Category: Cy Young

What Morrow may bring

Brandon Morrow, Seattle Mariners, development hampered, Toronto Blue Jays, What Morrow may bringThe common wisdom within the Blue Jays organization and Toronto sports media suggests the Seattle Mariners rushed Brandon Morrow to the big leagues, then further hampered his development by using him inconsistently as both a starter and closer. For that reason, Morrow, who is only in his second uninterrupted season as a starter, will only improve on his success.

Ghostrunner on First refers to an article in the Bellingham Herald, in which Brandon Morrow (he of the glowing FIP) espouses his preference for SABR stats.

Drunk Jays Fans takes exception to a Bleacher Report post that ranks Ricky Romero in the top five for the AL Cy Young award.  According to DJF, Morrow’s superior fWAR makes him a far better candidate than RR Cool Jay (he of the knock-you-out ERA).

Concerning the Morrow-for-League-swap, even though Brandon League has had an all-star season, I would rather have Morrow. A good starter trumps a good closer, in my mind, because he would pitch about three or four times as many innings. The 162-game season is a marathon, and a good team requires three or four long-distance runners. League did flirt with dominance in 2006 and 2008, but he failed to put it together in consecutive seasons. We gave him five. We’ll see in two years how the Morrow for League trade looks.

Hopefully Casper Wells, drilled in the face by a Brandon Morrow fastball, suffers no serious damage. The Ghostrunnner post links to Morrow’s immediate apology tweeted to Wells.

Brandon Morrow better than Brandon League, What Morrow may bringA professional in the twittersphere and on the pitcher’s mound, Morrow did get in some hot water loading the bases in the sixth inning Wednesday. But he managed to get out of the inning, allowing just one run.

The Morrow line – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 12 SO

“Morrow is a fireballer,” I typed on MLB Gameday.

In response, a frustrated Blue Jays fan wrote:

“Morrow is nothing more at this point than a #3-4 starter, League is already an elite closer. Morrow is very frustrating to watch, he is like AJ Burnett.”

I replied:

Morrow is a #2 starter on a good AL East team that’s getting better. He’s also 27 and improving. As for Burnett, sure, he’s frustrating to watch (34 and past his prime), but don’t forget he’s a former *18-game winner, who made a significant contribution to the Yankees 2009 World Series championship. Having said that, Morrow’s ceiling is higher than Burnett’s because Morrow doesn’t throw emotionally, he pitches with resolve. As for League, he’s had a good season, but MLB is littered with the carcasses of closers, who had one good season. I’ll take Morrow over League any day.

*Wins, as per AJ Burnett’s 18 of them, are not the best measure of a pitcher’s contribution. To say wins mean nothing, however, ignores far too much data, on winning and losing teams alike, correlating strong ERA (in various incarnations) with positive W-L records. Likewise, poor ERA often correlates with negative W-L records. I have yet to determine which combination of traditional and SABR statistics provides the most accurate overall picture of a pitcher’s contribution. If one employs traditional stats, Romero is our ace. If one is purely sabermetric, then perhaps Morrow becomes our ace. No matter the case, they make a fine one-two punch.

Leafs baseball gives Jays run for the money

TORONTO ─ Despite the Toronto Blue Jays leading the American League East division in the early part of this season, destination Rogers Centre may not offer the best value for local baseball fans.

Christie Pits Park, at Bloor Street West and Christie Street, is home field to the eight-time champion Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Club of the Intercounty Baseball League. “I find it’s more entertaining, and the price is right,” said 45-year-old baseball fan Peter Hamiwka referring to the fact that Leafs’ games are free to watch. Nearby competitors Mississauga Twins and Barrie Baycats charge spectators $8 and $5, respectively, to see their home games.

Jays’ tickets, always available on game day, range from $10 to $200. “Ticket prices are pretty good,” said Ian Gray 31 and a loyal Jays fan. “If you don’t want to spend money, you don’t have to.”

A hot dog and cone from the Dairy Belle ice cream truck overlooking Christie Pits will cost about $6. The $4.75 peanuts, $5 hot dog and $10.50 domestic draft at Rogers Centre are less reasonable.

The baseball Leafs attracted about 400 fans to its bleachers and grassy hills last Sunday. While Rogers Centre, through 22 home games, has averaged 22,142 fans per game, which ranks 22nd among the 30 Major League Baseball teams.  Finding seats poses no problem at either venue.

Significant talent, including former Blue Jays Rob Butler and Paul Spoljaric, have played for the Leafs. The team’s shortstop, Dan Fernandez, son of Jays’ great Tony Fernandez, and top pitcher and Jays’ draft pick, Drew Taylor, lead the first-place Leafs.

However, having hosted the World Series, World Baseball Classic and Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Rogers Centre has presented the greatest talent in the game.  Jays’ ace Roy (Doc) Halladay contends for the Cy Young award for best pitcher every year.

Peter Hamiwka, a Leafs fan the past six years, believes that Intercounty players have a “real love of the game” since they play for almost nothing, unlike major leaguers who earn millions but sometimes lose passion.

On May 18, belligerent Jays fans hazed the visiting Chicago White Sox players with one-liners including “You’re a nerd NERD.” The dome remained closed for the game, which blocked out a main ballpark draw: sunshine.  But the seventh-inning anthem Take Me out to the Ball Game and “the wave” of 20,000 roaring fans conjured ballpark magic.

Such an atmosphere can bring out the best and worst in fans. When New Yorkers descend on the Rogers Centre in July, battle chants of “Blue Jays suck, Blue Jays suck” versus “Yankees suck, Yankees suck” will reverberate throughout the stadium and onto the street.

This type of abrasive rivalry between fans of the two teams may have its place in professional sports, but doesn’t belong at Christie Pits. Fans are content enjoying sunshine, spirited baseball and time with family.  Dogs also welcome. What’s more, the Christie Pits field is so intimate, you may hear super fans talking strategy with players on the bench.

Oshawa Dodgers pitcher Nick DaSilva got rocked by the Leafs, but not mocked by their fans on May 17. “Baseball games are a lot of fun, especially when it’s sunny,” said his mother, Penny Tsampiras, as she held a T-shirt she won after spending $5 for three raffle tickets.

Both venues give away freebies such as bobble heads at Rogers Centre or T-shirts, hats and calendars at Christie Pits. Since Sunday Jays games start at 1:07 p.m. and Leafs games at 2 p.m., catch the end of the Leafs game after the Jays’ game.