Game 108: Baltimore at Toronto
Pretty busy down on the field today at Rogers Centr….err, let’s go with SkyDome today for old time’s sake. Today was the ultimate Flashback Friday for the Blue Jays: the Back2Back Reunion for the ’92-93 World Series teams.
An odd time to be having it, sure. But, as Paul Molitor put it:
“It’s long overdue,” Molitor said. “It’s not like it’s the 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th year. No magical number, but it just happened. The response and the participation of the players and everyone making the effort to come back, you can see we were kind of hungry to do something like this.”
The event was the brainchild of Jays hero Joe Carter, who had been wanting to organize such a gathering for a while now. Quite the collection of Toronto greats today, too.
A few of former players in attendance: Robbie Alomar, Dave Winfield, Tony Fernandez, John Olerud, David Cone, Pat Hentgen, Dave Stewart, Dave Stieb, Tom Henke, Jack Morris, Kelly Gruber, Todd Stottlemyre, Juan Guzman, Al Leiter, Devon White, among many other players, coaches and staff.
Alomar was asked what he thinks about being considered the greatest Blue Jay of them all.
“Oh, wow,” he said. “I take it as a compliment. When I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a great ballplayer and I worked hard at playing the game of baseball. When I came here, I gave my best and I hope people appreciated the way I played the game. That’s why maybe they say those kind of things.”
The Jays held a nice pregame ceremony, with the two trophies on a table behind the mound and all the old-timers walking in from behind the center field wall and being introduced one by one. Prior to the game, Carter said he wasn’t thinking about his ’93 Series-clinching homer when he first walked onto the field.
Carter wanted to show his son where he crushed a ball once to the 500 level — not far from where his name resides on the Level of Excellence.
“The first place I looked was not right behind the field,” Carter said with a laugh. “I looked up at the fifth deck, because I was trying to impress my son and say, ‘Yeah, that’s where I hit it — the fifth deck.’ That’s the first place I looked. I didn’t even think about the home run that won the World Series. I was more proud of my name being up there and that homer I hit to the fifth deck.
“You know, ’92-93, very great years. ’93 was very sweet, but I don’t think anything can replace ’92. Catching the ball for the last out and bringing a championship to an organization that had tried for such a long time. … Not only was it a first for us. It was a first for Canada.”
Alomar, who was invited to join the Jays this past spring as a guest coach but had to back out for personal reasons, expressed an interest in joining the Jays’ organization in some capacity. He said coaching might not be for him, but that he might like working with Minor Leaguers in a development role.
“Baseball has always been in my blood and this is what I love to do,” Alomar said. “To be good in the big leagues, you have to start from the bottom. If you can get a good Minor League system, you’re going to get a chance to go up here in the big leagues and do a good job.
“This is where I belong. This is where I made my mark and this is where I love to be.”
ABOUT THAT CURRENT JAYS TEAM: A report on ESPN.com indicated that Jays right fielder Alex Rios has been claimed off waivers by an unidentified team. Now, don’t get overly worked up over this. Exposing players to waivers is common this month and often a name will be leaked and the story becomes bigger than it might actually be.
That being said, the Blue Jays have until Tuesday to either pull Rios back, trade him to the claiming team or let the claiming team have him for nothing, assuming Rios’ contract in the process. Rios has underperformed and this would be a way for Toronto to shed payroll. This does not mean Rios is definitely being moved.
Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi had this to say: “It’s the time of year where everybody gets put through waivers on every team. For us to comment on that, I don’t think is a good thing. We’re not going to comment on the waiver wire. It’s unfortunate that someone puts anything out there that’s supposed to be confidential. In this case, all I’ll tell you is everybody gets put through waivers. It’s a normal process. Every team does it, but we’re not going to comment on who was claimed or who wasn’t claimed.”
BALTIMORE ORIOLES (45-63)
Fifth place AL East, 21.0 GB
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Aubrey Huff, DH
5. Nolan Reimold, LF
6. Melvin Mora, 3B
7. Ty Wigginton, 1B
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS
Starter: RHP Jason Berken (1-9)
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Alex Rios, RF
7. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Joe Inglett, LF
Starter: LHP Ricky Romero (10-4, 3.53)
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