April 04, 2006

Magic Number is 161

Hoorah, it was a long day waiting in T.O for out Blue Jays to take the city by storm.
I personally killed the day at a conference by Adobe in the City of Jays being paid to be there so I really can not complain. I'd have been there sooner but a sweet chance to win CS2 kept me there until 4pm.
From there it was off to meet fellow Jays fans at the Hard Rock at the Dome where "another Chris" and I once camped out for roughly 36 Hours to witness Joe Carter hit his Series Winning Home Run 1st hand!..Yeah I passed out from the excitement but I did that the year previous also after dead lifting a pickup truck and fending of some "chop-sucking" Atlanta fans.
Doc was as impressive as ever and the New Jays were sweet.
After a few first inning errors I was yelling for #11 to emerge from the dugout to give us some relaible glove work at 1st base. Loverboy made a nice dig and I can never cheer against a Jay so Good on Ya Lyle. Yeah ..his nickname is now Loverboy..no disrespect but take his 1st initial with his last name and booya, there you go!
A new league would give even sweetbody the jitters.
Molina hit a towering bomb and we finally got the B.J we deserve with a convincing 9th inning dominance.
Hopefully this is a sign of a great season to come, the crowd was great and I hope that this is a crowd size we can see all season long!
Come on Toronto, lets get behind a team that actually wants to win and not just fill the seats.
Spring is here and so is our BEST CHANCE of winning a major sporting championship.
If you wissed it, I was in the 2nd deck twirling my shirt in the 8th inning as a result of popular demand...as they say, not everybody can be a Sweetbody..
Keep your eyes peeled..I'll be there all season long..spot me and I'll post your pic with me on this Blog..Yeah..Spot the Sweetbody and get your pic on our site!!
Check this

March 22, 2006

Short and Sweet(body)

take a look at the Spring stats for the Blue Jays when you get a chance...
Who is leading in most categories??..Well is #11 Eric Hinske!!

Only a short time until the Blue Jays are back in T.O kids!!

Thats the shortest post in our brief history here I think!
I'll write more very soon.

Jimy Sweetbody

March 07, 2006

Rest in Peace Kirby

Yesterday, the baseball world lost one of it's greatest and I think it's only appropriate that we take a few minutes to remember Kirby Puckett the baseball player and Kirby Puckett the person.

I guess I should start by explaining who Kirby Puckett was to me. As a lifelong baseball fan, I've watched countless games on TV and listened to even more on the radio. I've attended hundreds of games in person in Toronto and I've been fortunate enough to attend games in many other MLB cities. I've been to Spring Training, the all-star game, playoff games, and I was even there when Joe touched 'em all. Since the age of 5, I've collected baseball cards, baseball stickers, baseball magazines, and anything else I could find related to the grand old game. As far as I can recall, baseball has been the one thing that I've been passionate about during my life. My childhood obsession with trading cards turned into an adult obsession with Fantasy baseball. You see, there's something about the stats, the numbers, the figures that just seems to resonate with me.

Yet as much as I love the numbers side of it, I've never really taken to the personalities in the game. I guess I've always looked at players as if they were the 2-dimensional images on a trading card. I've always found baseball players to be interesting and impressive, but I've never really idolized any kind of athlete. Other than the throwaway 'favourite players' we latch onto as children, I've never been one to consider a certain player my favourite. I've always felt that identifying a favourite player puts you in a position to be identified with that player. How a player defines himself and carries himself becomes some kind of reflection on how you define yourself (who your are or maybe who you want to be). In all my years of watching, listening, and following baseball, I've only had one favourite player. I've only identified with one player. I've only put myself out there by associating myself with one player. And that player was Kirby Puckett.

Growing up, Kirby Puckett was everything that you looked for in a role model. He was not a giant man, but the man was a giant. His enthusiasm, his energy, his humour, his demeanor, his class, his smile, and his talent made him stand out in my mind. We've never come close to having a Kirby Puckett in a Jays uniform. Imagine the talent of Robbie Alomar, mixed with the charisma of Joe Carter, and the attitude and enthusiasm of Pinball Clemons. Yet the thing that made him so likeable and endearing was the fact that he seemed like he could be one of us. He did not look like an athlete and he did not act like an athlete. He looked like the guy who was selling hot dogs out front of the Dome, not the guy leading his team to playoff victories inside. With his smile and his bowling ball physique, it's almost as if Kirby was a cartoon character out there. You couldn't help but love him and you couldn't help but cheer for him.

As a baseball player, he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer even though his career was cut short due to glaucoma. He was an MVP, a two-time World Series champion, a 10-time all-star, six-time Gold Glover, and the 1996 Roberto Clemente Award winner. As a teammate, he was just as supportive and friendly with the 25th guy as he was with the stars. As Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "The thing you have to remember is, Puckett didn't separate people. Everyone had a chance to be his friend. You could have been star or a Joe off the street, it didn't matter.''

Like I said before, when you identify a favourite player, you become associated with that player. So as I've been going through some of the emails from friends consoling me on Puckett's passing, I must say that I'm still proud that people associate Kirby Puckett with me. My 6-month old son was curiously looking around the basement last week when his eyes became fixated on my #34 Twins jersey hanging on the wall. As I told him then, "you don't know who Kirby Puckett is yet, but as you get older I'll be sure to tell you all about him and what he meant to your Daddy". And hopefully as he learns about who Kirby Puckett was as a baseball player, he'll understand a little more about who his father is and some of the characteristics that he hopes his son grows up to have.

Addendum: By no means am I attempting to gloss over or ignore all of the negativity surrounding Kirby Puckett since he retired. For all of his success on the field, he had obvious failures off the field. Reports of infidelity and domestic abuse have certainly tarnished his image in the eyes of many (myself included to a degree). I think it just shows that he was human, and like all of us he was not perfect. But that's part of what made him so easy to relate to and pull for as a baseball player. He did not surround himself with handlers. He did not walk around with an entourage. He did not have 10 people working to keep his image squeaky clean. If Michael Jordan were to pass away tomorrow, he would be looked upon as the greatest athlete and sportsperson of our generation. But what about his gambling problems and his rumoured associations with known criminals? It's still OK for you to have MJ as a role model. If you sit back and wait to find a perfect person to look up to, you'll be waiting forever. It is our faults that make us truly human and I would think that we can continue to admire and respect the positive contributions of someone like Kirby Puckett without approving of his failures.

March 04, 2006

Hello My Name Is: Lyle Overbay

Personal Stats
Name: Lyle Stefan Overbay
Age: 29
You Might Remember Me From: Who's kidding who? You have no idea who I am.
Most Resembles: Actor Michael Rapaport
Why the Jays Picked Him Up: J.P. thought that he was acquiring the rights to the band Loverboy, not L.overbay. It's all just a big misunderstanding.

Career Plus/Minus
Plus: Named the MVP for the Millwaukee Brewers in 2004
Minus: It's not like he was playing on the '27 Yankees. Winning the MVP award for the Brewers is like winning the award for Best Basketball Player under 5 feet tall.

Plus: Led the majors in doubles with 53 in 2004.
Minus: Could only muster 16 HR to go along with those doubles.

Plus: Hit .276 with 19 HR, 72 RBI, and a .816 OPS for the Brewers in 2005.
Minus: He'll be replacing Eric Hinske, who hit .262 with 15 HR, 68 RBI, and a .766 OPS in 2005. Not exactly a huge upgrade, is it?

What To Expect in 2006
Along with Troy Glaus, will be expected to add some protection for Vernon Wells in the middle of the lineup. He's a gap hitter, so you'll see lots of doubles but not that many homers. He's also a decent defensive first baseman, so you won't see too many throws in the dirt that he can't scoop out. In an ideal world, he'll hit .290 this season with 25 HR and 90 RBI.

March 03, 2006

Let the Grapefuit Eating Begin

The Grapefruit League is underway and the Jays stumbled out of the blocks with a 9-5 loss to Tampa Bay. If we pool enough money, we can send down a bottle of CLR to help remove the rust.

The Latest Buzz

Bloom: Jays ready to make their run (mlb.com) - Mar 3
Made-over Jays hope to join same sentence as Yanks, BoSox (sportsline.com) - Mar 3
Keys to Jays' hopes (cnnsi.com) - Mar 3
New-look Jays create a buzz (thestar.com) - Mar 3
Molina catching up (torontosun.com) - Mar 2
The Jays' expectations soar (thestar.com) - Mar 2
All is not clear for the Jays (torontosun.com) - Mar 1

March 01, 2006

You Named Your Baby Hosken?

As a new father, I'm well aware of how stressful and confusing it can be coming to a decision on what to name your new child. You want to be creative and original but you also don't want your son or daughter to spend their childhood years dodging spit balls and punches because you named them after a kitchen appliance.

If you're a rabid sports fan like me, there's a good chance that you've at least considered naming your first-born after your favourite athlete. If you're lucky enough to have a son, then by all means name him after your favourite Jay, but please, for the love of all things holy, avoid the following names at all costs.

New Dad's Guide to the Least Popular Blue Jay Baby Names

Hosken (Powell) - You're sure to get points for originality here, but what the hell is a Hosken? I can't find it anywhere in my Big Book of Baby Names. In fact, my on-line search failed to find any kind of history or meaning behind the name. I can't even find a single person other than Hosken Powell with the same first name. You might as well make up a new word and throw it on the birth certificate.

Rance (Mulliniks) - It's supposed to be short for Laurence, but I don't think his parents got the memo. Luckily for him, he was born with a weightlifter's physique and a model's good looks, so I'm sure he didn't get picked on in school.

Homer (Bush) - I remember the first time Homer Bush entered my world. I was at a Jays-Yankees spring training game at Legend's Field in Tampa Bay. Prior to the game, the Yankees handed out their award for the most valuable player of their spring training season. The winner was #69, Homer Bush. I thought for sure someone was playing a joke on the crowd (I kept looking around for the hidden cameras). I thought there's just no way that there's really a baseball player named Homer Bush who wears jersey #69 (on sober second thought, I wonder if he was actually wearing #69, or if that was just some kind of Budweiser-sponsored dream sequence).

Candy (Maldonado) - His actual first name is Candido, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable. As a general rule, you should try to avoid giving your son a name that sounds like a character from HBO's Cathouse.

Dick (Schofield) - I realize it's short for Richard, but at what point does someone willfully accept people calling them Dick?

Rico (Carty) - In 1991, Rico was listed as the 587th most popular boys name in the US. Also in 1991, Ecuadorian-born Gerardo became a chart-topper after issuing a single called "Rico Suave". By 1998, it had plummeted to the 987th most popular boys name. I don't need to draw a graph to show the correlation between the two, do I?

Just missing the cut were Ernie, Roy Lee, and Doyle. Did I miss any?

February 28, 2006

Hello My Name Is: B.J. Ryan

Personal Stats
Name: Robert Victor (B.J.) Ryan
Age: 30
You Might Remember Me From: Putting up 36 saves for the Orioles last year
Most Resembles: Former WWF wrestler Big John Studd
Why the Jays Picked Him Up: Will act as a long overdue replacement for former mascot BJ Birdie who was cut in favour of Ace and Diamond prior to the 2000 season. Will be asked to save games in addition to occasionally riding an ATV into the outfield wall.

Career Plus/Minus
Plus: Saved 36 games in 69 appearances for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 (ranked 7th in the AL)
Minus: Saved a total of 6 games in 336 appearances prior to 2005

Plus: Led the Orioles in strikeouts in the 2004 season with 122. It's the first time in the majors since 1991 that a reliever led his team in Ks.
Minus: The last reliever to lead his team happened to be Duane Ward with the 91 Blue Jays. In fact, Ryan and Ward have an eerily similar career path. Once given the closer job, Ward excelled and led the Jays to their 2nd World Series title in 1993, picking up 45 saves along the way. However, he played a total of 4 more games in the majors after his one and only season as the closer. With a 5-year big money deal, we'll have to cross our fingers that this is where Ryan and Ward's career paths differ.

Plus: Had 12.61K/9IP in 2004 and 12.80K/9IP in 2005. That was good for 3rd in the majors in each season - behind studs like Eric Gagne and Brad Lidge.
Minus: There's no downside here. Having someone at the end of a game who can blow away batters is going to be a huge improvement this season.

What To Expect in 2006
Gives the Jays a much needed presence at the end of games. We haven't had a dominant closer since Ward was lost to injury and I've had to repress memories of all the late game failures since. In my humble opinion, a closer has been the biggest need on the team since the World Series days, and Ryan will be expected to fill that void. You can expect lots of saves, lots of Ks, and lots of Bodyslam Challenge matches between Big John Ryan and Andre the Giant.

Sweetbody Says: Don't Forget About #11

Welcome once again to "Sweetbody Says"
With all the fantastic winter moves that J.P and the Blue Jays made, things are looking great for 2006! How could they not be with the players we added?!? But wait..we are perhaps overlooking a brilliant change that this has also created.
This year will be the Return of #11, no I'm not talking about King George Bell, I'm talking about Eric Hinske!! Some will say that he should have been traded for a set of used bases..or that he's here because nobody wanted him, or that they would be happy to sit on the bench and earn millions of dollars like Eric will. But,,,BUT he isnt sitting around!
Last season when he was bumped at 3rd base with Koskie being signed, Eric moved to 1st to help fill the void without uttering one complaint. Now he is without a home in the infield..ok, he grabbed an outfield glove and has been working on tracking fly balls ever since. Still without a complaint.
Imagine how you would feel if you were constantly being moved at your job?..Ever seen Office Space? Hinske wont be burning the office down anytime soon, instead he will be lighting up right handed pitchers!
There may not be a return to his Rookie of the Year totals in a platoon role but come on now, this guy has some good stats over his 4 years in the Major Leagues..http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb/players/6645/

I'm picking "Mr.11" to be the Blue Jays comeback player or 2006.
'nuff said.

why?..cuz Sweetbody Says

February 24, 2006

World Baseball Classic - Who's In

As you probably already know, MLB has introduced the first World Baseball Classic to be held this year at the beginning of March. The WBC is essentially a baseball version of the World Cup, without the hooligans, diving, and general public interest. It'll be regular season teammate vs teammate, and it could lead to some interesting matchups. Wouldn't it be sweet to watch K-Rod (Venezuela) try to close out a game against Vlad (Dominican Republic)? Or how about new Mets closer Billy Wagner (USA) trying to sneak one by new teammate Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico)?

The problem with the WBC is that it's right at the beginning of Spring Training, when players are just starting to get themselves in shape. At this time of year, players are usually worrying about losing 10 pounds, strenghtening their arms, and finding the closest nudie bar (not neccessarily in that order). The early part of Spring Training is when pitchers throw for two innings max and position players are in the showers after their second at-bat. Basically, the bodies of major league ball players are not accustomed to playing serious games for serious stakes in the middle of March. The potential for injury is enormous and that's why so many teams are pressuring their stars to back out, especially the pitchers. If a big name player goes down in the WBC, how do you think his team is going to feel about missing him for the real season?

With that in mind, I thought I'd let everyone know what the Jays have riding on this thing. Who's playing? For which team? And what happens if that guy gets injured?

Blue Jays Participating in the WBC

Frank Cattalanotto (Italy) - Born and raised in New York, the guy has seemingly no ties to Italy other than his last name. Oh well, the rules around what country you can play for are so relaxed A-Rod is now saying he will probably play for Australia because he used to have a pet hamster named Sydney.
How Much to Worry: Not much. If the Cat gets injured, we'll have less of a logjam in the outfield. He's a servicable player but hardly a guy we're counting on to lead the team this year. Forza Cat. Buona fortuna.

Guillermo Quiroz (Venezuela) - After a dreadful season full of injuries, Quiroz is no longer being touted as a can't miss prospect. Q Ball seems to be pretty low on the depth chart at catcher for Venezuela.
How Much to Worry: Not at all. Molina+Zaun=No need for Quiroz this year.

Vernon Wells (USA) - As mentioned before, many teams are pressuring their star players to take a pass on the WBC. With expectations for the Jays through the roof right now, it's no surprise that V Dub has pulled up lame and is questionable for the first round of the tourney. For the record, JP says that it's an unfortunate incident and the Jays fully support Vernon's decision to play, but I smell a rat.
How Much to Worry: Keep your fingers crossed. I really don't think he'll play at all. His 2 week injury will be slow to heal and the USA team will move on without him. However, if he's really injured and he tries to rush back to play, it could be big trouble for T.O. This is the one guy that we can't afford to lose from the lineup for an extended period of time.

Gustavo Chacin (Venezuela) - It's nice to see that Gussy is excited to represent his country in the WBC. The Venezuelan team has a ton of pitchers on it's roster and Chacin appears to be in line for a bit of action.
How Much to Worry: Not much. Gussy is projected as the 3rd or 4th guy in the rotation this year and it's not off-base to expect 15 wins out of him. However, I can't see him being counted on for much more than an inning here and an inning there in the WBC. The important innings will go to Johan Santana and K-Rod and Gus probably won't pitch more than he would if he were in Dunedin.

Shea Hillenbrand (Netherlands) - I'm sure Shea was just as surprised as you to find out that he's playing on the Dutch team. Once again, this is an example of the citizenship rules being as loose as Annie Savoy at a minor league all-star game. Does your name sound Dutch? You're hired! The team includes guys born in Holland, Michigan and South Holland, Illinois (I guess that's close enough for MLB).
How Much to Worry: A little bit. With Overbay and Glaus added in the offseason, Shea is slated to be the DH and a backup at both 3B and 1B. We have more depth than last year, so losing him won't kill us, but he's a professional hitter and the type of guy that gives you a 100% effort every inning. He'll be expected to provide some pop for the Netherlands along with Andruw Jones, but they'll be gone after the first round and he'll be back in Dunedin before you notice he's gone.

Alex Rios (Puerto Rico) - A.Ro is part of a dangerous Puerto Rico team. They've got a lot of MLB players but they don't neccesarily have the studs to win this thing. The P.R. outfield will include Carlos Beltran, Rueben Sierra, Bernie Williams, Juan Gonzalez, and Jose Cruz Jr. Other than Beltran, those guys are about as reliable as a schizophrenic on crack, so Rios may be asked to carry a bit of a load.
How Much to Worry: Only a bit. As one of the top prospects in the organization, it would be unfortunate if he were to get injured. However, he was a bit of a disappointment last season and this year he's projected to platoon in right with Hinske. An injury might dampen his long-term prospects with the Jays, but it shouldn't impact too much on this season.

This Just In: Our Bullpen Is Good

More news and notes about our beloved Jays and their chances this year.

Olney: Blue Jays' bullpen a strength (espn.com) - Feb 24
John Donovan: AL East Preview (cnnsi.com) - Feb 24

Welcome to: Sweetbody Says

Hello fellow Blue Jays Fans..yes, I still call them the Blue Jays.
Thought I would take a moment to introduce myself as part of Spring Training here @ Is it a Flyball or Seagull.
I have been a life long Blue Jays fan and have followed them every step of their journey during their first 30 years. (although the first few years are fuzzy due to my age)
There have been many great experiences so far...meeting the 'Greatest Jay Ever'.. Dave Stieb when I was 13, Winning the Draw Your Favorite Jay contest in the Toronto Sun Newspaper when I was 12, travelling to Spring Training when I was in my early 20's, watching the team for an entire weekend in Cleveland in 2004 and having a few drinks with Jason Kirschner..or what about camping outside the Skydome for about 30 hours to get a seat in the Hard Rock Cafe to watch Joe Carter hit his World Series Winning Homerun!! There are so many more chapters to add!
What to expect from me??
  1. An upfront and never waivering opinion of the Blue Jays progress through the 2006 season.
  2. No bandwagon jumping..ever
  3. Photo's from trips to see the Blue Jays
  4. Me never leaving a game before the final out.
  5. Not giving up on Eric Hinske

Thats about it for now, please feel free to ask any questions anytime.

And remember, not just anybody can be a sweetbody.

February 23, 2006

Hello My Name Is: A.J. Burnett

This is the first in a series of articles intended to bring you up to speed on all the new Jays.

Personal Stats
Name: Allan James (A.J.) Burnett
Age: 29
You Might Remember Me From: Seven years with the Florida Marlins
Most Resembles: Lowell Mather from Wings
Why the Jays Picked Him Up: J.P. has some kind of unhealthy infatuation with initialized first names (and the sweet fastball doesn't hurt).

Career Plus/Minus
Plus: A career 3.73 ERA is nothing to sneeze at
Minus: Inability to translate good ERA into wins with a career 49-50 record

Plus: Threw a no-hitter against the Padres in 2001.
Minus: Set a team record for walks in the same game with 9 (also hit a batter). His 10 baserunners in a no-hitter is the second most in MLB history.

Plus: Won a World Series with the 2003 Florida Marlins.
Minus: Blew his elbow out on April 29th of the same season, so his contributions to the Championship were significantly less than the dude who carries around the jar of pickle brine for Josh Beckett's blisters.

Plus: Had a seven game winning streak from July 19 to August 19 of 2005.
Minus: Followed up the win streak by losing his last six decisions of the season.

Plus: Holds the Marlins team record for career wins (49), complete games (14), shutouts (8), and Ks (753).
Minus: Kicked off the Marlins at the end of the 2005 season after badmouthing the team and his manager in a post-game rant.

What To Expect in 2006
Projected to be a solid #2 starter behind Roy Halladay in the Jays rotation. His reunion with all-time favourite pitching coach Brad Arnsberg is expected to propel him into the upper-echelon of starting pitchers. The injury history is a bit of a concern, as is his sub .500 career record, but to borrow an old cliche, you can't teach a 98mph fastball. Along with B.J. Ryan, you can expect an increase in Ks, and you can expect a lot more interest in the pitch speed posted on the Jumbotron.

39 Days and Counting

With Spring Training now underway, it's time to start getting excited for the new baseball season. As a Jays fan, I have to say that I'm very excited and optimistic going into this season and I suppose I'm not the only one with such optimism. The Jays have been the talk of the MLB off-season. They're the trendy pick to win the AL East and they've got more media attention than Paris Hilton and TomKat combined (at least in the media that I pay attention to). If you've been busy watching hockey, basketball, or the Olympics, or if your name is Willie and you've been napping for the last couple months, I'll try to bring you up to date on what you've missed.

Off-Season Jays Buzz From South of the Border

Revamped Blue Jays looking for big year (MSNBC.com) - Feb 18
Stark: Blue Jays All About Change (ESPN.com) - Feb 7
McAdam: Soaring expectations (ESPN.com) - Jan 24

January 24, 2006

All Jays all the time!

Welcome to the home of the Toronto Blue Jays completely unofficial, unauthorized, and illegitimate weblog. We hope to provide you with the latest news, rumours, and in-depth analysis of our favourite MLB team. We don't take ourselves too seriously, so you shouldn't either. Relax, enjoy, and let us know what you think about what we have to say.