Welcome To North Sports!

North Sports is excited to welcome Mark and LaToya to the team! Mark is a proud country hick with the literary savvy of a true jaded urbanite. LaToya is a sharp witted Alberta gal with an insatiable love for her hometown Flames. As a Leaf fan, this makes me sick.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not Unbreakable: Dustin McGowan Placed on 60-Day DL

According to various sources, including the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin, the Toronto Blue Jays have placed pitcher Dustin McGowan on the 60-day DL.

For the much-maligned McGowan, this is a major blow to yet another comeback attempt. In fact, this could be the death knell for what was once a very promising career.

Drafted in the first round back in 2000, McGowan was a flamethrowing Georgia high school sensation with control issues. For his first few years in the minors, little changed.

However, the slow-developing prospect eventually turned the corner in 2007 after lighting up AAA with an 11.6 K/9 and then getting called up to replace an injured Gustavo Chacin.

McGowan took this opportunity and ran with it. He finished the year 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, including two complete games and a no-hitter that he took into the ninth inning against Colorado.

However, halfway through a slightly disappointing follow-up campaign, McGowan was lost for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Following a torn ACL in 2009 and then a torn rotator cuff not long after, a July 8th, 2008 no-decision against the visiting Baltimore Orioles would mark the last time Jays fan have seen him pitch in a major-league game.

UPDATE: Further reports have just been released by MLB.com that the Blue Jays have placed Dustin McGowan on the 60-day DL as part of his rehab, not because of a setback or any further injury. The club has made the decision to transition McGowan to a reliever full-time, as it's believed this will reduce stress on his repaired labrum.

"The thing that you run into there is, what is the fatigue level, once you get to 80 pitches and above?" [John] Farrell said. "Is that where more damage takes place? Because if that's the feeling—[and] that's the feeling of the medical staff—now, you're looking at a five-inning starting pitcher.

"That's why we have to bring him back in a role that doesn't have limitations, that doesn't affect everybody else on the staff."

Although this cloud apparently has a silver lining, we still may not see McGowan pitch for Toronto in 2011, if at all. There is still a long road ahead for this once future staff ace.

Nonetheless, Coach Farrell is cautiously optimistic:

"The most important thing for Dustin is that he's had no setbacks," Farrell said. "[There's been] no need for added rest on the program he has been on. It still has a chance to be a very good ending to a tough road that he has travelled, but [it takes] a quality person to answer those challenges.

"He has some hurdles yet to come, but if somebody is going to do it, it's someone with his resolve and intensity that will get there."

Good luck, kid. Blue Jay Nation is behind you.

Toronto Blue Jays Sign 17-Year-Old Dominican Outfielder Francisco Tejada

News broke that Alex Anthopoulos and the the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Dominican Outfielder Fransisco Tejada to a reported $150,000 bonus.

According to www.mlb.com:

"Tejada is a 6-foot-4 outfielder with an above-average arm, plus bat speed and the potential to develop into a power hitter. He also is considered a plus runner having run the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds."

As a former high school sprinter I can tell those of you uninitiated that a 6.5 60 is incredibly fast. I ran in the Toronto Indoor Track Finals for 60 metres and the best I could muster was a measly 7.4. Incidentally, that was a lifetime best.

Further reports state that until this signing, Toronto was the only team in Major League Baseball this season to have not inked a player from the Dominican Prospect League.

Regardless, with both this and the January signing of 16-year-old Dominican LHP Jairo Labour (also 6'4" with a 92 mph fastball) to a $350,000 bonus, its clear that Alex Anthopoulos is devoted to Latin American scouting. We haven't seen that depth of talent mining since the halcyon days of Pat Gillick when we signed teenagers like Tony Fernandez, Damaso Garcia, Alfredo Griffin and Carlos Delgado.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Kevin on a Slowey Boat to Toronto?

Various dubious sources, including mlbtraderumors.com, have reported the Minnesota Twins are actively looking to trade Kevin Slowey and that the Toronto Blue Jays are interested.

I have little comment on the motives the Twins may have for moving Slowey. However, I find the notion that Toronto is any way interested to be spurious at best.

The first through the third spots in the Blue Jays rotation are locked in with Ricky Romero, Brendan Morrow and Brett Cecil. With nothing left to prove in AAA, prize prospect Kyle Drabek is all but assured the fourth spot. The only rotation slot still up for grabs is the fifth with Jesse Litsch and Mark Rzepczynski the two lead horses.

So, where would Kevin Slowey fit? The top four are spots are spoken for so I fail to see the need for a $2.7 Million player to pitch out of the five hole. Particularly when you consider that the current incumbents, Litsch and Rzepczynski, make a combined $1.234 Million.

Now before you accuse me of being penny wise and dollar foolish lets dig in to the numbers.

Slowey has a showy (sorry) record with a career 39-21 mark. However, if you did further you'll find that this may be his only redeeming statistical quality.

Never having pitched more than 160 innings in any of his four seasons, Slowey, with his pedestrian 4.41 lifetime ERA, is hardly an inning muncher with a measly 5.2 innings per start average. Some may counter that with his admirable 1.5 BB/9 career rate. To that I'll offer you his very generous 10.0 H/9, middling 6.9 K/9 and ugly 1.4 HR/9 career numbers.

Now, how do those stats compare to Litsch and Rzepczynski?

Mark Rzepczynski is a bit wild with a career 4.4 BB/9. However, this is fairly standard for young power pitchers. Rzep counters this with a sterling 8.4 K/9 to go along with career numbers of 8.9 H/9 and 1.1 HR/9.

Although the sample size is smaller, Rzep shows a higher ceiling as he's already averaged similar ERA and IP numbers as those of Slowey with much more promising ancillary stats.

As for Jesse Litsch, his ERA and WHIP are also comparable to Slowey with the glaring difference that Litsch has proven he can go deep in to games with greater consistency: as his 176 inning 2008 season and 6.0 inning per start average show (he's been injured off and on since then).

I will admit that his low strikeout rate (4.5/9) is a tad disconcerting but he makes up for that with a low 9.5 H/9 and very nice 2.4 BB/9 career stat line.

Perhaps the most glaring stat line is the comparative GB/FB (ground ball/fly ball) and GO/AO (ground out/air out) rates of all three:

Slowey: 0.48 and 0.61

Litsch: 0.91 and 1.25

Rzepczynski: 1.08 and 1.84

I can't see any reasonable scenario where Toronto would want such a hittable pitcher considering the stadium and division in which they play. Slowey would be a disaster here and with his contract, an expensive one.

One last point to consider; none of these reports originated from any Toronto news sources. Just putting it out there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Twitter Hockey Fans: Your Trade “Sources” Also Live in Their Parents’ Basement

One of the main reasons I started using Twitter was to be in the loop for the most up-to-date hockey news. While it’s still good for that, it’s also good for a load of bullshit, now more than ever.

I didn’t realize that so many 400 pound hockey fans with cheetos-stained fingers had so many “inside sources” intricately involved in their respective favourite NHL teams.

“Well, according to Jarome Iginla’s wife’s sister’s cousin’s boyfriend’s best friend’s hairdresser’s tailor’s deceased grandmother’s uncle’s mistress’ illegitimate child, he is so going to Pittsburgh, and the Flames will be getting Malkin and 10 draft picks.”


The fact that people have discovered that trade rumours spread like wildfire on Twitter has been detrimental to our hockey world, and has also subsequently taken a substantial number of years off my life. You see, most people act like children, and the more attention that can be brought to them, the better.

We’re so willing to (rightly) write off Eklund with pretty much everything he says, but why not the joe-blow hockey blogger telling us that the Pens are seeking to move Crosby?

You see, we have to take a different approach to the hockey rumours we read on Twitter. Still not sure how? Lucky for all of you guys, I've made a chart:

Ultimately, I don’t give a shit that your hopes and dreams of playing in the NHL were shattered the moment you discovered you sucked at all positions. I do care, however, if you’re wasting my time by feeding me false information. I don’t want to fuel your hopes and dreams, I want to destroy them.

If you’re that bored, get a pet, or a blow-up doll. And stay in the basement.

About head shots

First off, is it "head shot" or "headshot?" I'm using the two word notation. Deal with it.

Not much more needs to be said in regards to the NHL, its officials, and the head shot issue.

Watching a game last night however, something struck me as very peculiar. It is a rule in the NHL, that if a player shoots the puck off the playing surface, its a delay of game penalty. The rule is simple. Black and white. Easy to enforce.

You never see an intermission panel discussing whether or not that call in the first period was a delay of game penalty. It either was or it wasn't.

And yet here we sit, night in, night out, discussing head shots and if THIS hit was a head shot, or if THAT hit was a head shot.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

You would think it'd be in the best interests of Colin Campbell and the league to protect their players (not only the stars), so it baffles me that there is a cut-and-dry delay of game call but on ice officials have no official recourse when it comes to a shot to the head. There is a murky, unclear rule now, but in the end, it is left up to the referee's discretion.

Seeing as how every NHL referee is rather incompetent, this is a terribly flawed system.

Make it simple. Make it black and white. Make it easy for the officials to look good.

Follow Mark on the Twitter: @roseyrocket

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The curious case of Vernon Wells

By now, its old news that Vernon Wells is no longer a Toronto Blue Jay.

Angels fans are left scratching their heads at a move that Jays faithful are praising, seeing as how the club somehow not only convinced Anaheim to take Wells and his ridiculous contract, but send two quality roster players in return.

There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said really.

It is interesting to ponder though, how different this Toronto exit is from previous pro athlete departures.

Vernon Wells, with a reasonable contract, would have been adored in Toronto. He was always a class act, both on and off the field. He never once complained about the team or demanded a trade out of the city, like so many pro athletes before him.

If you think about it, Wells was even more gracious in departing than Roy Halladay.

In Doc's case, there were murmurs he wouldn't mind being moved, and he actively showed his frustration with the Blue Jays progression during his final summer with the club.

That is not to say Halladay was a dick about the whole situation, and who can blame him when he did show signs of wanting out?

With Wells though, there is just a somewhat passive sense of caring, and it is all to blame on the ridiculous contract the J.P. Ricciardi gave him some years ago.

Burger King could hire me for $100 an hour and I could be a dependable, adequate employee there, but never in a million years, would I ever be able to live up to that wage. And that is where Vernon was in Toronto. To justify that contract, he had to put up MVP numbers, and we shortly learned that would not be possible.

Don't blame Wells. Why would he turn down what Ricciardi offered?

If you forget about the contract (hard to, I know), and just look at the numbers, Wells was arguably one of the best Blue Jays of all time. Whether that claim is justified or not, Jays fans will never see it that way.

Admittedly, I was never a fan of Wells, even before the contract. Was he a serviceable Major League centerfielder? Sure. I always saw the bad side of Vernon though, like I do with most things and most people. The world needs cynics. I would see Wells strolling through a game with an I-could-care-less attitude. I saw him killing rallies by swinging at first pitches all the time, always popping them up. But to give him the benefit of the doubt, with a contract that ludicrous, the negatives are all anyone is going to see.

When the Angles visit Toronto this summer and Wells returns to the Rogers Centre for the first time in a road uniform, he should be applauded. Let's remember that he is no Chris Bosh, no Vince Carter, no A.J. Burnett. Wells put in a good amount of time here, and yes, played some very good baseball as a Jay. Not to mention, he was a tremendous ambassador for the city and the team. People should remember that.

But in the end...

Thank god that contract is off the books.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear All Sports Fans: There Isn’t a Conspiracy Against Your Team

It’s inevitable. You’re going to hear it from every sports fan.

“Why does the league hate my team?”

While I’m mainly a hockey follower, I don’t doubt that this is a common statement from every fanbase of a professional sports league.

“Well maybe if the NBA wasn’t busy humping the Lakers every 2 seconds…”

“Nothing is going to be done about it, the league hates the Canucks”(side note: it’s not the league; it’s self-respecting hockey fans).

“Crosby is only raking in the points because the league wants him to be their poster boy and therefore ensures that he is given the best opportunities to score, especially against Philly.”

“Penalties always get called on the Flames, and we never get any opportunities.” Maybe we’re just selectively trying to forget how awful their power play is.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard people say these things before. Well, I may have altered them a bit into proper English. We all know many of these people aren’t intelligent enough to properly use “therefore” or “ensures.”

Fact: every sports league is inconsistent in their rulings, reffing, etc. Yes, it’s true that Gary Bettman seems relentlessly determined to prevent another hockey team from coming to Canada, but is he behind the delayed return of the Stanley Cup to here? I sincerely doubt it. And don’t get me wrong; I’m no Bettman fan.

This was most recently heard in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs while the Canucks were playing the Blackhawks. You see, their loss had nothing to do with the fact that Roberto Luongo nearly shit his pants anytime Dustin Byfuglien was within 20 feet of his crease. It did, however, have everything to do with the fact that Bettman didn’t want them to have the Cup. I guess that’s one way to excuse 40 years of mediocrity. Or you could just retire another number and again dedicate it to “the fans.”

Even more hilarious are the “rumours” surrounding Sidney Crosby’s relationship with the league. You see, he’s the poster boy. He’s the money-maker. He’s the man. The fact that he has been practicing hockey practically since he was in the womb is irrelevant; he’s clearly favoured. In every single game. Nothing to do with talent at all.

That’s why the league threw the book at David Steckel, right? Oh wait….

Lastly, and perhaps, most hilarious, involves the recent debacle surrounding Tom Kostopoulos and Brad Stuart. After watching the jaw-shattering hit on Stuart, there wasn’t doubt in anyone’s mind (anyone with a brain) that Kostopoulos was going to be suspended. After all, injury? Wham. On a Detroit player? Double whammy.

But because the league took longer than two minutes to determine Kostopoulos’ fate, the league was secretly sabotaging the Detroit Red Wings for being too good. Yes, the WINGS.

Actual quote from Wings fan: “I don't expect the league to look at this. If I am not mistaken, the player that got hit is wearing a Wings jersey.”


I mean, of all teams, the Wings are at the centre of a conspiracy? You mean the team that’s offered multiple power plays a game? The team that, for reasons unknown to others, is seemingly allowed to have every single player on the roster bark at the ref?

Yes, I am trying to drift away from the conspiracy theory crap, but the Wings most certainly get a lot of favourable calls. Not only this, but really Wings fans, what the hell do you have to complain about? It’s not enough that this team has practically dominated since drafting Steve Yzerman? Detroit has been a damn good team for so long that it’s unfair, and suddenly because the league doesn’t suspend every player that touches a Red Wing for 40 games, there’s a conspiracy against Detroit?


I hope they all felt like morons when the league announced a six-game suspension of Kostopoulos five seconds later.

So, all sports conspiracy theorists, listen here. Every team has been subjected to lopsided reffing and ruling. Some more than others, but that’s just the way it goes. In the NHL, you spin the wheel of justice and get what you get.

Instead of whining, just accept that your team sucks. Or that you suck. Or both.

Our hockey media: nauseating

TSN's Darren Dreger, a guy I normally like, er... don't hate... set off a firestorm last week when he reported the Pittsburgh Penguins let Sidney Crosby play with a concussion.

The Penguins claim Crosby suffered the injury on a hit by Victor Hedman in a game against the Lightning. Dr. Dreger and some guy from Sportsnet nobody has ever heard of say it happened one game earlier, on the David Steckel cheapshot (my words, not theirs) in the Winter Classic.

Some idiot who writes for Sun media chimed in with his own two cents about how the Penguins organization has to live with its decision.

The fact that these insiders/Neurosurgeons went as far as to even suggest the Pens let their FRANCHISE play with a concussion against Tampa is just a little bit on the ridiculous side. Do you really think the Penguins and their medical staff would put Crosby and their entire season at risk by doing something so foolish? The answer is no, you don't think that.

This is just the latest example of TSN trying to make something out of nothing, basically trying to create news where there is none, or at least none of severe stature.

I understand they have a job to do, but over the last couple of seasons the network has become sort of a hockey news whore. The sad thing is, TSN is still the best of the bunch when it comes to covering the game in Canada. Really though, look at their competition:

You have Sportsnet trying WAY too hard with their "business-casual" looking anchors. Actually I don't even know if their still doing that, I haven't watched Sportsnet since the FIRST time I saw Bill Watters in a blazer and blue jeans. By now, Sportsnet could have its on-air people wearing the black framed-Taylor Swift-nerdy-look at this f*&$ing hipster-glasses and skinny jeans.

Then you have The Score, who, when it comes to hockey, isn't even trying anymore. They are a basketball and MMA channel now, and that is about it. Besides classic wrestling, there is no reason to watch that network.

CBC has become almost unwatchable. Don Cherry continues his descent into senility to the point now where is quite evidently a bigot and racist (PK Subban isn't allowed to show confidence). The Satellite Hotstove used to be my favourite part of HNIC, but now its a weekly cock measuring contest between Mike Milbury, Pierre LeBrun and Glenn Healy. Jeff Marek is a dweeb and the biggest jock sniffer on television. PJ Stock and Kelly Hrudey are the only reasons I even consider not flipping channels during the intermissions.

So unless you have the NHL Network, which is just a TSN subsidiary anyway, you're left with uber geek James Duthie hosting another tired, played out panel discussing head shots for the 674th consecutive broadcast.

Too much of something good, even when that something is hockey, isn't always a good thing. Actually, it is terrible.

God: Creator of Worlds, Decider of Super Bowls

No wonder this planet is going to Hell, God is way too busy fixing the Grammy's and deciding who wins the Super Bowl to bother fighting the forces of Evil.

I'm looking at you David Caruso. If God was paying attention then clearly your inexplicable acting career would have ended after the release of Kiss of Death and before Jade.

Now we're left with this.

Satan 1—God 0

But I digress.

What happened to you God? You used to be cool.

Over 13 billion years ago (or 4000, but lets not split hairs), God created the Universe.

This vast entity comprises everything perceived to exist physically, the entirety of space and time, and all forms of matter and energy.

God did that. Even Bono would bow down to that guy.

But eventually being awesome just gets old.

Apparently bored with Dinosaurs, God made Man in His image, and soon thereafter he proceeded to get all up in our business.

When He wasn't destroying cities because of their penchant for kinky sex (Gen 16:24), he was killing dudes for pulling out (Gen 38:10).

My personal favorite: After being led around the desert for 40 years, a few people had the audacity to issue a complaint. So instead of explaining why the Land of Milk and Honey was so bloody tough to find, He did what He does best: He killed all 100 of them (Num 11:1). Whining is the Devil's work.


After killing 30,000,000 of us I guess He realized that we're a stubborn bunch. So 2000 or so years ago he sent us Jesus to deliver a much kindlier, gentler message.

Your basic spiritual Good Cop, Bad Cop.

However, if there's one thing present day Americans and first century Canaanites have in common, its their mutual hatred for peace and love hippies.

So we killed Him. We like our God angry, it seems.

Then for 2000 years nothing happened.

OK fine, we made a few sculptures and invented physics. But that's basically it.

Then a strange thing happened. As it became increasingly apparent that Man would never aspire to the lofty standards God had set for us (it seems we just can't stop killing each other or banging our neighbor's wife), we did the only thing we could.

We brought God down to our level.

No longer content with praying for good health and bountiful crops, we turned Him into a partisan sports fan with a Hip Hop fetish.

Once upon a time, God was the creator of the universe. Now he's producing Whitney Houston albums and running numbers for the Gambino Crime Family.

So America, when the next calamity hits (hurricane, oil spill, a second season of Jersey Shore), get off your knees and stop wasting the Lord's time with prayers imploring Him to decide the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Besides, we all know that God is a Dolphins fan anyways.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"And this game is tied!"

by Mark Rose
North Bay, Ontario (via Prince Edward County)

This isn't a Roberto Alomar Hall of Fame post.

Instead, its my re-telling of my favourite moment as a Blue Jays fan.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Somehow though, it was October 11, 1992. That is long enough ago that I'm not even going to figure out the exact amount of years that has passed since.

It was a sunny, but cool Sunday afternoon. Game four of the American League Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Athletics in Oakland. The Jays went into the game with a 2-1 series lead and had Jack Morris on the mound. Things looked good for a young, eager, awkwardly thin Jays fan.

Until the third inning.

The A's put up a five spot in the home half and added another run a couple innings later to take a 6-1 lead into the late innings and had it protected by one of the toughest closers in baseball history, Dennis Eckersley.

It was bleak until the top of the eighth inning, when Toronto finally started chipping away. As a kid, when your team is down five runs, you believe it to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome. The Jays got a run to make it 6-2 before that mustachioed son-of-a-bitch Eckersley came to the mound. Game over.

But wait...

Run scoring hits by John Olerud and then Candy Maldonado cut the lead to 6-4. Eckersely struck someone out to end the eighth inning Jays rally, and in doing so, lit a fire in me, and more importantly, the Toronto dugout. He yelled and taunted, pumped his fist towards the Jays like the regular jackass he is.

I was livid. Temper that I had (have), I got in trouble for swearing at the television. Two seconds later, my Dad swore at it.

Today, at 29, I would recognize and could see the moment coming. Back then however, at the ripe old age of eleven, there was no hope. The Jays were losing going into the ninth inning, and had to complete the comeback against Eckersley, back then the most hated athlete in my life.

Enter the top of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup.

Devon White, that graceful bastard, led off the top of the ninth with a single and ended up on third base before Ricky Henderson stopped making errors on the play.

The guy up next is THE guy you WANT up next. Whenever a clutch hit was needed, Roberto Alomar had an uncanny ability to deliver. I knew that at the time, but still had no idea what was coming. I was still expecting defeat, still dreading the failure that was about to go down.

I'll never forget the call of Dick Stockton on that early Sunday evening when Robbie lined a two-run, game tying shot over the right field fence, stunning the Oakland faithful, the Oakland dugout, and their cocky prick of a closer.

"And a drive hit to right field, Sierra going back, looking up...and this game is tied!"

6-6. The Jays eventually won 7-6, and I can't remember how they scored the winning run. Beyond this game of course, the rest is history.

This isn't a Roberto Alomar in the Hall of Fame post. He is undoubtedly one of, if not the best second baseman in baseball history. His place in Cooperstown was never a question of "if", but of "when."

Of all the sports moments I've watched on TV, be it the Penguins winning Stanley Cups, the Patriots winning Super Bowls, even Joe Carter's World Series winning tater a year later, the 1992 Alomar homerun, called by Stockton is still the most vivid to me. The Jays had been close to winning the pennant several times before,but when that homerun sailed over Ruben Sierra's head, I finally got the feeling that it just might be our year.

Its fitting that Alomar will be the first Hall of Famer inducted as a Blue Jay. Without him, the Jays never get over the hump and never give us fans the thrills of 1992 and 1993. He WAS the Toronto Blue Jays, and in a way, he still is.
Thanks for all the memories, Robbie, but specifically, this one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Free Agency Be Damned: A Look At The Toronto Blue Jays Coaching Staff

Thank Jebus for Proctor and Gamble, because Bounty paper towels did a great job cleaning my vomit off the floor after I read about the Carl Crawford signing.

The dude is now the highest paid outfielder in history and he's not once hit 20 home runs or knocked in 100 RBI's.

Meanwhile in Colorado, Carlos Gonzalez has an erection—but I digress.

I needed to step away from the insanity of free agency, so I decided to take a closer look at the re-vamped Blue Jays coaching staff. Since the beautiful (overly sentimental) departure of Cito Gaston, GM Alex Anthopolous has hired former Red Sox Pitching Coach John Farrell as his replacement.

I'll admit I knew little about Farrell before the interview process began. However, his pedigree with young arms like Bucholz, Papelbon and Lackey, not to mention endorsements from respected baseball people like "Un-named GM" really impressed me.

In the end, I was sold after watching the press conference where his hiring was announced. Relatively platitude free, Farrell seemed like an honest, straight shooting guy with the requisite savvy needed to relate to today's pampered athlete; he also appeared to have a nice blend of older brother aloofness and cool dad authority that seems to gel with young players.

The proof will be in the pudding, but he will nonetheless be a refreshing departure from the comatose managerial style of Cito Gaston.

Zombies eat brains; Cito ate my soul.

So without further ado, here is my humble examination of a few key (non-managerial) Blue Jay Coaching hires.

Don Wakamatsu - Bench Coach:

I'm not sure what was more alarming about this hire: The fact that Don was just fired by Seattle because the Mariners sucked, or because he doesn't look even remotely Japanese.

Either way, I needed to really dig into this.

Turns out Tokyo Don was a career minor league Catcher who built a reputation as a superb game caller. If only he could hit a lick, he may have played more than nine MLB games.

Why is this significant? Catchers are great observers of the game and as a bench coach, his perspective will be a nice counter balance to the pitcher Farrell.

Not to mention his ability to craft the finer points of J.P. Arrencibia's emerging talent.

Torey Lovullo - First Base Coach:

Lady-ish first name aside, I'm really excited by this hire. Lovullo actually interviewed for the Dodgers in 2006 and the Pirates in 2007, while he was the Manager of the AAA Buffalo Bison's (Cleveland).

Most recently, as the Manager of the Red Sox AAA affiliate Pawtucket team, Luvollo brings a wealth of experience for such a young guy, as he won't turn 46 until late July.

In short, Luvollo is a natural leader and his talents as a utility infielder and teacher offer insurance in case Brian Butterfield departs.

Pat Hentgen - Bullpen Coach:

Outside of a stint in the minors, this is a great place for a first crack at MLB coaching.

Know the line-up, know the hitters tendencies, work on the pitches and game-plan to get the one to three outs needed from the arms in the pen.

As I evaluate this hire, it's tough separating my insatiable love for Paddy Hentgen, the former Blue Jay and Cy Young winner, from Coach Hentgen, member of John Farrell's staff.

However, this move intrigues me.

I fully realize that there is an undercurrent of pandering nepatism involved here; be that as it may, Hentgen is no shrinking violet nor party hack.

On the contrary, Pat won a Cy Young due to balls and brains. He was never a lights out type like Halladay or Clemons, nor was he a sharp shooter like Maddux or Cliff Lee.

Rather, Hentgen was known as a pitcher who would throw strikes early, and then break your ankles with a 12-6 curve if you gave him the count.

It's this combination of courage, tenacity and craftiness that could provide a marvelous influence on Toronto's collection of talented young arms.

Conclusion: Homerism notwithstanding, this an exciting young managerial staff.

Adding this kind of fresh talent to a group that already includes Batting Coach Dwayne Murphy, Third Base Coach Brian Butterfield and Pitching Coach Bruce Walton further enhances an already strong posse of baseball minds.

In other news, the Yankees jack up their offer to Cliff Lee.

Where are those paper towels?