Mediocrity Becomes The Norm For The Toronto Blue Jays

06/28/2011 8:56 PM - Devo

Originally published on "FullCountPitch"

Jose Bautista5.jpgI have been trying my hardest to pull for the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2011 season.

When working on predictions and other articles related to the Jays, I was convinced it was their season, their turn to finally make a run for the Wild-Card; Boston with their off-season signings were all but guaranteed a playoff birth, but the Rays couldn’t possibly compete after losing multiple key players, and the Yankees are relying on a patch work starting rotation that has one guaranteed win every five starts (Sabathia).

In my eyes, hopes were high at the beginning of the season.

Toronto had one of the most potent offenses in the league led by the herculean Jose Bautista. Surely Adam Lind and Aaron Hill couldn’t have two subpar seasons in a row? Rajai Davis should’ve added some well needed speed to the top of the line-up and Yunel Escobar, more than likely, would return to form.

The pitching staff is one of the youngest in the league led by Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and the newly promoted and recently demoted Kyle Drabek.

All of this plus a new manager accustomed to winning, its T.O’s time, right?

Somewhere along the way, the train came off the tracks. Injuries, ineffectiveness on the mound, closer by committee, and some recent in-house fighting have seen the Jays plummet down to 4th place in the AL East.

The mid-summer slump is something we are all familiar with and since 1993, a return to the top is what we have all been patiently waiting for. Unfortunately, 88 wins is where the Jays top out and a 3rd place finish has become regularity in these parts.

J.P. Ricciardi replaced Gord Ash and brought in a new regime and a new philosophy. A Moneyball approach, some ill-fated contracts and a depleted minor league system equalled years of hope with nothing to show for it.

The last two years the ship has been captained by the home-grown Alex Anthopoulos. Many people in the game had their doubts about a young 30-something taking control of a multi-million dollar organization. Perhaps that’s what this team needed; new blood, a new outlook and someone who knows the organization inside and out.

In his short time at the helm, Anthopoulos has traded the best pitcher in the world and received some pretty phenomenal talent in return (Drabek), unloaded a hellacious contract (Vernon Wells) and instilled a new focus on the farm system, a system now ranked 4th, up from 28th the year before.

All of this should have renewed the interest in the team. But as per the norm, the fans continue to stay away and this does not go unnoticed when tracking attendance;

2010 – 1,494,482

2009 – 1,876,129

2008 – 2,399,786

2007 – 2,360,344

2006 – 2,302,212

2005 – 2,014,995

2004 – 1,900,041

2005 – 2,014,995

2004 – 1,900,041

2003 – 1,799,458

2002 – 1,637,900

2001 – 1,915,438

2000 – 1,705,712

1999 – 2,163,464

1998 – 2,454,303

1997 – 2,589,297

1996 – 2,559,573

1995 – 2,826,483

1994 – 2,907,933

We are aware the Jays are still rebuilding, but the team is exciting, the marketing and media blitz is working at full force (Hustle and Heart 2.0), arguably the greatest hitter on the planet is roaming right field and the clubhouse is filled with a plethora of young talent at every position.

Maybe the strike in 1994 destroyed the game in the eyes of the people forever in this city?

Personally, I’m not the biggest Jays fan in the world but I can respect what’s going on in war room and on the field. I just hope others see the same things I do.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing
Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders. Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow
The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook

 

North American Baseball League making a name for themselves

06/26/2011 9:14 AM - Devo

North American League.jpgThe North American is really starting to make headway, considering they are a first-year Independent League. 

Less than 30 games into the season the NAL is already surpassing the 200,000 fan mark. To put that into perspective, the Can-Am League is at 170,000. 

The well-established American Association, (821,142), Atlantic League (752,180), and Frontier League (462,254) are leading the pack which is really no surprise. 

200,000 fans, which averages out to approximately 2,000 a game  really says something to the work put into this super league by Kevin Outcalt, Chief Executive Officer and former President of the Golden Baseball League. 

There is a great chance that the 2012 season will see boost at the turnstile as four new expansion teams are in the mix; Long Beach Armada, Omaha Flame, Orange County Flyers, and Tucson Toros. 

For those who are interested in following the NAL, click here to visit their website.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing
Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow
The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook 

Rough stretch for the Jays has ruffled some feathers

06/22/2011 10:43 PM - Devo

Ricky Romero 2.jpgI have been on the Jays band-wagon for a quite a while hoping they could claim that Wild-Card spot this year. 

Right now it seems as if the wheels are beginning to fall off. 

Amidst a horrid stretch where the Jays aren’t scoring, Ace Ricky Romero’s frustration boiler over and he called out his teammates (sort of) after his loss to the Braves. 

Romero later addressed the team to clean the air. 

Jose Bautista is right in the middle of a power outage where he has hit just one homer in his last 22 games, until he belted his 22nd of the year on Wednesday. 

Aaron Hill has three home runs on the season (62 over the previous two years), is hitting .222 over his last ten games, and doesn’t get on base nearly enough (.283 OBP). 

J.P. Arencibia is doing a heck of job handling the pitching staff and everything that goes along with that, on the other hand, he is looking overmatched more often than he should at the mid-way point of the season. 

The pitching staff is not performing as one would have expected; Cecil is still working out the kinks in Vegas, ROY hopeful Kyle Drabek has joined Cecil, and Brandon Morrow has been hit or miss in his appearances. And because of the lacklustre starting performances, the bullpen is getting overworked and having to appear in more games than usual. 

Sitting in fourth and 8.5 games out is pretty good considering the horrible start the Rays and Sox had to begin the year. Here’s hoping that the Jays can stick it out for the next couple weeks and regroup at the All-Star break. Because if things continue to go the way there are right now, Romero won’t be the only one in the organization making comments.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing
Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow
The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook 

 

 

Pecos League struggling with attendance. Contingency plans are in place

06/21/2011 4:36 AM - Devo

Pecos League.jpgThe Pecos League continues to be a work in progress. 

Since all but taking over the Continental Baseball League, the Pecos League is attempting to market their brand of baseball in areas where success is a rarity. 

The inaugural season features six teams in New Mexico and West Texas (Alpine Cowboys, Carlsbad Bats, Las Cruces Vaqueros, Roswell Invaders, Ruidoso Osos, and White Sands Pupfish). each showcasing a 68 game schedule. 

While any new league will face struggles, individual teams certainly aren’t immune from their own obstacles; the Carlsbad Bats are 2-25. 

Inconveniences and hurdles aside, the dynamics of this league certainly differ from the norm.

“According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, last year Vaqueros had a team salary of roughly $20,000. Players were being paid a minimum of $200 a month with a cap of $400. Dunn was reportedly quoted as saying that in 2011 teams will entertain a $35,000 cap with players now making between $200 and $500 a month. 

Here’s the kicker; ten of the 30 on the roster will not be paid. 

Talk about love of the game!”

And

“The league's high power offenses are fuelled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks”

Right now, getting through the 2011 season with all teams intact is the main objective.

The worry about attendance has set off a few alarms as of late. The league website now has a page titled; Pecos Attendance Highs and Lows

With 1/3 of the season complete, basic necessities are still a concern.

Ruidoso GM Billy Page says "We are just trying to break even and establish baseball and hope to be alive in 2012 with lights. The Baseball Part is the easy part. If I would have had started in December we would have been fine"

The majority of teams are averaging a few hundred fans per game, while the most established team; the Alpine Cowboys played all their games during the month of May at home, and will play all of June’s on the road, at the same time competing for fans with local high school playoffs.

The 2012 season is still on track to begin on schedule with at least two more squads looking to begin play; Del Rio Texas, Odessa, Clovis and Pueblo are the front-runners.

Despite the unrest, the league is being honest. They know it’s a long road to be successful in this business. To compare the Pecos League with the other Independents would be foolish, even though the North American Baseball League is a first year organization. Those looking for similarities will not find any. The NAL is at nearly 150,000 fans after less than 30 games.

First year projects always have their ups and downs with the Pecos League being no different, but with four new teams possibly in the mix and the likes of Las Vegas, NM, Farmington, NM, Rio Rancho, NM and Albuquerque, NM on the radar, next year could be a whole other story.

In my conversation with Andrew Dunn, commissioner of the Pecos League, the alarm surrounding attendance is not due to performance on the field.

Las Cruces is struggling to draw fans due to complications with their grandstand, but to lack of travel, expenses are very low. According to Dunn, the league is setup to average 200 per game. Attendance in Alamogordo and Roswell are well above the norm averaging 335 per game.

For those who have been following the League since I began reporting on it, you will be happy to learn that the “Indy Curse” has not yet tainted this start-up. With what I’ve learned preparing for this piece, success is only a matter of time with Dunn at the helm.

“We are committed to play in our cities for 2012 season and we have no financial losses…”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

If you want to become more familiar with the new guys on the block, click here to visit their homepage.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to the Canadian Baseball Network. Devon is a Demand Media Studios writer, featured writer on Examiner.com , member of the Yarbarker Network, contributor to FullCountPitch Magazine and is an Associate member of The Professional Writers Association of Canada.

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

He has continued to further his knowledge by completing
Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class and interning with The Football Outsiders.

Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com

You can follow
The GM's Perspective on Twitter and facebook 

**Devon is available for hire or freelance opportunities