While sunburnt and sampling the tacos in the Mexican League this winter, I confess that I have been out of touch with your beloved Toronto Blue Jays but I did turn on the television set on Opening Day to catch Canada’s baseball heroes in action.
My first conclusion? The Jays had many of the wrong players in uniform last year and now it seems they have the wrong Oh.
Jays’ fans left Rogers Centre with the familiar refrain of “Oh Oh” after a comedy of miscues by Seung Hwan Oh, who is not to be confused with the Japanese home run legend Sadaharu Oh, in the Opening Day loss to the New York Yankees.
This Oh, a Blue Jays’ rookie reliever from South Korea, was a late arrival attempting to cover first on an infield grounder in the eighth inning of the Jays’ 6-1 loss. Pitchers covering first base is one of the basic fundamentals you learn in Little League.
But after Oh’s “Oh Oh” moment, Jays’ announcer Buck Martinez, part of Sportnet’s ‘excuse me’ broadcast team, pointed out that Oh was a late arrival in spring training!
To add insult to injury, on the very next play, Oh forgot to use his glove on a weak dribbler in front of the mound. He tried to bare-hand the ball and then juggled it and dropped it for an error. So somebody forgot to tell Oh in spring training to utilize his glove?
Unfortunately for Jays’ fans, Oh is the least of their problems and it sure looks like it’s already shaping up to be a long season for the Jays’ broadcast crew, who will have their work cut out in manufacturing excuses for this sad sack outfit masquerading as a major league baseball team.
At first glance, it sure looked like the Yankees were playing a minor league team. If you thought last season was bad, look out, folks!
I had my cell phone turned off while on the taco circuit in Mexico. Otherwise, why would Jays’ president Mark Shapiro “shore up” that hole in left field with a guy who is as old as the long-time right fielder Jose Bautista, who is so old they didn’t bring him back. But they signed 37-year-old Curtis Granderson to play left field. There are some fine youngsters patrolling outfields in the Mexican League.
So this is the youth movement? I loved the five-tool Granderson in his prime but let’s be honest. He’s old news.
Which actually makes sense because this team is the “Old News Bears” and it’s going to be bad news for some time, gang.
The anthem was still playing when the Jays committed their ceremonial first error of the year. The Yankees’ first batter, Brett Gardner, lined a low, looping routine line drive directly at Granderson for the first out – oh, oh, it wasn’t quite that way.
The ball almost knocked out Granderson as he whiffed in trying to catch it and commentator Buck Martinez quickly pointed out that he’d lost it “in the lights.” In the lights!?
While the Yankees shored up their outfield with the best home run hitter in baseball, Giancarlo Stanton, who cranked two homers on this day, the Jays countered with Granderson with the sun setting on his career.
While the Yankees hired a bright young and dynamic manager in Aaron Boone, the Old News Jays are off and running with the staid and uninspiring John Gibbons.
Despite boasting a fine young starting rotation, the Jays seem bent on wasting it with a team full of holes and question marks.
One of the most stunning revelations in the opener was the play of the Jays’ best position player Josh Donaldson. It was apparent early that the third sacker Donaldson couldn’t throw as he had all the grace of a shot putter throwing a lead ball to first base. It was apparent that Donaldson’s right arm wasn’t fit for the game, yet Gibbons left him in the game to lob the ball to first base and possibly jeopardize the season of his superstar.
After the game, I was looking forward to the peppery post-game comments of Sportsnet studio analyst Gregg Zaun. After all, while the Jays floundered last year, Zaun always showed up with his game face, a refreshing respite from some of his Sportnet pom-pom waving sidekicks.
But then I remembered that fiery Zaun had been canned for alleged misconduct relating to female staffers with Sportsnet so the alternative was some guy named Joe Siddall, who appears to be about as fiery as Gibbons.
At least when the Jays stunk up the joint last year, we had Zaun to entertain us. Without him, this could be the longest season for Jays’ fans.
Personally, I will viewing Zaun’s Manalyst show on YouTube to get the unfiltered story on the “Oh Oh” Jays.