Toronto Blue Jays

The Informer

Sports

9 Comments

Sports Gods: which Toronto pro athletes are truly worth their salaries?

Sports Gods: They’re paid a fortune. Who’s worth it, and who’s not

Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle, 35
Starting pitcher, southpaw

Paid: $19 million ($37,000 an hour)
Bang for Buck: He’s reliable and not injury-prone, but he’s in the twilight of his career and no R. A. Dickey.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Quoted

Comments

Bereaved Blue Jays fan: “It was a little awkward telling them I’d just dumped a dead guy on the field.”

“It was a little awkward telling them I’d just dumped a dead guy on the field.”

Rob Ouellette, the lifelong Blue Jays fan who scattered his stepbrother’s ashes at Rogers Centre during Friday’s game, telling the Sun how he dealt with “the whole terrorist thing” (meaning, the understandable consternation of police and game officials, who had no idea what the powdered substance was).

The Informer

Sports

8 Comments

“A grim ritual march to irrelevance”: what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, month by month

It may not feel like spring is on the way, but a definite sign of it is taking place in strange little corners of Florida and Arizona, where the teams of Major League Baseball have gathered to ready themselves for the upcoming season. The local nine begin their annual grim ritual march to mid-season irrelevance on March 31st in Tampa, and here we have all you need to know and watch for over the next eight glorious-ish months of Blue Jays baseball.

March and April
Optimism is in the air, even around a Jays team largely unchanged from last year’s 74-win, injury-filled disaster. Shapely veteran (round is a shape, right?) Dioner Navarro takes over for human strikeout J.P. Arencibia behind the plate. Would-have-been ace Josh Johnson’s spot has been turned over to a competition among younger, cheaper, and hopefully healthier pitchers from the club’s minor league system and its bullpen. Second baseman Ryan Goins, a defensive wizard who has struggled to hit in the minors, seems to have inexplicably been deemed good enough to be a big-league regular. Otherwise, the Jays are basically rolling with the status quo, plus crossed fingers for fewer health problems than they experienced last season. It could actually work, but fans are rightly confused by the team’s lack of visible improvement over the winter, after the Jays seemingly went “all in” the year before. None of this will stop the Friday-night home opener against the Yankees on April 4th from being the train wreck it always is, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

Roy Halladay is retiring—and as a Toronto Blue Jay, no less

Roy Halladay is a legend in Toronto. Over his 16 Major League seasons—11 of which were with the Blue Jays—the pitcher won two Cy Young Awards and was an eight-time All-Star. This morning, it was revealed that he’s hanging up his glove for good, at the age of 36. “Doc” Halladay was one of the best pitchers the Jays ever had, posting a 148-76 record and 3.43 ERA while in Toronto. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, but Blue Jays fans never lost their affection for him, cheering him even when he returned to pitch against Toronto.

And clearly, Halladay never lost his affection for Toronto. In a heartwarming move, he intends to sign a one-day contract with the Jays that will allow him to retire as a member of the ball club that he holds so dear.

The Informer

Features

17 Comments

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto: who really runs this city?

The 50 Most Influential People in Toronto 2013 You know you live in interesting times when the chief of police is the most powerful person in town. What propelled Chief Blair to the top of our Influentials list was Rob Ford’s Crackgate—a story that consumed the city for much of the last year and whose bewildering narrative is still being written. Of course, Ford wasn’t the only politician who behaved badly in 2013. Chronic dysfunction is evident at all levels of government, from the petty infighting at city hall to the crippling gamesmanship at Queen’s Park and the expense scandals on Parliament Hill. And yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some of the city’s most formidable leaders are outside the traditional halls of power: global hip-hop stars, tech titans, gossip bloggers and guitar-strumming astronauts, among others. The people ranked here all did something in 2013 that made an impact on our lives, for better or for worse. Our list demonstrates that sometimes influence is enduring, sometimes it’s fickle and sometimes it rests on a single cellphone video that could forever change the complexion of the city.

Start the slideshow »

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

1 Comment

VIDEO: Relive Joe Carter’s World Series-winning homer which was, unbelievably, 20 years ago this week

This has not been a good year for Toronto baseball. Not only did all the offseason hope and optimism fade almost immediately, but now the Boston Red Sox—the Blue Jays’ bearded, manager-poaching nemeses—are one game up in the 2013 World Series. But 20 years ago was a happier time. That’s when the Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies squared off in that immortal Game Six, when Henderson walked and Molitor singled and Joe Carter hit that Dome-shaking walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth. Watch the video above to relive that moment—complete with sportscaster Tom Cheek’s epic call. Because sometimes it just feels nice to remember the good times. We can worry about next year another day.

The Informer

Columns

2 Comments

Dear Urban Diplomat: Someone posted an embarrassing video of me on YouTube. Can I ask them to remove it?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Colonel Mustard

(Image: Screenshot/YouTube)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I wore my Boston Bruins jersey to a Jays game recently and some drunk guy threw a hot dog at me. I freaked out and said some things I regret. Unfortunately, the hot dog thrower recorded the incident and posted it on YouTube. I want to get in touch and ask him to remove it. Any tips on what to say?

—Colonel Mustard, Yonge and Eg

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

Comments

Back in the Game: Blue Jays slugger José Bautista’s high-stakes mission to stay on top

José Bautista silenced his critics and became baseball’s most powerful hitter. Now, after a potentially career-ending surgery, he must prove himself all over again

 José Bautista: Back in the Game

(Photo: Nigel Dickson)

It was July 16 of last year, a day game. More than 42,000 people in Yankee Stadium, and a few million sitting on couches at home, had watched Blue Jays slugger José Bautista swing at an inside fastball, just as he had thousands of times before. It had become his specialty, swinging at that pitch. Crushing it. And he’d done it again, whipping his bat around at an ungodly speed and slamming the ball far into the stands in left field. All eyes, at home and in the stadium, watched that ball sail long and foul. Then they turned back to the star at the plate, but he wasn’t there.

He was staggering toward his team’s dugout, toward people who could help him, holding his left forearm. He called out and sank toward the ground. At the end of his swing, he’d heard a popping crack in his flesh and felt a knife stab of pain. He thought he’d broken or dislocated his wrist.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Random Stuff

1 Comment

Toronto GIF Showdown: Rob Ford puking versus a crazed Blue Jays fan

Yesterday saw the birth of two new GIFs that are sure to take their places in the Toronto GIF Hall of Fame next to classics like Rob Ford playing football (he fell) and the Raptors’ mascot rollerblading (he also fell). First, Ford displayed his well-honed sense of mayoral decorum by pretending to puke in response to Metrolinx’s shortlist of proposed taxes and fees to pay for transit expansion:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

The Blue Jays—along with the rest of Toronto—are pumped for the season ahead

Pitcher R.A. Dickey tweeted this photo of his 1986 Little League team (Image: @RADickey43)

Toronto’s baseball fans and sportswriters engage in a ritual burst of optimism about the Blue Jays’ chances every April and, thanks to some mammoth off-season trades and the addition of charming knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the roster, this season is the most hotly anticipated in years. (According to bookmakers, the odds of the Jays winning the World Series are now about 10-1) Though at least one wise soul warned against getting caught up in the hype, the players—including Dickey, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Reyes—seem as excited as the rest of the city ahead of tonight’s sold-out home opener. Below, some of our favourite pre-game tweets from the men taking to the field tonight.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

3 Comments

Inside Pearson Airport’s ultra-luxe private hub for celebs, executives and well-to-dos

The Other Side of Pearson

Ever wonder why famous types are rarely spotted idling by the baggage carousel or in the customs line? At Pearson, three deluxe operators exist solely to convey the super-rich in and out of the city. We slipped past ­security long enough to find out how the 0.01 per cent flies.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

Comments

The Audit: bank bonuses, the Blue Jays’ payroll and the month’s other notable numbers

The Audit: February 2013
$0
Total increase for the 2013 Toronto Police Service budget, notably less than the $21.4 million Chief Blair requested.

$6
Monthly fee to read the Toronto Sun’s “premium articles,” a designation that includes the Sunshine Girl but not breaking news.

$77
Cost for a six-pack of Westvleteren XII, a rare beer previously sold only at the Belgian abbey where it’s brewed. At the Yonge Street and Queens Quay LCBO, all 120 cases sold out in four minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

15 Comments

50 Most Influential 2012: a ranking of Toronto’s top tycoons, backroom operators and supersize egos

50 Most Influential

The people driving the agenda for the city are more likely to come from outside local government than inside. This was the year our premier, rendered virtually impotent by a minority legislature, up and quit without warning. And our mayor, who listens to no one and refuses to build consensus on council, has created a city hall power vacuum.

What follows is Toronto Life’s list of the real influence peddlers—the people who, either publicly or behind the scenes, have had the greatest impact on the city. We looked for people whose power was broad enough to be felt across different sectors, or else so palpable in their immediate field that it somehow changed things for the rest of us. We looked for people whose ability to alter public opinion, raise money, rally troops or simply get stuff done was both formidable and undeniable. The result is a carefully calculated and highly opinionated look at power in the city in 2012.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Sports

Comments

Reason to Love Toronto: because the Argos finally gave local fans a hometown victory

(Image: Facebook)

Sports fandom in Toronto is tough. The last time the Blue Jays were World Series champs was two decades ago (though next season should be interesting); for the Maple Leafs, it’s been much, much longer since they took home the cup. Toronto FC had a dismal year, and the Raptors’ record is currently 3–11. Leave it to the Argonauts, the Toronto sports team with the lowest profile, to give the city a much-needed reason to celebrate. The Argos’ 35–22 triumph over the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup—in Toronto, no less—has loyal fans elated, Calgarians humbled and the ranks of local CFL watchers swelling (at least temporarily). Bring on the victory parade.

The Informer

Sports

2 Comments

Reason to Love Toronto: because the Blue Jays made a blockbuster trade

Toronto Blue Jays Trade

In a city whose sports scene has long been plagued with mediocrity, big, bold moves matter—not only to instantly improve a struggling team’s fortunes but also to let suffering fans know that somebody actually cares. That’s why we love Alex Anthopolous’s mega deal. On Tuesday night, the Toronto Blue Jays general manager made one of the biggest trades in the franchise history, a double-digit player super-swap that brings to Toronto, among others, starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, former Jay catcher (and fan favourite) John Buck and, the coup de grace, superstar shortstop Jose Reyes, all from the Miami Marlins. Anthopoulos always said he would spend big money when the timing was right, and now he’s made good on his promise. It’s the kind of deal upon which a manager stakes his entire career. If Reyes and co. deliver, Anthopolous will be celebrated around the city as a veritable wunderkind. If they don’t, his corporate overlords will surely cut the young GM’s tenure short. When he heard the news, Blue Jays all-star slugger Jose Bautista excitedly tweeted, “It’s a good day to be a bluejay!” At long last, it’s a good day to be a Toronto sports fan, too.