Time to get a lil R.A Dickered

dickered

Beers and baseball. That’s what summer is all about. Now, a way to take beers and baseball to the next level.

Please allow me to introduce a drinking game for the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays season. The game is brought to you by ICE COLD BEER, the Toronto Blue Jays, and RA the Knuckle Man.

The Name of the Game – R.A Dickered.

What You Will Need:
• At LEAST one case of your beer of choice (24 or higher)
• 2 or more people (you could play solo… but you may feel like an alcoholic)
• a TV/Radio
• Jays Game with RA Dickey pitching

Rules:
• Take ONE drink for every passed ball or wild pitch.
• Take TWO drinks for any strikeout by R.A the Knuckle Man.
• Take TWO drinks for any walk allowed by Dickey.
• Take THREE drinks for every hit surrendered.
• Take FOUR drinks for any extra base hit given up (double or triple).
• Take FIVE drinks for any Home Run surrendered.
• Chug a FULL beer if Dickey is pulled before 5 Innings or he gets saddled with the loss.

Enjoy… and in the immortal words of Wayne McMahon…. IIICCCCEEEE CCCOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDD BEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRR

ice cold beer

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The New Look New York Yankees

ichiro yankees

“You know why the Yankees always win, Frank?”
“Because they have Mickey Mantle?”
“No, it’s ‘cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.”

That line from “Catch Me if You Can” always makes me think that maybe the real reason the Yankees do always win is indeed the pinstripes. The Yankees are a franchise shrouded in mystique and lore. They’ve played in the most hallowed of baseball cathedrals. Their all time lineup card brims with names like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio, Berra, Ford, Jackson, Jeter, and Rivera. They’ve appeared in more postseasons than any other team, and won an insulting 27 World Series titles. In post season play they have the benefits of getting “help” from the “ghosts” of the Yankee greats.

But mystique and lore aside, the main reason the Yankees win all the time are benjamins and brains.

The Yankees used to be (and may still be) the poster boys for franchise overspending. MLB offseasons were headlined by big name trades, and high ticket free agents heading to the Bronx with padded wallets and lofty expectations. Here are a few of the free agent signings that stand out:

• Jose Contreras (2003) – 4 years/$32 million
• Carl Pavano (2005) – 4 years/$40 million
• Jarret Wright (2005) – 3 years/$21 million
• Kei Igawa (2007) – 5 years/$20 million ($26 million posting fee)
• Roger Clemens – 1 year/$17.4 million (for half a season)
• Alex Rodriguez (2007) – 10 years/$275 million (vomit)
• AJ Burnett (2009) – 5 years/ $82.5 million

And that’s not even mentioning the Sidney Ponsons, Richie Sexsons, Kyle Farnsworths, and Tony Womacks of the world. As mentioned the Yankees were known to make a trade or two; here are a few:

• 2003 – Acquired Kevin Brown from the L.A Dodgers in exchange for Jeff Weaver, Brandon Weeden, and Yhency Brazoban.
• 2003 – Acquired Javier Vazquez from the Montreal Expos in exchange for Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate.
• 2004 – Acquire Esteban Loaiza at the trade deadline from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Jose Contreras.
• 2005 – Acquire Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, and Dionner Navarro.
• 2009 – Acquired Javier Vazquez (again) and Boone Logan from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino.

Sure when your pockets are as deep as the Yankees are it’s okay to roll the dice on some of these move and hope that they pan out. Unfortunately for the Evil Empire most of the moves mentioned above did not pan out. Now it is to be said that the Yankees did still contend and make the playoffs in those years where most of these transactions took place. In 2003 they made it all the way to the World Series before losing to the Marlins. In 2004, they would go up 3-0 on the Red Sox in the ALCS before infamously blowing that lead and getting eliminated by the eventual WS champions.

Guys like Vazquez, Brown, and Johnson weren’t regular season disappointments by any mean. The Big Unit would actually win 17 games in both seasons with the Bronx Bombers; Vazquez and Brown would win 12+ in at least a season. The issue was their lack of big game pitching when it mattered – in the playoffs. It didn’t matter how successful they were in the regular season if they couldn’t replicate those successes in the post season. Unlike complete busts like Pavano and Igawa; the “Big Names” will be more remembered for their inability to show up in the big game for the Yankees.

In the past few offseasons, the Yankees have shied away from their once big spending ways, instead looking for reclamation and rebuilding projects. They look to take one man’s trash and turn it into their treasure; or at least a handful of W’s. They’re bargain bin shoppers. They’re popping tags. In the past 3 seasons the Bronx Bombers have had immense production from players they picked up off the scrap heap. Andruw Jones was a shell of himself when he showed up at Yankee stadium in 2011. He would get in 107 games and hit 14 HR and 33 RBI in those games. Jayson Nix is probably the best player they picked up out of the trash. After spending 2011 with the Blue Jays organization Nix signed a minor league deal with an invite to spring training in 2012. That season he would get in 74 games, playing a multitude of positions and stepping in admirably for the oft injured A-Rod. In the playoffs that season he would hit .500 against the Orioles in the ALDS. He was re-upped for the 2013 season.

One of the more shrewd moves by the Yankees was the acquisition of Ichiro. The Seattle Mariners were a in a bind. For a once proud team that had once won 116 games, the Mariners were a shell of their former self. They had a big problem on the horizon. What to do with their aging star? Ichiro was the Seattle Mariners. He was the heart and soul of that franchise. He was also a free agent at the end of the 2012 season. The Mariners could resign the nearly 40 year old, declining star; a deal that would surely show the Mariners overpay Ichiro in the efforts to make him a Mariner for life. The Mariners could have done nothing and stayed pat with Ichiro and eventually lose him to free agency, much to the chagrin of the Mariners fan base. So the Mariners made the hard, but smart choice of trading the face of their franchise to the Yankees at the trade deadline for .70 cents on the dollar or minor league prospects. Ichiro played admirably for the Yankees and was a cheap replacement and substitute for Brett Gardner, something they had been lacking all year. The Yanks liked the look of Ichiro in pinstripes so much that they opted to resign him to a bargain of a deal; 2 years/$ 13 million.

The 2013 edition of the Bronx Bombers feature one time 40 homer man Travis Hafner on a $2 million deal; Hafner once used to command $10 million per season. Realizing that A-Rod would be out for most of the 2013 season, they signed Kevin Youkilis to a 1yr/$12 million deal. When Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira went down with injuries, the Yankees replaced them with the contract known as Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay. They also picked up Brennen Boesch shortly after he was released by the Tigers. It was rumoured that they even kicked the tires on the recently retired Chipper Jones. I’m sure they also checked out the status of Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, and Paul O’Neal.

These Yankees were thought to be a push over and afterthought this season, and they’ve showed so far that they’re anything but. It’s amazing to think that in the span of a decade that the Yankees would go from throwing millions at anybody and everybody, to weeding through the recycling bins and coming up with treasures. Maybe this will pay dividends as they wait for their injured and aging stars to rejoin their ranks and lead the push for postseason baseball.

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The Wes Mantooth All-Stars – Inaugural Class

mantooth

You either LOVE’ EM or you HATE’ EM, right?

That’s how we judge our athletes, actors/actresses, musicians; just about anyone can fall into one of those two columns.

However, there can be a bit of a grey area when sorting who you love, from who you hate.

What about people you “love to hate?” or the ones that you “hate that you love?”

When it comes to the world of professional sports, you can take it a step further. So much so that we created a category just for those lucky few who qualify.

This is a category for those athletes that you hate with every moral fibre of your being… BUT YOU GOD DAMN RESPECT!

It doesn’t matter what sport they play, which jersey they wear, or if they’ve ever played for your team. What matters is how they carry/carried themselves both on and off the field, how their desire to win set them apart from everybody else, and how much of you envy/wish you could either BE them, or have them on your team.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the Wes Mantooth All-Stars

#1 Derek Jeter

“Now batting for the New York Yankees, number two, Derek Jeter, number two”

Those immortal words by PA announcer Bob Sheppard have brought Yankees fans sheer joy, as well as five World Series titles, for the better part of two decades. As a Blue Jays fan, they have brought me pain, sorrow, and frustration for the better part of those same two decades.

Why We Hate Jeter:
• He’s the CAPTAIN and FACE of the New York Yankees – aka the Evil Empire
• He’s been the most overhyped and overrated player of the past 20 years – keep in mind this is not necessarily a bad thing.
• He took #2 upon arriving with the Yankees… not a HUGE deal, except for the fact that single digits are reserved for Yankee greats – ballsy move as a rookie but it seemed to have worked out in his favour.
• Guaranteed All-Star starter despite season numbers… thank you Yankee fans.
• 5x Gold Glove winner – yet not even close to being the best defensive SS… in any season.
• Jeter has only missed the playoffs ONCE in his entire career (2008)
• Charter member of the “Core Four” – Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, and Rivera.
• The most marketed baseball player in the game – I could care less which razor he uses.
• The way that he has somehow become the apparent FACE of MLB.
• The way his name sounds when yelled with a Bronx accent – JEEEEE – TAH.
• YESN Broadcast team…. SEEE YAH.
• The travelling hordes of Yankee fans that clog up the 100 level at the Skydome (Rogers Centre) and shower praise upon every little thing he does – they’d cheer him wiping his ass.
• You know he’s going the other way with a single with 2 outs and a runner on – damn that inside-out swing of his!
• The fact that Yankees fans will riot if they remove from as the everyday SS, even if he has the range of Frankenstein’s monster – mind you they’ll riot if they don’t remove him too.
• His roll call of gorgeous celebrities that he’s dated – Mariah, Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel…
• The rumoured “gift basket” that he bestows upon one night stands – includes an autographed baseball – okay I must admit, that is pretty awesome.

So why do we respect him now?

A few years back, a good friend and I were talking baseball one night over a few pints. We were discussing the type of player that you would want to be, if you were in the majors. Both of us immediately brought up Jeter. Although both of us were die hard and loyal Jays fans, and both HATED the Yankees, we both decided that Jeter was the perfect example of a player that you would want to emulate. This led to the following interaction:

Me: “I gotta tell you something buddy, and it’s really hard for me to say…”

Friend: “It’s all good man… go ahead… what’s up?” (Thinking I must be coming out of the closet)

Me: “Wow… I never thought I would say this… but… I think I respect Derek Jeter…” (Shudders)

Friend: “Jesus… I don’t know what to say”

Me: “Tell me about it.”

Friend: “Crazy thing is… I feel the same way”

WAIT!! WHAT?!!?

Those were words I never thought I would say. How could I respect someone I hated for so long? I mean this was a man that I had cheered when a Ken Huckaby slide led to a separated shoulder on Opening Day 2003. When the Yankees blew the 2004 ALCS to the Red Sox, I couldn’t have been happier. When he smashed his face diving into the 3B seats trying to catch a foul ball… I cheered.

So What Changed?!
Well to start the guy is everything you dream of being when dreaming of being a professional athlete. He’s the leader of the best, and most storied franchise in history. He plays in the biggest baseball market, in the most hallowed stadium of all time (until 2009). He’s a consummate professional. I think that is an overused term, but Jeter definitely fits the title. He’s an ideal team guy (apparently) and has turned into a sage in his waning years, offering advice to young players entering the game. He doesn’t understand what it means to take an inning or a play off. He makes plays that he has NO BUSINESS making. Don’t believe me?! Check out the infamous flip to Jorge Posada at home that gunned Jeremy Giambi out at home. What was he doing at home? Oh just backing up the relay throw from RF, that overshot the cut-off man/1B and would have been wide of home… you know just another routine play that a SS makes…

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Do I love Derek Jeter as a ballplayer? Hardly, you can count on me not owning any Jeter merchandise, nor will I draft him on a fantasy roster. Does that mean that I hate him? Not at all. Would I take him on the Blue Jays? Hell yes!! Any day of the week!!! I would take him today as a banged up 39 year old just to say you have Derek Jeter on your lineup, and you know that he would still hit.270 on name recognition alone. After years of hating on #2, I’m just glad that I came to my senses and realized that I was watching a once in a generation type of ballplayer. No matter how much I hate the Bronx Bombers, I will continue to hold Derek Jeter in higher regard.

“I have the greatest job in the world. Only one person can have it. You have shortstops on other teams-I’m not knocking other teams-but there’s only one shortstop on the Yankees.” – Derek Jeter