Toronto Sunday Sports Shorts

Everyone got the shovels out for tomorrow??? What a joke!!!

Speaking of jokes:

“Is there not something wrong with this country when 93,000 people tune in to watch the NCAA basketball tournament and 10 times that number tune in to watch the women’s national curling championship?”

That from Simmons today. It just shows how you small the market for US college athletics is here in Canada. Think about how tomorrow on ESPN, FOX Sports the majority of the talk will be on ” The Tournament”. Here it will be mentioned, but will anyone care? Not by those ratings….

More from Simmons:

“Brian Burke, who comments on just about everything, wouldn’t comment when the Leafs got stung by the National Hockey League with a fine and lost draft pick in the Jonas Frogren mess. Instead, Burke issued a thin news release, meaning he didn’t want to further embarrass Cliff Fletcher and Jeff Jackson, who botched the deal in the first place”

I know there are those out there who disagree with this, personally but it certainly is the prevailing few. Cliff (and now Jeff Jackson) are taking this one on the chin.

I love this quote from Paul Beeston today (also from Simmons):

“We’re in an environment where there is a lot of losing,” he says. “We’d be better off with the Leafs winning. We’d be better off with the Argos winning. We’d be better off with the Raptors winning, because you find yourself with negative stories, negative ideas, negative thoughts. I think we’re worse off (because of this).”

Does anyone think this is legit? I think people (with the exception of one Jays fan in particular) are being pretty honest when they say this team is destined to finish in the basement of their division this year. Hell, the manager pretty much said the same thing. The difference, and maybe this is what Beeston meant was that with no team in contention the Jays won’t be able to avoid the spotlight as they usually do out of the gate. If the team falls out of the gate, there will be nowhere to hide. To say that the losing ways of all the other teams has people thinking the same thing about the Jays is silly. People are looking for the good news story.. Problem is they aren’t finding it with the Jays, at least not yet….There is no way Beeston can blame the Jays for quotes like this:

“I know we’re not supposed to pay attention to spring- training numbers but as of yesterday, Lyle Overbay was hitting .222 with 16 strikeouts and just one home run in the Grapefruit League. And this is supposed to be a comeback season for him”

Very interesting take on the way things are at the Jays camp this year from Bob Elliott:

“There is also a different power triumvirate ruling One Blue Jays Way. A year ago, the decision-making troika was general manager J.P. Ricciardi, president Paul Godfrey and manager John Gibbons. Now, the chain of command goes like this: Interim CEO Paul Beeston (two World Series rings), manager Cito Gaston (two rings) and Ricciardi.”

I am sure there are those who disagree with me but I see J.P’s name and I can’t stop thinking dead man walking. The manager is safe, the President is interim. When trouble strikes, we know they aren’t going to look at the players….There is only one guy to fall, and his contract is up sooner then the others.

Elliott raises an excellent question to, one that we will be hearing about all year:

“Outside of tomorrow, will any Blue Jays game match the atmosphere of March 7, when the U.S. edged Canada in the World Baseball Classic in front of a hardcore passionate audience at the Rogers Centre? Will the Jays draw better than 42,314 on any of the remaining 80 home games after the opener? ”

I highly doubt, and I wonder what will be higher the total score in the NCAA Basketball final or the attendance at game 2 of the Jays season opening series? According to a must read piece in Saturday’s National Post on the changing economic times in baseball “The Detroit Tigers have reportedly seen their season-ticket base of 27,000 fall to about 15,000”. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a HUGE drop. Detroit is a big baseball town (with big economic problems). Let me ask you this though, why would you anyone buy seasons tickets for the Blue Jays? How many of the 81 games can you really go to? If I went to 5 all year it would be a ton. I can go to any game I want, pay on the street for my ticket and pay less then face. If I had seasons tickets how could I dump the 70 something tickets I couldn’t use? Then there is the problem of walk up tickets in general. Why or how do the Jays compete in this city for the entertainment dollar? They have to put a compelling product on the field. It isn’t cool anymore to be seen at the dome. If people are going to spend their especially hard earned dough it had better be for a good reason.

“Cleveland is offering buy-one, get-one-free season tickets in the upper deck; Florida features 11 Saturday games that will feature a contest whose main prize is a payment of up to US$15,000 towards your mortgage. In Minnesota, some tickets will reflect the Dow: if it closes in the 9000s on Friday, seats in the left-centre bleachers will cost US$9 on Mondays. The bad news, of course, is seats for the home opener are therefore going for US$7.”

I have seen some Jays tickets for $5. So far nothing like those promotions though. It will take those types of gimmicks to draw at the dome this year.

Here is the Tyler Bozak press conference for those who missed it:

Upcoming games against New Jersey, Buffalo and Ottawa, anyone else find it hilarious that after the Leafs anoint Gerber as their starter the rest of the way he starts playing like, Gerber? Here’s hoping that the cards play out well this week and the buds plummet as far as possible to maximize potential in the lottery ball department…

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