Brett Cecil is in The Best Shape of His Life; quotes Bruce Lee

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Rumors of Blue Jays pitcher Brett Cecil’s weight loss have floated around all winter, but today the Globe and Mail has a full report on it.

And, unlike a lot of the BSOHL stories, this one is damn definitive and pretty impressive: Cecil has gone from 252 pounds last season to 219.  Which, on a 6’1″ frame is quite noticeable.

But it’s not just the weight loss that’s impressive. It’s his attitude and everything. Including what he refers to as “some deep reading”:

He showed a reporter his iPhone reader to pull a quote from Tao of Jeet Kune Do by the late martial arts icon Bruce Lee: “All life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are once forever annihilated.”

What does that mean to Cecil?

“Get rid of the bull [crap],” he said. “Do what needs to be done. Throw ego out the window and just do it.”

OK, sure. If that’s what it means to him, that’s all that matters.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.