The Best: The Blue Jays came out of the gate in 1977 with a bird’s head smack dab in the center of the jersey. And you know what? I liked it! No, it wasn’t totally sharp in an absolute sense, but it’s certainly better than anything they’ve worn since. It has character, and it’s pretty unmistakable. And I liked their old powder blues too. The newer teams that came up in the age of powder blues tend to look pretty good in them. Yes, I know they’ve brought them back as an alternate, but they should be a road jersey. The gray roadies still look wrong to me, even after all these years.
The Worst: I hated the caps with the big maple leaf they wore in the Roger Clemens era, but I really hate the “Jays” lettering on the current duds, especially the black alternates. Like so many teams searching for a sartorial identity, the Blue Jays have settled on something that is simply generic. If you were making a movie about baseball and couldn’t get the rights to use real major league teams, you’d come up with something that looks a lot like what they wear these days.
Assessment: If they’re not going to embrace the big Jay head in the middle of a pullover shirt, they should at least try to do something memorable and maybe even a little audacious. What they have right now is so blah.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.