Two Games, One Stupid Talking Point

It’s not a rule if it isn’t written down


Blue Jays 6, Angels 2

Blue Jays 1, Angels 2

Two games for the price of one this time. That’s what I get for missing a day.

But, to sum up: Stroman is incredible and anyone who says different is just dead wrong. Jesse Chavez, on the other hand, is terrible and anyone who says different is…well…blind. And yet the Blue Jays’ bats, so very productive on Sunday, went back to their April quiescence on Monday.

The Monday game—at which the Blue Jays were defeated by the might and power of Jesse Chavez—was so very much of a type for this season that, to be honest, I hardly know what I can possibly say about it except…well…

Nope. I got nothing. Crummy pitcher throwing garbage and the Jays make him look like a Cy Young candidate… Yep, just about sums it up.

Now, the Sunday game on the other hand, that was interesting. And not just because the Jays won (although that helps) but because of the way that they won.

First and foremost, of course, there was Devon Travis’ performance at the plate: at last…at last…he started to look like the hitter that we all know he can be, and which he is going to have to be if the Jays are going to do anything this season other than pad out other teams’ win column. Second, there was the continuing…greatness? Can we call it greatness, yet?…of Kevin Pillar. And finally, of course, there was Stroman’s pitching which was yes-we-can-absolutely-call-it-greatness. If these sorts of things can happen just a bit more often then at some point in the next little while the Jays may even hit double-digits in their own win column.

And, no, I’m not ignoring Carrera’s two for three at the plate or Goins’ home run. Neither one of those things is very likely to happen again any time soon, and the likelihood of their coming in the same game again this year (or any other) is so close to zero that it may as well be actually nil. Fluky things happen in baseball, and if you were watching that game you certainly saw the truth of that; and if you were in any doubt, then their return to their staggering normalcy yesterday should help you overcome any dreams that Ryan Goins is a perfectly fine long-term option in the painful absence of Josh Donaldson and Tulo, or that Zeke as the everyday starting left fielder is ever going to be a good idea.

(Oh, and Gibby, you know I love you, but what in the name of blazes makes you think that there is any universe in which it makes sense to have Zeke batting second?)

But back to the Sunday game, and to what made it truly interesting, and no I’m not talking about home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus’ bizarre decision to keep calling Stroman for a quick pitch when he was already halfway through (or even finished) his windup (which was kind of amusing in a painful-grimacey kind of way). No, I’m talking about the furor that erupted afterward concerning what Gregg “I’m As Old School As My Suits Are Loud” Zaun called Stroman’s “antics” and all the attendant, and sadly predictable, discussion about “the right way to play the game” according to its “unwritten rules”.

Oh, for the love of sweet little apples.

On a day when Manny Machado nearly had his head taken off by a pitch, there was actually serious, drawn-out and heated discussion about whether or not it’s acceptable that a pitcher who had won a complete game after having the umpire make two ridiculous calls on imaginary quick pitches while playing for a team that is last in the standings has a right to celebrate his accomplishment.

Now, I’ve been a baseball fan for a long, long time. I am the original definition of old school. I remember the ’75 World Series, the Big Red Machine and watching the Expos when they were great the first time. I remember Exhibition Stadium and games in the snow, and the baggies around the outfield in Minneapolis. I cheered for Reggie Jackson, and Gary Carter, and Joe Carter. I’ve been watching baseball for longer than a lot of its current superstars and superfans have been alive. And as an old time fan I just want to say this to all those who fault Stroman:

Up your nose with a rubber hose.

Of course it’s OK for the kid to celebrate. Of course it’s OK to have fun on the mound and to show your emotions on the field. The people who complain about that are usually the ones who lost and they’re using the “unwritten rules” as an excuse to carp on about how the other team was better than them that day. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with “showing proper respect” or “not showing up the other guy”. If it were even remotely about that then why wasn’t everyone…anyone…going on and on about how Pujols made a very clear, “WTF?” gesture to Mike Trout when Trout made a relatively minor baserunning error in that very same game?

Albert Pujols, by the way, was one of the carpiest of carping-on-ers about Stroman after the game. I guess he must have been upset about something…

Like losing the game?

Let’s not dignify pouty displays of frustration and hurt feelings as though they’re some kind of grand adherence to a Spirit Of The Game held together by the Unwritten Rules that only True Ballplayers can understand.

The rules are written in the rule book. The rest is just hurt egos and petulant millionaire boy-men taking themselves far too seriously.



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