Posted by: Asher Roth | February 1, 2010

A Catch Up of Sorts

Folks it has really been too long since last we spoke. You can blame it on the busy-ness of school, you can blame it on the lack of substantial Jays news, or you could blame it on the rain (no joke, the city of Ottawa received a nice little bout of freezing rain last week… it made walking on the glossy sidewalks real fun…)

This is less of a post for the sake of news as it is an excuse to toss out my opinion on various Jays and baseball-related news. It’ll cover Big Mac, Robbie Alomar, King Carlos and anything else that pops into my mind between now and when I click “Publish”.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Jack, Jose and Fergie) has expressed their opinion about Mark McGwire, so why can’t I?

I respect that some people believe that he rescued baseball from the hole it was in from the 94-95 strike. However, I remember the 98 season quite well. I remember the hype that surrounded the home run race, but I always thought it was a tad bit fabricated. Much like when Sean Avery’s referring to former PMK for Kids host Elisha Cuthbert as being his sloppy seconds for Dion Phaneuf. Earlier that day, TSN.ca posted a story along the lines of “Sean Avery’s in Calgary, what kind of crrrrazy outspoken thing will he say next??” Sure enough, he walked right up to the cameras, and set up his own humiliation. Was it worth it to get himself sent to therapy and kicked off the Stars just so he could throw dramatic attention on the NHL? Everyone seems to love reality TV these days, after all.

Anyway, back to the nineties. I recall that when Big Mac was traded from the A’s to the Cardinals in 1997, there was a hype around it. There was a noticeable buzz and people were throwing McGwire’s name around with Roger Maris’s. The next year, the papers started putting a box in the MLB section, saying the “home run chase”, or something like that, and had McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Greg Vaughn and Ken Griffey Jr in the box. It was like these guys just decided early in the year, “Screw it! Maris has held this record for long enough! This year, more than any other year, we’re gonna hit 62 home runs!” But did this box start late in the season? No. It began in May.

It’s almost as if they knew. It’s almost as if it was a ploy for the MLB to win fans back, to grab attention. Did they pay the media under the table, and say if you hype it up, we’ll throw a guinea pig out to grab the home run title. After all, Chicks dig the long ball.

This is just a theory of course, based on a 10-year-old’s memory of the 1998 season. And it kind of gives too much credit to these cheaters, these juicers. Did the league pay them to juice up and keep their mouths shut? Is Big Mac a victim of shady dealings in a ploy for a ratings jump? Or is he just a cowardly cheater?

I’ll say this much. In my opinion, he does not belong in the Hall of Fame, and he has no business coaching. I don’t care how nice a guy everyone says he is, I don’t care if his personal relationship with Tony La Russa has resulted in all the kind words and support he’s gotten from him, the fact is he was not a great hitter. He was a career .263 hitter. Sure 583 home runs are nothing to sneeze at, but he jacked up his strength to hit them. And I’m sorry, but BUUUUUUULL SHEEP he used ‘roids to recover from injury. Yeah, and Bill Clinton didn’t inhale…

If this guy’s going to coach anywhere, it should not be the team with Albert Pujols on it. I’m sorry, but what kind of wisdom is a career .263 hitter going to provide for a man with a .334 career batting average? In addition, after nine seasons, Big Mac had 238 homers and 657 RBI, hitting .250. Pujols has played nine seasons, and has 366 homers and 1112 RBI. Why don’t they just raise Pujols’ salary and pay him to coach? This guy is legitimate. McGwire comes out with a tearful apology, expecting everyone to forgive him for being too much of a pussy to come out and tell the truth five years ago. Even now, he won’t own up to the fact that he took ‘roids to cheat. Give me a break.

I think the Cards are going to be hurt by his acquisition. They’ll all hit more homers with lower batting averages and be stung by the distraction caused by fans taunting him.

While Big Mac has no place in the Hall of Fame, one guy that SHOULD be there is Robbie Alomar. In seventeen seasons he had a .300 career batting average (.313 in 58 career playoff games) with 2724 career hits, 474 career stolen bases, and a wealth of acrobatic and spectacular plays at second base.

His accolades stacked up over the years. He made the all star team 12 seasons in a row from 1990 to 2001. He also won ten Gold Gloves (more than any second baseman in MLB history), was a four-time Silver Slugger (second most by a second baseman), and was named MVP of the 1992 ALCS.

Alomar’s career, unfortunately, has been marred by some controversy. Everybody knows about his little spitting incident with John Hirschbeck (which happened to occur in Toronto, despite the fact that he was with the Orioles at the time). And then there was the story that broke out a few years ago when an ex-girlfriend of his claimed that he had AIDS and forced her to have unprotected sex with him. However, he denies having AIDS at all, and the case was voluntarily withdrawn.

Regardless, the man is clearly a Hall of Famer. I find it ridiculous that he did not make it in on the first ballot, but at least the Canadian hall recognized this, and the legitimate hall had better follow suit next year.

About three weeks ago, rumours surfaced about the Jays pursuing Carlos Delgado. Not  long after, they were shot down by Double-A, and it seems as though he is not coming back.

Much to my dismay.

See, I would love for the Jays to bring back King Carlos. What’s the harm in it? He’s not exactly in high demand right now. They could get him for a bargain. This would give them a powerful replacement for Lyle Overbay (who needs to be shown the door already), he could be the regular DH and mentor for the kids on the bench.

But what’s most important, in my opinion, is that the Jays need to win Carlos back over. JP basically showed him the door, saying that the team could not afford him, despite the fact that he did not particularly want to leave. Ironic, of course, that the very next year, Rogers increased the payroll and acquired Overbay, Glaus, Molina, AJ and BJ. And we all know how much more productive those signings have been, in hindsight.

Carlos was a clubhouse leader, a cheerful presence, and a great hitter. He’s 27 short of 500 career home runs (would have been nice to have had him do that in a Jays jersey… just saying). He had 10 straight seasons of 30 or more home runs and in 9 of the last 11 years he has broken the century mark in RBIs. Yes, he’s aging, but he could teach the young sluggers how to hit.

Which brings up the next point. When Carlos retires, which, unfortunately, is a reality that’s drawing near (see the retired Shawn Green who is the same age), would he want to coach somewhere? If he retired a Jay, he’d be more likely to coach as a Jay. It would be nice to see him finish things off where they all began.

But he’s not.

Before I peace out, I’d like to give a shout out to the Calgary Flames for selling us the future for Matt Stajan and Jamal Mayers. Yes, I know that Ian White is in there as well, and yes I know that he’s statistically the best player in that trade, but come on… Dion Phaneuf?? Not too shabby, Brian Burke. Not too shabby at all.

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Responses

  1. Nice article, mon. Would be nice to see Carlos, but it would hold up development of the present young Jay sluggers. Snider and the other guy wouldn’t get enough at bats at dh. Thanks for posting that great old ad.

  2. “If there’s some way to bring Carlos back here, I’d love to see him back here, because he can do a lot of things as far as helping the young kids about knowing about hitting.”
    – Cito Gaston

    Evidently, I’m not the only one


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