The Blue Jays travel to Seattle this weekend, once they’re done their current mid-week series with the fucking Oakland A’s, and as usual, countless B.C. Jays fans will be heading down to invade Safeco. But this year they aren’t going to be greeted quite as warmly, explains Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune — at least not when it comes to ticket prices. The Mariners are using it to the extreme to frustrate their Canadian visitors, selling main level tickets that are ranging from $29 to $75 for their own midweek series against the Twins for the rather higher price of $66 to $175. “Dynamic pricing.”
According to a CBC.ca report, though, Canadian fans making the trip might have a different term than that: gouging. (The thing about that is: having suffered through the years where the Blue Jays were encouraging visiting fans to invade the Rogers Centre — including offering home opener tickets to fans from other cities before they were made available to the public here in Toronto! — I’m preeeeeetty OK with a team discouraging opposing fans from coming and having a picnic in their barn. Apologies to those of you out west getting gouged, though.)
“He’s doing a heck of a job,” says John Gibbons regarding Justin Smoak, according to the Associate Press, via some site that totally doesn’t do longer form content anymore *COUGH*. Gibbons adds: “Shouldn’t have signed that contract. He’s losing money now.” Oh my god, Gibby the goddamn best.
Jim Scott of Jays Journal gives us a bit of a scouting report on Glenn “the next Joe Biagini” Sparkman, the Rule Five pick who broke his thumb in Spring Training, but is now back rehabbing as he works toward a giving the Blue Jays a very tough decision. As a Rule Five pick they will, of course, have to offer him back to the organization he came from (Kansas City) before they can send him to the minors, and it’s likely the Royals accept. If the Jays want to keep him long-term, they’ve got to keep him in the big leagues. Could get interesting. And… uh… Jason Grilli may want to think about starting to pitch a little better. *COUGH*
Somewhat unbelievably, there are no Blue Jays on Baseball America’s prospect team of the month for May. However, Matt Eddy notes in the comments below the piece that Bo Bichette was on the service’s unofficial second team. In April? Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Anthony Alford all made it.
Bless him, Matt W. of Bluebird Banter has been pumping out draft related content lately. On Tuesday he looked at projected first round college hitters, excluding (for the most part) the players who it’s expected will be off the board by the time the Jays pick, and giving us a few notes on the ones who do seem like they could be a fit — and, as he notes, have been connected to the Jays in some of the major mock drafts so far (for whatever that’s worth). Check out the “story stream” at BBB for a bunch of similar pieces! Because I sure as hell won’t be doing that much work involving guys who the Jays most likely won’t pick and who we, in a lot of cases, will basically never hear from again!
Speaking of the draft, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet looks at some of the best selection in the history of the 22nd and 28th overall picks — both of which the Jays hold. The draft is Monday, it turns out.
With the Jays in Oakland, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star takes the opportunity to remind us all of the glorious, inexplicable, incredible time that Billy Beane actually traded Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays. Hot damn!
Evan Davis of Fan Rag has a piece with a title that’s probably exactly what his pitch to his editor was: What’s the Deal With Justin Smoak? Money quote: “It’s hard to imagine he will regress all that much. His approach is so vastly improved that good contact will inevitably follow. A hitter with extremely high contact rates in the strike zone, paired with low strikeout rates and high power rates, can usually sustain his success. Can he keep it up? Smoak may be getting unorthodox results, thanks to all those funky hits, but all signs point to yes. Who knew that the next Edwin Encarnacion was sitting in the Blue Jay dugout this whole time?” I CAN LIVE WITH THAT!
According to a piece from Michelle McQuigge of the Canadian Press (here via the Globe and Mail), “Ontario’s human rights tribunal is considering hearing a complaint that seeks to bar [Cleveland’s major league baseball franchise] from being able to use their team name or wear specific logos at major league baseball games played in Toronto.” Would be cool if Chief Wahoo was banned, but I’m not holding my breath.
“Depending on the outcome,” says the title of Scott Stinson’s piece on the subject for Postmedia (and, here, via the Toronto Sun), “Chief Wahoo case could be watershed moment in sports.” He’s not wrong, and Scott seems to think there’s a chance that I’m wrong and that the tribunal actually does end up ruling against the Clevelands. More importantly, though: Oh man, this piece ran in the Toronto Sun??? Some of their readers must have been choking on their own rage reading it! LOL
The great Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated looks at five new or non-traditional rivalries that have become must-watch events in the baseball world. Naturally, the Jays-Rangers rivalry is among them. Just be prepared for the piss smell when those Rangers come to town!
Great stuff from Ryan Di Francesco over at Jays Droppings, as he takes a Blue Jays and pop culture-related look back at June 5th, 1989 — the night of the first ever Jays game at what was then called the SkyDome (and, y’know, is still called SkyDome by the weirdly insistent).
Fascinating stuff from R.J. Anderson of insufferable autoplay video clearinghouse CBS Sports, as he looks at Statcast, and why not everybody is quite as enamored with it as it seems on the surface. The money quote comes from Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight (who is also a “statistical consultant” for the Blue Jays), who explains, “It is incredibly powerful, when it works and is released to the public. The trouble is that it doesn’t always work, and often isn’t released to the public.” Hmmmm.
Speaking of Rob, at FiveThirtyEight he looks at Ryan Howard’s now-over career, and how it was killed by the shift.
Lastly, awesome news from the dudes at Cespedes Family BBQ, as they’ve mothballed their site and have started doing their thing full time for MLB.com. Sometimes good shit really does manage to find its way to having an audience. There’s hope!