Introducing "Good Guy" Scott Feldman

Stacey May Fowles
August 03 2016 09:42AM

Scott Feldman
Photo credit: Trey Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Trade deadline day felt a great deal like watching overwrought undergrads turn in their final papers with only a few minutes to spare. For a long time there was mostly frustrating radio silence, the only sound the constant click of our Twitter feeds being endlessly refreshed. Then, all of a sudden, there was a dizzying frenzy of activity, making it hard to keep track of the overall who and what of the day’s acquisitions.

When the smoke cleared, I was really hungry, and the Jays were decidedly better off than they were the day before. Though for a moment it looked like we’d come up empty, those who hoped for a few reasonably good arms (with not too much handed over in return) got their wish. We said a solemn goodbye to Hutchinson and Chavez, and took stock of our new additions.

Read Article | Comments

Fowles: The Bautista-shaped void

Stacey May Fowles
July 26 2016 02:36PM

Jose Bautista
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

In a year that could very well be Bautista’s last as a Toronto Blue Jay, it’s interesting that a rather random injury gave us a brief sampling of what life might be like without him.

Bautista’s “Turf Toe”—a bizarre ailment we all frantically Googled around the twentieth of June—provided a hearty taste of the ominously pending and mostly unthinkable Bautista-void that could be upon us. What was hoped to be fifteen days on the disabled list ran well over a month, a large enough sample size to suggest that things were, and if necessary, will be, completely fine.

One can only conclude that if Bautista goes elsewhere in 2017, it will certainly suck, but we won’t be destroyed, and we’ll still be contenders.

Read Article | Comments

Fowles: The Narrative of the First Half

Stacey May Fowles
July 12 2016 09:32AM

Josh Donaldson
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, The All-Star break. A time for a deep reflection on what has happened, and a time for quiet contemplation of what’s to come. I may irrationally dislike the mid-summer classic as much as Stoeten hates “Hooked on a Feeling” (just give them all some much-needed time off with their families instead of selfie bats and new caps) but I do enjoy the way it, like an intermission at a theatrical performance, neatly splits the season in half. I also love how it allows us some much-needed room to take a deep breath, make actual evening plans with our loved ones, and look leisurely at the story of the baseball season thus far.

In the past I’ve heard people somewhat arbitrarily say, “as long as we’re at .500 by the break we’ll be okay.” Well, we’re a solid sixty points beyond that, and sitting two games out of first and in a second wildcard spot. Not too shabby at all. As Stroman, Tulo, Travis, and Goins hang out in Cabo to get some well-deserved R&R, and Donaldson, Encarnacion, Sanchez, and “Captain Canada” Saunders make their way to San Diego to represent the Blue Jays, the team’s current record certainly gives us something to be optimistic about.

As reported by Sportsnet, the Jays have had their best first half since 1993, despite the ongoing battle that rages at the top of tight AL East standings. The Red Sox and the Orioles are going to continue to be a problem, but now it feels like a problem we can actually face. After a rocky, somewhat uncertain start to the season, with a recent seven game winning streak things seem to be humming right along, even with the loss of Jose Bautista to a bad toe. I recall there was a time last year where the Jays could be tied, or even behind, and it would actually feel like they were winning, and whispers of that same feeling are now all coming back to me.

Yes, we have a real chance to see another October.

Read Article | Comments

Fowles: Great Moments in Blue Jays Weather History

Stacey May Fowles
June 29 2016 02:32PM

Coors Field hail storm
Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason, I love the relationship between weather and major league baseball. I love listening to the announcers chat about the temperature, the breeze and the sunshine, or share conjecture about what the overhead clouds might bring. I love the community feeling of a rain delay, and the inconsequential uncertainty as together we wait it out, hoping for a first pitch to happen soon.

While most would agree that a sunny 24 degrees is the best environment to take in a ballgame, sometimes the weather gods just don’t want to comply. Fans are forced to huddle together in the freezing cold, sweat it out in the hot sun, or hide away on the concourse waiting out a storm. (Or you know, be completely terrified by whatever this is. ) I’ve borrowed another fan’s sunblock during an unanticipated scorcher in Dunedin, and sorrowfully bought a Yankees sweatshirt during a frigid New York opening day. I’ve waited out three hours of pouring rain at Fenway, and a few more at Wrigley while soaked to my skin in my squishy, damp shoes. And though it can all be a little annoying, the fan camaraderie of inclement weather is actually a magical thing.  

Read Article | Comments

Fowles: Marcus Stroman and Poisonous Fan Entitlement

Stacey May Fowles
June 21 2016 01:16PM

Marcus Stroman
Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Lately, while trying to get myself out of the den of freelancing and into the world of daily exercise, I’ve started listening to the Jays Talk podcast the day after games. Believe it or not, I had never actually listened to the show before, but I certainly knew its glorious reputation. The show’s premise appears to be that primarily cranky and put off baseball fans call in, and a very patient (and sometimes not so patient) Mike Wilner handles their commentary to the best of his ability. It can certainly be entertaining and informative, but a great deal of the time the show has a cringe-worthy, anxiety-inducing quality about it—sort of like watching a comedic stand up performance you’re pretty sure at some point is going to offend you.

It’s almost guaranteed that regardless of whether or not the Jays win or lose on any given game day, someone is going to call in to Jays Talk to complain about the way the team is playing or being managed. There’s always an available point of contention, a thing to be furious about, and lately Marcus Stroman’s difficulties have taken up a lot of airtime. His recent bad starts have been dissected, with possible solutions offered, some joining the chorus of voices that think he should be sent down. I’m not too put off by most of the commentary, regardless of whether or not I agree or disagree, but one caller in particular had me thinking a great deal about how we publicly discuss players’ bad patches, foibles, and fates.

“He’s a bum,” the caller said. (For what it’s worth, Wilner thought the comment was as ridiculous as I did.)

Read Article | Comments