The Madness has Ended.

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The North Carolina Tar Heels have defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a game that most basketball fans would agree sucked ass! Dominated by whistles and bad calls the referees failed the NCAA in providing entertainment that would capture the audience’s attention watching at home.

Check out this tweet i sent out in frustration…

I wasn’t the only frustrated viewer…

Seems to me quite a few people were watching the same thing I was!

Well in the end my bracket was gutted and I didn’t win no prize money, so I still have to go to work tomorrow. I finished with 46 out of 63 games correct, good for 73%. Not bad but next year I will need to get it into the 80s for a shot.

Let me know how you did… Below is the bracket I posted at the beginning of the tournament.

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Bird Brain: Let’s play Ball!

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It’s April folks! You know what that means right? Of course you do, it means shit gets real now. Every pitch matters, every hit matters and every damn game matters.

In the first 5 weeks of the season the Blue Jays have 22 games scheduled versus the AL East. It is imperative that the Jays get off to a good start as these April games could and most likely will come back to bite them in the ass if they don’t do well. For example, in the first 5 weeks of the 2016 season, they had 20 games versus the AL East and came out with a record of 10-10, which could have factored into them battling until the end of the season for a Wild Card position. This year, if they expect to win the division and make the playoffs then a hot start is definitely needed as the rest of the AL East teams in my opinion have gotten better.

After going to the ALCS in consecutive seasons, the expectations for this team is to make the playoffs again and finally break through to the World Series. It will be tough with positions like Left Field and First Base still not solidified. Also, with closer Roberto Osuna starting the season on the 10-day disabled list, the offense will need to carry the team for the first couple of weeks. However, every team goes into the season with holes at various positions that need to filled, if the Jays can fill those holes quicker than the other teams filling theirs then they could be in good shape. In closing, I sincerely hope Gibby can manage this team through more peaks than valleys in 2018 as there won’t be any time to play the fuck around like in past seasons.

 

 

Bird Brain: Where there’s Smoak, there’s fire

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As many of you may know, spring training is winding down and the rosters of each team are starting to take shape. Some teams have questions at one or two positions and some teams have questions at multiple positions. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, there are only questions at left field and first base. However, given the regular season is about to kick off in just over a week the fan base, the media and the players themselves need some answers and the question that is a hot topic as of late is at first base.

One move Shatkins (Shapiro-Atkins, if you don’t know by now) can pull off is signing Angel Pagan right the fuck now to play left field. They need to stop fucking around and get it done. Then they can start Steve Pearce to first base as an everyday starter and BOOM the lineup issues are fixed. 

…But, that’s in the perfect world and for damn sure we do not live in one. As a result of this imperfect world, I will focus on the players we have at our disposal now.

The starting first baseman should be Justin Smoak, not a popular choice in the eyes of the media and many fans. I mean we have sports radio personalities calling for Rowdy Tellez, one of the team’s top prospects to start the season at first base. Where the fuck have these radio personalities been the last fucking 20 years?  Any hardcore baseball fan knows that the team has a knack of exposing young talent to the big leagues prematurely and in turn hurting their development. Given the makeup of the Cleveland Indians, I am confident Shatkins will not let any outside pressure force their hand in building this team. Besides, Shatkins are the ones who decided to give Smoak a contract extension, I highly doubt they’re going to deviate from their plan and rush a prospect.

In defense of Justin Smoak, the man has not gotten consistent playing time during his tenure with the Jays. Some will say he hasn’t earned consistent playing time when looking at his statistical output with the bat. Since joining the Blue Jays in 2015 he is averaging 16 homers, 46 RBI while providing 66 hits in 298 at-bats. Those people could be right, despite those numbers I would put forward that maybe what Smoak needs is consistent playing time to build confidence since it is reported that he is making adjustments to his approach at the plate during this spring training. If you look at his time with the Seattle Mariners between 2012 to 2013, as per baseball-reference.com; he averaged 18 homers, 52 RBIs along with 104 hits in 455 at-bats. Not too terrible for a defensive wiz in a division riddled with pitcher’s parks and who was not considered a top bat for the team. These numbers are definitely not what is expected of the prototypical first baseman.

However, with the of rest of the talent, the Jays have in the lineup and with a little more consistent playing time, Justin Smoak’s shortcomings with the bat could be manageable for at least one more season. Also, don’t forget that the Jays have shown an ability to help veteran players realize their potential. So give Smoak a chance to succeed or fail and we will go from there,  after all the season is long and ever-changing

Bird Brain: Good ol’ Gibby

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Let me get this started by saying, I do not hate John Gibbons, in fact I wouldn’t mind tossing back some cold ones with the dude. However, I am not a fan of his nor do I believe the Toronto Blue Jays will win a World Series under his watch. His managerial record is a mere 644-614 which is not something to fucking get excited about.

According to reports, the new-ish Shatkins (Shapiro-Atkins) management team will be signing Gibby to a multi-year extension which will make him the longest tenured manager in club history if he is able to somehow stick around until the end of the deal. Honestly, I just want to fucking laugh what I just typed there.

…Okay, done laughing.

I am not sure how Gibby finessed his way into a multi-year deal, I assumed Shatkins would let him see this season through to the end and then make a change to a manager who has a better resume, younger and more hands on. Especially, given the young players that are already on the team and the ones that are on the cusp of becoming MLBers, I believe a manager who is more of a coach would be beneficial in the Blue Jays’ pursuit of a World Series. Also, because Gibby was a rehire (in 2008 he got fired midseason… if you don’t know, now you know) by Alex Anthopoulos; it was conceivable that Shatkins would bring in their own guy, as the Blue Jays would like to transition into a more younger, faster and higher average club in the coming years. So I guess my assumption has made me out to be an ass… for now.

However, I am certain Gibby’s laid-back style of managing will get exposed by the likes of Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter and dare I say John Farrell? Heck, even Kevin Cash (a former Blue Jay) has the Tampa Bay Rays playing pretty damn competitive baseball and all have proven they can groom young players into full time MLB players. Who has Gibby groomed? That is a question I ask Blue Jays fans from time to time and I still have not received an answer that can sway my opinion of the guy and please do not say Kevin Pillar. Gibby’s approach to the past season was not impressive, how many managers would have Joey Bats tweaking the batting lineup in order to spark the offense? Probably none. Also, if it was not for the otherworldly starting pitching Gibby received, his managerial skills would have come to light once again and this extension does not happen.

At this point, Gibby supporters are going be upset with my opinions and that is fine. I am not here to convince you of what I believe is right or wrong for the Jays but I am here to put you on notice.

…John Gibbons is not bringing Toronto a World Series.

(Please note: I try to catch every game during the season and I will be pointing out Gibby’s blunders.)

 

Bracket of Madness

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As many of you may know every March of every year comes a tournament called “March Madness” which is THE premiere event the NCAA corporation (tell me it isn’t a corporation) holds for its college and university basketball programs. In this tournament if you do not already have a dog in this race you will find yourself rooting for schools you’ve never heard of or jumping on the old bandwagon of the popular, highly regarded and often televised schools. Speaking for myself, I like to check in on the teams with the top prospects in the upcoming NBA draft and I will tell you why.

When I am filling out my March Madness bracket, I tend to give the edge to the teams that have players who are on the cusp of entering the NBA. More often than not, it is the teams with the most NBA prospects that make it thru to the Elite Eight, Final Four and Finals. Who doesn’t want to the see the next big star take over the tournament headlines and generate some buzz? You can be damn sure I do. Something inside me wants to see Lonzo Ball just go berserk by breaking ankles and shooting the shit out of the gym! Imagine the garbage that will spew from Lamar Ball’s mouth after that. I know he’s made some crazy statements, but dammit the man is comically entertaining.

However, things tend to get a bit dicey in the Madness! Every year a group of young men with no star player decide it is time to make Vegas some dollars and picking which team will be sending home a top seed crying is literally a crap shoot. For someone like myself that does not follow NCAA basketball religiously these damn underdogs are a pain in the ass because I don’t see enough of these lower seeds to know how they play. I could go with what the pundits are predicting but I will not; I like to live dangerously.

Make sure you enjoy watching this tournament and don’t pull your hair out filling out your bracket… it’s not that serious. I will be posting my picks later today and hopefully I can pick the right underdog!

…Oh, and before I forget. Big up to my Canadian dudes reppin’ for the Maple Leaf during the tournament. There’s too many to name… 15 years ago who would have guessed there’d be too many Canadians to name in the March Madness?

 

 

Daylight Savings is a Motherf***er!

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It is March 14th, 2017 and it’s snowing… Big deal right? I live in Greater Toronto Area a.k.a the GTA; I am supposed to be prepared for this shit! Well… when we ONLY have had 2 major snowfalls all winter, it becomes a BIG deal. On the bright side, spring is a week away. But, someone is still going to have to answer for my missing hour of sleep.

And with spring, comes a great time in sports. We’ve got March Madness about to start, the NHL and NBA seasons are dwindling down to their conclusions (PLAYOFFS?! Did someone say PLAYOFFS?!), the MLB is in full fledged spring training mode and we’ve got the WBC going on!…

Yeah, I said it… the WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC is going on! Let me just say, it really fucking sucks that Team Canada was utter shit and is out of the tourney without winning a game or even coming close to winning one. But, what did I expect when we have a fucking 40-year old Ryan Dempster starting on the mound for 2 out of 3 games? The last time he pitched in the MLB was 4 years ago in 2013 when he put up an 8-9 record with a 4.57 ERA in 171+ innings pitched, mediocre at best. I certainly didn’t expect Canada to win the damn WBC, but we should have won at least one game and being a pain in the ass in the other two games would have been commendable.

The takeaway from this tournament is that Baseball Canada really has to look at ways to better grow the game and develop talent. Trotting out a pitching staff that lacks 2 or 3 legit MLB starters is embarrassing, unacceptable and cannot continue. After all, Canada has a relationship with baseball that is over 150 years old! Hopefully, in the next 4 years (if the tournament is still around) we will be able to field a more competitive team and not have to rely on the ghosts of Canadian baseball past.

(On a side note: I hope the Dominican Republic wins with Joey Bats bat flippin’ the fuck out of a Marucci!)

That’s all I got for now. I’ll be back (Arnie voice).