Posted by: Asher Roth | April 5, 2010

Some Opening Day Musings

Throw some hot dogs on the barbeque, toss some beers in the cooler, and embrace the general sense of excitement, cuz it’s opening day baby! Time to begin what looks to be a super-promising year for the Blue Jays. Why, you ask? Did anyone see how the Yankees and Red Sox each took offensive beatings last night? Looks like a developing battle of attrition.

The Jays campaign this year, for those who haven’t seen the ads on TV or the team’s website, centres around the slogan, “Hustle and Heart”. It features the most pessimistic one-liners on a team’s advertisement I have ever seen in my life. This is a far cry from the ads that featured Frank Thomas knocking one of his kids senseless with a pillow a few years back, or V-dub breaking into a car last year.

Vernon Wells: “When no one is watching, that’s when I push harder.”

Well, that makes sense! When the team was in the spotlight at the start of last year for its hot start, THAT must be why your offence went MIA… Oh wait, even during that stretch, nobody was going to games…

someone else (not sure who): “My dad always told me to treat success and failure exactly the same.”

To cry tears of joy when you win, and tears of pain when you lose. Either way, show some emotion, right?

announcer: “This season’s about the name on the front of the jersey, not the back.”

In other words, don’t buy any merchandise with players’ names on the back, since we can’t guarantee they’ll be on the roster by the end of the season.

“This season’s about out-working every other team.”

There’s that battle of attrition I was talking about. Let the big boys do their “winning” with their “money” and their “skill”. We’ll outlast them with our opening day starter who missed 18 months to injury, and by trading the hardest working member of the team away in the off-season to the team that’s already been to the championship two years in a row.

“Run hard, play hard, play with passion” says John McDonald in the least enthusiastic voice you’ve ever heard.

“It’s time to rock n roll!” says Adam Lind with a smirk. He gets it. Enough with all the pessimism; let’s use a universal cliche to make sure that by this point, nobody has canceled their season ticket subscription once they’ve watched this ad.

Now clearly, this ad campaign has AA’s fingerprints all over it, and this is why you can tell that he’s new at his job: to some degree, you must bullshit your fans in order to fill seats. While I admire his absolute honesty that he’s shown in all aspects of his job so far, like telling each and ever player in spring training what their role and expectations were, an ad campaign should help fill the seats. Honesty is great and all, but not in the world of public relations.

Take a bunch of years back when Rob Babcock, GM of the Raptors at the time, came out and said he expected his team to do worse than it did the year before (the year before, the team did not make the playoffs). He was fired later that season.

Again, I respect the honesty, but the Blue Jays need to fill seats in order to make money. Having an honest relationship with your fans only means you’ll get positive feedback on web forums. Who is going to attend games with the thought of “I know the team is likely going to lose, but at least they’ll show some spunk in doing so!”?

Ok, well, I would, but I don’t need an ad to tell me to do so, and most non-bandwagon jumpers would likely agree with me. Since the ad campaign is supposed to attract new fans to the ballpark, I hope that this campaign becomes slightly more optimistic.

I also think they had better start putting name tags on the players in the ad, because I won’t lie, there were about two or three guys that I totally did not recognize – oh right, it’s about the name on the FRONT of the jersey, NOT the back… my bad…

Speaking of those names, there’s a GAME to play this afternoon! Here are the starting lineups for each side, thanks to Mr Bastian:

BLUE JAYS (0-0, 0.5 GB)
1. Jose Bautista, RF
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. John Buck, C
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Alex Gonzalez, SS
9. Travis Snider, LF

Pitching: Shaun Marcum (0-0, -.–)

RANGERS (0-0, 0 GB)
1. Julio Borbon, CF
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Josh Hamilton, LF
4. Vlad Guerrero, DH
5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Chris Davis, 1B
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Andres Blanco, 2B
9. Elvis Andrus, SS

Pitching: Scott Feldman (0-0, -.–)

Some notes: yes, Snider’s batting ninth. There will forever be decisions that Cito makes that I will always fail to understand, and placing a slugger in the nine-hole is one of them. I know he’s only 22, I know they’re trying to take the pressure off him, but Alex Gonzalez clearly belongs in the last spot. That’s not to mention a lineup with only three lefties could use more of a lefty-righty switch-up. Sticking Snider down there means that the intimidating right-handed tandem of Buck, Encarnacion and Gonzalez separate Overbay from the next lefty in the lineup.

And no, you did not misread that, the sixth hitter in our batting order (which was Scott Rolen at this point last year, to give you some perspective) is, indeed, John Buck. Yikes…

For the Rangers:

– Scott Feldman gets the start, a pretty significant honour after he was not even in the starting five at this point last year. Apparently, 17 wins goes a long way.

– Vladdy Guerrero makes his Rangers debut in the clean-up spot.

– 24-year-old Julio Borbon gets the leadoff spot in his first full-season in the majors, after he hit .312 in 46 games last year, including 4 homers and 19 stolen bases.

– Ian Kinsler is on the DL, which would explain the no-name playing second base. Blanco was recently acquired from the Cubs.

– Andruw Jones is no longer on the team. One would have to call this good news for the Rangers.

Game time is in two and a half hours.

Are you ready for some hustle and heart?




  1. I had to watch the video a couple of times to figure out that the bald-headed guy was John Buck. I honestly had no clue who he was at first.

    For the most part, I thought it was a good ad except for that line Vernon said about how “when no one’s watching, that’s when I push harder”.

    So when people ARE watching, that’s when he just lays back?

  2. As a Cincinnatti Bengals fan, I still have a paper bag with eye holes in my closet. I think I’ll paint it blue and grey.

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