So that’s it. It’s done. Over. Turn the page, put the cat out, or whatever else you wanna say. The Blue Jays 2006 season is complete, and so is my rookie season on a Major League beat. So for those of you aspiring journalists out there, here are a few things I’ve learned in year No. 1:
- I know what an ulnar collateral ligament is, where it’s located, what it’s for, and I can type it with my eyes closed. Thank you A.J. Burnett and Gustavo Chacin.
- Shower shoes are a must. This we learned from Alex Rios and Ty Taubenheim, who each suffered a staph infection. Toronto’s clubhouse wasn’t actually the source, but the team disinfected it anyway.
- You should always congratulate someone on adopting a baby. Otherwise, it could lead to an angry outburst. Advice courtesy of Shea Hillenbrand (not to say that was the only issue involved with that incident).
- Chewing tobacco can sometimes look like blood. We learned this from John Gibbons and Ted Lilly, who got into a shoving match in August. There were reports that Gibbons received a bloody nose, but it was probably just some of his chew.
- Throwing up in the pressbox bathroom in the Rogers Centre is NOT a good way to end a season. I found this out during Toronto’s last home game, and wound up at home in bed, sleeping off the flu before having to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Detroit.
- The tunnel between the visitor’s clubhouse and the dugout at Fenway Park is one of the scariest places on Earth. There are puddles in there that have existed since the 1920s.
- Bars in The Big Apple are open until 4 a.m. I learned this while visiting my old college roommate during the first trip to New York. It’s all well and good, that is until you’re out eating a slice of pizza at 4:30 in the morning and you have to cover a day game in a few hours.
- If you want to go see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, arrange for a cab to pick you up ahead of time. I waited by that stupid red bridge for over an hour before I could get the cab company to send a guy to pick me up. I got to Oakland just in time to do my pregame work
- When a homeless person in Atlanta offers to walk you to your hotel, say no. When he offers to protect you "from the other bums," say no with more emphasis. When he says he got beat up by other homeless people and wound up in a hospital, and has the hospital bracelet and a bottle of pills he in his hand as proof, start thinking about running. When he asks you for some money, tell him you only have Canadian cash. That’s when he’ll leave you alone. Atlanta homeless guys can’t use loonies.
- There are PF Chang’s Chinese restaurants in Denver, Tampa, Seattle, Boston, and Kansas City. And they are all just as spectacular in each city.
- Finally, I learned that it IS possible to wake up in Florida, grab lunch in Canada, and meet up with friends in Grand Rapids, Mich., all in the same day. That’s the life of a sportswriter who is asked to stand up in a wedding a day after covering a Blue Jays-Devil Rays game.
There are plenty more little tidbits I’m sure I could write, and many which I probably don’t remember at the moment, but might share some time later. For now, that’s all I’ve got.
Toronto finishes in second place, winds up with the most wins in a season since 1998, and heads into the offseason with playoff aspirations for 2007. If you thought expectations were high coming into this year, wait till next season. Tomorrow is the annual conference call with Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. I’ll be blogging more on here tomorrow.
GOOD IMAGE OF THE WEEK:
There was talk about a minor celebration that took place inside the visitor’s clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. The word is that Troy Glaus sat and watched the end of the Orioles-Red Sox game, and when Boston lost, he and some of Toronto’s trainers popped open a bottle of champagne to honor the Jays’ second-place finish. If that doesn’t show that placing second did mean something to Toronto’s players, I don’t know what else would.