I ripped that title off from Matt English, who is much funnier than I am. And he made this:
A selection of Blue Jays transactions over the past month:
October 21: Manager John Farrell released from contract, traded to Boston with David Carpenter for SS Mike Aviles.
November 3: Mike Aviles & Yan Gomes traded to Cleveland for RHP Esmil Rogers.
November 8: Free agent Maicer Izturis signs. RHP Jeremy Jeffress traded from Kansas City for cash.
November 19: Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolino, and Jake Marisnick traded to Miami for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck.
Free agent Melky Cabrera signs.
November 20: Blue Jays name John Gibbons manager.
It’s been quite a month. (see the full list)
Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun published a blow-by-blow account of the blockbuster trade with Miami, going all the way back to talks in July after three starting pitchers went down; it’s absolutely riveting, and should be required reading.
Gibbons’ hiring—well, we’ve got quite the running game with this new lineup, and Gibbons has less of a penchant for bunts and playing for one run than Farrell did, so we’re already making improvements. I like it a lot.
I actually refrained from writing about any of this because what can you even add? The Marlins trade still doesn’t even seem real. The Blue Jays’ first four hitters in the last game of the season were Rajai Davis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Brett Lawrie, and Adam Lind. If the projected lineups hold, they’ll open the season with Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion.
I can’t even believe it.
The first thing I noticed about Wrigley Field was everything.
For someone like me, accustomed to attending ball games in a park the same age as I am (and I’m not old), Wrigley is a treasure. A step back in time. I half expected to see fedoras and grey trenchcoats and hear old-timey American accents; it’s of another time, and it’s pretty magic.
The first time you set foot at the top of the ramps and see the field, it’s breathtaking. All at once you realize how close you are — it’s right there! — and how low the ceiling is and how old the signs are and Wow, I’m at Wrigley Field. You can’t help but imagine all the amazing things that might have happened there, and the roar of the crowds from decades ago echoes in your ears.
During the day game, the first one we attended there, I missed huge chunks of innings because I was looking at everything. Like a little kid, I got excited when I caught the scoreboard operators changing the numbers; I loved the flags for the National League standings and the vendors hawking hot dogs and Old Style. The crowd was so enthusiastic, cheering everything — I chalk up my surprise at this to the infamous apathy of Toronto show-goers, mostly — and we even got to witness the hilarious Cubs victory song, which left me cracking up all the way out of the stadium.
(Arizona’s lone run that day, by the way, came on a solo home run by former Blue Jay Aaron Hill off of former Blue Jay Shawn Camp. So that was something.)
We liked it so much we picked up tickets for another game, a weeknight against the Miami Marlins. The Cubs got thrashed, though the eighth inning featured a rather fun almost-rally, thanks to the Marlins committing the same sorts of goofs the Cubs were making earlier in the game. Though they ultimately lost, the crowd was a thrill: a guy behind us had the drawliest Southern drawl you ever did hear, and was explaining the finer points of the game (like how many innings there were — “nahhhhhnnn”) to the small boy with him. A guy a few seats down from me was ranting on so much neither of us could keep from laughing. It was a joyful time, 40 C heat or not.
A hell of a way to experience my first MLB game outside the ol’ Skydome, and a really wonderful way to reaffirm my love of baseball. It’s a great place. I’m already thinking about when I can go back.
(a couple more photos here)