwing at an increased velocity. These tough decisions are good problems to have!
- From a design standpoint, the new 200 level concourse looks fantastic! It feels like the stadium has been opened up more, and it’s nice to have that large area functional again, and open to anyone who has a ticket (unless it’s rented out for a private function which it was last night).
Finally, I will close with how the evening began. Tom Cheek was honoured for winning the Ford C. Frick award. The largest Canadian flag I’ve ever seen draped the entire outfield for the National anthem, and Geddy Lee of Rush threw out the ceremonial first pitch (oh how Canadian!). Our season is full of hopes and dreams. And in baseball, anything can happen.
Click here to listen to: The Dugout Show #6 – Daryl Andrews – First Canadian in the MLB Fan Cave
Brock Picken talks with Daryl Andrews, the first Canadian to be selected for the MLB Fan Cave in New York City. Daryl is representing Team Canada in the MLB Fan Cave for the World Baseball Classic, and will be watching and tweeting about all the games in the WBC. Brock and Daryl discuss the announcement of Joey Votto playing for Canada, as well as Russell Martin’s decision not to play and Brett Lawrie’s public reaction to the media. They also discuss the excitement surrounding the upcoming Toronto Blue Jays season.
Brock Picken “The Baseball Guy” brings you a weekly episode of “3 Up 3 Down”.
Today’s show is a review of the March 2, 2013 Spring Training game vs the Phillies.
Final Score: Jays 11 – Phillies 6.
1. R.A. Dickey – shaky but confident.
Dickey got knocked around a bit in the first inning, but settled in nicely. More importantly, in an interview following his outing, he explained that he was confident and satisfied in his performance, stating he was focusing on throwing a high percentage of strikes and working on mechanics.
2. Jose Reyes – exciting and on fire! Jose plays with such enthusiasm and is really fun to watch. In his three at bats, he had a single, double, and home run. I had hoped for one more at bat, to see if he could hit for the cycle (it’s one of my predictions: http://bit.ly/JaysPredictions). He looks like he’s already in mid-season form.
3. Brett Lawrie calls Russell Martin “weak”. Russell Martin opted out of the World Baseball Classic because Team Canada wouldn’t let him play short. Of course they wouldn’t, he’s a catcher! The poor attitude and pulling out at the last minute is unacceptable, and Lawrie let everyone know how he felt. I respect Brett even more for calling Martin on it. Weak indeed.
Rajai Davis and Edwin Encarnacion both made errors in the field. Both were makeable plays. Actually, Lawrie was charged a throwing error, but Edwin should have had it. Edwin has come along over the past few years in the field, but I still don’t like to see a glove on Rajai’s hand. Steve Delabar looked good in a 3-up 3-down inning, and Bonifacio looked good at the plate with a home run and 2 RBI.
Each team starts the season with a clean slate. Each with 162 games ahead, all with the same mission that only one will ultimately achieve. But within the road to a World Championship lies a season full of milestones, personal goals, break-out seasons, broken records, broken bats, and even broken bones. Many players will get their major-league debut. Some will shine, and some may never get the opportunity again. And within that 162-game season, there will still be surprises. There will be events that have never occurred before. That is one, of many reasons, why baseball is such a magical game.
So here I present to you my list of wild and magical predictions for the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays. Even if only a few of the ten actually come to fruition, it will still be a truly incredible year.
10. Jose Reyes will win a Gold Glove & Silver Slugger Award this Year – Reyes is no stranger to winning a Silver Slugger award, although it was last in 2006. He has yet to win a Gold Glove. But if he stays healthy, look for him to win both in 2013.
9. At Least Two Jays Pitchers will each log over 200 Innings – While this might sound like a bold statement, it might be the safest prediction of all ten. Here’s why:
– Mark Buehrle hasn’t thrown under 200 innings since the year 2000! Provided he stays injury-free, he’s practically a lock.
– R.A. Dickey threw over 200 innings in both 2011, and of course last season in his CY Young year.
– Josh Johnson threw over 200 innings in 2009, and fell just short last season.
– Romero threw over 200 innings in 2010 and 2011.
When you do the math, realizing that 4 out of your 5 starting pitchers each have the potential to go 200 innings or more (Buehrle went 245.1 innings in 2004, and 236.2 in 2005!) it makes reaching the 800-1,000 inning range collectively a possibility*, which leaves only 458+ innings (of course there will be extra innings) to be divided amongst the bullpen (which is deeper than it has been in years). The Toronto pitching staff could be the definition of endurance this year. *OK, I realize 1,000 innings is a stretch between 5 guys, but that’s why the title of this post is WILD predictions.
8. A Blue Jay Will Hit for the Cycle – This is a prediction by my buddy Al Coombs (you can listen to us talk about it here), and while only two Jays have ever completed the feat (Jeff Frye in 2001 was the last Jay, and Kelly Gruber the first in 1989), it’s not entirely unlikely. Here’s why: In hitting for the cycle, typically the toughest of the four hits is the triple. With how much speed the Jays have on the bases (Rajai Davis, Brett Lawrie, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mr. Triples himself Jose Reyes), the odds alone are that much better.
7. Alex Anthopoulos will make another big Trade – Oh he’s not done yet. Do you think A.A. went all-in during the off-season, just to sit on his hands during regular season? As the Jays approach the trade deadline, you’re going to see something as a Jays fan you haven’t seen in a long time. Toronto will finally be in a position to be one of the BUYERS, not one of the SELLERS. That is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
6. A MLB HR Champ – In 2010 Bautista was the MLB home run leader, hitting 54 dingers, and led the majors again in 2011, hitting 43. In 2012 Edwin Encarnacion hit 42 HR, which was good enough for 4th in the AL. One of these big swingers (if not both) will take a run at the title again this year. If Edwin gets his usual spot behind Bautista in the line-up and is swinging a hot bat, look for Jose to see some quality pitches to hit.
5. Anthony Gose will emerge as the starting Centre Fielder – I don’t mean to take a stance of hating on Colby. But Gose has such raw talent, and combined with ridiculous speed makes him another deadly weapon in the field, and on the base paths (see #8 above). If Gose can make advancements enough to warrant regular play at the big-league level, look for Colby to take a few more days off than he may want, or possibly become part of something more permanent (see #7 above).
4. Three or more Jays will be named to the All-Star team – On paper, they arguably have a roster littered with All-Stars. Look for at least three to be named to the team.
3. Lawrie will have the break out season we’re all expecting. – His arrival to the majors was highly anticipated, and at the end of the 2011 season he didn’t disappoint, racking up 44 hits, 9 HR, 25 RBI, and a .293 BA in just 43 games. While he was temporarily sidelined by injuries last year, look for more 2011-style numbers consistently through the 2013 season.
2. A World Series Championship Banner Flying North of the Border for a Third Time – That’s a pretty darn bold statement if ever I’ve made one (and I’ve made many). I don’t need a long-winded explanation here as to why I think it’s going to happen (that’s reserved for my #1 prediction). But when you have a gut feeling you go with it. Plus if half of the above predictions actually happen, a World Championship is very realistic.
Allow me to tell you a fun story. Back in 2010 I made a bold prediction (imagine that). On camera in early March, I predicted a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher would throw a no hitter. Let me also preface this by saying that while I don’t believe it to be bad luck to predict a no-hitter well in advance, it’s a definite party foul to use the words “no-hitter” during a game while one is still in tact. In fact, don’t even draw attention to it. If you say something along the lines of “the pitcher hasn’t allowed any hits yet”, or “the other team hasn’t had anyone on base”, it’s basically the same thing. You jinxed it. And you’re liable to get beat up by the true baseball fans in the room.
So, what happened that Blue Jays season?
In 2010, you may recall the following:
– April 13th: While pitching for the Jays, Ricky Romero takes a no-hitter through 7 full innings against the Chicago White Sox. In the Jays dugout, then catcher John Buck (who, fun fact, was acquired again by the Jays this off-season along with Reyes, Johnson, Buehrle, and Bonifacio, only to be traded less than a month later in the R.A. Dickey deal), opened his big mouth while talking to the pitching coach and said “oh my gosh, they don’t have any hits yet”. The following inning, cue former Blue Jay, Alex Rios, who hits a 2-run HR to break up the no-hit bid and wipe out the shut-out.
– May 29th: Roy Halladay throws a perfect game. He then follows that up by throwing a no-hitter in the post-season on October 6th. He of course completes both of these miraculous feats while wearing a Phillies uniform, having pitched his last game as a Blue Jay the season before.
– August 8th: Brandon Morrow takes a no-hitter against Tampa into the 9th inning with two out, only to have Evan Longoria hit a ball up the middle, just finding enough room to squeak through (after popping out of a diving Aaron Hill’s glove). The game almost cost me my marriage before it even started, as I forced my then fiancé to listen to the end of the game in my vehicle, before heading into a funeral reception (You can hear me tell that full story here).
So what pitching magic can we expect this year?
First, let us look at what past pitching magic/almost-magic our three new starting pitching additions bring to the table:
– Mark Buehrle: threw a no-hitter in 2007 (vs Rangers), and then a perfect game in 2009 (vs Tampa)
– Josh Johnson: in 2011 he took a no-hitter into at least the 5th inning, four out of the first five starts of the season. In one of those starts, against the Braves he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning, until it was broken up by a broken-bat single.
– R.A. Dickey: June 13th, 2012 Dickey allowed just one hit (that could have been ruled an error against 3rd Baseman David Wright) against Tampa.
In this Blue Jays season of high expectations where anything is possible (and always is in the game of baseball), I feel as though we are going to witness something magical. All five of Toronto’s starters have the potential for greatness. All five have all-star caliber stuff. All five have the ability to be unstoppable, and even better than that. Each of them has the ability to be Perfect. I think you will witness one of them be exactly that this season.
Spring training games are officially underway for the Toronto Blue Jays, who defeated the Detroit Tigers 10-3 today.
Watch the video for my thoughts on the game.