The History of Our Home Openers: 2009


March 16, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind (26) works out prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The one part of this entire re-living the past experience that I find fascinating are all of the players I forgot played for us. Norberto Martin. Armando Benitez. Mark Bomback. Dave Righetti! Dave Freisleben?? To see the hiccup of a major league career like that is amazing. Or in the case of Dave Righetti, a definite player of some stature for his career, the fact he played here. It’s like when you mention Phil Niekro…a brief Blue Jay too. It’s those filler pieces that make up a championship team, like a Manuel Lee or Glenallen Hill. Someone who’s stars aligned perfectly that they have a career year. A homer or 2, a mess of RBIs but hopefully having that one brief moment to shine. Something to tell their grandkids about. Why do I bring this up? Because I forgot about Brad Wilkerson…and he was on the ’08 team. I think these grey hairs are starting to mean something…..

Ok so 2009 was to be the beginning of the end for J.P. Ricciardi. You only have to look at the fiasco surrounding Roy Halladay and whether he wanted to be dealt or not. Ricciardi played it out in the papers and we knew the Halladay era would be over. J.P. never gave Roy a chance to win and there was no development in the minors of big name kids to sustain any level of success. Roy kept getting used parts behind him and he had enough. If Ricciardi gives any semblance of hope for the future then Roy stays. We all know where that led to. So again, we are left with a cast of middling, average to maybe above average players, some decent pitching but again no hope against the powers of the AL East. At least the Home Opener rocked.

Date: April 6, 2009
Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Game: Detroit Tigers vs. YOUR Toronto Blue Jays
Weather: ……………..hey I don’t have a pithy thought for everything you know……

Halladay took the mound in this game against Tiger ace-in-the-hole Justin Verlander. I was at this game and I tell you the crowd was ornery. Moreso than any crowd I had been in at the mistake-by-the-lake 2.0. I was looking forward to a pitchers duel but I was disappointed…well not really. If you can touch up Verlander for EIGHT runs in 3.2 innings…well you have me revved up. Adam Lind was fierce in this game going 4-5 with SIX RBI, 3 of them on a home run off Verlander. Now this I could get used to. With this kind of lead Halladay I think took a different approach to the game since he coughed up 5 runs in 7 innings with only a couple Ks and 2 home runs given up. As we have seen before, he isn’t the best on opening day….but after that watch out people!

It was a true team effort. Everyone gave something to this 12-5 and that was very enticing. Sadly as after a 9 game skid in May they never recovered and were fourth….again. Bye J.P. and hello A.A. Let’s see how you do going forward…