It’s a big night in T.O. tonight!
It’s more than just a Jays game! It’s more than Twitter Tuesday or whatever the eff the promotion is called!
Tonight marks the beginning of one of the most exciting weeks of the 2011 season!
It’s Welcome Back Week! (AKA Reunion Week).
Let’s take a look at what’s on the program:
It’s a triple threat!
First – Welcome back Jays! The Blue Jays return to the Rogers Centre for the first time since June 16th after a 10-game, 11-day, 4-city road trip. Despite falling into a horrendous offensive slump during the trip, which included four consecutive losses where they only plated three runs, the Jays actually managed a .500, 5-5 record – not too bad all things considering.
Second – Welcome back to third base Jose Bautista! The reunion between J-Bau and his former position officially begins tonight, with Eric Thames getting the start in RF. This is Bautista’s first start at 3B since September 18th of last season in Fenway Park. How did he do that day? 2 for 3 with a HR, his 49th of the season. Hopefully history repeats itself tonight.
Third – Welcome back Lyle Overbay! Lylo manned first base for the Jays for five years after being acquired in December of ’05 from Milwaukee. Though he had an up-and-down relationship with the fans during his time here (especially in 2010 when a bunch of idiots booed him mercilessly) we can’t forget just how well he played when he was a Blue Jay. His average season was a very respectable 17 HR, 67 RBI, 36 2B, .268 AVG, and .796 OPS.
His numbers are down across the board this year, but here’s hoping the fans give him a nice ovation, out of respect for his good years of service in Toronto.
Tuesday – Thursday
Welcome Pittsburgh, Jose Bautista’s previous employer. The Toronto slugger hit 43 HR in 1,520 plate appearance as a Pirate before being traded to Toronto for Robinzon Diaz. Jose has played a bit better here in Toronto…
Welcome back Brett Cecil! The last time we laid eyes on the young lefty he was getting rocked by the Yankees on April 20th. After being pulled after five innings that night, Cecil’s record stood at 1-2, with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP, and he was optioned back to AAA Vegas. But an 8-2 record with a very good (considering the league) 5.26 ERA was all the Jays management needed to see to decide Cecil was ready. He makes his first start since April on Thursday.
Friday – Sunday
Welcome Back Philadelphia Phillies!
Since Interleague play began, the Blue Jays have hosted the Phillies on four separate occassions (1998, 2000, 2006, and 2009) going a combined 5-7. This is the series that was supposed to be played in Toronto last year, only to be moved to Philadelphia to accomodate the G20 Summit and thousands of hooligans who destroyed our downtown.
Of course, nobody really remembers those four visits by the Phillies. No, whenever the Phillies come to Toronto, it’s 1993 that comes to mind, when Tony Fernandez set a World Series record for RBI by a SS in leading the Jays to their second straight World Series. That Joe Carter guy also had a pretty memorable home run…
The big one.
Get your cameras ready, your balloons blown up, and your hands and voice warm for a ton of cheering and applause.
Welcome back Doc!
The anticipation surrounding this game is growing by the day, and is over a year in the making. As I mentioned, this was supposed to take place last year, but because of the G20 Halladay faced his old mates in Philadlephia, not Toronto. That means Jays fans have had to wait an extra 12 months to see our former hero live and in person.
And you don’t need me to tell you just how important Halladay was to this franchise and this city. He spent 12 seasons here, compiling a 148 – 76 record, 3.43 ERA, 49 complete games, and 15 shutouts. He put together two 20-win seasons, made six trips to the All-Star game, won a Cy Young award, and finished in the top-5 on four other occassions. He also was a huge figure off-the-field with his Docs Box charity.
He pitched OK last year with Philadlephia as well, by the way, putting up respectable numbers: 21-10, 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7.30 K/BB, a perfect game, a post-season no-hitter, and a Cy Young Award.
I think Jays fans will be pretty excited to see him.