Happy Canada Day, Toronto Blue Jays

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July 1st happens to be my wedding anniversary. Sixteenth if you care.  In honor of my anniversary, my wife is going to grill me a nice juicy steak this evening.

Really! Unlike your backwards little worlds, in Chez Calcaterra the woman is the master of the grill. Deduct all the man points from me that you want, but just know that while you chauvinists are sweating over a hot grill and demanding that you be in charge of the meat, I’m sitting in a lounge chair and enjoying a tasty beverage. And, truth be told, a much more tasty steak than I could ever grill myself.

July 1st is also notable, however, in that it is Canada Day.  I have too many windows open right now to Google it, but I’m pretty sure that Canada Day marks the anniversary of the time a heavily-armed contingent of Canadian freedom fighters drove the British Army into the Bay of Fundy, after which they executed Queen Victoria on the front steps of The Château Frontenac.  It’s a nation borne of violence, really, and it’s evident in everything those godless northern heathens do. I should know. My mother’s parents and her entire extended family is Canadian. They’re a people not to be trifled with.

In honor of Canada Day, the Jays played at home this afternoon, and they did it to a packed house, which was nice to see. They also did it in special uniforms in honour of the holiday:

I can’t say I like ’em that much. But I don’t like my mother’s parents or her entire extended family all that much either, so maybe I’m just not meant to understand.

And the Jays lost 7-6 too. Oh, Canada indeed.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉