So what is this...the nineteenth Opening Day of the 2008 season? Hey, we're not complaining. We're just glad that after six months of pulling stuff out of our ass, we're finally going to see some real action that really counts and that really means something.
No more "it's just Spring Training" excuses. No more speculating about who plays where and hits in what spots and who has what role in the pitching staff.
Real baseball. And six months of it to follow. Life is good.
Roy Halladay is the Quote Machine
For the first decade of his career, Doc Halladay spoke in the sort of bland platitudes that we've come to expect from athletes. But this spring, he's been outspoken about his expectations for the team's performance in 2008, and the failings of the past. Speaking on the Jays' propensity to give up wins to lesser teams, Halladay told reporters (including the G&M's Robert McLeod) "For me, that's got to change. I think any time we get a chance to win a game or beat a team, we have to take every opportunity we can to do that." Without blathering on about intensity or grit or blah-blah-blah, we're still happy to see Halladay set this sort of tone. We've felt for years that they just didn't have it in them to step on the other team's neck and boot them in the teeth when they had them down, but maybe with Doc setting this sort of tone, that will change this year.
Setting up the season with Blair
Full marks to the Globe's Jeff Blair, and his outstanding article from this weekend's edition of the paper setting up the season. Blair sets up in the article how this season will be crucial not only for the club's future, but for GM J.P. Ricciardi's future with the team, and manages to do so without the cavalcade of cheap shots and second guessing the litters the Toronto baseball media landscape.
Sign on the dotted line?
The Jays had set today as the deadline to sign Alex Rios to a long-term contract, and McLeod reports that the sides are closing to nailing down an agreement. We don't know if the contract negotiations were a distraction in the pre-season - which, remember, means nothing - but Rios' hit below the Mendoza line in the fake games, and was fortunate to have the stench of Frank Thomas' wretched spring distracting from his own subpar performance.
Meanwhile, MLBastian reports that the Jays have delayed any further negotiations on Aaron Hill's rumoured extension until the off-season. If Hill continues at the same pace he set in Spring Training (which, remember, is completely fake and means nothing), he could be in for a big payday before the 2009 season.