This podcast was originally published on: May 31, 2016 on Girth Radio.
Arturo Marcano is a Toronto-based author who writes about the problems in Latin American countries caused by the globalization of baseball, specifically Major League Baseball (MLB).
In this hour-plus long conversation Marcano shares with us:
– how MLB has helped shape the cycle of poverty in the baseball-talent rich nations of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic
– why this same problem doesn’t exist in Mexico or Japan
– why there are not a lot of players in MLB from Mexico
– the upcoming battle between Cuban baseball and MLB
and much, much more!
If you are a hardcore baseball fan living in the Greater Toronto Area then you were probably in attendance last night at the latest Pitch Talks event. Hosted by Kevin Kennedy at the Culture, Art, Media & Education Centre in Toronto, last night’s event featured a short Blue Jays film by Cashew Mirman Videos as well as the Canadian premiere of the Dock Ellis story: No No: A Dockumentary.
As the Toronto Blue Jays start the second half of the 2014 season, I thought I would take a quick look at the various positions and players to see what where we are at and what we need to do to win the American League East.
First Base is currently being played by all-star player Jose Bautista. Adam Lind? He’s on the DL for the next little while after taking medical advice from his mother. Strange days. While he was playing, Lind was hitting the cover off the ball. Against righties mind you. Manager John Gibbons, understanding that Lind can’t hit lefties, has platooned him for most of the season with Edwin Encarnacion. Lind is currently hitting .320 but don’t expect him back until August.
DH/First Base. Edwin Encarnacion continues to assault the ball with his towering home runs. When he’s not injured. Yikes. Encarnacion sits at the break with 26 home runs.
Second Base. Started with Maicer Izturis. But he only played 11 games. Third baseman and all-Canadian Brett Lawrie has been playing there. But guess what? Injured. So the Jays got Steve Tolleson from Buffalo.
Shortstop is the oft injured Jose Reyes. But guess what? He’s not injured! Yay. While his range is not world class he’s been (while he’s not injured) a steady contributor for the Blue Jays at the top of the batting order. Currently, Reyes sits at 17 stolen bases.
Third base. See above for Lawrie. In the meantime, Juan Francisco has been….ok. In 71 games he has hit 14 home runs. Not bad. But he has also struck out 85 times. Not good.
Left field is currently being patrolled by Melky Cabrera. I can’t remember if he’s injured or not. Seriously, he’s not injured. His play, when you compare it to last year, is a 180 degree difference. He has 7 assists as a fielder and is a very capable second hitter in front of Toronto’s power hitters.
Center field is currently patrolled by Colby Rasmus. He’s not injured but he’s not even hitting .250. He does have 12 home runs but he also has over 70 strike outs. EVen Anthony Gose looks like a superstar when he has replaced Rasmus. And Gose is not hitting that much over the .250 line.
Right field has mostly been patrolled by Bautista (when he’s not injured or playing first/DH). His home runs might not be as high but he can still bang with the best of them. His hitting has actually gotten stronger as he’s using the entire field. Which is a benefit considering opposition teams play him to pull almost all the time.
Catching. Anything is better than JP Arencibia from last year. Where is JPA now? In the minors trying to play first base in the Texas Rangers system. Good grief.
The pitching corps has actually being a bright light for the Blue Jays. Mark Buehrle has been the ace of the staff. Buehrle sits at 10 wins with an amazing ERA of 2.64. Bright lights? Rookie Marcus Stroman and closer Casey Janssen.
Manager John Gibbons has been outstanding. That’s just my opinion. But look where the Blue Jays sit: In second place 4 games out of first. Now that’s pretty good. And so is this team. When they are healthy.
What do the Blue Jays have to do from here to win the division and play for the World Series?
Get healthy and stay healthy.
Get a top of the line pitcher.
Get a star infielder.
Time for Alex Anthopoulos to step up to the plate.