Published in the Great North Arrow, April 1, 2023: Vladdy's On First

- jim Young

Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd;

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,

I don’t care if we never get back.”

    - Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer

I wonder why they sing, “Take me out to the ball game,” when they’re already at the ball game?

​​I don't usually follow the Blue Jays too much until the official season starts but My Shirley heard that spring training started pretty early this year so we decided to watch the first couple of games.

In preparation for the games I decided to check out the roster for this year to see “who’s who?” in 2023.

I was pleased to see most of my favourites like Bo and Vladdy were back. I wouldn’t care either way if they had kept George Springer or not. He’s pretty charismatic and a good player when he’s there but I got so god-damned tired of hearing Buck and Pat saying "Just wait until Springer’s off the IL!" I always called him Springsteen because he reminds me a little of Bruce Springsteen which has nothing to do with the time he spent injured.

And speaking of Buck and Pat, although not players for the Jays, I won’t miss Bobble-Head Pat Tabler. Fortunately we didn’t have to actually see him most of the time as Pat’s bobble was as irritating as his babble. 

I like both Alejandro Kirk (I used to call him Captain Kirk but changed it to the "Hobbit" when I first saw him running around the bases) and Danny Jansen although I think Jansen had his share of time on the IL last year too. But Pat and Buck didn’t go on and on about him like they did with Springer.

I absolutely detest Alex Manoah. I think what I hate about him most is that he's such a good pitcher and has been mostly good for the Jays. But he's an egotistical, hot headed, show off, spoiled brat that I disliked since his first day pitching for the Jays. His mom's pretty hot though. If Springer is the Bruce Springsteen of the baseball world, Manoah would be Neil Diamond. Although I like his music, Neil Diamond’s ego also makes me want to puke when I watch him perform.

Jordan Romano is one of my favourite pitchers along with Kevin Gausman, Tim Mayza and Trent Thorton so I’m looking forward to watching them in the lineup again this year.

I'm always amazed at how many pitchers baseball teams seem to have. I know each team can only have a maximum of 14 pitchers but if they could have more, I'd hire 27 closers. In theory they should be the absolute best pitchers available... but they're only good for just 1 inning. I'd have each of them pitch one inning per game (almost like they do in spring training) and with 27 of them, they would only have to play 1 out of every 3 games and would get lots of rest in between. I wouldn't have to worry about their pitch count or try to figure out how many innings they were good for because I would already know they're only good for one.

It would also keep the other team on their toes as it would be tougher for them to figure out the pitcher’s patterns with a new one coming into the game every inning.

With revolutionary strategies like this I wonder why the Blue Jays don't hire ME to be their manager? Of course I'd have to turn them down because, as you know, I am retired.

I’ll miss Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. There could be others that I’ll miss, I just can’t remember who they were. My memory's so bad I can't remember most of the players from one season to the next unless they’ve been with the Jays for a few years or more.

Like, who was it that played left field for the Jays last year? I think I liked him but I can't remember who he was.

Sometimes I hear them announce a player on another team that sounds familiar and I have to try to remember if he played for the Jays last year, five years ago or maybe it's the kid brother or even son from the years the Blue Jays won the World Series.

Forget about the players on the other teams. There are a few players I do remember, but I'll never remember what team they played for so I have to start fresh and relearn them every year.

Like Xander Bogaerts. I remember him a) because he has the same first unusual name as my grandson Zander except Bogaerts spells his first name wrong and b) because every time they announced his name, I would sing  "Don't bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me," from that song in the movie "Easy Rider".

And then there's Aaron Judge. Whenever the announcers mention Judge, I hear "Here come the judge. Here come the judge", the Pigmeat Markham catchphrase that was popularized by Flip Wilson and Sammy Davis, Jr. on Rowan and Martin's TV Show “Laugh-In” in the late 60s.

I think Judge played for the New York Yankees, didn’t he? There, after all my years of watching baseball I finally remember one player from another team. With my luck they will trade him.

Baseball games always look good on TV with their wide range of colours in the background. I'm looking forward to watching it on our new HD TV this year. And because it's so light, I might even attempt to take it down off the wall and carry it to the back yard.

I'll move our picnic bench in front of it, hook up my Peavy Speakers, pop some popcorn, open a cold beer and it will be like I'm right at the game.

Let’s play ball!

- 30 -


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