Category: Juan Rivera

Father’s Day at the ballpark and racetrack

Reds 2, Blues 1

Well, another winnable game lost. That’s baseball. Ahhh, that’s Blue Jays baseball…..and part of being a fan.

The game hinged on a moment in the top of the 5th. The Jays led 1-0 and were threatening, with runners on the corners, no outs, and at the plate Mr. Johnny Mac, who had provided a wonderful moment as a Father’s Day homerun-hitter last year, but who this time popped up a bunt attempt to Joey Votto. The Toronto-native threw quickly to 3rd base, doubling up a lazy Juan Rivera. That effectively neutralized the threat.

Despite my Blue Jay-bias, and the absolute fact that I would have preferred he not make that play, I say thank you to Joey Votto, nonetheless. In a seven-minute interview, you managed to remove stigma and start a conversation in  Major League Baseball about an often silent injury:

In light of the difficulties Votto faced in 2008 and 2009, in the wake of his Father’s passing, and the sincerity and generosity of spirit with which he handled the depression he suffered, it seemed appropriate that he would play the role of catalyst on this day.

Carlos Villanueva, once again, pitched like a bonafide starter, allowing two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings with three strikeouts and no walks. This Father’s day loss rounds out a series with the Reds that saw Blue Jays starters give up just one walk, the silver lining on this overcast Sunday, and a refreshing trend to be sure.

Over the years, in large part a result of the travel associated with his work, I have enjoyed time and baseball games with my Father at various stadiums, including County, Shea and Dodger, Victory Field, and Skydome. I’m a fortunate son. Thanks Dad.

In recent weeks, We talked about a baseball road trip to Cincinnati, from nearby Indianapolis, where I’m helping tame the wildness of his property. But since work commitments to the Indy Car World Series take him out of state this weekend, I instead turn the channel from Jays v. Reds on Fox Sports Ohio to the Milwaukee Mile on abc. Good luck to Dad, Alex Lloyd, James Jakes, and the Dale Coyne Racing Team this afternoon. No matter the results, I am always a fan.

Happy Father’s Day.

Blue Jay puzzle pieces

Toronto Blue Jays, workhorse, #1 starter
Ricky Romero – workhorse, solid, if not timely, settling into role as staff ace

Kyle Drabek – heart on sleeve, raging bull of emotion on the mound, wild

Brett Cecil – fastball down to 90 mph, 8 HRs allowed in 4 starts before demotion

Jo Jo Reyes – 26-game winless streak snapped, emotions in check, weak pick-off move

Jesse Litsch – fastball + compete-level return, rotation spot deserved when healthy

Brandon Morrow – slow start, potent arsenal, control a work in progress

Carlos Villaneuva – good stuff, reliable from bullpen, exceeding expectations as starter

Sean Camp – ground ball out master, outstanding April/ May, rocky June

Jason Frasor – painstakingly deliberate approach, sure hand, best season pace

John Rauch – shades of K-Gregg, less careful, Jays best closer not saying much

Mark Rzepczynski – odd man out, smooth transition to pen, control issues lately

Casey Jannssen – bullpen stud, return to 2007 form, confident presence

Octavio Dotel – ineffective, innings eater during big losses, oldest man in pen

Frank Francisco – power + unreliability, below average closer

Luis Perez – helpful middle relief, verdict still out, given small sample-size

Adam Lind, Jose Bautista,

Aaron Hill – stats split difference between 2009 and 2010 season, too cautious

Adam Lind – back in the saddle again, Indiana boy in perfect spot behind Bautista

Travis Snider – lack of confidence, swing kinks, walk to strikeout ratio improved

Jason Nix – clutch hitting in April, non-existent May, battling Mendoza line

Jose Molina –calm in eye of storm, excellent back-up catcher, hitting well

Corey Patterson – less than smart base running, seeing good pitches

Jose Bautista – BA + OBP + OPS off the charts, home run mastery

J.P. Arencibia – great rookie production, ability + rapport with pitchers improving

Rajai Davis – speed, nice addition, injury riddled, wait and see

Edwin Encarnacion – defensive liability, disappeared home run production

Yunel Escobar – great start overall, occasional odd no-throw decisions

Juan Rivera – horrendous start, rebounded offensively, first base fill-in admirable

John McDonald – decreased production, no fearful demeanour, usual infield brilliance

Mike McCoy – future John McDonald, reliable + energetic uber-utility man