Silver-Lining For The Starting Rotation

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


Tell me if you've heard (or read?) this before: Aaron Sanchez was placed on the 10-Day DL with issues stemming from his right middle finger. 

It's unfortunate, specifically because of how well Sanchez has looked during his last two starts since his return from the DL with the same ailment. Pitching against the Mariners and Orioles, Sanchez totaled 11 innings, giving up 11 hits, 4 runs (3 of which were earned), 1 homerun, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts, accumulating an ERA of 2.45 during those two games. He looked pretty sharp and it seemed as though the issue was behind him (minus some visible blood after the start against Seattle), especially after the performance against Baltimore. Yet, I suppose blister issues are far more egregious than our intuition suggests them to be, and perhaps with his third visit to the DL for the same issue, the Jays may take their time with him and wait for this issue to be completely behind him. That's not to say that I think they rushed him to return after his previous two stints on the DL. But with the state of the rotation being a bit battered (to put it lightly), it's conceivable that they gave him enough time to be "good enough" in order to stop the bleeding (no pun intended) and offer a boost for the rotation. I'm not claiming to have any evidence of this - and I'm literally pulling theories out of my ass here, so don't quote me - but it wouldn't shock me if this trip to the DL lasts a bit longer than the 10-Day tag. 

But hold on! It's not all dark clouds and rain when it comes to the rotation, as Ben Nicholson-Smith offers a silver-lining for the other two members of the starting rotation that are currently on the disabled list; J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano. According to Nicholson-Smith, Happ may be approaching a rehab start for Dunedin in the very near future, as he threw 48 pitches (all fastballs) in extended spring training this past Saturday, topping his velocity at 92 mph but mostly sitting around 89-90 mph. Should the outing in Dunedin be successful and without setbacks, it's not out of the question that Happ could rejoin the team perhaps by the end of May. I assume that the main area of focus during Happ's rehab start will be how comfortable he is with his other pitches besides the fastball, and and how he later responds to the outing in terms of recovery. If the Jays like what they see, and he responds without a setback, we can hopefully see him sooner rather than later.

In addition, Nicholson-Smith offers optimism in regards to Liriano's recovery, as he suffered no setbacks after throwing a bullpen session last Thursday in Baltimore, albeit on flat ground. Liriano suggests that he is where he wants to be in regards to the timetable of his recovery, stating that the soreness in his shoulder is diminishing. That being said, it shouldn't be long until Liriano is able to throw a bullpen session off a mound, with perhaps a rehab outing shortly thereafter. 

It's not as quickly as we'd ideally like it to be, but the Jays' rotation may slowly be starting to piece itself together. For now, it is safe to say that Biagini and Stroman will handle starting duties for the upcoming two-game series in Milwaukee, with Bolsinger, Estrada, and Biagini again facing Texas during the weekend series in Toronto. Given how well Milwaukee has surprisingly been playing, I'm comfortable with both Biagini and Stroman taking the hill to face them. The weekend series looks a bit more intimidating, as the Rangers have won 9 of their last 10 games. With Bolsinger projected to take the hill in the opening game of the series, it may be one of those things that you hope for the best, but expect the worst. 

For now, take comfort in knowing that the return of Happ and Liriano isn't too far away, in addition to the Jays waiting until Sanchez's finger woes are fully behind him. Remember, I'm no doctor here, so it's possible that Sanchez may be 100% in 10 days - who am I to say otherwise? If that's the case, the entirety of the starting rotation that we anticipated at the beginning of the season may be reunited before you know it. After taking only 1 game over the weekend in Baltimore, I think we were all in need of some good news.

Fingers crossed, guys.


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Anthony Alford - Come On Down!

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


With the growing list of injuries that the Blue Jays are currently dealing with, it was only a matter of time until they dipped a little deeper into their 40-Man Roster Well and wheeled up one of their top prospects. More specifically, with the loss of Darrell Ceciliani to the 10-Day DL due to a shoulder injury he suffered after smashing a home-run last night in Atlanta, the Jays have promoted top outfield prospect Anthony Alford from AA New Hampshire straight to the majors.

I don't know about you but this is very exciting; albeit, with the understanding that Alford's time in the majors may be extremely brief. You'd have to imagine that with Pillar returning from his suspension tomorrow, Alford would be sent back down to the Fisher Cats, offering the Jays a 1-day band-aid for an extremely short ride with the club. But still! With how the Jays have been teetering towards something of a breakout from their early season slumping woes, coupled with the injuries they have suffered through, having the opportunity to see a highly rated prospect like Alford is somewhat of a treat. With the way he's been performing in the minors - even if it's just AA ball - there's a lot to hang your hat on.

At just 22 years old, Alford was ranked the 55th best prospect in Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects List (Insider Only). So far this season in AA ball, he has hit very well, with a line of .325/.411/.455, and an OPS of .867 over the course of 123 ABs. He's recorded 40 hits, 11 RBIs, 3 dingers, 16 walks, 24 strikeouts, and has stolen 9 bags. Not too shabby.

Don't forget, though - the Jays did have Dwight Smith Jr. called up from AAA Buffalo to supplement the loss if Pillar while Ceciliani was in the lineup prior to his injury last night. The Jays may only use Alford tonight in an "as necessary" role, if at all. However, with how the injury bug has been sucking the life out of the Jays left and right, I can't confidently rule anything out. You just never know with these things lately!

So yeah! Anthony Alford! Welcome to the Bigs (for probably, like, a day... hopefully more)!


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Don't Miss The Point - Regarding Pillar's (Very) Poor Choice Of Word

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


There's an ugly side of baseball that, from time to time, likes to pop its head up from under the earth which we uncomfortably turn a blind eye towards. Often times, if a player on our favorite team does something that we would otherwise find reprehensible and disgusting, we try to find ways to shove it under the rug.

"Oh, he's just passionate." 

"Oh, he has a hot head."

"This doesn't represent the type of person he is. It was just the heat of the moment."

"It wasn't meant to be offensive. It's locker-room talk."

"Boys will be boys"

The problem here is we try to find excuses for these individuals, granting them free passes because they are wearing the laundry we rally behind. Granted, this attitude isn't absolute, as Toronto fans roasted former Blue Jay, Yunel Escobar, for etching homophobic slurs under his eye back in 2012. An act that we found unacceptable then should be no different today. Fans of the Blue Jays didn't reach back and defend Escobar because he was wearing their favorite team's jersey. In fact, he was called out for it and pretty much run out of the city. Blue Jays fans remained objective in their analysis of Escobar's choice to do something beyond offensive; specifically in a city that celebrates and embraces its multicultural demographic. For that, Toronto was applauded, at least by me.

Which brings me to Kevin Pillar.

Look, I don't know Pillar as an individual, and what I do "know" about him is solely based on what is sold to me by the Blue Jays and their affiliates; which adds up to little, if anything. I don't know his position regarding political and sociological issues, which is pretty much the norm when it comes to the vast majority of athletes in the grand scheme of things. For the most part, he seemed like an alright guy, I guess.

However, that doesn't excuse what he said and did last night after being quick-pitched in Atlanta. Like a child, Pillar responded to a perfectly legal baseball move by throwing a tantrum and yelling out a homophobic slur towards relief pitcher Jason Motte. You can say all you want that tensions were high (which, I dunno, were they?), he was frustrated with the situation, blah blah blah. The bottom line is simple: there is no excuse for this type of behavior.

I'm sort of at a loss for words because, in my naivety regarding professional athletes, I was under the impression that we live in a time where we were beyond things of this nature. Moreover, I'm embarrassed that a member of the team that I stand behind made the choice to utter such a word over something so meaningless that his reaction to it immediately falls under the characterization of pathetic and deplorable. What makes it worse is that Pillar pretty much admitted to what we already knew he said, calling it "immature" and something that he hopes "doesn't define him." Granted, it was right after the game, and I think it's fair to criticize the immediate response Pillar gave, as it's not something that he should expect people to just "move on" from. However, he has further commented on it, which is what I'd like to focus on.

Unlike Escobar, Pillar has since taken a step forward by taking accountability for his actions and apologizing to those who he offended. His statement, which he tweeted, is as follows - 

Further, the Blue Jays have seemed to take responsibility by issuing a statement via Twitter - 

and suspending Pillar for two games - 

I don't want to minimize how inexcusable Pillar's actions were, but I think this is a step in the right direction - but that's not really for me to say and evaluate. Also, I think a two game suspension, plus donating Pillar's forfeited salary is also a positive that has been produced out of this incredible negative. But again, how I feel about this isn't really worth anything. 

Honestly, this is a difficult piece for me to cover because the issue is understandably sensitive and I don't want to act like "Welp! He apologized, got suspended, and donated some money! Let's move on from this! Nothing to see!" because that's not my attitude. What Pillar said wasn't something that ought to be brushed off. If his gut-reaction was to insult a pitcher by calling him a homophobic slur, then he has some serious soul searching and character reconstruction to undergo. I also want to acknowledge that had this been any player on any other team, and the same consequences and apology were issued, I'd still acknowledge it as a positive step forward, but there is still a whole lot of making up to do.

Again, I don't defend what Pillar said, and I never will. But for the Jays and Pillar to take accountability for what transpired and issue statements and punishment for it, is something. It's not the whole thing or everything - not even close. But it's something. That doesn't pardon him. That doesn't make what he said something that we can reach back and find one of the aforementioned excuses in the beginning of this piece. We shouldn't. We should understand why it's not OK for him to use such a word and why a punishment is necessary. Coming to a better understanding of such things leads to a more progressive community; something that we should embrace.

Thus, if you're of the camp that has the "I mean, it's just a word..." attitude, then I think it's fair to say that it's not just Pillar that has some soul searching to do. But if you're of the camp that responds to his apology by saying his actions will speak louder than his words, then I think that's fair. I hope, for his sake, that he's able to show his growth rather than just verbalize it.

As uncomfortable as this may be, it ought to be addressed. It's part of growth, and maybe that's part of the process, right? It does no good to hide from these things because by doing so you thereby fail to come to a robust understanding as to exactly why moments like these are reprehensible. Pillar's intent isn't what should be the focus here. You can say all you want that, even though he used a homophobic slur, it doesn't mean he hates members of the LBGT community. Even though that may be true (and I'd be willing to bet that it is), adopting that sort of reasoning completely misses the point as to why Pillar's action was wrong. Again, if this is your position, then it's not just Pillar that needs to have some introspection. 


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Game 41 of 162 Takeaways

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Braves on May 17, 2017 - 

  • Mike Foltynewicz took the mound for Atlanta, and Biagini started on the hill for Toronto.
  • This is my first look at SunTrust Park. I have to admit, it looks super nice. Call it jealousy, but there's something about a nicely groomed ballpark that makes the game much more enjoyable to watch. I doubt I'm alone on that.
  • Regardless of how the season ends up, it's hard to argue that Biagini hasn't made the Jays much more enjoyable to watch than they would be had he didn't start. 
  • HAVING SAID THAT - Christ, that was a terrible way to start off the game. To Biagini's credit, he did retire twelve in a row after the 6 runs, so... yeah.
  • Atlanta = Savage 
  • So it wasn't the best performance by Biagini in the 1st inning, but the subsequent innings weren't that bad, really. Biagini threw 67 pitches - 45 for strikes (67%) - over 4 innings, giving up 3 hits, 5 earned runs, 3 strikeouts, and 2 walks. 
  • Foltynewicz was solid in the early part of his outing, but unraveled a bit in the 4th - giving up a 2-run shot to Justin Smoak (who's been looking very sharp at the plate, lately). He rebounded well, finishing tonight pitching 6 innings, throwing 102 pitches - 67 for strikes (66%) - allowing 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout.
  • As much as we'd like to bitch about it, the Carrera interference was the right call. It sucks, but if Carrera went behind him, it may have been a bases loaded opportunity. Oh well. That's baseball.
  • Speaking of "that's baseball," that lead-off double in the 6th by Suzuki that bounced off the bag... I mean... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • It all pretty much unraveled in the 6th inning for the Jays. The relief wasn't anything to brag about, to say the least. Jays look to bounce back tomorrow to salvage this 4-game "series" against the Braves (I put series in quotes only because of the travel).
  • Bautista still coming alive as he hit a massive shot to left in the 8th. 
  • This bench-clearing crap needs to stop. I mean, I love me some Bautista Bat Flips, but when you're down by 4 runs? C'mon...
  • Jays fall, 8-4.
  • Player of the Game: Justin Smoak

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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 12

Episode 12 of the SOT6 Podcast is now up. In it, I expand on the news regarding the Toronto Blue Jays that has occurred this past week. Topics are:

  • Holy DL, Batman!
  • Tulo's return is close.
  • Biagini saves the day!
  • Jays are Turning the Corner!

Music:
Intro: "Welcome" by Anitek
Raptors: "Black Lung" by Broke For Free
Intermission: "As Colorful As Ever" by Broke For Free
Blue Jays: "Pipes" by Anitek
Outro: "Blue Bloods" by Aulx Studio

As always, I appreciate your ears and your word of mouth for this podcast and website. Honestly, sharing is the best thing you can do for any independent blogger/podcaster, so I am in your debt if you do this for me. I'm trying my best to keep this podcast completely ad-free, as I know how annoying it is to constantly hear ads about Square Space, or Harry's Shave Club, or Blue Apron, or whatever. I'm not about that life. I do this completely out of my own pocket. I do this for fun, enjoyment, and the opportunity to connect with fellow fans, such as yourself.

You can subscribe on iTunes by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking the iTunes icon. Or, you can subscribe on SoundCloud by following the same instructions, just with the SoundCloud icon (obviously). Whatever's easier for you. Any suggestions, criticisms, or compliments can be issued in the comment section of this page. Or, hit me up on Twitter @ACorsair21, or @SouthOfThe6ix (or both!). I'm always looking to improve and cater to you guys, the audience. 

Thanks for listening!

So About Doug Fister...

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


With about half of the Jays' starting rotation being on the DL for the time being, coupled with the scare Marcus Stroman gave us during his last start against the Yankees, it's obvious that the team is in need of assistance to weather the storm. As it currently stands, the Jays are giving Joe Biagini the opportunity to start in today's game against the Rays, though I wouldn't rely on this being a longterm thing. You may have heard me rant about how I think it would be best for Biagini to maintain his bullpen role, as I believe a solid and reliable setup man coming in relief during the 7th and 8th innings are a bit more difficult to find than a 5th starter. Once you recognize the struggles that Jason Grilli is having, it's not hard to see that the bullpen is quite thin and dipping your hand into that pocket to fill the starting rotation's pocket may not be the best of ideas.

However, I understand that the Jays don't currently have better internal options that they feel confident in, so I suppose it's fair to come back at me with "Well, what else are they supposed to do?!" That's fair, when you are only considering internal options. However, once you start to explore the external options that are available, things open up quite a bit. Enter the Doug Fister conversation.

Now, in fairness, this was discussed about a month ago on Jays Journal in an article written by Brendan Panikkar, as he was able to recognize this option far before it became a "thing" (gotta give credit to where credit is due). It gained a little more traction today, as it was reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish that the Jays were among 4 teams that watched Fister throw on Thursday, while the Giants had also watched him prior to. Being the top free agent pitcher available, it's easy to have the knee-jerk reaction of urging the Jays to sign him to a major league deal and get him on the mound ASAP to help stop the bleeding. But when you think about the longterm, it's not that easy.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad idea at all for the Jays to sign someone like Fister; especially if he acted as the 4th of 5th starter, if we only think about the present. His most recent numbers from last year aren't even that bad, either. During his time with Houston, Fister put up an ERA of 4.64, starting 32 games for the club, winning 12 of them (losing 13), pitching just over 180 innings, offering 115 strikeouts, 62 walks, and 195 hits. I suppose the hesitation surrounding a deal being offered would more than likely be the terms, and not the asking price. It's not hard to imagine that Fister would desire a major league deal, guaranteeing him a spot in the starting rotation of whichever team he signs with. This is where it gets a bit murky with the Jays.

If the injuries that are currently plaguing Happ and Sanchez were more severe than we currently understand them to be, and they were out for an indefinite or prolonged period of time, I could see why the Jays would want to sign someone like Fister quickly. However, the latest on Happ and Sanchez is that both are trending upwards towards a return, as Sanchez is scheduled for a bullpen session today and Happ feels "encouraged" after a throwing session at 90 feet on level ground. If we are to believe that Sanchez could rejoin the club next weekend (as is the goal, according to the previously linked article) and Happ may not be that far behind, it leads to the question of where Fister would fit then. Keegan Matheson puts it best in his tweet regarding Fister - 

I mean, yeah. 

Look, if Fister was cool with taking a minor league deal in which he was willing to be flexible with several trips to up and down from Toronto to Buffalo, then I would be with you scratching my head wondering why the Jays hadn't signed him already. But given that the Jays were one of four teams that watched him throw, along with how the Giants watched a throwing session of his previously, and given how the Mets' (also one of the four teams) rotation is in big trouble (Matt Harvey, anyone?) it's easy to conclude that the Jays would end up in a bidding war for Fister. Thus, a more concrete and longterm opportunity may be offered that the Jays may not be able to match (and, let's face it, probably wouldn't match). Again, I don't think it's a matter of dollars, but more of a guaranteed role on a major league club. Once Happ and Sanchez are healthy and ready to go, the Jays would be left dealing with how Fister would fit with the team, as all five of the starting rotation spots would be filled (please don't start suggesting that Liriano could go to the bullpen. Just don't.). Why would Fister join a club to inevitably deal with this uncertainty when he could sign with a club and have a role that he can ride with? Given the desperation that some teams have for starting pitching, it's not difficult to see that Fister would more or less be in the driver's seat and wouldn't settle for anything less than a spot in the starting rotation of a major league club for the remainder of the season. I don't think the Jays would be willing to offer that sort of certainty.

Again, it's not a bad idea if Happ or Sanchez were out for a considerable or indeterminate amount of time. But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts it'd be Christmas everyday. Although it's fun to think about, I don't see Fister signing with the Jays. 

But I've been wrong before.


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Game 30 of 162 Takeaways

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


I'm going to try to post one of these little quick thoughts after as many games as possible. By doing so, I plan to list what I thought was worth highlighting, both the positives and negatives (but I'll try not to focus so much on the negatives unless they're glaring). With that, here are a few things that I noticed for tonight's game against the Rays on May 6, 2017 - 

  • It's been a while, I know. But here I am! Let's go! (That sick freestyle right there was completely unintentional.)
  • If you haven't already, you should check out today's SOT6 Podcast - Episode 11. You can do so by clicking on the "LISTEN" tab in the menu bar. Or, you can subscribe on iTunes here. Whatever's easier for you!
  • Estrada vs Odorizzi. Should be a nice game if you love pitching - which I do.
  • So that Carrera home run - or sort of home run - is going to be a talking point, eh? I mean, at the end of the day, it's still a run scored regardless of whether it was an inside-the-park home run or just a regular home run. It doesn't matter. For me, it looked like it went out and bounced back into the park. But who am I?
  • This has to be said - the Trop just looks like a terrible dome from the 90's. It just looks like a tacky place to play. Time to move, Rays.
  • Estrada was pretty solid today. He pitching 6 innings, throwing 96 pitches - 63 of which were strikes (66%) - giving up 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 7 strikeouts, and 2 walks while facing 26 batters. It wasn't until the 6th inning where he sort of unraveled, giving up two doubles to Longoria and Morrison, as well as a home run to Colby Rasmus (OF COURSE it's his first hit of the season!). 
  • Odorizzi was very good, as well. He ended today's game pitching 7 innings, throwing 107 pitches - 66 for strikes (62%) - surrendering 5 hits, 1 earned run, 6 strikeouts, and not a single walk while facing 24 batters. This was the first time this season that Odorizzi was able to pitch over 6 innings, so kudos to him (objectively). 
  • J.P. Howell came in relief of Estrada in the 7th and was able to stop the bleeding. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning, so it was good to see him put some solid work in. 
  • Grilli took the reigns in the 8th inning and unfortunately his woes continued. He gave up two consecutive walks to Longoria and Morrison to lead off the inning, which ended up being costly as Rasmus drove in Longoria as a result of a single (even after review), leading to the dagger. It's not like his velocity or the way his pitches break are issues, it's more his accuracy. It's just sort of all over the place and he may be overcompensating. At least, that's how it looks to me.
  • Jays fall, 6-1 in Tampa Bay.
  • Player of the Game: Kendrys Morales (I guess?).
  • Biagini gets the start tomorrow to close out the series. That should be fun, right??....right??.... I mean.... right?

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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 11

Episode 11 of the SOT6 Podcast is now up. In it, I expand on the news regarding the Toronto Blue Jays that has occurred this past week. Topics are:

  • Aaron Sanchez Back to the DL.
  • Marcus Stroman's injury scare.
  • Biagini to start. Latos designated.
  • Optimism.

Music:
Intro: "Cash Rules" by Ari de Niro
Raptors: "Darker" by Coolzey
Intermission: "Life & Times of 40 Year Rhymes" by The Impossebulls
Blue Jays: "FedUp" by Coolzey
Outro: "Blue Bloods" by Aulx Studio

As always, I appreciate your ears and your word of mouth for this podcast and website. Honestly, sharing is the best thing you can do for any independent blogger/podcaster, so I am in your debt if you do this for me. I'm trying my best to keep this podcast completely ad-free, as I know how annoying it is to constantly hear ads about Square Space, or Harry's Shave Club, or Blue Apron, or whatever. I'm not about that life. I do this completely out of my own pocket. I do this for fun, enjoyment, and the opportunity to connect with fellow fans, such as yourself.

You can subscribe on iTunes by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking the iTunes icon. Or, you can subscribe on SoundCloud by following the same instructions, just with the SoundCloud icon (obviously). Whatever's easier for you. Any suggestions, criticisms, or compliments can be issued in the comment section of this page. Or, hit me up on Twitter @ACorsair21, or @SouthOfThe6ix (or both!). I'm always looking to improve and cater to you guys, the audience. 

Thanks for listening!

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 10

Episode 10 of the SOT6 Podcast is now up. In it, I expand on the news regarding the Toronto Blue Jays that has occurred this past week. Topics are:

  • Sanchez Returning
  • Josh Donaldson & Troy Tulowitzki Updates.
  • It can only get better, right?
  • Zaun - you're old. 

Music:
Intro: "Cash Rules" by Ari de Niro
Raptors: "Calling" by Anitek
Intermission: "Menacer" by Ghost Town Riot
Blue Jays: "Separate Ways Remix" by Willbe
Outro: "Blue Bloods" by Aulx Studio

As always, I appreciate your ears and your word of mouth for this podcast and website. Honestly, sharing is the best thing you can do for any independent blogger/podcaster, so I am in your debt if you do this for me. I'm trying my best to keep this podcast completely ad-free, as I know how annoying it is to constantly hear ads about Square Space, or Harry's Shave Club, or Blue Apron, or whatever. I'm not about that life. I do this completely out of my own pocket. I do this for fun, enjoyment, and the opportunity to connect with fellow fans, such as yourself.

You can subscribe on iTunes by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking the iTunes icon. Or, you can subscribe on SoundCloud by following the same instructions, just with the SoundCloud icon (obviously). Whatever's easier for you. Any suggestions, criticisms, or compliments can be issued in the comment section of this page. Or, hit me up on Twitter @ACorsair21, or @SouthOfThe6ix (or both!). I'm always looking to improve and cater to you guys, the audience. 

Thanks for listening!

My Fellow Americans... Just Stop!

Article Written by Adam Corsair  (@ACorsair21)


I'm going to post this in both the Blue Jays and Raptors sections, as it applies to both. After watching the Raptors' Game 6 playoff game last night, coupled with some early season Jays games, this absolutely needs to be addressed. 

Where I was born and where I live, it's considered not only strange but also taboo to cheer for non-New England based sports teams, let alone cheering for a team that is based outside of the country that I live in. Seriously, I'll have a Blue Jays or Raptors flag hanging from my house and my neighbors are like, "....what?" But make no mistake, I'm proud of my country and how good I have it. I understand the privilege and beauty of living in a country which I can even be allowed to cheer for a Canadian based team. I don't take the freedoms that are available to me for granted and understand the value they possess. However, I'm by no means a chauvinist as I'm not the stereotypical "RAH RAH! AMERICA!!!" kind of guy. Actually, I find extreme patriotism to be off-putting and sort of cult-ish. I don't need to broadcast or display the love and appreciation I have for my country as evidence that I do. It's a personal preference.

Having said all of that, for the life of me I cannot understand why any American would think it's appropriate, necessary, or logical to chant "USA! USA! USA!" like a bunch of ignorant zealots in a failed attempt to prove some sort of point when they are playing (read: losing) to a team from Canada. It literally makes absolutely no sense and it makes you look like imbeciles.

Let's take last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks as proof of how stupid this is. During the Bucks' outstanding comeback (which ended up in a loss. But that's none of my business ::sips Liptons::), the crowd decided to put their brains away and go for the ol' "USA!" chant. I suppose, since the Raptors are from Toronto, these idiots believe that every single member of the Raptors roster were born and raised in Canada, and none of them are American. They must have forgotten that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan PLAYED FOR TEAM USA AT THE OLYMPICS AND WON GOLD MEDALS FOR AMERICA! Or, if they were trying to drive in some sort of anti-Canadian sentiment, they must not have realized that out of the entire Raptors roster, it consists of ONE Canadian: Cory Joseph. That's it. Just one. Poor Cory Joseph. He's a good guy.

Oh, and let's not forget that the best player on the team that they are cheering "USA!" for IS NOT EVEN FROM AMERICA! Do they forget that Giannis Antetokounmpo is from Athens, Greece? Probably. Do they forget that Thon Maker is from Wau, South Sudan? Probably. Do they forget that Mirza Teletović is from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina? Probably. Do they understand how absolutely hypocritical and moronic it is to chant "USA!" to build up some American pride for no reason whatsoever when members of the team they are chanting this for are not even from here? Definitely not. Or, ya know what? I know - They must really appreciate how great DeMar DeRozan was during the game and chanting "USA!" in appreciation. That had to be it.

And don't think baseball is free from this, either. It's actually even worse. There is a huge amount of non-American baseball players that are on every team in the MLB. However, much like those morons in Milwaukee last night, when the Jays come to visit, fans of the respective home team find it appropriate to chant "USA!" because... ya know, a Canadian-based team is in America! Baltimore fans chanted "USA!" during the first series of the 2017 season. They must still be pissed at Ubaldo Jiménez for serving a meatball to Edwin last year in the Wild Card game. Or they must not really like Hyun-soo Kim for some unknown reason. Or Pedro Álvarez must have said something to really make them want to chant "USA!" at him. Wait, I know. They must be chanting it in appreciation for when Marcus Stroman (ya know, that guy that plays for that Canadian team) was absolute nails for Team USA during the WBC - practically winning the championship for them and attaining WBC MVP. That's gotta be it.

Do they see a pattern here? When you chant "USA!" against the Jays or Raptors, you're also cheering for the American athletes that play on those teams! At the same time, you're also cheering against the non-American athletes that play for the team you are rooting for! How anyone cannot understand this simple concept is a mystery to me. Honestly, it's pathetic.

Don't get me wrong - there are appropriate times for chanting for the country you live in and displaying patriotism. Olympics? Go nuts! WBC? Have at it! World Cup of Hockey? Absolutely. These types of tournaments make complete sense to cheer for your country because the team you are cheering for (typically) consists of people that are from there and/or they represent their respective country. Whereas, professional sports teams are made up of a cocktail of backgrounds, rendering the whole "USA!" chants pointless and illogical. It's because of the diversity of backgrounds that make up a professional team that lead them to be special. When you try to make this a border war that doesn't even exist, you just look dumb. So don't be dumb.

A lot of American readers will take this as an "anti-American" sentiment, and it's not. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be proud of the country you live in. I'm all for it. Whether it be Canada or the United States, be proud of your country. There's value in that, for sure. But when it comes down to it, and when you rrreeeeaaaalllllyyyy look at it, there isn't much separating or differentiating Americans and Canadians at all. I don't want to make this a "We Are The World" article, but seriously guys, we aren't that different.

Think about it, do you hear fans at the Rogers Centre or the Air Canada Centre chanting "CANADA!" when the Jays and Raptors are winning games? No. Know why? Because a) it doesn't make any sense to do this, and b) they have class. Chanting for your country during a professional sports game is pointless simply because it doesn't call for it. This isn't a Canada vs. the US sports outing, it's an MLB or NBA outing. It's the Blue Jays or Raptors vs. whatever team you root for that also happen to be based in America. When it comes to professional sports, we should be celebrating expansion beyond borders by erasing them rather than drawing them. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and any league that encourages this multicultural basket of athletes to make up a team ought to be embraced. Chanting "USA!" during professional sports games that are done - let's face it - mostly in arrogance towards the Canadian based team is mindless. It basically spits in the face of what we should be celebrating and something that is so beautiful. Rejecting this is baseless and disgusting. I'm sure it goes something like this:

Guy #1: "Man our team is losing and the Jays/Raptors are killing us!"
Guy#2: "Yeah man... what should we do?"
Guy#1: I don't know... um... uhh..uhhhhh...ummmmmUSA! USA! USA!"

So dumb.

So as a guy who was born, raised, and currently resides in the United States that is also a fan of the Blue Jays, Raptors, and Canada (GASP!), can we just stop this nonsense? 

Thanks! 

(Hey Canada, I may need asylum. I'll keep in touch.)


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