Fowles: On J.A. Happ and the chance to rewrite the ugly memories of his first Blue Jays stint

Stacey May Fowles
May 16 2016 02:55PM

J.A. Happ
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On May 7 th , 2013, I had some pretty memorable realizations about baseball. About its risk, its fallibility, and its humanity. About what matters, and what doesn’t. Most of you will remember that was the day that pitcher JA Happ, during his first run as a Toronto Blue Jay, took a line drive from Desmond Jennings to the head, and suffered a contusion and a laceration to his left ear as a result.

I’ll admit that, while watching Happ’s recent success, I’ve been thinking a great deal about that three-year-old game. That’s not because I’m a sadist or a masochist, but because for whatever reason it speaks to me about how our personal relationships with players and teams ebb and flow over time. It was a highly emotional, painful, and communal moment in context, and now it exists as a meaningful past detail in the rise of a pitcher’s career.

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Fowles: Biagini and the Stupidity of the Scrum

Stacey May Fowles
May 05 2016 12:54PM

Joe Biagini
Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Between the joyous glee of not one but two unlikely Jays walk-offs (thanks, Justin Smoak and Russell Martin), Joe Biagini gave an interview . The Rule 5 right-hander had come off the mound with his first career win, his demeanor suggesting that having microphones suddenly thrust in his face was not something he was all that accustomed to.

Tuesday’s post game interview was pretty standard, though Biagini’s relentlessly comedic responses certainly were not. Jesse Chavez and Josh Thole even hung around to watch the proceedings , rightfully predicting that the pitcher was going to have a little fun with reporters. (This is not the first time his interview shenanigans have been documented on film , meaning he’s well on his way to becoming an official MLB “character.”)

Low key, dry and droll, Biagini makes a joke about not having a speech prepared. He makes a joke about the Toronto Raptors taking the attention away from baseball. He makes a joke about scratching himself, and the smell of Smoak’s bat on the ball. In case there is any potential misunderstanding or misrepresentation, he tells the room he’s kidding multiple times. The four minute and fifty-two second video is actually a kind of delightful farce, one that makes you at the very least amused to call Biagini a Blue Jay. Though it’s not all that revealing baseball-wise, it certainly gave the 25-year-old rookie a chance to show off his now well-established, wacky sense of humour.

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On #MoreThanMean and the toxic underbelly of the online sports conversation

Stacey May Fowles
April 28 2016 01:20PM

Sarah Spain
Image via.

When I started writing about baseball in 2011, I actually did so because I assumed it would be a safer, happier space to work in. At the time, I was writing a great deal on issues of sexual assault, sexism and abuse, and was experiencing a lot of emotional fatigue as a result. Baseball has always been a great source of solace for me, a place to go that offered both fun and distraction, and I naturally assumed writing about it would offer the same.

Though it certainly has been rewarding, and I am entirely grateful to have been given the opportunity, in retrospect “safety” was a terribly naïve assumption, and one that couldn’t have been more wrong.

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On Chris Colabello, Cheating, Empathy, And Making Sense Of A PED Suspension

Stacey May Fowles
April 23 2016 02:54PM

Chris Colabello
Photo Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

When the news broke that Chris Colabello had been suspended for eighty games after testing positive for a performance enhancing substance, someone on Twitter gently asked me if I condoned cheating.

Though the question was jarring, I can understand why it came my way. I had just extolled the many virtues of empathy and understanding, had just said that it was okay to be sad or disappointed, and reminded vitriolic Jays fans (and non-Jays fans) that baseball players are actually human beings.

“Of course not,” was my response.

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The Narrative Of Drew Storen

Stacey May Fowles
April 20 2016 09:19AM

Drew Storen and Russell Martin
Photo Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

I, like many, like to think of myself as a “narrative baseball fan.”

A deep dive into stats is both important and fascinating, but it’s the human stories that compel me far more than the numbers. Every time a new player is acquired I do a little research to find out what makes them interesting beyond their Fangraphs page, looking for cues about who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they’ll bring to the team. (And yes, I try to decipher whether or not they’re a “good guy” worth cheering for.)

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