It has come to this for the Blue Jays: Ramon Ortiz is starting tonight

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Toronto’s rotation is so wrecked by injuries that the Blue Jays have called up 40-year-old Ramon Ortiz to start tonight against the Red Sox. Seriously, here’s proof from the Blue Jays’ official website and everything:

source:

Obviously being 40 years old doesn’t preclude someone from still being a good pitcher, but being 40 years old and Ramon Ortiz does. He didn’t pitch in the majors at all last season and hasn’t had an ERA below 4.75 since way back in 2004. Since then Ortiz has logged 533 innings in the majors with a 5.47 ERA while striking out just 5.1 batters per nine innings.

And yes, I realize by writing a post about this Ortiz is probably destined to throw seven innings of one-run ball versus Boston tonight. In the meantime the Blue Jays are +200 gambling underdogs, which means a $100 bet would win $200 and they’re expected to win 33.3 percent of the time. That’s actually not too crazy considering Jon Lester is good and the Blue Jays have only won 36.1 percent of their games this season before sticking Ortiz in the rotation.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”