The Bullpen: Lawrie’s petulant display of ignorance was an absolute disgrace
YEAR 2 VOLUME XVI, MAY 27, 2013
In fact it will be a long time before Jays’ young star will ever convince anyone about his desire to contribute on the field “for the team” — and have people believe him. It may be the most disgraceful exhibition of me-first mentality I can recall in 40 years around the major-league game. Hopefully Lawrie has apologized to his club and in particular the teammates he targeted via his petulant display of ignorance regarding what team sport is about.
On Sunday, trailing by two runs in the ninth, with runners on first and third and nobody out facing the O’s struggling closer Jim Johnson, Lawrie lofted a fly ball to medium right field on which Nick Markakis may have had to retreat a step or two. Jays coach Luis Rivera rightly held the runner at third.
Lawrie watched the catch by Markakis in front of him as he arrived at first base. He turned, fully expecting to see Lind crossing the plate. When he saw Lind still on third, he seemed shocked.
What happened next was unforgiveable. Lawrie angrily said something to Arencibia at first, then turned and stiffly strode off the field, all the while staring daggers at Rivera and Lind for costing him an RBI and an at-bat. After having showed up his coach and teammate with the game still on the line, making himself look like a petulant selfish fool, Lawrie strode down the steps of the dugout in front of manager John Gibbons seated in his usual spot on the home plate side, into the corner.
That’s when the incident found redemption for the Blue Jays as a team — but not for Lawrie. The Jays’ acknowledged clubhouse leader, Jose Bautista, had walked the length of the dugout to confront Lawrie, but before he could say his piece, Gibbons entered the fray, gesturing angrily towards his 23-year-old enfant terrible. For the emotional manager, it was a brief back-and-forth exchange that reminded observers of his famous 2007 response to Ted Lilly, and others that have crossed him.
For Gibbons, the verbal dustup, captured on television, may have been an important moment, personally, as Jays manager, because there may have been those in uniform in the dugout wondering about his ability to lead considering the slow start and bad baseball in the first two months.
The incident also may have created a bond between Gibbons and his main emissary Bautista. The fact is both men at that key moment were on the same page, righteously indignant at Lawrie. It has become a more important, more spontaneous rallying point for the Jays than that awkward clubhouse meeting at Yankee Stadium, April 28, called by Mark DeRosa and reluctantly shared by Bautista.
The Lawrie-Gibbons confrontation has not sparked the major public outrage it would have if the Jays had lost, because it became incidental in the wake of the drama that unfolded afterwards.
The Jays on Sunday rallied to win 6-5 with Mune Kawasaki’s walk-off heroics taking the spotlight away from Lawrie’s walk-off temporary insanity.
One batter after Lawrie, with the bases loaded, DeRosa grounded into a fielder’s choice narrowing the deficit to one, leaving runners at the corners. Working the count full, Kawasaki slashed a line drive up the alley in left centre field and with DeRosa on the move, he scored easily ending the game and handing the Jays a much-needed split in the series, a winning week of 4-3.
Kawasaki’s post-game interview with Sportsnet’s Arash Madani has become the stuff of legend. On Sunday, the 2013 Blue Jays may have grown up as a team, but when will Lawrie do the same?
BLUE JAYS CORNER
STARTING PITCHING REVOLVING DOOR CONTINUES
It seemed so simple back in the winter. The Jays had six men competing for five starting spots at spring training. The fact there was rotation competition was healthy and seemingly provided insurance should there be an injury among the starting five. What do they say about best laid plans?
The half dozen lock-and-load spring training starters are combining to earn $48.95 million in 2013 — Josh Johnson ($13.75 million); Mark Buehrle ($11.0M); Brandon Morrow ($8.0M); Ricky Romero ($7.5M); R.A. Dickey ($5.0M) and J.A. Happ ($3.7M). Through March 26, that sextet in 43 starts has combined for a 9-17 mark in the Jays’ first 50 games. That’s not enough bang for the buck.
In his fourth season as general manager, Alex Anthopoulos had long ago come to the conclusion that spring training needs to also become about setting up a depth chart of 10 starting pitchers that can be tapped into as the season unfolds. The Jays have averaged 12 starters in each of the past four seasons, totalling 47 starters in the years from 2009-12. The last time the Jays used fewer than 10 starters in a season was 2008, led by Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch and Shaun Marcum. That season, the Jays utilized just eight starters.
The starting pitcher list emerging from each spring training can change and will evolve as needed, but the Jays’ front office at least needs to have an idea where the team might be headed should there be an injury like Johnson (right triceps) suffered in late April and like Happ (head and knee) suffered in the first week of May. However, thus far, the 2013 list has been late-arriving and shaky.
The Jays were not prepared for early-season injuries to the rotation in 2013. The surgically repaired right-handers Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek will not be ready until after the all-star break. Deck McGuire continues to be slow in developing, a major disappointment as the 11th player selected overall in June 2010, considering that other first round pitchers that year included Matt Harvey of the Mets and Chris Sale of the White Sox, selected two picks after McGuire.
Others that might have been ready to help after a month of the regular season, guys that were on the Jays’ preliminary list included lefty Sean Nolin and right-hander Chad Jenkins, but both were injured in the spring and had late starts to their development seasons.
As for hotshot 2012 draft pick, right-hander Marcus Stroman, the Jays had the 22-year-old ticketed on the fast-track to the majors as a reliever last year but he can also start and has been stretched out now after serving his 50-game suspension for a banned stimulant that expired on May 19.
The Jays have used 10 starters in the season’s first 50 games. Esmil Rogers will become the 11th on Wednesday. The only three starting pitchers that have remained on the Jays’ active roster all season are Dickey, Buehrle and Morrow (although pushed back with back spasms). In addition to Johnson, Happ and Romero, the list of 10 deep that has been called upon by the Jays includes Jenkins (2 starts), Nolin (1), venerable right-hander Ramon Ortiz (3) and the acquired on waivers, quickly departed left-hander Aaron Laffey (1). Many of those were obviously not in the opening day master plan of 10-deep.
At one point, the AAA-Buffalo rotation averaged over 33 years old, including guys like Miguel Batista, David Bush, Justin Germano and Claudio Vargas. That rotation wasn’t built for development. It was built to provide a winner for Bisons ownership in the first year of their Jays affiliation.
Bisons aside, on the immediate starting-pitcher horizon, the Jays have another waiver claim, Thad Weber in the mix for future starts should Rogers stumble. Nolin was optioned back to the minors, Ortiz is in the pen and Jenkins has still only logged 15 innings total in 2013.
Right now, the opinion of The Bullpen is that Anthopoulos’s list of 10 starters for the Jays would go something like this: 1. Dickey; 2. Buehrle; 3. Morrow; 4. Johnson; 5. Rogers; 6. Jenkins; 7. Weber; 8. Stroman; 9. Nolin and 10. Ortiz. The Jays clearly have plans for Nolin, a sixth round pick in the 2010 draft, otherwise they would not have started his major-league clock and squandered his first minor-league option for just one start. We should have anticipated there would be needs beyond the first six.
I recall standing in awe the first day of Yankees ’05 spring training in Tampa staring down the length of the bullpen mounds as the most expensive six-man rotation up to that time, over $50 million, warmed up together — Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang. But by the end of ’05, the Bombers had used 14 starters and the Fab 6 that I had watched with such interest had combined for just 51 of the Yankees’ 95 victories. Stuff happens.
THE JAYS WEEK THAT WAS — FROM THE RAYS TO THE O’S
Following a sweep in the Bronx a week ago, capped by a Sunday rainout, the Jays returned for some home cooking at the Rogers Centre, going 4-3 against their division rival Rays and O’s.
The Jays started the week taking two of three against the Rays, capped by an energizing 10th-inning walkoff on Wednesday afternoon. A heated up Jose Bautista singled in the winning run in extra innings after tying the game with his second homer of the night in the bottom of the ninth. Bautista collected an RBI with each of his four hits — two that tied the game and two that put the Jays ahead.
The Jays looked like they were about to go on a roll, taking the Thursday opener vs. the Orioles by a score of 12-6, keyed by an Edwin Encarnacion grand-slam and four RBIs by catcher J.P. Arencibia. Brandon Morrow was the beneficiary of the offensive largesse. But the Jays struggled after that, losing a pair of one-run games Friday and Saturday, including another disappointing outing for ace R.A. Dickey, allowing two homers and six earned runs in 6-2/3 innings. In the first three games of the series, the Jays trailed 3-0 in each game and trailed or were tied after 22 of the 27 innings.
It looked as if it would be a third straight defeat for much of the day on Sunday, with Chad Jenkins cobbling his way through five innings, allowing just two runs despite eight hits and three bases-on-balls. It looked even more bleak after Aaron Loup yielded a solo homer in the seventh and Steve Delabar gave up a bases-loaded double on a two strike pitch to Matt Wieters in the top of the ninth.
However, with a struggling O’s closer Jim Johnson on the hill, the Jays mounted a tremendous rally including a clutch RBI single by Arencibia and a two-run double up the alley by shortstop Mune Kawasaki, capped by a post-game interview for the ages, with Sportsnet’s Arash Madani.
The Jays meet the Braves in a pair of two-game series, home and home, before heading to the West Coast for games in San Diego and San Francisco. Adam Lind or Edwin Encarnacion will have to sit, in those parks, minus the DH. The Jays still are seeking longer than a four-game win streak.
THE ESSAY: Clayton McCullough
Clayton McCullough is not a name familiar to most Jays fans, but look into the bullpen next time and he’s the coach wearing No. 63, the guy soaking in his first two months in the majors like a thirsty sponge. McCullough was a spring invitee to the staff, an injury fill to primarily throw batting practice. The 33-year-old is not listed in your program because he’s not here for a long time.
McCullough, a former minor-league catcher, is, in fact, the manager of the defending A-Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians, the Jays’ short-season team that begins play in June. McCullough has been filling in as b.p. pitcher and bullpen catcher for Toronto-native Alex Andreopoulos, on the mend from a surgically repaired shoulder. McCullough will be leaving soon to rejoin his team in Dunedin. He’s not sure of the actual date but he’s ready.
“Certainly it has been a tremendous experience,” McCullough agreed. “Not only just getting a chance to watch big-league games every night, that’s wonderful, but also the interaction of our coaching staff. They’ve been great to me, the whole time in spring training up through now. Getting to pick their brains and watch how they go about things on a daily basis has been a great experience.”
McCullough’s problem of major/minor perception is typical of that of many minor league coaches. The North Carolina native was drafted out of high school in ’98, attended East Carolina University as a catcher, was signed as a 22nd round pick by the Indians in 2002, spent four seasons in the minors, rising as high as a game at Triple-A Buffalo, then joining the Jays minor-league staff. He has never spent time watching major-leaguers other than on TV. His points of comparison are few.
“Absolutely,” McCullough responded when asked if his two months with the Jays has been an eye-opener. “Watching it live is so much different. You get a real feel for the speed of the game and how much faster it is here. Even these guys make it seem so slow, because they’re so great at what they do, but it’s such a faster game than certainly where I’ll be back in the minor leagues.”
Even though he is an accidental tourist with the Jays, this is perhaps an annual move that many major-league clubs should consider for their minor-league managers and key personnel with similar backgrounds. Being around the major-league club has taught McCullough some useful lessons.
“To see (the major-leaguers) in person and watching what they do, what makes that guy so special, you get to see with your own eyes,” McCullough said. “What are the things that our guys (at Vancouver) are going to have to be able to do and what allows you to stay up at this level.? Getting here is hard enough. But to be able to stay here and be a consistent contributor is even harder. Picking some things up that only our coaches see and watching the players and talking with players, hopefully I’ll be able to take some of that stuff down and help give guys a good jump start to their careers.”
Perhaps this season is an unusual one and not typical, in terms of the Jays ups and downs, the mistakes and great plays that individual players have made in a disappointing start, but all of that diversity adds up to a positive as McCullough heads out to defend his league title in Vancouver.
“You get to see that sometimes you can’t be so hard on those guys down there because even at this level where you have the best in the world, they make mistakes,” he observed. “Sometimes you want to get ahead of yourself, with the players that you have at that level.
“I thought I was patient before, but I think even moreso now. I’ll be even more patient with guys and understand what a process it really is and to get the players to understand the process. You’re not going to be Jose Bautista right now. It takes time and you have to be able to learn from the mistakes that you make and continue to grow as a player. A lot of it is mental, being able to mentally handle the adversity that comes because these guys are dealing with it day in and day out here.”
Far too many minor-league instructors in McCulloughs’s shoes have never experienced the up-close and personal view of major-leaguers other than on television. How do they compare what they have. He is now able to go back to the Canadians and his players can trust his views and advice.
“You can watch these guys and say, ‘Oh there’s not the effort,’ but they’re trying,” said McCullough, describing the difference. “They all want to win and they all want to do well for themselves. The effort is always there. They understand the game and situations within the game a whole lot more than guys that are first starting out playing.
“This is a four or five year journey before you actually get to the point where you’re going to be here and be able to contribute in Toronto, so we have to be patient. It’s a hard thing. It’s easier for me as a coach. Because it’s not my batting average, it’s not my . . . I don’t care about the wins and losses, but kids want it right now. It’s hard for them to look down the road.”
McCullough’s record benefits from the fact that a farm team in Vancouver was a priority for GM Alex Anthopoulos. That being said, the GM wants to make sure that the owners, his partners on the West Coast, have a winning team. There is a side benefit to sending many of the organization’s top prospects to Vancouver. They get used to playing in Canada and operating with a pocketful of loonies.
“It’s win-win for everybody,” McCullough said. “The people in Vancouver do a great job. Certainly No. 1 is about trying to get as many players better as we can, but when you have a franchise, an affiliate in a place like Vancouver you want to win, you want to represent things well, so it is important to win there and we were fortunate two years in a row that team has been able to win and hopefully we can just keep it going. The main thing though is trying to get players better.”
At 33, McCullough has already managed six years in the Jays’ organization with a 363-330 record. His is a rising star and the two months with the Jays has become an important part of who he is and what he knows. It’s a practice the Jays should consider for other young minor-league personnel each season to give them perspective and a more balanced view of the players they will be watching later in the summer when their own teams begin play.
DOWN ON THE FARM
The story of the AAA-Buffalo Bisons this year has been interesting. The Jays, in the first year of the affiliate relationship, have tried to ensure that the fans of Buffalo will have a winner in Year 1. To that end one of the first minor-league signings of the off-season was second baseman Jim Negrych, mainly because he is a Buffalo native. Little did the Jays know he would become their best player.
Negrych, 28, has never played in the majors. He is batting .373 with three homers, 23 RBIs and a .988 OPS in 38 games, but there is no room in the majors. The Bisons have used 16 position players, averaging 28 years old, which for a minor-league roster seems old. But you think that’s old, consider the pitching staff that has already included 26 players, with an average age of 32. That list includes three now with the Jays and six more pitchers that were with the Jays, earlier in the season.
Right-hander Josh Johnson, on an injury rehab, made his second minor-league start on Saturday, his first at Buffalo, throwing four shutout innings, allowing a hit, with one walk and four strikeouts. J.J. is slated to make his next start on May 30. Right now, it’s at Buffalo, however, that is subject to change considering the abbreviated starts the Jays have received from Sean Nolin and veteran Ramon Ortiz. Johnson has been on the disabled list for a month with right triceps inflammation.
Future Closers: Following is a listing of the affiliates, their current records and all the Blue Jays organizational pitchers that have recorded more than one save in 2013:
RHP Neil Wagner (13 SV, 1-0, 0.89 ERA, 19G)
LHP Juan Perez (3 SV, 2-1, 0.86 ERA, 17 G).
AA-NEW HAMPSHIRE (24-27):
RHP Joel Carreno (6 SV, 2-1, 1.71 ERA, 21G)
RHP Chad Beck (6 SV, 1-0, 2.87 ERA, 12G).
Blake McFarland (10 SV, 0-1, 3.57 ERA, 19 G).
RHP Arik Sikula (4 SV, 3-0, 1.93 ERA, 16G)
RHP Wil Browning (3 SV, 2-3, 0.36 ERA, 17G)
RHP Chuck Ghysels (3 SV, 2-1, 5.09 ERA, 14G).
Jays’ starting ace R.A. Dickey (4-6) after losing on Saturday to the Orioles is on pace for a 19.8-loss season. Dickey currently trails Joe Blanton of the Angels by one loss for the AL lead. Losing 20 games is not the slice of MLB ignominy one would imagine. Several Hall of Famers have lost 20 games during their career, including most recently Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton. Following is a list of the six most recent 20-game losers. Note that three of those 20-loss seasons have been by knuckleballers.
1. Mike Maroth, 9-21, 2003 Tigers
2. Brian Kingman, 8-20, 1980 Athletics
3. Phil Niekro, 21-20, 1979 Braves
4. Jerry Koosman, 8-20, 1977 Mets
5. Phil Niekro, 16-20, 1977 Braves
6. Wilbur Wood, 16-20, 1975 White Sox
INTERESTING FACTS RE 20-GAME LOSERS: There have been 499 pitchers that have lost 20 MLB games in a season since the stats were first recorded in 1872. However, over the first 71 of those seasons, there were 451 20-game losers. Since 1943, there have been just 48 losers of 20 games.
Two of the most impressive 20-loss seasons in history were recorded by Guy Hecker of the 1884 Louisville Eclipse and Ed Walsh of the 1910 White Sox.
Hecker in ’84 was 52-20, with a 1.80 ERA, walking 56 batters in 670-2/3 innings in a Louisville season comprised of just 110 games. The Eclipse used only five pitchers in 1884, with the runner-up in wins in their 68-40 campaign posting just six behind Hecker’s 52. Hecker averaged over 500 innings per year from 1883-86. Meanwhile, Walsh, in 1910, was 18-20 with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP, logging 33 complete games in 36 starts. Two years earlier he had won 40 games. After pitching 393 innings in 1912, he hung on for five more seasons but was done, pitching a total of just 191 more innings.
CC SABATHIA STRUGGLING SINCE WIN OVER JAYS: The Yankees ace, left-hander CC Sabathia lost to the Rays on Sunday, allowing seven runs in seven innings. It was his fourth start without a win since beating the Jays on April 27. Sabathia is now 3-10 vs. the Rays since joining the Yankees and is 10-11 lifetime against Tampa Bay. “I’m hurting the team,” Sabathia toll MLB.com. “I just need to get better.”
RODNEY ONE OF MANY STRUGGLING CLOSERS: The Rays closer Fernando Rodney was perfect a year ago, but on the weekend against the Yankees blew his fifth save already in 2013. Despite the struggles, manager Joe Maddon insists Rodney will remain his ninth inning man.
“I’m not going to run away from guys when they are struggling a little bit and I don’t think he’s struggling a lot,” Maddon said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s a little bit.”
Rodney has two saves and three blown saves in his last five games. For the season he has walked 18 batters in 19-1/3 innings. That’s an important little bit.
CHRIS PEREZ ANOTHER CLOSER IN TROUBLE: The Indians on Sunday saw closer Chris Perez leave during the ninth inning with what was later described as a pinch in his right shoulder. He tried to continue and threw one “just a little outside” all the way to the backstop. Should he be absent for any length of time, the interim closer’s role could be handed to RHP Bryan Shaw, who has pitched 19 games with 24 strikeouts in 24-1/3 innings. The setup man RHP Vinny Pestano has struggled since coming off the DL in mid-May.
ROYALS K-CREW DOES DOUBLE DUTY IN SAVING A LIFE: On Thursday, when a 14-year-old girl collapsed in the upper deck at Kauffman Stadium, Sam Sapenaro, a 26-year-old K-Crew member whose primary job is as a nurse, went to work and revived the girl using CPR.
“It’s hard for me to accept that compliment just because I am a nurse and I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do,” Sapenaro said to the Associated Press. “The outpouring of love has been incredible from the Royals organization and the Royals fans.”
RED HOT ANGELS TO GET WEAVER BACK: The Angels have won eight games in a row heading into the week and will welcome back ace right-hander Jered Weaver on Wednesday vs. the Dodgers. Weaver has been out since April 7 with an arm issue.
THIS DATE IN BASEBALL HISTORY
May 27: 1960 — Orioles manager Paul Richards cobbles together an oversized catcher’s mitt and gives it to Clint Courtney as he handles knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm. The O’s had had 49 passed balls since the start of the ’59 season. Courtney responds with no passed balls and Wilhelm beats the Yankees 3-2 . . . May 29: 1993 — It was a bad week for Jose Canseco and the Rangers. Three days after having a ball bounce off his head for a home run, Canseco pitched an inning in a 15-1 blowout by the Red Sox, giving up three runs, including an RBI single by current Jays’ third base coach Luis Rivera. Unfortunately, the stint on the mound decided on by manager Kevin Kennedy led to season-ending elbow surgery . . . 1992 – The top NL leadoff hitter of the ’80s, Tim Raines steals two bases for the White Sox in a 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays, including No. 700 of his career with Juan Guzman pitching and Pat Borders behind the plate . . . May 30: 1992 — Right-hander Scott Sanderson becomes the eighth pitcher to defeat, what was at the time, all 26 major-league teams. The former Expos starter beat the Brewers 7-1 to join Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Goose Gossage, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Rick Wise and Doyle Alexander . . . May 31: 1979 – The 22-year-old left-hander Pat Underwood of the Tigers makes his MLB debut beating the Blue Jays 1-0 tossing 8-1/3 shutout innings. Pat beat his older brother Tom Underwood for his first win . . . June 1: 1925 — Backup first baseman Lou Gehrig pinch-hits for Pee Wee Wanninger. The next day starting first baseman Wally Pipp can’t answer the bell with a splitting headache and Gehrig starts the next 2,129 games in a row becoming the Iron Horse . . . June 2: 1941 – Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig passes away of ALS which becomes known thereafter as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
MLB POWER RANKINGS (as of May 27)
TEAM (with last week’s rankings in parentheses along with the start of spring ranking)
1. Texas Rangers (1, 6)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (2, 13)
3. New York Yankees (3, 14)
4. Boston Red Sox (4, 16)
5. Atlanta Braves (5, 2)
6. Cincinnati Reds (8, 9)
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (9, 28)
8. Detroit Tigers (7, 7)
9. Baltimore Orioles (10, 11)
10. San Francisco Giants (12, 1)
11. Arizona Diamondbacks (13, 17)
12. Cleveland Indians (6, 20)
13. Colorado Rockies (16, 25)
14. Oakland A’s (17, 8)
15. Chicago White Sox (18, 19)
16. Washington Nationals (11, 4)
17. Tampa Bay Rays (15, 1)
18. Kansas City Royals (14, 18)
19. Philadelphia Phillies (21, 15)
20. Seattle Mariners (20, 21)
21. Los Angeles Angels (27, 12)
22. Minnesota Twins (19, 26)
23. Milwaukee Brewers (23, 22)
24. Los Angeles Dodgers (24, 5)
25. Toronto Blue Jays (28, 3)
26. San Diego Padres (26, 23)
27. Chicago Cubs (22, 24)
28. New York Mets (25, 27)
29. Houston Astros (29, 30)
30. Miami Marlins (30, 29)
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
It was a seven-day stretch, a home stand for the Blue Jays this week. Not much on the road. I covered the series vs. the Rays at the Rogers Centre to start the week but did have a chance to travel on the road again for baseball, coaching the Oakville A’s Minor Midgets at a Brampton tournament on Friday night and a pair of games on Saturday. I may have to re-consider my role and effectiveness as a pitching coach, with losses of 8-0 to Tecumseh, 7-6 to the Mississauga Tigers and 7-6 to Markham. I will be better by the time we go to Akron, Ohio in July. Or maybe the hitting coach.
But one thing I have done a good job of in my life is creating a true baseball fan in my 27-year-old daughter, Kelly. On Sunday, she scored four tickets for the game vs. the O’s, going to the Dome with two college roommates from Western and her friend’s fiance who works in production at TSN. Kelly became a baseball fan only when I took her and her friend Alyssa to the all-star game in Pittsburgh in 2006 after she said she never goes anywhere. They only went there for the parties, but when I was stuck with two tickets and was covering the game myself, she decided she would attend.
In the ninth inning, with Trevor Hoffman trying to nail down the NL win, Michael Young tripled in two runs and Mariano Rivera notched the save. Kelly called me excitedly from the upper deck as the winning run crossed the plate and became a baseball fan for life.
So on this Sunday with the Jays trailing by three runs in the ninth innings and Jim Johnson pitching, her friend suggested they leave and catch an earlier Go Train home. Kelly frowned and responded by pointing at the Jays fans streaming out of the Rogers Centre, suggesting that you can’t be a true baseball fan and leave early. The rest is Munenore Kawasaki history. Nice call, Kelly.