Prior to Thursday night’s game with the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays paid honor to retiring Yankee closer Mariano Rivera. For Rivera’s final game in Toronto, Darren Oliver, Jose Bautista, and Casey Janssen presented him with a sculpture of Inuit folk hero Kivuiq, as well as a $10,000 check toward Rivera’s charitable foundation.
It was a worthwhile send-off for one of baseball’s most distinguished gentlemen. Granted, Blue Jays fans won’t be too distraught about not having to hear Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” in the 9th inning, but the game will be short at least one of the good guys.
One former Blue Jays player has positive memories of Rivera. Roving catching instructor Sal Fasano carved quite the path for himself around the Major Leagues, playing for nine teams in an 11-year career. One of those stops happened to be with the New York Yankees in 2006, just before his bus took a stop in Toronto. In a conversation with the National Post’s John Lott, Fasano recalls his time catching Rivera. In one fond memory Fasano notes that Rivera, “He never pitched to home plate. He pitched to body line of the batter.” That about sums up Rivera’s career, filled with sawed-off bats and a near untouchable aura.
It may have escaped some’s attention, but in his Wednesday post at The Sun, Bob Elliot notes that the Blue Jays hosted an interesting guest for Tuesday’s game. In the team’s sky box, Toronto welcomed representatives from the city of Palm Beach Gardens, where the team is rumored to be moving its Spring Training facilities to in 2016 or 2017. That’s a significant step forward in the plan to upgrade from the current headquarters in Dunedin. Its a needed change for the team, and the Blue Jays seem more than eager to make it happen, even if they are not quite ready to admit it.
J.P. Arencibia is all over the news lately, both in the blogging sense and in the mainstream media. Tom Dakers at BlueBird Banter threw together his obligatory look at Arencibia’s struggles, where he eviscerates Arencibia from a statistical standpoint and from a foot-in-mouth standpoint.
Gregg Zaun also decided to continue to pile on Arencibia, when he told Sportsnet that he hasn’t given up on Arencibia, but that he shouldn’t be the starting catcher in 2014. How does that go again there Gregg? So you haven’t given up on him yet, but you don’t think he should keep his job right? Now aside from stating the obvious, Zaun does make a solid point in saying that by not upgrading, the Blue Jays are sending the wrong message to fans. Well, they sent that when they chose to keep Arencibia last winter and traded his replacement.
One message the team could send is its desire to invest in the international market. However, Andrew Stoeten at Drunk Jays Fans notes that the new posting system in Japan make take that decision out of Toronto’s hands, at least as far as Masahiro Tanaka goes. However, Stoeten seems okay with how that may impact the Blue Jays, as Tanaka’s low strike-out rates send a red flag up about his ability to translate his ability to the Major Leagues.