All posts by 500LevelFan

Early MLB Surprises – Player Edition

Continued from below, here is part two of 2010’s early season surprises – player edition.

Carlos Ruiz – Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies

Ruiz currently sits 4th overall in the major leagues with a .354 average, leading the Phillies to a first place perch in the NL East.  Carlos is a career .246 hitter, and with well over 1,000 career AB it seems outrageous to think that he can keep this start going.  Enjoy it while it lasts Phillies fans.

Alex Gonzalez – Shortstop, Toronto Blue Jays

Signed primarily for his defense, Gonzalez has been lights out power-wise for the Jays in the early part of 2010.  His 10 HR are tied for the second-most in baseball and give him two more than he had in all of 2009 (391 AB).  While he has shown traces of power in his career before (23 bombs in 2004 with Florida), he is knocking balls over the fence with much more frequency than anybody could have imagined (1 HR per 13.7 AB this year, 1 HR per 38.5 AB the rest of his career).

Continue reading Early MLB Surprises – Player Edition

Early MLB Surprises – Team Edition

With 480 games in the books, the 2010 MLB season is almost 20% complete.  Although sample sizes are still relatively small, they’re not too small to start talking about early season surprises.  Below are six teams that have surprised through the first month and change of the season, either in positive or negative fashion.  Stay tuned later for seven surprising players.

Toronto Blue Jays (19-15, 3rd AL East)

Not much was expected of the Jays this year.  Losing Roy Halladay in the offseason left them with a gigantic, irreplaceable hole in the starting rotation.  They entered the season with what appeared to be glaring weaknesses at 3B, SS, 1B, C, and closer, had five inexperienced starters, and employed a CF who is widely regarded to have the worst contract in baseball.  Fifth place was a lock.  But through 34 games the Jays have won more than they’ve lost, currently sit ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the division, and are playing with a swagger and confidence that was non-existent last season.  Alex Gonzalez, John Buck, and Kevin Gregg have performed much better than expected, and the rotation has been rock solid.  As for that overpaid outfielder? Vernon Wells is playing like it’s 2006, and that’s a good thing!

Los Angeles Angels (15-19, 3rd AL West)

Winners of five of the past six AL West titles, including three straight, the Angels were expected to have a much tougher fight this year after losing Vladimir Guerrero, John Lackey, and Chone Figgins.  Still – this start is much worse than expected.  Baseball’s 4th lowest OBP and 6th highest ERA can be held responsible. Continue reading Early MLB Surprises – Team Edition

Three Things From Week Five

The beat goes on for the Jays.  After a 6-1 week five (May 3 – May 9) Toronto finds itself in third place in the AL East, 19-14 overall and 2.5 games ahead of the Red Sox.  With a three game set ready to begin tonight in Fenway, the Jays have a chance to extend that lead and keep Boston’s early season misery going. 

Here are three things about the Jays from week five: Continue reading Three Things From Week Five

Three Things From Week Four

Taking three of four from Oakland at the end of week four (April 26 – May 2)  salvaged a rough start for the Jays, and left them at an even .500 through 26 games.   The week started with three very competitive games against Boston that were at once encouraging and frustrating.  Encouraging because the Jays proved that they could play with elite competition like the Red Sox, but frustrating because they know they can not consistently beat them.  However, the fact that this ballclub, who was predicted to finish dead last, has won an equal number of games as they’ve lost, is a good sign.

Here are three noteworthy things from the week that was for the Jays: Continue reading Three Things From Week Four

Classic Quotes from the Upper Deck – April 29th, 2010

The Jays beat Oakland 6-3 on Thursday in front of 10,721 fans.  One of those fans was a beefy, mid’20’s redhead sitting near us in the 500 level in pure silence until unleashing three profanity-laced, high-volume masterpieces in front of men, women, and children in three consecutive innings.  To the surprise of everybody, no warnings were issued by security or by the section 524A usher.  Here are the top quotes from the game, all by the same guy:

  • “Now I’m right in the f*#@ing action, right near the f*#@ing Blue Jays” – beefy redhead, 5th inning, after moving up from 16 to row 12.
  • “F*#@ you Kouzmanoff!  You got nothin’!” – beefy redhead, 6th inning, during an at bat by A’s 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff.
  • “F*$# California!  F*#@ California!” – beefy redhead, 7th inning, no idea what that means.  After yelling that, he promptly stood up and left the game.

Feel free to post any comments you have overheard in the 500 level in the comment area below. same sites . expired domains . expiration of domains . web archive . website offline link checker .

500 Level Fan of the Game – April 29th, 2010

They say that a full moon brings out the crazy in some people, and it appears that an open Rogers Centre roof might have the same effect.  On a beautiful night in Toronto, the 500 level was full of characters making it very difficult to choose a fan of the game.  And you know when one fan gets so blind drunk that he passes out in the 6th inning, and another decides to shout three profanity-laced heckles from out of nowhere (see They Said It), it will take a very special person to knock them off.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the 500 Level Fan of the Game for Thursday April 29th against Oakland – the Hitting Coach. Continue reading 500 Level Fan of the Game – April 29th, 2010

500 Level Fan of the Game – April 27th, 2010

Despite Shaun Marcum’s best efforts, the Blue Jays dropped a tough one last night to Boston 2-1.  A bases loaded walk by Kevin Gregg in the eighth inning brought in the winning run to the disgust of most in attendance – especially one fan.  From Section 518, Row 8, I proudly present the inaugural 500 Level Fan of the Game: Mr. Damn It! Continue reading 500 Level Fan of the Game – April 27th, 2010

Three Things From Week Three

The third week of the 2010 schedule was an up-and-down affair for the Blue Jays. They had their first taste of tough AL East competition with a three game set in Tampa, and finished the week with a 3-3 record. But shoddy bullpen work played a part in all three losses, leaving a black mark on what could have been a stellar week. Starting pitching continues to be a strong spot for Toronto, but poor hitting is putting heavy pressure on the bullpen, which, aside from Kevin Gregg, is crumbling. Continue reading Three Things From Week Three

Three Things From Week Two

*Originally written April 19th

Nobody expected a first place finish by Toronto this year, so the fact that they fell a bit in week two is not surprising. What is surprising is that the fall came at home. Toronto was miserable on the road in 2009 with a 31-50 record – third worst in the American League. But their home record of 44-37 was very respectable, especially considering the division where the Jays reside. same sites Unfortunately that hasn’t carried forward into 2010, with Toronto dropping five of their first seven home games, including a three game sweep at the hands of the Angels. The struggles at home are a big story from the second week of the season. Here are three more: Continue reading Three Things From Week Two

Three Things From Week One

*originally written April 12th

Who would have thought it was possible? After one week the Toronto Blue Jays are 5 – 1 and sitting in first place in both the American League East, and the entire MLB. For a team that was picked by virtually all baseball experts to finish dead last, Toronto couldn’t have asked for a better start. After a tough loss on opening day, the Jays have rebounded for five straight wins heading into the home opener tonight.

As good as it’s been, it’s important not to get too caught up in the start. Less than 4% of the season has been played, and not even the most optimistic Jays fan believes Toronto can sustain this pace. The Jays are still picked by most, if not all, observers to finish in the basement come October. But the great start has allowed the fans to focus on the good things about this team, and has even started building some excitement in the city. Continue reading Three Things From Week One