In his annual visit to Girth Radio studios, Ari Shapiro, of Jays Journal fame, gives his unedited thoughts and opinions on the 2018 version of the Toronto Blue Jays season.
Some questions we tackled:
– Will Josh Donaldson end this season in a Jays uniform?
– Have we seen the last of Troy Tulowitzki?
– Can Devon Travis stay healthy?
– Can the Jays survive a Russell Martin injury?
– Will be see Vladdy Guerrero Jr and/or Bo Bichette with in the big leagues before the season ends?
– How will Karim do in his Yahoo Baseball Fantasy League?
Baseball fans in Toronto will remember the date, October 9, 2005. It was when longtime Blue Jays broadcaster, Tom Cheek passed away after a heroic battle against cancer.
Summers would never be the same. The sound of Tom and Jerry (Jerry Howarth was Tom’s broadcast partner on the radio in the Blue Jays booth) on my radio actually made me feel warmer. Their voices meant that winter was over. And with that baseball was around the corner. and for a kid living in Toronto, summer was a welcome respite after a cold and grey winter.
After Tom, Jerry continued calling Blue Jays games and painting my favourite game with words that conjured up images of superhuman feats.
Today, Jerry Howarth announced his retirement. He had suffered from a variety of ailments recently including a bout with prostate cancer. Over the past couple of years he had also come across as culturally insensitive (to my ears) with a variety of remarks about the way some players played the game. He also once had Hazel Mae on and kept on referring to her as so-and-so’s wife rather than as the successful broadcaster that she is.
Nevertheless, the sound of summer has changed. Tom and Jerry will now be a story that I’ll tell my son. Thanks for the memories Jerry. Have an awesome retirement.
Ari Shapiro is one of Toronto’s foremost experts on baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays. His work has appeared in Sportsnet and Jays Journal. He can also be heard on radio stations across Canada. On the Blue Jays 2017 home opener, Ari and I sat down inside Pacific Junction Hotel to chat about your Toronto Blue Jays!
Rogers Media recently released number from Numeris that report on TV and radio numbers of the Toronto Blue Jays.
the first 81 games of the season had an average audience of 825,000 viewers on Sportsnet. That’s an increase of 51% over 2015
30 games have been watched by more than one million viewers
When it comes to radio, more listeners are tuning in to Jays coverage this year than last as well: on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in the Toronto market up ratings are up 86% for adults 25 to 54, and 32% for men 25 to 54
The success of the Jays gave Sportsnet a 5.9 audience share with an average audience of 216,000 for the month of June, which translates to a year-over-year increase of 29%.
Donaldson led the Blue Jays to the postseason for the first time since 1993 with one of the best offensive performances in franchise history. He hit .297 with 41 home runs and led the Majors with 122 runs scored while pacing the AL with 123 RBIs and appearing in all but four games. Donaldson was also first in the AL with 84 extra-base hits, second to Trout with 8.7 WAR and third with a .939 on-base plus slugging percentage.
George Bell was the first Blue Jays player to win the AL MVP in 1987. In the last several weeks, Donaldson has won the Hank Aaron Award, the Players’ Choice Most Outstanding Player Award and an AL Silver Slugger Award as the league’s top offensive third baseman. He finished fourth in voting for the AL MVP in 2013 and eighth last season as a member of the A’s.
By now you’ve either read my blog post on the topic or seen the gifs or videos of Jose Bautista’s epic home run from Wednesday night’s ALDS Game. And his bat flip.
And of course you’ve heard and or read the many opinions of those who know better that Bautista disrespected the pitcher, the Texas Rangers and the game of baseball as a result of his emotional response.
Esquire had a nice piece on the bat flip and it’s place in sports history.
From a cultural standpoint those who had a problem with what Bautista did lack cultural understanding and awareness.
These same people had a problem with his temper over the years. They had a problem with how Jose Reyes played the game and celebrated the game with joy. They don’t like the way Johnny Cueto sometimes does a jig before he pitches. And I’m sure there’s so much more they dislike.
But there are also things they like that I have no patience for. They like hitting batters to send a message. They like it when a veteran assults a younger player to teach them a lesson. They like batters who never celebrate a home run. Lest they anger the baseball gods.
These people can also be found in other sports. Here in Canada you can find them in hockey. And everywhere else.
You know who I’m talking about. They are not necessarily wrong. Nor are they right.
It’s like Harold Reynolds saying that Canadians can’t catch. He’s not right. And he’s not wrong. He’s ignorant. Of course we can catch.
And Jose Bautista is not disrespecting anyone or anything. This is how he displays his passion and love for the game. The same game he’s been playing since he was a kid playing baseball in the Dominican Republic. The same game Cole Hamels had been playing in the States.
And it’s the same game. However people play this game all over the world. I’ve had the opportunity to watch baseball in Taiwan. And to watch an international game played between Canada and the Dominican Republic. And of course Blue Jays baseball.
To expect an homogeneous baseball culture in 2015 is not just ridiculous. But short sighted and ignorant.
Let’s enjoy the game and how people doing all over the world play it. On the biggest baseball stage in the world. Major League Baseball.