All posts by 500LevelFan

What’s With the Hatred? The Jays are GOOD!

Fred Lewis is right - the Jays have been closer to #1 than to last this year (from

Fact: The Toronto Blue Jays blew two consecutive games in the ninth inning against Tampa.

Fact: The Tampa Bay Rays are the best team in baseball.

Relax people.  It’s not the end of the world.  Yes, the Jays probably should have won yesterday.  They definitely should have won on Tuesday.  But so what?  I couldn’t believe the negativity I heard this morning from all kinds of different people.  Things like “here comes the collapse”, or “the Jays suck, what a crappy team”, or even “it’s over – there goes the season.” 

Are you kidding me?

It’s time to step back and settle down.

I read a tweet last night from fellow Blue Jays blogger Ian at the Blue Jay Hunter that said “’tis better to have led and lost than to have never led at all.”  This afternoon I read the latest post by another Jays blogger, 1 Blue Jays Way, that said even though they sting, Toronto shouldn’t feel shame from those losses because the Rays are a very, very good team.

Well, I completely and wholeheartedly agree with both.  For all of those fans out there who are jumping off the bandwagon left, right, and centre, I hope you hurt yourself on the fall.  We should be proud and supportive of this club.  What they have accomplished so far this season is astounding.  Will they keep it up?  Who knows.  I hope so, but realistically a downfall might be coming. 

But for all of you who are hating on the Jays right now, let me point you here where Scott Miller of CBS Sportsline predicts Toronto to finish dead last, while poking fun at their no-name roster.  Or how about here where fellow Sportsline columnist Danny Knobler predicts the 2010 Jays to be in the same class as the Pirates, Royals, and Astros.  Need more?  Check out SI’s predictions (you guessed it – Toronto is last) or ESPN’s  (Jayson Stark switched it up a bit – he didn’t pick the Jays in last but placed them amongst the worst nine teams in the game).

Get the picture?  All of these so called “experts” predicted Toronto to finish the season behind Baltimore.  While they might not finish in the top-5 in the sport, they are currently 15 games ahead of the hapless Orioles.  I’m going to go ahead and say they’re safe from that result.

Bottom line is this: enjoy the start to the season.  Stop hating, stop being negative, and start smiling.  The 2010 Toronto Blue Jays are good, blown leads or not. 

Besides, wouldn’t you rather lose competitive games against the best team in baseball while staying within striking distance of the Wild Card than spend the season licking the dirt off Baltimore’s feet?

I know I would…

Don’t Worry Kevin Gregg – Being an Elite Closer is VERY Tough

In the wake of yesterday’s horrendous performance by Kevin Gregg I started thinking about closers.  Watching him nibble around the strike zone, walk batter after batter, and finally completely break down gave me mixed emotions.  In fact, the closer position has always given me mixed feelings.

On one hand, it should be simple.  You are a major league pitcher and all you have to do is record three outs.  In most cases, you are coming into the game 100% fresh.  You haven’t been on the mound for several innings and logged over 100 pitches.  How hard can it be?

On the other hand, it is the most difficult time of the game.  Sure only three outs are required, but the game is close, and all eyes are upon you.  Failure is not an option as you will not have the opportunity to come out in the next inning and fix your mistakes.  Starting pitchers can do that, closers can not.

So to me closers are a mixed bag. They really should have great numbers, but all it takes is one bad outing and the stats go haywire.  It takes a lot of three-up three-down innings to repair the damage done to an ERA by a blown three-run save.

After Gregg’s failure I decided to hunt for how many truly elite closers are out there, by using the incredible data at  According to their wealth of statistical information, a 30-save season has been accomplished 368 times in major league history.  But after sweating though many of Gregg’s saves this season, everybody can clearly tell that there is a difference between a good save and a bad save, and by extension between a good 30-save season and a not-so-good 30-save season.

So what defines a good save?  Obviously, a three-up three-down inning is best.  Putting runners on base, via hit or walk, brings a closer face-to-face with disaster – the blown save.  But clearly a three-up three-down inning can not be accomplished each and every time out.  So what defines a good season for a closer?

To me, ALL of the following criteria have to be met:

– 40+ saves in the season (showing reliability)

– a sub 2.00 ERA (showing the ability to prevent runs)

– a sub 1.00 WHIP (showing dominance – preventing runners from getting on base)

My original hypothesis was that after inputting all of those parameters I would see approximately 75 or more individual seasons on the list, or about three seasons each year from the mid-80’s when closers started to become fashionable.

I was WAY off.

A season that sees a closer save 40 or more games with a sub 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP has been accomplished only 21 times in MLB history, by 15 different men:

– Armando Benitez (2004), Billy Wagner (2003), Bryan Harvey (1991, 1993), Chad Cordero (2005), Dan Quisenberry (1983), Dennis Eckersley (1990, 1992), Eric Gagne (2002, 2003), J.J. Putz (2007), Joakim Soria (2008), Joe Nathan (2004), John Smoltz (2003), Mariano Rivera (1999, 2005, 2009), Michael Jackson (1998), Robb Nen (1998, 2000), Trevor Hoffman (1998)

Two things strike me about that list.  One – there are no Blue Jays on it.  We thought that Tom Henke and Duane Ward were lights out dominant.  I guess they were  a bit below that.  Two – there are only 15 players on it!!!! That tells me that for every save that we have had to bite our nails for with Kevin Gregg, or Billy Koch, or BJ Ryan, or Jason Frasor, virtually EVERY OTHER TEAM IN BASEBALL is doing the same thing!!!

So don’t feel so bad Mr. Gregg.  Though you screwed up royally yesterday, you are definitely not alone. 

But I would dump you in a second for a 1990 version of Dennis Eckersley… website offline . link checker .

Scouted 500 Level Fan of the Game – June 1st, 2010

How old is this child? Old enough to drink in the 500 level!

Sadly I was unable to attend last night’s game at the Rogers Centre between the Jays and Rays.  I guess it actually turned out to be a blessing, because I was sitting on my couch when Kevin Gregg imploded in the ninth, watching it on TV instead of in the 500 Level.  That meant I had instant and arm’s length access to beer, wine, scotch, rye, vodka, and tequila, all of which helped me to forget the disaster I had just seen.

But luckily for me, a few 500 Level Fan scouts were out in the upper deck last night.  Showing what a true company man I am, the scouts paid their own way in, and will continue to receive no compensation.  But great job gentlemen!

And now, in their own words, I present their scouting report.  Tbe first ever scouted 500 Level Fan of the Game – The (very) Underage Drinker!

“As promised, here is the 15 year old beer saving drunkard.

In the third inning we flagged down the beer man for a few tall boys.  As he stood there preparing our frosty delights, suddenly the clearly underage kid in front of us confidently requested not one but TWO Keith’s.

It was a classic moment as he looked no more than 15 and the kid next to him looked 11 at most.  Equally classic was the utter look of confusion or general befuddlement on the face of the beer man.  He clearly could not figure out if he was hearing things or whether he was being made the butt of some punk kid’s joke.

So, the beer man carried on and provided two beers to the cougars a few rows up.  At that time, the kid called out again for his beers at which point the beer man had no choice but to comply.

He took the kids ID and astonishingly rewarded him with two beers, one for him and one for the girl next to him (to this point we hadn’t noticed the girl as we were too in shock that the ID was good).

Clearly satisfied the kid began to enjoy his beer…but I noticed in the top of the 8th that he still hadn’t finished it.  He was stretching out the last few sips.

Overall, the 15 year old beer saving drunkard was confusing, impressive, and lame all at the same time.  An enigma such as this could only be found in the skyward confines of the 500 level.”

Congratulations Underage Drinker for being named fan of the game, and thanks very much to the 500 Level Fan scouts. same sites expired domains . expiration of domains . apache web server website offline . link checker

500 Level Fan(s) of the Game – May 31st, 2010

An incredible sight at the Roger’s Centre last night.  It had nothing to do with Toronto’s 3-2 win over the first place Rays.  It had nothing to do with the disappointing drop in attendance, down to 11.335 despite two 30-win teams going at it. 

It had everything to do with the return of two 500 level legends:

On the left is WWE legend and Hall-of-Famer Bobby Backlund.  On the right is none other than children’s animated TV star Pingu the Penguin.  To fully understand what this means, please join me on a flashback, a trip down memory road.

2002 – My best friend and I begin regularly attending Jays games in the 500 level.  As fresh graduates of York University and still unemployed, the summer of ’02 becomes a summer of freedom.  Sitting in the upper deck and enjoying Hinske, Wells, and Halladay, we notice two striking men a few rows ahead of us in section 524A.  The man on the aisle bears a striking resemblance to Bobby Backlund.  The man in seat 2 looks an awful lot like a penguin.  We continued to see them throughout the summer, each time noticing how the penguin-man, now referred to as Pingu, was silent, and Bobby was chirpy.  He also had tape holding his glasses together.

2004 – After a summer spent out of Toronto, we both return to the city.  Upon re-acclimatizing ourselves to the 500 Level, we are both shocked and excited to see that Pingu and Bobby are still there, still sitting in section 524A.

2005 – Bobby and Pingu remain fixtures in the upper deck, though their behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic.  Bobby continually tries to take photos of children with their parents, and tries game-in and game-out to bet other fans bottles of diet cokes that an opposing player will hit a home run.  Pingu is still quiet.

2006 – Bobby and Pingu vanish.

Fast forward to last night.  We are both back to see the battle of the Jays and Rays, keeping one eye on the game and one eye on the fans.  Section 525 proved fruitless.  Just a bunch of young girls with their boyfriends, and a few rows of older fans.  Nothing crazy.  Section 522 also proves uneventful.  Though the Jays, and Morrow especially, are dominating on the field, the upper deck is strangely quiet.

At this point I turn to my friend: “I wish Bobby and Pingu were still around.  I wonder what happened to them?”

His reply?  “They’re probably dead.”

However, upon moving into section 519, the unthinkable:

Bobby (left) and Pingu (right) - Upper Deck Legends


Yes!  The legends have returned! 

While the rest of the ball game was exciting on the field, it did little to match the excitement felt in the 500 Level.  The behaviour of the pair was even more erratic than in years past.  Bobby still had the taped glasses, and still had the faded white t-shirt, but he had found new ways to annoy those around him.  In the 4th inning he started rubbing the head of the fan in front of him.  For every at-bat by Overbay he would yell “You are a moron!”, and then yelled “Overpaid!”  Unfortunately for us around him, he continued to yell “Overpaid” for 25 minutes after Lyle’s at-bat.

In the 5th inning Pingu fell asleep.  Despite Bobby’s best efforts to wake him (a constant barrage of nonsensical chatter, and the occasional slap to the head), he remained out for several batters.  He was quieter than ever until the 8th, when he unleashed a profanity filled tirade at Lyle Overbay.

It was incredible.  We were a few years older, but despite Pingu’s increased girth and rounder belly, they looked the same.  It was like we entered a time warp and it was 2002 all over again.

The Jays won to inch closer to the division lead, but this game will always be remembered for a return to my younger days.  Congratulations Bobby and Pingu, 500 Level Fans of the Game! same sites expired domains expiration of domains apache web server . website offline link checker .

Classic Quotes from the Upper Deck – May 31st, 2010

Here are a few classic comments from the fans in the upper deck of Toronto’s 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on Monday night:

  • “It’s been a very physical game thus far.” – man to nobody in particular in Section 519, referring to game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final while listening to a walkman.  I don’t know about anybody else, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  If you want to watch/listen to/follow along with the hockey game so badly, why in the hell would you come to the Blue Jays game?  He wasn’t paying attention to the game at all, but just sat there transfixed by his yellow Sony walkman with 1988 headphones.  Why bother?
  • “Mmmm…” – same hockey follower after pulling out a processed cheese and Wonderbread sandwich from a Blue Jays souvenir shop plastic bag.  Really, really, really gross….
  • “They should score that umpire’s assistance!  Not a hit!  COME ON!!!” – Bobby (see FLF of the game), after Sean Rodriguez broke up Brandon Morrow’s no-hitter with an infield single.
  • “F#$% you Overbay!  You’re playing F#$%ing kids ball you moron!” – Pingu (see FLF of the game), after Overbay grounded out to second in the 8th.
  • “You’re dead now Overbay!  You’re in deep trouble!  I’m gonna be on your ass the rest of the season!” – Pingu, minutes later.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there was absolutely no chance that Overbay would ever be able to hear his heckles from section 519. 

As always, if you have can provide any overheard quotes from the upper deck at a Jays game, feel free to post them in the comment box below or send them to 500 Level Fan.

I received this link from our friend at “1 Blue Jays Way” about a 500 level experience a few years back. same sites expired domains . expiration of domains . apache web server website offline link checker

Hell Freezes Over

Baseball is a crazy game.  Sometimes things happen that are so bizarre, so extreme, and so crazy that all you can do is simply shake your head.  Unlike other sports, when things happen in baseball we still feel shock or amazement.  Though players try to be innovative in basketball and hockey, fans have pretty much seen every variation of slam dunk and shootout shot that can be seen.

But baseball is different – the unexpected routinely takes place.  Look at what has happened so far this year, only about 1/3 of the way into the season:

– Dallas Braden, with a career record of 14-21, 4.68 ERA coming into this season, throws a perfect game

– Coming into this season there had been 18 perfect games in 130 years, or an average of one every 7+ years.  Three weeks after Braden’s gem, Roy Halladay does it again for the Phillies

– The Blue Jays hit six solo home runs in a game, accouting for all six of their runs, the first time that had happened in 90 years

– Angel Pagan starts a triple play and hits an inside-the-park home run in the same game

– A-Rod nearly decapitates Cleveland pitcher David Huff on a line drive, leaving the pitcher unconscious on the mound for several minutes yet without any serious injury

– Kendry Morales breaks his leg after jumping on home plate to celebrate a walk-off grand slam, potentially injuring himself for the rest of the season

But of all the things that have happened this year, the strangest (for me, BY FAR the strangest) happened this afternoon.  Bottom of the third in Houston, with nobody out and nobody on, this man hit a home run for the Astros:

That’s right – Gustavo Chacin went deep for the ‘Stros this afternoon.

Again – Chacin hit a bomb. 

The Gustavo Chacin.  The same Gus who pitched for the Blue Jays from 2004 – 2007.  The same Chacin who finished 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting in ’05, after going 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA for Toronto.  The very same Mr. Chacin who became “famous” for a Chacin cologne night in Toronto in 2006.

And the very same Gustavo Chacin who was charged with driving under the influence in 2007, released in 2008, and bounced around the minor leagues for the last few years. 

I never thought I would ever lay eyes on the hairless wonder again, but to my surprise Houston signed him, and on May 7th he made his NL debut, over three years removed from his last major league appearance.  Including today he has made six appearances, with no decisions and a surprisingly effective 1.86 ERA.

But if there was ever to be a player this season to hit a home run, to have more home runs than players like Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Ken Griffey Jr, Grady Sizemore, and Elvis Andrus combined?  I would have bet everything I possibly could have that it would NOT be a man with zero career hits.

I would have guaranteed that it would not be Gustavo Chacin.

But that is why this game is so great.  Because sometimes hell does freeze over. same sites . expired domains expiration of domains . apache web server website offline link checker .

Three Things From Week Eight

The Jays continued their hot start to the season in week seven (May 24 – May 30).  After dropping two of three to the Angels in Anaheim to start the week, they rebounded by sweeping away the horrendous Orioles back home, a good way to start off a nine game homestand.  The Blue Jays need all of those wins because the going is about to get a lot tougher.  The next 24 consecutive games are all against teams that are over .500, giving the club a great chance to prove that they are indeed for real this season.

Here are three things that came out of week seven:

1. Jose Bautista – Home Run Hitting Machine

While many baseball pundits are looking at Shaun Marcum, Vernon Wells, and Ricky Romero as the biggest reasons why the Jays are overachieving to this point, the biggest overachiever of all is still flying under the radar.  After Sunday’s game, Bautista has 16 home runs, giving him the outright major league lead and tying his career high.  He is showing no signs of slowing down either, if the last week is any indication.  Bautista dominated the Angels and Orioles pitching staffs, hitting .333 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, and an incredible .565 OBP by drawing 8 walks.

For those who think that his power pace is unsustainable, chew on this: this surge actually began at the end of last season.  Bautista slugged 10 HR in September/October of 2009, giving him 26 from that point on.  Those 26 HR are more than anybody in baseball over that stretch – including names such as Pujols, Rodriguez, Howard, and Braun.  If he even keeps up a portion of his current pace his next stop could very well be Anaheim for the All Star game in July.

2. AL East is Insane

Everybody knew coming into the season that the AL East was the toughest division in baseball, but this is getting ridiculous.  Eight teams across the entire league have 29 or more victories on the season, and four of them reside in the AL East.  With a record of 30-22, Toronto would be in first place in the AL West, NL East, or NL West, but instead find themselves in third, only one game ahead of Boston who are fourth.  With nine straight games on the schedule against Tampa and the Yankees beginning on Monday, the Jays will be getting their first true test against the elite teams of the division.  They could be in first or fourth when that stretch is done.

But regardless of how they fare, Toronto has a legitimate argument to make for some kind of realignment or playoff system modification.  If the season ended today, Toronto would finish sixth overall in the entire MLB yet miss the postseason.  Texas, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – all with poorer records than Toronto – would qualify.  One look at scenarios like that makes it very difficult not to cry foul.  Maybe adding two additional wild card slots would help take away some of unfairness in the current system.  But the chances of that happening? I would put it at 0%.

3. Perfection from the Doc

Halladay celebrates his perfect game (photo from

Technically this is cheating since he no longer plays for the Jays and this is a Blue Jays only feature.  But Roy Halladay is still beloved in these parts, and his perfect game on Saturday will be celebrated all season long by Jays fans.  The way that he mowed down the Marlins in order (11 K’s, 115 pitches) looked effortless, and seeing him smile at the end of the game brought back fond memories of his time here in Toronto.  What made the game even more impressive was that it came after his worst start of the season, an 8-3 shellacking by the Red Sox.

When Halladay came within one out of a no-hitter in his second career start back in 1998, it looked like it was only a matter of time until he threw one.  The only thing surprising about his perfect game was that it took him 12 years to finally get it.  Unfortunately because of the G-20 summit forcing the Jays to move their series against the Phillies down to Philadelphia, Toronto fans won’t get a chance to truly show him our appreciation both for his time spent here and for his gem.  Never-the-less, congratulations Doc!

Blast From the Past – Junior Felix

Junior Felix knew how to make a great first impression.  The Cat made his major league debut for Toronto on May 4th, 1989 and promptly swatted the first pitch he saw from Kirk McCaskill into the seats for a home run, becoming the 27th AL player to homer on his first at-bat, and only the 10th to do it on the first pitch.  He made news later that season by belting an inside-the-park grand slam at Fenway Park, leading the Jays to victory.  Yes, the Cat was taking Toronto by storm, and was even featured in one of the greatest films ever produced – Sky High: The Story of the 1989 Toronto Blue Jays.

When he made his debut in May of 1989, the Blue Jays were in the midst of a dismal start to the season, sitting 10-18 in 6th place in the AL East.  While many people point the finger at the hiring of Cito Gaston to replace Jimy Williams at the reason for the turnaround that season, don’t underestimate Mr. Felix.  His speed and versatility allowed Toronto to bat him lead-off or ninth, giving Cito numerous lineup options.  Sure the Jays had Whitt, McGriff, Fernandez, Gruber, Moseby, and Bell, but Junior Felix became the sparkplug that made the team run.  After his call-up to the bigs, the Jays finished the season on a 79-55 run to claim the division.

After a disappointing five game ALCS loss to Oakland, Felix was back in 1990.  He hit .263 with 15 HR, 65 RBI, and 13 SB and wrote his name further into Blue Jay folk lore by catching the final out of Dave Stieb’s no-hitter in September.  Felix the Cat t-shirts were selling like hot cakes in Toronto.  I was only 11 years old so my memory is foggy, but I’m sure that women were throwing themselves at him wherever he went.   It looked like there was a real chance that Junior might become a mainstay in the Blue Jay lineup for years to come. Continue reading Blast From the Past – Junior Felix

Battle of the GM’s – Draft Edition

How will Anthopoulos fare on June 7th?

Believe it or not, occasionally 500 Level Fan actually spends some time doing research, collecting data, organizing the results, and forming an educated and informed opinion.  With the MLB first year player draft coming up on June 7th, this is one of those times.  This year’s draft will be the first for the Jays under the direction of new GM Alex Anthopoulos.  AA spent much of the offseason revamping the scouting department, beefing it up in hopes of increasing Toronto’s ability to find good, young, and cheap players.  The first year draft will be his first real opportunity to use the knowledge he has acquired from this initiative.

So with the draft on the horizon, I thought it would be interesting to look at how Anthopoulos’ predecessors fared in the draft while they were at the helm of the Jays.  Now, even a small child can tell you that the draft in any sport is a crapshoot, but baseball is the biggest shot in the dark of them all.  The sheer volume of players, rounds, and minor league teams and levels, make baseball drafting an inexact science at best, and a blind dart shot at worst.  But that being said, today I am armed with perfect 20/20 hindsight, giving me the ability to see where the Jays messed up and where they didn’t.

To make the study a bit easier, I focused only on Toronto’s first round selections, ignoring subsequent rounds and supplemental draft picks.  I placed each first round pick into one of four categories:

Good: These are players who were successful Toronto Blue Jays.  Not necessarily All-Stars, but good, solid contributors while wearing the blue bird on the uniform.

Decent: These are players who ended up being fairly successul major league players, but not for the Jays.  Technically the draft pick was good, just not for the right team.

Bad: These are players who made the Blue Jays and either were not very good, or outright sucked.

Ugly: First round draft picks who never even made the major leagues.

For every pick that was not classified as “good”, I looked at other players the Jays could have selected in their draft slot but passed over.  Of course, as I said, I have 20/20 hindsight, so I know what players ended up being All-Stars or Hall-of-Famers.  But this is supposed to be fun, so I took creative license.

The Blue Jays have had three general managers before AA, and while we can effectively close the book as to how Pat Gillick and Gord Ash fared in their drafts, many of the players JP Ricciardi selected are still working their way up through the minors.  But I think we can get a pretty good idea whether they’ll make it or not.  Enough said – on with the game.

Contestant 1 – Pat Gillick

Tenure: GM from 1977 – 1994, 18 drafts with 18 first round selections

Drafting Results

Good – Lloyd Moseby (2nd overall, 1978), John Cerutti (21st, 1981), Ed Sprague (25th, 1988), Shawn Green (16th, 1991), Shannon Stewart (19th, 1992)

Decent – Steve Karsay (22nd, 1990 – was traded for Rickey Henderson), Chris Carpenter (15th, 1993)

Bad – Matt Williams (pitcher, 5th, 1981), Matt Stark (9th, 1983), Alex Sanchez (17th, 1987), Eddie Zosky (19th, 1989), Kevin Witt (28th, 1994)

Ugly – Tom Goffena (25th, 1977), Jay Schroeder (3rd, 1979), Gary Harris (2nd, 1980), Augie Schmidt (2nd, 1982), Greg David (25th, 1985), Earl Sanders (26th, 1986)

Notable Players passed over – Ozzie Smith, Tim Raines, Tony Gwynn, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Dave Justice, John Smoltz, Mo Vaughn Continue reading Battle of the GM’s – Draft Edition

Revenge of the Ex: F@#* You Eric Hinske

There are a lot of things that people hate in life, things that might not seem terrible on the surface but have the ability to nag at you, eat at you, annoy you to the core.  Some examples include biting into an apple and finding it to be soft, leaving a game early and missing a miracle comeback by the home team, parking in a no-parking space for less than 60 seconds yet still getting a parking ticket.  But of all of those annoyances, nothing angers a guy more than when he bumps into an ex and finds that she is happier without you, much happier than she ever was with you.  We take it as a personal insult, as a commentary on ourselves.  It is not good.

An extension of the same thing happens in sports, when a player leaves your hometown team and instantly explodes into a successful player (or even a superstar) elsewhere.  Toronto sports fans know this feeling all too well, not just in baseball but in all sports.  Conor Casey played two matches for Toronto FC, was kicked out the door to Colorado, then promptly exploded to score 16 goals in 24 matches to finish second in the goal scoring race behind Jeff Cunningham, another former TFC player.  Ask a Leafs fan about Tuuka Rask, Alyn McCauley, or Brad Boyes and you’ll probably hear a string of curse words directed at upper management.  The Jays have a few that have stung over the years as well, most notably 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter.

But of all the players to leave, there is nobody that angers me more than Eric F-ing Hinske.  You remember Hinske don’t you?  He was the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner for the Blue Jays.  After a season that saw him hit .279 with 24 HR, 84 RBI, and 13 SB Hinske was the toast of the town, expected to team up with Delgado, Wells, Stewart, and Alex Gonzalez to lead the Jays back to the playoffs.  But a funny thing happened to Hinske after he won the ROY.  He got fat.  He got lazy.  He forgot how to play defense.  He no longer could hit, either for average or for power.  He was so badly out of shape that Toronto sports writers wondered aloud whether or not he actually ate his rookie of the year trophy.  The Jays finally tired of him and dumped him on Boston – a division rival no less! – in 2006.

We all know the story from there.  Hinske swallowed a horseshoe and became the luckiest player in baseball, maybe even in the history of sports.  With very little to offer, Eric went to three consecutive World Series, winning two rings.  His luck is chronicled in an article I wrote for TOSports.

This offseason Hinske signed with Atlanta.  The Braves were expected to possibly contend this year, but playing in the same division as Utley, Howard, Rollins, Werth, Halladay and the rest of the Phillies, it looked like the Wild Card might be their only chance to reach the postseason.  There was little chance that Hinkse was going to come back to haunt me yet again.  Until this morning…

Playing in a competitive fantasy baseball league, I found myself slowly but surely falling down the standings, from first to second to third.  Needing an offensive boost, I took a look at the free agents available in the pool and sorted by RBI’s.  To my shock, suprise, and horror, Eric Hinske floated towards the top.  With only 68 AB on the season, Hinske has 20 RBI – a pace that would put him over 145 RBI if projected to a full season.  He also has 4 HR and is hitting .368 with an out-of-this-world 1.127 OPS.  How is this possible?

Toronto is playing excellent baseball but has a serious lack of depth that might become a large issue the deeper the season becomes.  Their current bench (catchers excluded) of John McDonald, Jeremy Reed, and Mike McCoy have COMBINED for 92 AB and produced a .272 avg, 0 HR, and 5 RBI.  In other words three players have combined to a produce a fraction of what Hinske has produced on his own.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not a plea to Alex Anthopoulos to re-acquire Eric.  There is no way that we want Hinske back in town.  There is no way that we want him playing, or trying to play, 3B or OF for the 2010 Jays.  But he is a living, walking, and breathing vision of everything a Blue Jays fan does want – a productive bench, playoff appearances, and world series rings.

And he doesn’t deserve any of it.

So F you Eric Hinske.  F You. my site whois same sites expired domains . expiration of domains apache web server . link checker .