After four months of writing about free agency and other news, I was delighted to watch an actual baseball game. That chance presented itself when the Blue Jays took on the Yankees in the first Spring Training game for both teams.
There was some bad news regarding the upcoming seasons’ broadcasts announced shortly before the games got underway.
Rogers Sportsnet will simulcast the TV broadcast on the radio rather than having a dedicated, separate audio feed. Additionally, of the 10 games on television, only 3 will be a Sportsnet broadcast.
BLUE JAYS: What we’re being subjected to by @Sportsnet for @BlueJays broadcasts is CRIMINAL! ⬇️ ⛓🐦⛓ #RespectToronto #BlueJays #Yankees #FreeBuck— The Rod Pedersen Show (@RodPedersenShow) March 2, 2021
Rod’s Rant for @BroncoPlumbing 🚽😡 pic.twitter.com/kOF4tYcjqE
This is obviously a predictable cost-cutting move and one that will have negative consequences. Many fans enjoy listening on the radio or have jobs that don’t allow them to watch every game.
A simulcast is better than nothing, but just barely.
The big news out of Jays’ camp has been the health and appearance of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He has claimed to have lost 42 pounds since last season’s re-start in July.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. says he dropped 42 pounds this off-season.— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) February 24, 2021
Guerrero says his focus physically was on “quickness, balance, weight loss, strength… I wanted to make sure all parts of my game were ready.” pic.twitter.com/4tK7tvkeq0
“Vladito” looked nimble scoring from second base on a base hit in Sunday’s Spring Opener.
I realize that it’s a big-time cliché to comment on how ballplayers are in great shape coming into camp. With that being said, Rowdy Tellez also looked svelte and knocked in the first two runs of the spring.
Our first (spring) RBIs of 2021 belong to Rowdy Tellez! 💪 pic.twitter.com/xF1SqfFsZa— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 28, 2021
Here are some of the things I noticed in watching the Blue Jays in their debut.
One of the things Jays fans will have their eyes on in the next few weeks is the battle in the outfield. They’re obviously set with George Springer in centerfield. Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández appear to have the inside track on the left and right field jobs respectively.
There’s a roster crunch coming for the Blue Jays with four starting outfielders for three spots as Randal Grichuk and Loudes Gurriel Jr. will face more competition for at bats while taking on different defensive responsibilities. (By @bnicholsonsmith)https://t.co/iEJOOYGNDs— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 27, 2021
Randal Grichuk, at this point, seems like the fourth outfielder/designated hitter. Another candidate for playing time could be Jonathan Davis. He made an impact in the first game, stole a base, scored a run, and drove in another.
For me, an ideal situation would be for Davis to have a great camp and push the front office to trade Grichuk. The time is now.
Anthony Kay started the first game and looked sharp over two innings, striking out two. T.J. Zeuch was up next and, after a clean first inning, ran into some trouble in the fourth. However, after giving up a pair of hits and a run, he was able to limit the damage.
Jacob Waguespack got hit pretty hard (2 HR, 3 R) in his lone inning and will need to be better in order to make the team.
Say No to Yes!
Usually, I don’t mind watching a YES broadcast, but, obviously, ballplayers aren’t the only ones who need time getting into shape.
That’s fine that you want to conduct an interview with skipper Aaron Boone. Please don’t make him the star of the show! You can show some shots from the game as well.
I found the interview with Luke Voit a bit more tolerable, despite his slow drawl. He did get excited when teammate Mike Tauchman went deep in the fifth inning.
It got me thinking, is Luke Voit the coolest member of the Yankees? His main competition is Aaron Judge, but he’s had a hard time staying on the field and that’s not cool.
With Kay pitching so well, the pressure was on Robbie Ray to be solid in his debut on Monday. Despite giving up a solo home run, Ray looked decent in two innings.
Alejandro Kirk capitalized on his first RBI opportunity of the Spring with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Jays fans got their first look at top prospect Austin Martin. It wasn’t a great first impression. Martin committed two errors, one fielding, and one throwing. He did manage to work a walk in his first plate appearance.
He was able to climb the ladder for this grab.
The -socially distant- scene in Dunedin as David Phelps fans Wilmer Difo to end a perfect frame. ☀️🌬😎 pic.twitter.com/T6yeEGXuLU— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) March 1, 2021
George Springer singled to center in his first at-bat as a Jay. Steven Matz also looked ready for the season in his first outing, striking out three in two innings. Tyler Chatwood tossed a perfect third inning as well.
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s game wasn’t on TV or on the radio.
No TV or radio from either the Phillies or the Blue Jays for this one. Thoroughly embarrassing. https://t.co/Wx3FqF9Tjc— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) March 2, 2021
“Baseball is the soundtrack of summer. That soundtrack is going to be a lot different this year as Sportsnet announced there will be no dedicated radio broadcast for the first time in #BlueJays history.— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) February 27, 2021
A column from former Jays radio voice, @Wilnerness: https://t.co/fl8rRGaWVR