Some fascinating stuff is coming to light now that the proposals for the Jays’ Dunedin upgrades have become public, and you’ll be surprised to know that most of it doesn’t look so good for the taxpayers who are footing all but $15-million of the $81-million bill. Both Field of Schemes and Shadow Of The Stadium are on top of the issue, with the latter noticing that the economic impact studies used by the Jays and the city of Dunedin counted every ticket sold as equal to one hotel room sold — as if fans who make the trek to Florida don’t a) see multiple games when they go, or b) share hotel rooms! Kiiiinda shitty. But there’s good news for us Canadians not paying taxes in Pinellas County: the reports suggest the deal could adversely effect funding for a future Rays stadium, too. BRB, just gonna go register DrunkExposFans.com.
Related, given that the Jays have managed to extract a bunch of money out of small time local government in Florida, Forbes has published the 2016 prime time TV ratings numbers for all 29 US-based MLB teams! And while it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison between the markets we’re looking at (local in the states versus national for Sportsnet in Canada), or way viewership is calculated on either side of the border (I think US data is in “households” and Canadian data is in “viewers,” but don’t quote me on that), nor is the ad money the same in both countries, uh… the highest average viewership number for an American team this year is the Mets at 215,000. And the Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox are the only other teams whose “viewership” numbers are over 150,000. Whatever it means, it’s noted that the Jays were averaging 928,000 viewers per game (across all time slots) as of July. So… do we need pitchforks and torches? I don’t even know.
I’ve been talking up the idea of sending Marcus Stroman to the bullpen in the playoffs lately, which is a scheme that relies on Francisco Liriano holding his own in the rotation (for at least one start per playoff series, if that). That’s… probably fine. But it relies on another thing, too: the bullpen being OK with Brett Cecil as the only trustworthy left-hander. Is that crazy? Maybe not! Cecil has been doing well lately, despite some weird usage — which Joshua Howsam of BP Toronto takes an interesting look into
Meanwhile, in a piece for MLB.com, John Lott talks to Cecil and Pete Walker about turning around his season, which they both credit to Walker’s advice to trust his catchers more. Walker noted that Cecil was shaking off his catchers more often than most pitchers, which he felt was disrupting the flow between pitcher and catcher. Hey, whatever works!
Speaking of relievers, Joaquin Benoit! The injury suffered by Benoit in Monday’s brawl with the Yankees appears to have been captured on (grainy) camera, and the Blue Jay Hunter has that for us. But more importantly, uh… was Benoit throwing (well deserved) shade in the direction of Josh Donaldson in the wake of the Great Stupidity? Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star thinks so, and I do as well. “I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit told reporters after the brawling. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.” Hitters need to be protected, for sure, but hear fucking hear.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com looks at free agent risers and… uh… fallers over the course of the 2016 season, and while Jose Bautista makes the title of the piece for his stock having dropped, it’s the comment about Edwin Encarnacion that jumps out at me. “His Average Annual Value for position players could be a record high,” Bowden writes, “with the only question that remains being how many years he gets.” Yowza.
Scott Mitchell of the
Detroit Lions Toronto Sun looks at how the Jays are one of the least liked teams around the league, which… yep!
Scott Stinson of the National Post writes about the potential end of the Jose Bautista era and reminds us that… holy shit, the National Post still has original sports content?
Great stuff, as always, from our own John Lott, who writes for Vice Sports about how giving in to vengeance on Monday night proved costly for the Blue Jays.
Late addition: an amazing Open Letter to Kevin Pillar.
Extra late addition: here’s a bunch of stuff that was in last night’s Game Threat that you may not have spotted…
Hudson Belinsky reports that the Jays have hired Red Sox assistant scouting director Steve Sanders to be their full-fledged scouting director. Given the well oiled machine that is the Red Sox, and the fact that they’re not exactly the team that an organization looking to fill roles on the cheap will look to raid, it’s hard to see this as anything but a good thing.
On a similar front, earlier in the week Minnesota hired Derek Falvey out of the Cleveland organization to oversee their Baseball Operations department. WEIRD, HUH? Because here’s the thing: Cleveland actually produces sought-after executives, and the fact that the Jays have taken advantage of the new regime’s connection there is a good thing.
Lastly, the Montreal Gazette makes official the rumours we heard last week or the week before: the Jays and Pirates will play a pair of exhibition games next spring at the Big O. Afterparty at l’Esco!