Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Boys of Summer Are Back

I was watching a Toronto Blue Jays game on television with my dad tonight. It brought back memories from long ago. I used to be a big Blue Jays fan – I’d watch every game, keep up on all the vital stats, even the player gossip.

Back in those days, the outfield consisted of Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Mosby and George Bell.

George Bell had the one of the worst tempers in the game, but he was a player’s player. He was an amazing left-fielder, able to catch almost anything coming his way, and he could hit just about anything coming his way at the plate.

On the in-field, I remember John Olerude at first, Tony Fernandez at shortstop, Roberto Alomar at Second and Kelly Gruber at third-base.

Remember during a world-series game, when Kelly Gruber slid into home-plate, landed on his chin, and knocked himself out? I do – I was that much of a fan.

Then there was Dave Stieb and Tom “the terminator” Henke. Dave Stieb was an amazing starting pitcher – when he wasn’t pitching no-hitters, he’d always go all the way and throw an entire game. Tom Henke was the ultimate stopper – he closed out most of the games, to ensure the winning game didn’t become a losing game in the final innings.

Those were the days when Ernie Witt was the catcher, and Jimmy Williams was the manager.

Watching the game tonight with my dad, I saw old Ernie Witt – he’s now a coach!

It is good to see Ernie Witt is still active with the organization, but kind of sad too. There hasn’t been a winning team like those in the late 80s and early 90s since.

Toronto sucks as a major sporting city. Our hockey team – The Toronto Maple Leafs – haven’t won the Stanley Cup in my life-time, and they probably never will.

I have a theory, that if the Leafs were to win the Stanley Cup, the earth would suddenly stop spinning. It just can’t happen.

Well, it could, if the Leafs ever spent the money on good enough players, instead of the crap they have been for the past oh – 40-years (they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967).

We have a great basketball team – The Toronto Raptors. But I never could get into that sport. I went to one of the home games, and with all the video displays, flashing lights and matching music, I felt I was in the middle of a video game, not a basketball game.

What we need is another World Series in Toronto. We need to bring back the old players and get them up to top shape to win it for us.

Maybe this year the Jays will be able to go all the way – but then again, people say that every year about the Leafs. And the Leaf’s haven’t won the ultimate Canadian hockey trophy since the 60’s!

I originally lost interest in the Blue Jays during a bitter baseball strike in the 90s. The players walked and management refused to negotiate, so for several months – if not most of the regular season – there was no baseball.

At first I sided with the players – they were my heroes, always bringing in the runs when you need them most. But as the strike went on, I realized that these guys were making more money in a day than I’d ever see in my lifetime, and they were earning that money playing a game.

If I could earn millions of dollars playing a game – WOW – I wouldn’t go on strike demanding more money. Hell, I’d play harder, and enjoy myself.

Since then, I haven’t been much of a follower of the game or the team. But after watching a bit on television tonight, I actually started to find myself getting back into it.

But then, I got back to thinking how these guys are younger than me, earn more than I’ll ever see in my lifetime, and probably don’t care about the game – they just want more money to play a kids game.

Wish I got paid to play a kids game.

Who’s going to pay me to play in their sandbox?

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