How to fix baseball, in five easy steps!

If he drops this, he'll definitely never find work in this town again.

(Cross-posted to The Daily Squizz.)

With the Major League Baseball season getting underway yesterday, it’s a yearly rite of passage for every writer with even a passing interest in the game to throw out a half-assed, half-baked bunch of theories on how to “fix” baseball — baseball, you see, is much like a sex-obsessed canine, in that everyone whinges about the semen-caked furniture, but no one has the wherewithal to actually lop off the bugger’s balls.

Well, it’s time for some big league castration, ladies and gents. No more worrying about whether “America’s pastime” has lost its lustre or appeal, since after these strategies are implemented, you can pretty much hand over the presidency to Cyborg Bud Selig (it was inevitable anyway).

Drugs for all. As in the case of Tiger Woods’s rampant infidelity, the everyday person probably doesn’t have any inherent moral aversion to steroid use; they’re just a bit peeved at the lack of fairness when someone’s juicing (or taking ‘roids — zing!) and others aren’t. Continue reading

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Happy actual birthday, Chris!

Since it’s a bit of a faux pas to promote one’s own birthday, I’ll pop in with my bimonthly post to pimp the fact that the engine of Infield Fly, Chris, has a birthday today. So if all y’all appreciate the way he’s built up this site from humble beginnings to the burgeoning baseball behemoth it is today, then… I dunno, leave him a heartwarming message or something.

Now back to your originally scheduled programming.

Return of the Buck

So here I am, just trying to mind my off-season business, when bam, here comes the (sigh) out-of-left-field news that Buck freakin’ Martinez is coming back to Toronto to do play-by-play for the Blue Jays. This can only mean that the “Flashback Friday” powder-blues will soon become the squad’s everyday choice. Though of all the dumb nostalgia moves that Rogers has pulled, this is one it’s tough to argue against… Shulman and Martinez, for those of you old enough to shave, were a money duo in the booth (yes, they used to be the Jays’ announcing team, believe it or not) and with ol’ Bucky back in that colour seat, maybe he can squeeze some blood from the stone that is Jamie Campbell.

Oh, wait. Martinez is the play-by-play guy, you say? Hmm. Guess Campbell’s out on his ass. Sorry, he’s been “reassigned” — though I know enough out-of-work journos to know what that word means nowadays.

That’s kinda sad, actually. Campbell was bottom-of-shoe-sole crap at times (read: his first few years), but you could definitely tell he did his best to grow into the role. His seemingly legitimate enthusiasm at the big plays (for both teams, sadly) was nice, even if he still didn’t think to look at an outfielder’s reaction to get a handle on whether we were looking at a long bomb or a pop fly. Plus his awkward, stilted rapport with Rance Mulliniks was the stuff of legend. Nothing would help cut through the tedium of another Jays implosion like hearing those two conduct entirely separate conversations while sitting three feet away from each other.

Wow, this ode to Martinez suddenly turned into a eulogy for Campbell. How did that happen? Oh, right, because we’ve now become inured to all the “nostalgia” moves and even the most naive Jays fans should see them as cynical ploys to latch onto past glories in a desperate attempt to drag people out to the ballpark… and to distract from the front office’s sheer inability to build a team that’s set to contend in the long-term.

But, did you hear that guy turned a double play with a broken leg? A broken leg!! And, if we go down to the ‘Centre on Friday, we can get Rob Butler’s autograph and a free slice of pizza if the Jays strike out seven batters! Wow!

Fact: Voting makes you feel good.

Hello everyone. Occasional contributor Squizz here, just poking my head in on the baseball side of things for some shameless promotion of one of my other projects, a little site called Some Canadian Guys Writing About Soccer. We’ve been nominated in the sports category in the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards, and we’d love your votes!

I’m sure that Chris, who usually holds down the fort here at Infield Fly, would attest to the awesomeness of said blog and its three contributors (he’d better, or we’ll deprive him of his status as a lovable 15-foot-tall cartoon bear).

Yes, there are baseball favourites on the ballot too — the drunks, Tao and Sports and the City among them —¬† but fear not! You can vote for them and Some Canadian Guys! It’s a ranking system, where you rank as many (or as few) choices as you like.

So while you’re over there voting for your actual favourites, be a pal and show some love to Some Canadian Guys too, won’t you? Thanks.

(By the way, Chris, this counts as my “one post every two months”. You’re welcome.)

The folly of wins and losses

Despite its tone, this article is not an attack on you, Brett. You just had a bad night.

I’m certainly no sabermetrician — but being a baseball fan under the age of 40 (almost a contradiction in terms, I know), I am fully aware that the “old school” approach of judging a player’s worth on only the most basic of statistics is pointless bullshit. Brett Cecil provided us with one of the clearest examples of all time last night.

5 IP 9 H 7 ER 0 BB 3 K — FTW!

By any objective measure, that’s a pretty ugly line. But there’s no doubt Griffin and his ilk would claim it was a good night for Cecil for one reason: he got the win. Sure, he gave up seven earned runs. Sure, he barely managed to scrape through five innings, and sure, he was only allowed to finish his atrocious fifth because — through no effort of his own — he’d been staked to an 11-run lead by his teammates.

But he got the win!

Never mind all those complete games Doc threw in the last two years that ended up as losses because his brethen at the plate were too fuckin’ useless to provide more than two runs of support. Those were bad games. Come on Roy, get your head in the game.

I know I’m beating a long-deceased horse, and that piling up on the Blue Jays blogosphere’s favourite whipping boy is about as interesting and creative as a documentary about dog shit. But when stark examples like this present themselves, you’ve got to wonder — is there anything that would make the FJM-target brigade update their baseball worldview just a smidge?

Trust me, I’m not advocating a world where all writers are algorithm-obsessed nerds, but Christ, there’s got to be some happy medium, doesn’t there?

My internal monologue about Jason Bay

The other night on Prime Time Sports (I know, I know…), as the topic of Alex Rios’s departure was being discussed, Bob McCown made a passing, un-followed-up remark about the possibility of the Jays making an offseason trade: Financial Flexibility in exchange for Jason Bay. My frenzied internal monologue fired up almost immediately, whereupon my idea for this printed back-and-forth was born (or, I flipped channels and stole “Formidable Opponent” from Stephen Colbert, either way…)

From a dumbly simplistic patriotic point of view, it sure would be cool to have a legitimate Canadian superstar playing for the Jays. By that, you mean a recently-anointed dual citizen, whose family clearly isn’t too perturbed about the prospect of living south of the 49. Either way, the man’s an all-star and did represent us at the WBC. So, what, Scott Richmond isn’t a legitimate Canadian superstar? Then why did they “save” him for that all-or-nothing matchup against the Venezuelans, which never happened? Too soon, jerk, too soon. In seriousness, Bay has said he’d welcome a move to the Jays at some point. Yeah, that’s when he played for the Pirates, numbnuts. I’m sure he would have welcomed a move to the Sioux City Gonorrhea Peddlers if it could have gotten him out of Pittsburgh. Continue reading