Jay Bird Watching podcast: Welcome to the Neighborhood! Blue Jays Home Opener Preview

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

This is a recap of the Jay Bird watching podcast featuring hosts Craig Borden, Jason Lyons, and Ken Alfred. On the show this week, “Flight Deck Lady” Lesley Nope. 

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The show started with breaking news as the Toronto Blue Jays swooped in and claimed Jordan Luplow off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The crew gave their initial thoughts on the depth move. 

Luplow will report to Buffalo and is known as a lefty-mashing power hitter. Ironically enough, former Jay Kevin Pillar is the player replacing Luplow on the Braves roster. 

Who’s Up??

The conversation shifted gears to the current team and some recent stand-out performers. Lesley was apt to point out Tuesday night’s strong start by Yusei Kikuchi.

Ken has been impressed by the play of Matt Chapman, Bo Bichette, and Kevin Kiermaier. Lesley was happy to point out Kiermaier’s criminal past concerning the Blue Jays before Jason identified Daulton Varsho as an early standout. Craig remarked on the quietly solid start by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

Who’s Down???

On another side, the talk moved to players who have struggled out of the gate. Lesley points out Chris Bassitt, who was bombed in his team debut on Sunday. The question of whether or not Bassitt should be calling his pitches was raised.

Ken named another starter who didn’t look sharp, José Berríos. Jason mentions Danny Jansen, who has yet to get going with the bat, and Santiago Espinal as slow starters. Craig theorizes that hitters seem to be ahead of the game across the league early on. 

Get to see the neighborhood 

Craig asks the silly question of if Lesley is going to the home opener on April 11th, and yes, of course, she is! Like all Jays fans, she’s curious to see the new stadium upgrades and hotspots.

A veteran of the West Jet flight deck, Lesley recounts some of her memories and how the new look could impact the fan experience. Jason credits the ownership group for the numerous changes and Craig is pumped for the new neighborhood-themed bars.

The quartet looks ahead to the next week of games with a weekend series at the Angels before the first home game versus the Detroit Tigers next Tuesday. 

Lesley is eager to see the offense click while Jason is looking forward to improved starting pitching. Craig points out the Jays’ major weakness at stranding runners over the first five games as a key point of focus. 

As usual, the picks-to-click segment ended the show. Ken’s pick of Matt Chapman last week proved to be the winner and he went with Kevin Kiermaier as his follow-up selection.

Lesley went with Daulton Varsho, Jason took Vladimir Guerrero Jr. , and Craig picked Whit Merrifield.

Leslie was another terrific guest, wore several different hats during the show, and talked a bit about her favorite ballcaps before signing off.