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Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie meets Jon Bones Jones

Whether Blue Jays fans love him or hate him (and reaction has been mixed this season), there’s no denying Brett Lawrie has passion.  The guy plays with a disregard for his body normally associated with NHL players, which, at times, can be both a positive and a negative.

Either way, the energetic third baseman, who sometimes has a personality reminiscent of a demented puppy dog trying to impress his owner,  isn’t the type of guy you’d want to mess with.  However, he may have finally met his match, when he was introduced to Jon Bones Jones before last night’s game against the Yankees:

Jon Bones Jones is in Toronto to defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship this Saturday at the ACC, the American’s third championship fight in the Ontario capital.  Described as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, the 26-year old will put his 18-1 record on the line against Alexander Gustafsson of Sweden.

Gustafsson’s nickname is ‘the Mauler’, something you could imagine suiting Lawrie as well, what with his playing style and the way he can break baseball bats’ over his leg with ease.  Actually, forget that. Given the Canadian’s penchant for mouthing off at the opposition and teammates alike, maybe he should be ’muzzled’. Literally.

Photo credit: @blawrie13

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays to honour Mariano Rivera before tonight’s game

mariano rivera

It’s not often that fans get to witness watching a true sporting legend live.  And it’s even rarer to get the chance to say goodbye to them, especially when they’re still playing at a high level.

One such opportunity comes tonight in Toronto, when the Blue Jays will honour Mariano Rivera before their game against the Yankees.  I think it’s safe to assume more than the 24,247 who turned up last night, will be in attendance.

The question is, how will the Jays honour the greatest closer in Major League history?  They’ve been tight-lipped about what they will do, but it will be tough to top the Indians and Twins.

The Indians presented Rivera with a framed copy of Metallica’s Enter Sandman, which represents his entrance music when coming into games.  And the Twins gave the 43-year old a rocking chair made entirely of broken bats, basically paying homage to his ability to break bats with his hard cut fastball.

It might be best to steer clear of attempting to top those efforts in terms of originality.  However, the Jays would also do well not to copy the Red Sox, who made Rivera sit through highlights of his blown save during game 4 of their classic 2004 postseason series against the Yankees.

How about retiring the 13-time All-Star’s number 42?  While this is perceived as the highest honour anyone can bestow on an athlete, if it’s going to be done, it should be a league-wide move, a la Wayne Gretzky.

I’d suggest maybe ‘allowing’ Rivera to get a save against them, but the Blue Jays already did that during last night’s 4-3 loss.  In fact, it was the his 14th career save of 4+ outs against the Jays, which, of course, is his highest total against any team.

Whatever the Jays decide to do, I’m asking, nay, I’m begging them not to present Mr Rivera with a painting.  I’m still having problems erasing the Carlos Delgado effort from my memory.

Photo credit: @TeYoJe

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays: Campaign to bring back the Skydome

Skydome

As regular visitors to this site know, I still, like a lot of people, refer to the Blue Jays home as the Skydome.  Similar your average older citizen, I continually repeat myself, often commenting on how the owners should at least compromise their position, by calling the stadium the Rogers Skydome.

Overall, this is a stance I have shared with Blue Toro’s readers since first coming on board just over a year ago, as evidenced by this question I received last August:

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Q. How much more popular do you think the Blue Jays and Argonauts would be if Rogers changed the name of the stadium back to SkyDome?

Mark – Toronto

More to the point Mark, how much more popular would it make Rogers?  I don’t believe reverting back to calling the stadium SkyDome would significantly impact on attendances.

However, a lot of fans would at least appreciate the move as many of them still call Rogers Centre the Skydome anyway, regardless of its official title.  At the end of the day Rogers, we get it.  Everyone knows you own the team.

You’ve already made a great move by updating the uniforms back to a more modern version of the past (I believe it’s called post-modernism!)  Now do the right thing and provide the ultimate shout out to the fans and give them what they really want!  Well, apart from another playoff appearance of course.

“Bring back the SkyDome!”  Hey, that might be a great idea for a campaign if anyone wants to run with it?

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Now I often spout off comments, not really thinking about who’s listening, but you know what?  Someone finally did, as per this message we received yesterday:

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Hi Paul,

About your first question regarding the SkyDome, you’ll be pleased to note that we ran with it. Check out http://www.bringbackthedome.ca. We decided to do this campaign purely out of experiencing the obvious – everyone calls it the SkyDome.

Personally, I appreciate that there are corporate sponsors ready to sponsor such venues. But I can’t take it when they erase Canadian heritage in the process of changing the name. As a first in the world, the SkyDome’s retractable roof is and should remain an important icon of Canadian heritage. It is what makes it great on a global scale!!!!

Therefore, it should be reintroduced as part of the name. Our campaign aims for the ultimate compromise: Lets call it the Rogers SkyDome!  That way everyone wins.

We want to collect 50k votes on our website/ facebook (one vote per seat in the SkyDome) and then approach management with the proposal. It’s a great opportunity for Rogers to celebrate the stadiums 25th anniversary next year. And, as you pointed out, increase brand loyalty in the process! But we need your help.

Please spread the word and get people voting. Let’s Bring Back the Dome!!!

Roger Brenninkmeyer

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I’m not 100% convinced that’s his real name, but to be fair, if you’re going after a company as powerful as Rogers, it’s most probably a smart move to remain anonymous.  Anyway, here’s the video ‘Roger’ and his friends produced to accompany the campaign:

I almost wish I’d pursued this myself, except for the fact that I’m an extremely lazy person.  Anyway, click here to visit the site and go here to view their Facebook page.

Also, make sure you share this with as many people as possible and attempt to get a bit of momentum going.  Money talks more than ever in sports nowadays, but let’s see if the fans can still have some influence.  Bring back the Skydome!

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter @bluetoro_ca and like us on Facebook


Blue Jays players visit Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Say what you want about the Blue Jays performances on the field, but the season can be a mental grind, with hardly any free time to yourself.  As such, the players deserve credit for taking time out from their busy schedule, to go to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Here’s some photos from their visit earlier today:

1) THE PLAYERS ARRIVE

Blue Jays at Bloorview hospital 1

Josh Thole and Brett Cecil are greeted outside the hospital by some of the staff and one of the children.  Meanwhile, Todd Redmond appears to be eyeing up that wheelchair. (Better put your key lock on kid, just to be on the safe side.)

2) JAYS MASCOT ACE

Blue Jays at Bloorview hospital 2

Unfortunately, the only downside of public events involving the Blue Jays, is the inevitability of that narcissistic egomaniac ACE the mascot showing up.  However, I’ll let him off just this once, seeing as it’s for a good cause.

3) BRETT CECIL

Blue Jays at Bloorview hospital 3

This is most probably my favourite picture, as Cecil shares a tender moment with one of the younger patients. (Apologies for showing my softer side.  I’ll try not to let it happen again.)

4) COLBY RASMUS PLAYS WHEELCHAIR SPORTS

Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus, seen here posing with one of the patients, decided to pit his wits against the children in some wheelchairs sports games, including an obstacle course.

5) A SUCCESSFUL DAY

Blue Jays at Bloorview hospital 4

Finally, kudos go to the players wives, who also showed up to help.  Overall, the days was a success and the children enjoyed themselves, which is what really counts.

Holland Bloorview is Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital, helping kids with disabilities.  You can follow them on Twitter @BloorviewPR and click here if you’d like to learn more about what they do.

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter @bluetoro_ca and like us on Facebook


Blue Jays: Photos from 18th Annual Jays Care Charity Golf Classic

The Blue Jays enjoyed a rare day off yesterday and decided to relax, by taking in a game of golf.  The fact it coincided with their 18th annual charity classic, was a major ‘stroke’ of good fortune. (Pun 100% intended.)

Most of the team’s players and coaches participated in the event, which took place at The Club at Bond Head.  Held in support of the Jays Care Foundation, the tournament is predicted to raise around $650,000 and will go towards several good causes, including flood relief in Calgary, Alberta.

Here’s some photos from yesterday’s event:

1) GOOD TURNOUT

Blue Jays care foundation

As you can see, there was an excellent turnout for the event, with 74 foursomes taking part.  Fortunately, the sun was out as well, to make for ideal playing conditions.

2) FREE BLACKBERRYS

Every who enters gets a Blackberry Q10

Of course, I’m sure the good turnout had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that everyone who participated, got a Blackberry Q10, (whatever one of those is).

3) ADAM LIND

Adam Lind

Adam Lind is laid-back at the best of times, so you would imagine he’s right in his element playing a round of golf.  His demeanour might also explain why he’s the only person I can imagine getting away with wearing those shorts.

4) MUNENORI KAWASAKI

Kawasaki

Of course, Munenori Kawasaki was a star attraction, bring his own inimitable style to the greens.  Let’s be honest, if anyone else had been striking that pose, we would have said they were a ‘tosser’, but you’ve got to love the guy.

5) R.A. DICKEY

RA Dickey arriving

Talking of ‘tossers’, here’s R.A. Dickey.  (And by tosser, I of course mean someone who throws baseballs for a living.)  I’m guessing it must have been an early start, as the Cy Young winner looks like he’s only just waking up.  And yes, I’m totally empathising with him.

6) J.P. ARENCIBIA

JP Arencibia

Theoretically, J.P. Arencibia should be good at golf, as it gives him the chance to show off his hitting power.  However, what with his tendency to strike-out quite a lot, I’m guessing he gets his fair share of bogeys.

7) THANK YOU SLIGO WEAR

JP Arencibia and teammates thank Sligo Wear golf apparel

Arencibia took to Twitter to thank Sligo Wear for making him and his teammates ‘look the part’.  You’d think after the recent criticism the catcher has received, he’d have learnt by now that just looking the part isn’t enough!

8 ) STEVE DELABAR

Steve Delabar

The day’s events took a toll on some more than others, with Steve Delabar catching 40 winks on the way back from the golf course.  I wonder if he’s dreaming about playing in the All-Star Game?

Photo credits: @JaysCare & @jparencibia9

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays: Alice Cooper throws out first pitch

The highlight of the Blue Jays 6-2 loss to the Tigers last night, was having Alice Cooper throw out the ceremonial first pitch, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.  The only thing currently looking more old and worn out than the Rock legend, is the Jays playoff chances.

Alice Cooper first pitch

Actually, talking of old and worn out, the same could apply to Josh Johnson’s performances of late.  You know it’s bad when Cooper’s pitch was still more accurate than what the former Miami Marlin was throwing most of last night:

Alice Cooper pitch

Toronto’s finest are now 3-7 since their 11-game winning streak ended.  Let’s hope they can escape this current bad run and have a second coming.  Otherwise, even though school’s out, if they don’t turn it around soon, the fanbase will be going home in their droves and not returning to the Rogers Skydome.

(Okay, sorry. I’ll stop with the Alice Cooper song references.)

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays beat Orioles: Jose Bautista salutes Kawasaki's first homerun

This is getting crazy now.  With the exciting 7-6 victory against the Orioles, the Blue Jays now won nine straight games, just two short of the team record.

Obviously, the highlight of the night was Kawasaki”s .  Almost as cool, was Jose Bautista”s salute to his teammate:

Actually, talking of Bautista, I”m glad to see how he dealt with Darren O”Day doing some trash-talking after striking him out:

Okay, so it didn”t show it there, but because of Bautista (fairly) calm reaction, the umpire responded positively by putting his arm around the slugger while discussing what happened.  Keep this up Jose and who knows, you may even start getting a few more calls going your way.

Someone who didn”t react quite as well to a situation was Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, who was ejected in the second inning after arguing a reversed call.  However, most of us were more interested and amused by Showalter then ejecting Angel Hernandez (who could barely keep a straight face) and the rest of the umpiring crew:

Let”s hope the rest of this weekend series is as fun and interesting for the Blue Jays and their fans.  In a positive sense of course.

Credits:

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays Jose Reyes joins Vine

With each passing day, we take another step towards the eagerly anticipated return of Jose Reyes, who played in a simulated game last Friday and begins a minor league assignment today with High-A Dunedin.  Pending any setbacks, the four-time All-Star should be off the DL by the end of this month.

In the meantime, the charismatic shortstop has decided to join Vine.  While I find the mobile app a bit hit and miss, if Ben Scrivens recent efforts are anything to go by (here and here), I’m hopeful the entertaining Reyes will give us plenty to smile about.

Here’s his first effort:

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays: Top 6 photos from Rogers Centre tour

Rogers centre

I’ve been to the Rogers Centre on numerous occasions since I first came to Toronto in 2006. (As well as going to watch games as a fan, I worked on the game day staff during the 2007 season and covered games from the press box, while writing for T.O. Sports in 2008.)

However, I still had a lot of fun going on a tour of the stadium during this past weekend.  I appreciate that not everyone will have followed our coverage via Facebook and Instagram.  As such, here’s the top six photos from my latest visit to the Rogers Centre:

1) THE BULLPEN

Jays bullpen

The tour began on a high, with our being allowed onto the playing field, which I took full advantage of.  Here’s the bullpen, where the Jays pitchers warm up before they go out to underwhelm the opposition or sustain yet another injury. (In fact, I may even have slightly strained my elbow while taking the photo above.)

2) THE STAFF

Jays staff preparing for the game

Here’s some of the staff, preparing the pitching mound five and a half hours before first pitch.  To say they work hard is an understatement, and  definitely deserves a tip of the hat.

3) THE MEDIA ROOM

Jays media room eating area

Here’s the eating area, where the media sits to relax from sort-of, half keeping an eye on the action. (Think I’m joking? Trust me, I’ve witnessed it.)  As someone commented, it looks like a departure longue at the airport.  However, I still hope to be in there on a regular basis one day. (Don’t laugh! It could happen!)

4) BASEBALL GLOVE SEAT

Jays baseball glove seat

This photo was taken in one of the suites on the 300 level, where us mere mortals can only hope to watch the action. (It costs a cool $6,000 for 30 people to hire a suite for one game.)  Quite simply, the best seat I’ve ever seen.

5) CITO GASTON

Jays Cito Gaston

No matter what Bob McGowan says, Cito Gaston was a great manager for the Blue Jays.  Anyone who wins two World Series deserves respect.

And for anyone who says all Gaston had to do was be a caretaker for a talented roster and not screw it up, it’s tougher than you think. I can even back up this argument with two words: John Gibbons.

6) 1993 WORLD SERIES

Jays 1993 world series ring

This is what it’s all about.  Not much more needs to be said, other than I hope we get a chance to celebrate another one in my lifetime.

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia embraces the Canadian lifestyle

J P Arencibia

It’s always good to see athletes take their profession seriously.  While the Blue Jays don’t play today, J. P. Arencibia still went into work to get some stretching exercises done.

In the process, the catcher also proved to women that it is possible for guys to multitask, also getting his morning coffee in.  While I personally think it’s madness to drink coffee on a day like this, at least it shows Arencibia’s transition to the Canadian lifestyle is almost complete.

Photo credit: @jparencibia9

If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk

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