Welcome to today’s Blue Jays Morning Brew. We’ve got a collection of news and links ready for you. Today’s selection covers topics from the new turf, the search for a new president, young pitchers and Dickey’s faith in his team. Let’s take a look.
Steve Simmons at The Sun reminds us that President Paul Beeston is beginning his farewell tour. This will be his final year at the helm. But, he won’t make this year about him. He wants to focus on the team. He is after all, a Blue Jays fan. He emphasizes that he’ll be back next year as an unemployed observer. He is just as excited about seeing this team compete. At the end of the year, though, the team will welcome a new president. Whoever that is won’t come from Baltimore, remember.
Toronto Blue Jays
At Sportsnet.ca, Shi Davidi tells us that tampering charges were not filed in the whole “Bringing Dan Duquette to Toronto” saga. This may come as a bit of a surprise given that even the casual fan could tell that Rogers Ownership clearly went beyond normal protocol in an attempt to bring in Duquette as the new club president. The proper channels were not adhered to. But, according to MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, this may be a case of Rogers not really understanding the rules and channels. So, MLB will focus on educating everyone about the rules in order to avoid the drama and chaos that ensued. Said Manfred, “I think a little stricter adherence to written permissions with respect to discussions with executives that are limited in time and scope help avoid those sorts of lingering problems.”
In the same piece by Davidi, we get comments form Manfred on the Blue Jays hosting the All Star Game. When the announcement of natural grass being pursued came out, we were led to believe that it would increase the club’s chances to host the very profitable weekend. Paul Beeston seemed very adamant that it was his team’s turn and the grass would help. Well, Manfred squashed that by (rightfully) saying that it is one game (if you forget about all of the other hoopla) and turf wouldn’t be enough to stop one game given that they play 81 every year there.
Speaking of the Commissioner, the Canadian Press (via the Montreal Gazette) jumped on the word from Manfred that he is very intrigued by the possibility of baseball returning to Montreal. He says that while he is encouraged by the passion displayed over the two games played there a couple weeks ago, the city would need a firm plan in place to be considered. They’d need a plan for a facility and finances before the conversation can be given more consideration. What is interesting is that he says that MLB expansion is not in the cards, so a team would have to relocate (we’re looking at you Tampa Bay) in order for another team to call Canada its home.
What the turf will stop, though is rolling balls. And Leslie Young of Global News informs us that it will be like that while it is still new. But, it will get better. Jose Bautista doubts if very many balls will roll to the wall while the turf is like this. While Russell Martin thinks it is squishy and might be better on the knees. All of this may benefit Blue Jays pitchers as fewer balls have the chances to get away from fielders.
But, the flip side of that is that it will also have the same impact on Blue Jay hitters. It is the same for both teams. You might recall that the turf was an advantage for the home team previously where visiting outfielders were tricked by the bounce of the turf and balls bounced over their heads. The advantage may not be present now. Although, I’m sure Asdrubal Cabrera would say that the turf has some issues that visitors may be challenged by. He got one of th etiny rubber pellets in his eye during the Home Opener. Young spoke to Astro Turf’s VP, Kenny Gilman and he said: “I believe some folks in the team’s management wanted a slower, softer field. We built it in conjunction with their desires and wishes. It is a little slower and softer,” he said. “It’s probably playing as slow as it ever will. It should speed up a little bit over time.” Hmmm….the Blue Jays ASKED for a slower turf. Interesting.
Over at Yahoo Sports, Israel Fehr breaks down the situations in which John Gibbons has put 20 year olds Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna. He emphasizes that despite their age and the odds stacked against them, the pair has earned their spot on the roster and deserve to be trusted in high leverage situations. At some point, we have to stop focusing on their age and waiting for them to fail. Yes, they are inexperienced. But, they’re certainly working to prove that experience only counts for so much.
After the Home Opening start by R.A. Dickey, it was clear (if it wasn’t already) just how much of a feel pitch the knuckle ball is. In the 4th inning, he had lost the feel for it which resulted in walking in TWO runs. One would think that being inside the Rogers Centre lends itself to having more control over the capricious animal that is his knuckle ball. Dickey appeared on MLB Network’s The Rundown and talked about the perfect conditions for his pitch, which the dome doesn’t necessarily provide. Among other things, he talked about the athleticism of Russell Martin and the youth of this team. He also had high praise for Daniel Norris.
And, don’t forget to tune in to our Google Hangout at its new time on Saturday morning at 9amET. You can watch live on YouTube and, if you like, you can interact with questions and comments via the Google Q&A feature. The audio will be available on iTunes and Stitcher after the LIVE version.