Now that the World Baseball Classic is officially under way I thought I would give you my predictions for this years tournament.
POOL A: (Japan, Korea, China, Chinese Taipei). Teams advancing to Round 2 are Japan, and Korea.
POOL B: (Cuba, Australia, South Africa, Mexico). Teams advancing to Round 2 are Cuba, and Mexico.
POOL C: (USA, Canada, Venezuela, Italy). Teams advancing to Round 2 are USA, and Canada.
POOL D: (Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Panama). Teams advancing are Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
POOL 1: (Japan, Cuba, Korea, Mexico). Teams advancing to Semi-Finals are Japan, and Cuba.
POOL 2: (USA, Canada, Dominican Rebublic, Puerto Rico). Teams advancing to Semi-Finals are USA and Dominican Republic.
GAME 1: Japan vs Dominican Republic. Japan will advance to the Finals.
Game 2: USA vs Cuba. USA will advance to the finals.
USA vs Japan. JAPAN will defend their title to become the 2009 World Baseball Classic Champion.
Let the debating begin!!
Let the games begin! Ok, it’s only a meaningless exhibition game, but I’m really looking forward to today’s game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Team Canada. Jays rotation hopeful Scott Richmond will most likely get the start today…against the Jays! How’s that for pressure. I’m sure the regulars will only get a couple of innings work, but this is just the kind of warm up needed to build the excitement for this tournament. Now the big question…WHO DO I CHEER FOR?? hahaha.
GO JAYS, or CANADA GO!!
The World Baseball Classic is just over a month away, and the high hopes that I had for Team Canada are quickly fading. What looked to be one of the tournaments best potential pitching rotations, has now become the team’s biggest question mark. Knowing that we would already be without Baltimore starter Eric Bedard due to off-season shoulder surgery, the recent announcements that Jeff Francis, Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden (damn you Cubs!!) will not be participating was not the news Canadian fans were looking for. The most disappointing thing is that this tournament loses quite of few players due to the fact that it takes place during spring training. In the cases of Francis, Harden, and Bedard, injury concerns are the primary reason for their absense. That is understandable, but Dempster is in a different situation. Dempster is coming off a career season in which he posted 17 wins and a 2.96 ERA. After being rewarded with a $52 million dollar contract for the next four years, Dempster decided to choose his team (Cubs) over his country. While I can understand why he made that decision, (check out the article by Ken Rosenthal about this topic), it is still very frustrating to see this kind of situation take place.
Let’s hope that some other pitcher such as Scott Richmond, will be able to pull off a surprise win for us as Adam Loewen did against the U.S. in ’06. Oh well, at least the offence still looks to be in pretty good shape, with Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Russel Martin, and Joey Votto still around. I’ve got my seats on the 500 level at the Rogers Centre for that March 7 opener vs the States, so Go Canada Go!!!
Fantasy baseball is back!! Well almost. I finally picked up my first fantasy baseball magazine of the 2009 season, SportingNews Fantasy Baseball ’09.
Now this is the time of year where I get ready for the fantasy drafts that I partake in every season. I usually do two types; a standard 5×5 mixed Rotisserie league, and a head-to-head points keeper league.
The main reason for this blog entry though is to voice my concerns for the fantasy leaguers out there, like myself, who prefer to have a couple of players from there favorite team, on their fantasy league teams. As I’m sure you know by know, I love the Blue Jays, but after checking out the Offseason player rankings at MLB.com’s fantasy page, I may have to reconsider my draft strategy. Listed below is the projected starting line-up for the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays, along with their positional fantasy ranking according to MLB.com and the Fantasy 411 team. Be sure to check out the fantasy 411 blog here, and listen to their podcast for great fantasy baseball news and updates.
- Catcher – Rod Barajas (29th)
- First Base – Lyle Overbay (37th)
- Second Base – Aaron Hill (24th)
- Third Base – Scott Rolen (27th)
- Shortstop – Marco Scutaro (36th)
- Outfield – Alex Rios (17th)
- Outfield – Vernon Wells (26th)
- Outfield – Adam Lind (58th)
- Starting Pitcher – Roy Halladay (5th)
- Starting Pitcher – Jesse Litsch (89th)
- Starting Pitcher – David Purcey (94th)
- Starting Pitcher – Dustin McGowan (134th)
- Relief Pitcher – B.J. Ryan (13th)
- Relief Pitcher – Scott Downs (62nd)
- Relief Pitcher – Jeremy Accardo (81st)
- Relief Pitcher – Jesse Carlson (97th)
- Prospects – Travis Snider OF (3rd)
- Prospects – Brett Cecil SP (23rd)
Wow. Besides Halladay and possibly Rios, I can’t think of anybody that I would want on my fantasy team. Snider and/or Cecil may also be pretty good pick-ups in a long term keeper league. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have some good players on the team, but there has to be a fine line between picking players with your heart, or your head, when it comes to fantasy. Why couldn’t I be a Yankees fan?? OK, just kidding of course!!!
It’s been a pretty quiet off-season for the Blue Jays, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my other baseball passion…the BALLPARK FOOD!! What is better then spending a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark, with an ice cold beverage in one hand, and a messy chili/cheese dog in the other? mmmmmmmmmm. I know that most stadiums are now expanding their menus to appeal to the more health conscious fan. They are now offering items such as salads, wraps, and even vegetarian hot dogs, just to name a few. I like to think of myself as a pretty healthy eater, but the smell and taste of good ballpark foods is something I can’t resist.
Listed below are a few of my must haves when attending a ball game. (In no particular order)
- Chili / Cheese Hot Dog (The hotter, the better!)
- Philly Cheese Steak
- Jumbo Soft Pretzel / with Mustard Dip & cheese
- Ice Cold Beer (Check out my buddy Wayne, the greatest beer vendor of all time!)
Living in the Toronto area means that I haven’t had the chance to experience some of the other foods from the ballparks in the United States. I have had the opportunity to try the Fenway Frank in Boston, and the Footlong Chili/Cheese Dog at Wrigley (notice a trend here?), but the most interesting item had to be the Fried Bologna Sandwich at Coca-Cola Field (formerly Dunn Tire Park) in Buffalo, the home of the Bisons (AAA team of the Indians). I would love to hear some of your best and worst food experiences, and just what you would like to see at your home ballpark. (WE NEED A B.B.Q. AT THE ROGERS CENTRE!!!)
Okay, so it’s that time of year again where I make all kinds of promises to myself that will surely improve the way that I live my life. So why is it that I never seem to follow through with them? Is it laziness? Is it fear of committment? (we won’t talk about that around the misses!). Who knows? Oh well, I guess it’s time to give it another shot for the year 2009.
- Lose 10 Pounds
This seems like the obvious place to start, since it’s been on top of my list for about the past 5 years.
I will be truly dedicated to my workout plan, and that strict diet. It’s time to get the dust off the treadmill, and get that old bike out of the garage again. I guess that also means no more of those Rogers Centre chili/cheese dogs… noooooooooooooooo!!!
- Introduce my Son to Baseball (Well, T-Ball) Now that he is starting to outgrow that old bat and ball set from the Jays Shop, I thought it would be a perfect time to sign my son up for t-ball.
I’m ultra competitive in almost everything I do, so I’ll have to be on my best behaviour when I’m out there watching him, but I can’t wait for the experience. This also includes taking him to more Jays games this season, and starting to explain the rules of the game to him. (If I ever figure them all out…lol).
- Support the Blue Jays…ALL Season Long! This is another one of those annual resolutions that I seem to have trouble fully committing to. It always starts really well…purchase new Jersey in February, listen and/or watch as many Spring Training games as possible, attend 3-4 home games in April, and then it all starts to go downhill from there.
Whether it’s an injury (Aaron Hill), or lack of an offence, it just seems to build up the frustration that this is not going to be our year yet again. This year I promise to appreciate them through the good and the bad, and just enjoy watching some exciting baseball, regardless of the end result.
- Enjoy Life To The Fullest, and Keep on Bloggin’ This last one will have probably the most meaning and effect on the year ahead.
Life is too short to worry about working 60 hours a week, or stressing about sitting in traffic. There are many people in this world who have it much worse then I do, and cannot enjoy the small luxuries of life. I am going to dedicate this year to enjoying life, and spending as much time as possible with my family.
I would also like to wish the whole MLBlogs community a very Happy New Year, and wish you all the best in 2009. GO JAYS GO!!!
I’ve decided to take a break from baseball, and all of this Yankees talk, to spend some time enjoying Canada’s national pastime, Hockey!!
An annual holiday tradition up here is the beloved World Junior Hockey Championship. The tourney starts on Boxing Day, and runs until the Gold medal game on January 5th. Now I can’t think of another country who takes any interest in this tournament, but for us here in Canada, this is probably the most watched sporting event of the year (OK, maybe 2nd to the Grey Cup). It might have to do with the fact that we will be gunning for our fifth championship in a row, and that it is being hosted on home soil in Ottawa, Ontario.
This tournament features the future stars of the N.H.L. like last year’s 1st overall pick, Steven Stamkos. Over the years, it has also introduced us to such stars as Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and past great like Peter Forsberg, Eric Lindros, and even Wayne Gretzky. This year will be no different with players like Sweden’s Victor Medmen, and Canada’s own John Tavares battling for the gold, and for the right to be chosen 1st overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
So it’s time for me to get my case of Molson Canadian, sit in my recliner, and watch some hockey on the NEW big screen TV (hint, hint, Santa!!!)
Gotta work it in before Spring Training starts!
The snow has finally started here in Toronto, and all I can think about is the start of baseball season.
Team schedules have been released so it is time for me to pull out the bright yellow highlighter, and start picking some dates for this years road trip! Now, living in Toronto, I want to be able to drive to the ballparks, so that gives me about a 10 hour max. one way limit. I’ve been to Fenway Park (2007), and Wrigley Field (2006) already, and refuse to pay the outrageous ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium this season. So this year I was thinking about an Ohio/Pennsylvania combo trip.
The probable destinations include:
- P.N.C. Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds)
- Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)
Only about 20 hours round trip, so now it’s just a matter of co-ordinating all the schedules and I’m good to go. The teams will probably all be in the bottom half of the standings, but from what I’ve read, all three ballparks are beautiful. PNC is always highly rated, but now that my boy Jason Bay is gone, I really don’t know if it’s even worth the trip!! I’d love to hear from anybody who has been to these parks, and get some input on food, best seats to watch a game (not always most expensive), and anything else that may be usefull to me (hotels, restaurants, nightlife, etc.) Or you can just give me some details about where you plan on going for your road trip this year. Let’s hear from you guys.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about the day ahead. After arriving at work at little bit early to enjoy my coffee (Timmie’s double double of course!),
I decided to open the newspaper (The Toronto Sun), and check up on how the MLB Winter Meetings were going (damn you Yankees!). Now this is where my day took a turn for the worse. I opened up the sports section and read the following headline, “Gaston writes off ’09”. I won’t outline the whole article by Bob Elliot (you can read it here if you’d like), but it has basically told me not to bother cheering for the Jays this season. “We’re not moving backward, we’re moving forward, we’ll have a good team in 2010 and for a long time,” were the words of Jays manager Cito Gaston. Now I know that we are not going to re-sign A.J. Burnett (damn you Yankees!), and that our pitching staff is going to consist of Roy Halladay, Jesse Litsch, and then who knows (hey we did sign Matt Clement today to a minor league deal, only about 4 years too late!). I also realize that unless some sort of miracle occurs and we land a key bat through free agancy (Jason Giambi, Rafael Furcal, Raul Ibanez, etc.), that our offense will be the same one that ranked in the bottom third of the American League in all major offensive stats. Now pitchers and catchers are due to report to Spring Training in 64 days, and I’ve already quit on the season.
Now what are the Jays season ticket holders supposed to do? Ask for a refund, and let the Jays know that they’ll be back next year when they think they will have a better team? That’s a great job of marketing the team Cito. I for one was actually looking forward to watching the Jays this season, but now that all hope is gone, I guess I will have to find another way to spend my time and hard earned money.
How about this?
No, I think I’ll go for this instead,
Nothing beats a good road trip!!
Ok, so I actually love Cito as a manager, and I’m sure he means well by speaking the truth, and trying to take some pressure off this team, but there are certain things that just don’t need to be said to the media!! We know it’s going to be a challenging year, but that’s no way to sell tickets, and especially no way to sell hope to this dying fan base.
GO JAYS GO!!!!, uhhhh in 2010 I mean.
I was sitting at home last night, waiting for that first big free-agent signing from Vegas, when I decided to go through the ol’ baseball DVD library. I needed my fix, and listening to the XM Radio (channel 175), or surfing the net just wasn’t doing it for me. So I decided to pick a movie to watch, and after much debate, I settled on the number one choice (gotta scroll down the list to see). I also decided to see what the MLBloggers think about my top 10 baseball movie list.
(oh and in case you haven’t figured out number 1 yet, here is a quote from the movie), “A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.”
Give me your thoughts as well.
Lets hope there’s some real baseball news pretty soon…next on my list was Major League III, Back To The Minors…nnoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!