Who’s your fave active DH?

I used to be against the DH in the National League, but I’ve been swayed to see it in both leagues. Why? Player like Edwin Encarnacion as simply fascinating to me.

As a long time Expos fan, I never really paid attention to American league ball unless it was the playoffs. Ortiz turned me on to the amazing excitement of the DH, and Edwin Encarnacion continues it. I was lucky to see him do his things a couple of times in person at the Rogers Centre and he seems to be doing the same for Mariners fans.

On Monday, he showed why he’s one of the most exciting DH’s in the game.

He became the first Major Leaguer to go deep twice in the same frame since Mark Trumbo with the Orioles on April 15, 2016. Encarnacion previously homered twice in an inning himself on July 26, 2013, for the Blue Jays.

Archer Does Gibson Impression

Reds player Derek Dietrich admired his crazy home run into the river, against the Pirates earlier today. Archer, who gave up the blast, would have known of that, and on the next at-bat, he threw at him. Cue the brawl, you knew that was coming.

I think this may be the first brawl of the season. Yahoo Sports did a pretty good run down of what happened as well as highlighting a great photo of Puig basically taking on all the Pirates himself.

In the end, Bell, Puig, Amir Garrett, as well as Pirates setup man Keone Kela and closer Felipe Vazquez were tossed for their role in the ruckus.

Should make for an interesting series when they meet up again May 27th.

File under: He must be drunk

If you were watching the Blue Jays vs the Cleveland Indians yesterday, at some point a fan drunk moron ran onto the field. They refused to show it on TV to not encourage this kind of behaviour. I think they should have, so people thinking to do the same could see the consequences (or if you want read this). Essentially the individual in question was arrested and ejected from the stadium.

Watch his shenanigans here:

When they want you on the field, they will do it the right way.

Blue Jays Rebuild Continues: Pillar Gone to SF

Recently I had the pleasure to see the Blue Jays opening day weekend, and one of the last games of Kevin Pillar. The stands were full of people wearing Pillar jerseys and capes with his nickname “Superman” on their back. And not surprising, he had a very strong defensive game. Pillar got his name known for his spectacular plays on the field.

While he didn’t have such a crazy play the night I saw him, we got to see him play his heart out in centre field and live in person. He caught several balls smacked his way with ease and made the necessary outs. However, we also got see the other side of Pillar, which was his poor offensive showing. He had four at bats and had no hits, striking out on his last at bat of the game. Not really surprising though. He was never very consistent.

Nevertheless, it’s still tough to see Pillar, the face of the Jays (for many) to be traded. I guess it feels worse when it’s for questionable players. So what did the Jays get from the San Fransisco Giants?

I grabbed my copy of Baseball Prospectus 2019, and here is what they had to say:

Alen Hanson remains a maddening player with million dollar tools and ten cents instincts.

Ouch. I moved to the next one. I read the entry Derek Law. There was nothing kind to repeat, but suffice to say, the words “career in tailspin since 2017” is sufficient.

And finally, what seems to be “best” part of the deal is the pitcher Juan De Paula, a 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic who has now been dealt three times over his four-year professional career.Baseball Prospectus notes:

Juan de Paula flashes three above-average pitches and has ample velocity projections, making him a potential riser on prospect lists as he matures.

This is certainly a risk for the Jays, but they have no choice really but to get value for a Pillar while they could. Nonetheless, it was heartbreaking to see him go. We all know baseball is a business and many people are jaded, but this one seemed to really cut deep.

I can’t really blame him. In a time when most players don’t last a couple of years with a team, the Blue Jays organization is the only one he’s known since being drafted by them in 2011.

Now only a handful of players are left from the crazy exciting 2015 & 2016 seasons. Justin Smoak seemed to be most impacted by losing his friend and teammate . As the most recently promoted face of the Blue Jays hopefully it doesn’t derail his performance.

Overall, though, I think a new opportunity and change of scenery will do Pillar well. Certainly everyone, including the Blue Jays organization wish him nothing but the best – and it’s hard not to.

Even with obviously difficult change you see he chooses the path of being a true class act and a professional. How can you not like this guy. SF fans, you’re in for something special.

Big Announcement Coming May 15th 2019 in Montreal

Artist rendition of the new stadium in the Peel Basin of Montreal.

This is not an April Fools Joke!

For the past couple of years there have been rumors about a possible Baseball site in Griffintown in the Peel Basin. It’s a parcel of land owned a federal Crown corporation, the Canada Lands Company and it’s really the only piece of land on the island of Montreal that makes the most sense for a ballpark to go. Add to this, a new train system coming right to the doorstep of this area and it’s a very natural fit.

Background up until now

Word came a couple of months ago, that Stephen Bronfman and his Montreal Group, who want to bring a Major League Baseball team to Montreal – were actively seeking to get the land. Last week it was reported that Devimco (who owns a part of the land already) and Claridge (Bronfman’s company for land development) were close to a deal.

Land for a baseball site always seemed to be a sticking point with the Baseball Commissioner office being clear, a clear plan for a site for Baseball in Montreal, is an essential part of the return.

Stephen Bronfman in good spirits.

Bronfman was in good spirits, before the first Blue Jays exhibition game March 30th as Jack Todd noted in the Montreal Gazette. Bronfman is quoted as saying. “I think we’re close. There’s a feeling in the air,”

More importantly, when asked about the sticking point about a stadium or land being built in order to get a team.

“If Major League Baseball is asking for a shovel in the ground, I’ll go down to Griffintown and put the shovel in the ground myself,” Bronfman said, “because if they want a shovel in the ground, that means they’ve got a team for us.”

Seems to me like an unofficial announcement they got the land – but could there be more?

An Official Announcement May 15th?

Now cue the speculation and the excitement.

This past Friday TVA reported, that there is a major announcement coming on May 15th at the Griffintown site.

We know last week during an interview on TV about the Expos chances of coming back, Stephen Bronfman, let slip his father (former owner of the Expos Charles Bronfman) was coming to town for an event in May. Now we have even more info that this will be something major.

Certainly we can guess it’s an official announcement that Bronfman has secured the land. Here are the relevant quotes (translated) from the news report:

There is an important announcement regarding the return of baseball in Montreal: According to host Jean-Charles Lajoie, the Bronfman family is organizing a major event on May 15th.

“From knowledgeable sources, the Bronfman family is actively planning a very important event at the site of a decommissioned factory on St-Ambroise Street in Montreal, in the Griffintown area,” Lajoie said Friday as part of the program JiC . The site will be transformed in an exceptional way, in the sense that it will be something very special. “

This gathering could allow, according to information that Lajoie received, to disclose new information about the possible construction of a baseball stadium in Montreal.

“I can not tell you if businessman Stephen Bronfman will officially confirm the construction of this stadium,” added the host. But I daresay there could be an announcement that the land in Griffintown owned by the Trudeau government is being divested. “

Things seem to moving very quick on this file, and we will continue to watch it closely!

Could this be the play of the season?

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Milwaukee Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain is congratulated by Christian Yelich after catching a ball at the wall hit by St. Louis Cardinals’ Jose Martinez during the ninth inning of an Opening Day baseball game Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Milwaukee. The Brewers won 5-4. (AP)

We’re only one day into the season and I think we have the candidate for the play of the season. Cain’s game-ending catch, to me, was one of the most exciting, game changing plays I can recall from recent memory. Did you miss it? Check it out!!!

Yes, that did happen. How can you not love this game?

The End of an Era

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Image from Bartolo Colon Instagram. Enjoying a brew – cheers to you!

Yesterday it was reported that this is the first opening season of the 21st century, where there’s not a single active player left who started playing in the 20th century.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau Adrian Beltre and Bartolo Colon were the last of their kind. This means the MLB becomes the first of the four major sports without someone still around who played in the 1900s.

While this is a milestone of change, there is also another one not lost on fans of the old Montreal Expos. Bartolo Colon was the last active player who wore the Expos uniform before their demise in 2004.

Bartolo Colon (AP Photo)
Bartolo Colon (AP Photo)

I can guarantee you, no Expos fan thought he would be the last standing. He also became a bit of ray of hope, he would still be playing when baseball would return permanently to Montreal. I always liked to check-in and cheer on ‘Big Sexy’ whenever he was playing. Sad to see he has been forced into retirement without a contract this season.

However, hope springs eternal. We are now seeing the rise of what we can call the sons of the Expos generation. Both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. are turning heads with their on-field performances. The game is better and more exciting now. So while it’s certainly a milestone worth a pause, I won’t dwell to hard, as I feel the game has gotten so much better.

First Game of the 2019 Season

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MLB Opening Day viewing information

  • Dates: Thursday, March 28
  • Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
  • Location: Nationals Park — Washington D.C.
  • TV: SNY and MASN
  • APP: ATBAT

Here is what CBSSports.com has to say

Storylines 

Mets: Agent-turned-GM Brodie Van Wagenen kicked off his first year in Queens with a flurry of moves, proving that the Mets won’t be taking a backseat in the National League East this season. The Mets showed that they’re aiming for the NL East crown in 2019, after a busy offseason which included the signings of Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jed Lowrie, Wilson Ramos, Justin Wilson and Jeurys Familia. The new-look Mets have a chance to win their first postseason game since 2015, especially if their rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz and Jason Vargas stays healthy enough to serve as the backbone of the team.

Nationals: The Nats watched their franchise star Bryce Harper head to Philadelphia in free agency, but the Nats should be right back in the mix again in 2019 to make their sixth postseason appearance in nine years. Manager Dave Martinez will need to run a better bullpen than last year, and the additions of Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough and Tony Sipp should give Martinez more options for the late-inning matchups. Plus, the Harper-less roster is just as talented as it ever was with young superstars like Juan Soto and Victor Robles and offseason acquisitions like Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez and Brian Dozier. Just like their competitors in the NL East, this team is loaded with talent and ready to compete

Prediction
The Mets are the more experienced team and for that reason, they’ll beat a much younger Nats team on Opening Day.

CBS is not alone in predicting a Mets win. I think the Nationals have something to prove and will want to show they aren’t just Harper’s team. Of all the games today, this is the one I am most excited to watch!

The Most Over-rated?

Selfie Photo via Bryce Harper's Instagram
Selfie Photo via Bryce Harper’s Instagram

Bryce Harper has been playing MLB ball for seven seasons and he has been voted into the All-Star Games six times.

Harper also averages about 32 homers and 91 RBI per year. In the offseason he signed a 13-year, $330-million deal with the Phillies.

And now, for the second consecutive year, Bryce Harper has been voted the “most overrated” player in the league by his peers according to theAthletic .

He was also voted the “most overrated” in a poll of anonymous players conducted by ESPN in both 2014 and 2015, when he won the National League MVP award that year.

Harper’s reaction?

“I don’t really know what to say,” the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “I mean, I have no answer. I have no idea.

“I knew ESPN did (a similar poll) a couple years back, and I won MVP the next year. So I don’t know. Maybe we’ll do that again this year. We’ll see.”

I guess we will…

The night before Opening Day

The snow is still not fully melted here in Montreal, but the positive vibes from two exhibition games at Olympic Stadium, a rousing (if not bittersweet) celebration of 50 years of Expos history- now transitions into a new joyous occasion – tomorrow a new season begins. All the wins and losses of the season prior – even a bad spring training mean nothing. All 30 teams will play tomorrow. More than 750 players will have a chance to play on a field of dreams every 13-year old boy and girl baseball fanatic can only aspire (or wish for) to come true.

The spring may not feel like it’s here yet, but that’s not stopping me from getting my glove and hat ready to cheer. A new year of baseball excitement is ahead and I hope you’ll follow me on this journey!