Week Six (May 10 – May 16) began on a sour note with the Jays self-destructing in back-to-back losses at Fenway Park, continuing their struggles against baseball’s better teams. But the week ended with a flurry of victories: a sweep-avoiding win on Wednesday over the Red Sox followed by a sweep of the AL West leading Texas Rangers back in Toronto.
The Jays now sit at 23-16, 3rd in the AL East and only two games behind the defending world series champion Yankees for the Wild card. It’s still early, but it’s hard not to be excited by this young team.
A wild game at the Rogers Centre last night. The Jays came back from 3-0 and 9-3 deficits to win 16-10 in a crazy slugfest. Hill, Lind, Snider, Wells, and Overbay all went deep, sending the attendance of 16,020 into a frenzy. Well, most of the crowd of 16,020 into a frenzy. One man in section 519, row 2 was as composed as they get. Nothing in the game seemed to faze him. In fact, he didn’t utter a single word the entire game, no boos, no cheers, no applause. Nothing. But because of his appearance and his actions, for the first time a silent fan will win FLF of the game. Ladies and gentleman, the 500 Level Fan of the Game for Friday May 14th – the Moustache Masturbator!
Right away, at first glance, it was obvious that this was a MAN. Not just a man, but a MAN, an all-caps MAN. I had to pass by him on the way to my seat, and as he stood to let me through (in pure silence of course), his enormously thick, plush, and well manicured moustache stood out, looking me right in the eye. It was all I could do to not flinch and fall from the balcony of the 500’s. I have seen moustaches before. Hell, I’ve even grown moustaches before. But this, this was something special.
It wasn’t until the 4th inning that we noticed the rest of his attire. He was clad in a Canadian Tuxedo, which was unfortunately covered by a heavy winter coat. But if you were able to stay focused, glimpses of the Tuxedo were there. For those of you who don’t know what a Canadian Tuxedo is, let me explain. It is an outfit of full denim, from the shirt to the pants. If the denim is the same wash, fade, and colour, it adds to the mystique. The Moustache Masturbator wore medium blue jeans with a medium blue denim button up, fully tucked. Again, what a MAN!
In addition to his outfit, the Moustache Masturbator was listening to the game on headphones, on what appeared to be one of the first generation Discman’s, one equipped with an AM/FM tuner. So intent was he that nothing interfere with the radio, that he had duct taped the entire CD portion of the Discman, lest it accidentally open and he miss a Jerry Howarth description of a pop out.
But his true greatness was not in his attire, his accessories, or his moustache. His true greatness was the way he played with his moustache. Every time one of us took a look to our left he had his fingers in his ‘stache. He was grooming it, picking it, stroking it, twisting it, rubbing it, and loving it. I’m sure at one point he licked it and sucked on it. I bet he would have made love to it if he could have. And it wasn’t just once or twice during the game. It was once or twice every three minutes. For that kind of performance there was really only one choice for the fan of the game award. Congratulations Moustache Masturbator!
Honourable Mention goes to the extremely angry man beside the masturbator who also spoke nary a word, and surprised all around him by pulling out a snack in the 4th inning. But not chips, popcorn, peanuts, or a sandwich. No, he pulled from his pocket an entire chicken breast wrapped in cellophane, and proceeded to wolf it down, with an occassional lick. Gross.
Here are a few overhead gems from Friday nights Blue Jays 16-10 victory over the Texas Rangers:
“One ticket for the NON-ALCOHOL SECTION” – 55+ year old man, pre-game, while looking angrily at the young drunkards around him
“Does Toronto have any Cubans?” – idiot in Section 519, Row 1
“I don’t really like baseball. I’m not even a fan. I just like to boo. BOO!” – idiot in Section 519, Row 1
“We don’t need the Addams Family! We need a 3-run home run!” – Acien, a very drunk man in Row 1, during a Travis Snider at bat in the bottom of the 3rd while the Addams family theme song was playing between pitches. Next pitch? 3-run home run
“We’ve gotta be back there, where the tattooed broads are!” – Acien, 30 seconds later, basking in the glory of his called Snider home run
Who is Mike Maksudian? Unless you were a die-hard fan in the early ‘90’s you probably have no idea. Maksudian was a very, very, very spare part on the Jays first World Series winning team in 1992.
Selected by the Jays in the 1989 minor league draft, he actually enjoyed a fairly productive minor league career in the Blue Jays system. In three seasons with Knoxville and Syracuse the catcher put together a .282 average with 27 HR, enough to earn a spot as a September call-up to Toronto. With Pat Borders, Randy Knorr, and Greg Myers already on the roster, Maksudian was delegated to bullpen catcher, and made his major league debut at 1B on September 2.
He left the Jays on October 26, 1992, claimed on waivers by the Twins. His career stat line with Toronto was not quite enough to make Toronto’s Level of Excellence: .000 AVG / 0 HR / 0 RBI / 0 R / 0 SB / 3 AB. Yet, despite those numbers, Mike Maksudian earned a World Series ring for his role in 1992. Continue reading Blast From the Past – Mike Maksudian→
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).
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→
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.
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.
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.
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→