Covering the Bases: Game 7

RCopener.jpgFIRST: What an atmosphere. It’s like this for every home opener — rowdy fans, packed house – but it’s always a blast to watch a baseball game in that type of environment.

The attendance was 46,321 tickets sold (the comp tickets are not included in the total). The baseball capacity is 49,160. In previous regimes, comp tix were included. Jays don’t do that now.

“We’re still a little bit short of what we used to pack in here when we were winning,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “But it was great. It was a great night tonight.”

Said Vernon Wells, who belted his fifth homer in seven games: “Opening day is always like that. I think our goal around here is to get those crowds every night and late in the season. It’s going to take playing a little better baseball than we did tonight. It was a tough loss tonight.”

The above photo was taken by John Lott of the National Post.

SECOND: It was a tough loss for the Blue Jays because it was the second blown save in five chances for closer Jason Frasor. Toronto has had seven save opportunities in seven games, meaning they could easily be 7-0 right now. Frasor coughed up the lead on Opening Day and then in Monday’s home opener.

Frasor’s main issue right now is with the first batter he faces. He has faced five and he has allowed two walks, two doubles and one home run. The homer came on an 0-2 fastball that Frasor left over the heart of the plate to Chicago’s Mark Teahen in the ninth on Monday. Result? Tie game. Blown save.

“If you’re going to save a game, you have to get the first guy,” Gaston said. “It doesn’t happen all the time, but you’d like to see that first guy out, because it kind of knocks the other team down a little bit.”

With Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs also in the ‘pen, it might not take long for there to be an old fashioned closer controversy.

THIRD: Once again, the Blue Jays lived and died by the long ball. John Buck absolutely CRUSHED a two-run homer, sending it above the “Tony Fernandez” sign above left field. Joked Buck: “Peavy hit my bat.” Wells hit a two-run shot to center field. So far, the Jays have scored 18 of their 35 runs on homers this year.

“It’s going to be a home run team,” Gaston said. “Otherwise, we’re goinh to struggle.”

HOME: The fans let Alex Rios have it more than any other former player since I’ve been covering the team. Granted, it was a full house for the home opener, but it was relentless. Chants of “You suck, Rios!” and “Rios sucks!” went on all evening. When he got booed during player intros, Rios smiled and tipped his hat.

“That normally doesn’t happen too much here,” Gaston said of Rios’ reception. “I was kind of surprised by that a little bit. But, people come out and they paid their money.”

For what it’s worth, Wells and Rios both said they expected it (and Rios was obviously bothered since he went 3-for-4 with a stolen base). I’ll admit that I thought it would be more mixed. Rios may have performed below expectations, but he was a big part of  the Jays for many years.

I think what sealed his fate in the fans’ minds was that infamous Youtube video where he turned down an autograph request from a kid and then did not respond well to some heckling. As in most things in life, though, there was more to the sequence of events than the video clip revealed. CLICK HERE to read what I wrote last June…

At least all the booing made the atmosphere that much better.

~JB

6 Comments

I hope the Frasor “experiment” is finally through. An 0-2 pitch hit for a homerun should be the nail in the coffin. If he had been better up to this point (say like Kevin Gregg has been pitching) than maybe you let it slide. But he has been shaky in every appearance giving up too many baserunners. He has to really hit his spots to be effective because his stuff isn’t overpowering. A big league hitter can time a straight 94 MPH Fastball any day of the week.
Other than that it was a great game to be at, very entertaining.

Do they really have to choose just one person for the closing role? They have three good pitchers that can do the job (yes, I’m standing by Frasor), but not one of them is dominant in that position. So why not share the closing duties between the three of them, choosing who to put in based on their strengths in the situation?

Do they really have to choose just one person for the closing role? They have three good pitchers that can do the job (yes, I’m standing by Frasor), but not one of them is dominant in that position. So why not share the closing duties between the three of them, choosing who to put in based on their strengths in the situation?

Do they really have to choose just one person for the closing role? They have three good pitchers that can do the job (yes, I’m standing by Frasor), but not one of them is dominant in that position. So why not share the closing duties between the three of them, choosing who to put in based on their strengths in the situation?

(For some reason it doesn’t seem to be taking my comment. If you get three submissions, just post the one, please!!)

ppl will say tht frasor had a bad night and he’s already saved 3gms and mayb he was tired….but both saves tht he blew were 1 run ball games…in the other 3gms, he really didnt have a problem. Tht doesnt seem like a closer’s mentality.

The thing i have against boing Rios is that for toronto fans, whoever we boo ends up coming back to bite us in the….ex1. Vince Carter, ex2. Danny Alfredsson, and then ex3. Nik Antropov (3gms we didnt boo, him he had no points. the 1 gm we boo him he got 2pts, the gwg and officially eliminated the leafs), and then there are others too

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