Just had some odds and ends sitting around that didn’t maybe merit a post on their own, but are still noteworthy……
For a top ranked young pitching prospect, the MLB draft has always presented a dilemma for the guys just shy of the upper tier of talent. Namely, sign a pro contact, or go to college at the end of their high school days? Conventional wisdom has always said one thing, but Kyle Glaser of Baseball America points out like so many other aspects of time-tested wisdom in baseball, that notion has been turned on its head somewhat.
Get to know one of the newest Blue Jays, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, in this profile from Milb.com. SWR threw five innings of one-hit, shutout baseball yesterday for the D-Jays.
Congratulations to fellow blogger Niall O’Donohoe on his latest gig. Niall has a front row view of the Vancouver Canadians, and runs the excellent csplusbaseball.ca site. His view has become even better, because he’s the Cs public address announcer this season. He filled in for the regular PA guy a number of times last year, and was offered the job on a full-time basis this year. He’s thrilled to be doing it:
I really miss taking photos but I couldn’t turn down that job. My better half Kristy said I would regret it if I did and I’m absolutely loving it. Just wish the team were better but it’s been fun. I’m really lucky. Filling in the big shoes of (former PA guy) Don (Andrews) is daunting but so far the team hasn’t fired me yet and I’d love to do it for as long as they’ll have me. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride while I can. I loved Murray Eldon and that’s who I try to emulate. I reached out to Tim Langton and he gave me some good advice too. It’s been a lot of fun. I feel very lucky.
Much has been written and said about Blue Jays President/CEO Mark Shapiro of late, much of it (on social media, at least) not very complimentary. I beg to differ.
I can’t say we’re close friends, but he’s been very accommodating to this blogger. He’s been quite frank in our discussions and email exchanges, and I appreciate that. When I first met with him in his office in the fall of 2018, you could tell he was chafing a bit under the go-slow approach of his superiors at Rogers. He was hired, quite simply, to rebuild both the team and its stadium, and up to that point, Rogers had put him on hold.
Moving to a new country was difficult, at first, for both Shapiro and his family, but they made the transition. He freely admits that he has no hobbies outside of baseball, so his family is of huge importance to him. He also admitted in his first interview that he was glad they made the move north to get away from the toxic political climate down south – he recently became a Canadian citizen, which I think speaks volumes about him.
In press conferences and in radio/tv interviews, he does come across as corporate-sounding, which is a sharp contrast to the folksy Alex Anthopoulos. That might be due to his self-assuredness, which is incredibly high. Shapiro has a very successful track record, and he knows it.
I can’t help but think the fact that some of the public thinks he’s a dick because of his portrayal in the movie version of Moneyball by noted dick-portraying actor Reed Diamond. In private, Shapiro is anything but a dick. He is punctual, as befits a busy executive. If he says he’ll call you at 11, it won’t be at 10:59 or 11:01. And if you have twenty minutes of his time, you won’t get 21.
This is one I’ve been meaning to post for a while…..Jackson Rees has had a dominant season at two levels. The undrafted free agent has fanned 80 hitters in 53 innings split between Lansing and Dunedin, and has given up but a dozen walks. His combination of mid-90s velo and an absolutely wipeout slider that has to be seen in person in order to be truly appreciated has put him in the conversation as a one-day MLB bullpen arm. Now, low level relievers are a dime a dozen, but what Rees has done this summer truly is worth noting. Lansing broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler posted an excellent interview (as all of Jesse’s interviews are) with Rees earlier this season, and his unconventional path to pro ball is interesting.
And a late addition…..Callum of mop up duty journeyed to Florida last week, and submitted an excellent report on SWR: http://mopupduty.com/