Dear Lakers…

Please don’t draft Lonzo Ball.

Thirteen years ago, Eli Manning famously declared he would not play for the San Diego Chargers who held the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and wanted to take the Ole Miss quarterback as heir apparent to Drew Brees.

Manning’s father Archie, himself a former NFL quarterback, chimed in that his son would be a perfect fit for the New York Giants, who were looking for their own franchise quarterback that April.

San Diego ignored the Manning’s request and took Eli first overall. So began draft day drama.

Manning was traded later that night to the Giants for quarterback Philip Rivers (who the Giants took fourth overall), a third round pick in the same draft (kicker Nate Kaeding) and a first rounder (linebacker Shawne Merriman) and fifth rounder (which was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for offensive lineman Roman Oben) in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Thirteen years later we have come full circle, and it’s become ten times worse.

Lonzo Ball is without a doubt a very talented basketball star. But whichever team takes him tonight will also be asked to carry the baggage that is his father LaVar.

Lonzo only scheduled one workout (with the Lakers) and his father stated his son, “would only play for the Lakers,” before  quickly walking back those comments.

He talked up his son’s Big Baller shoe line, and said the cost of a pair of ZO2’s was $495, and that the shoe, “means something.”

It means LaVar Ball’s out of his mind.

Like it or not, the grestest player in the NBA right now is LeBron James; and the most expensive pair of his Nike shoes retail for only $220.

So the fact LaVar Ball thinks his son’s shoes are worth twice and more of a pair of LeBron’s goes to show why the Lakers need to pass on his son. 

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off two of their worst seasons in franchise history. They just traded away their first round pick from two years ago in D’Angelo Russell. This team is trying to find itself and get back to the championsip Lakers tradition that doesn’t have them finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Adding the headache of Lonzo Ball and his father will only keep the team where it is for the foreseeable future. Remember how I told you all a week ago the Cavs lost in the NBA Finals this year because one man does not a championship team make.

You can be sure Lonzo and LaVar will be out for two people, themselves.

Not the Los Angeles Lakers, and certainly not their fans.

Most people don’t know this, but LaVar Ball was a washout NFL player who never made the sidelines of a regular season game. He was also a washout college basketball player at Washington State who transferred his senior season to Cal State-Los Angeles. 

He’s said his son is better than LeBron (4x MVP), Steph Curry (2x reigning MVP) and Russell Westbrook. He mouthed off that he would have taken out Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one in his college days. 

He’s garnered criticism ranging from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to NBA Hall of Famers, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.

When asked about the cost of the ZO2, LaVar Ball said, “If you can’t afford a pair of ZO2’s, you’re not a Big Baller!” – referencing the line that makes the shoes.

Having lived in Los Angeles for the last ten months, I can tell you there are a lot of people in the city Mr. Ball wants his son to play in who can’t afford his son’s shoes. Los Angeles County alone is home to over 250,000 homeless, a jump of 23% in the last two years.

Walking from my apartment up South Figueroa Street on my way to Staples Center, I would pass upwards of a dozen or more homeless Angelinos walking down the street with shopping carts full of tin cans and bottles, or camped under the 110 overpass, unsure of where their next meal would come from.

Over 60,000 of those homeless Angelinos are children.

Athletes like Lonzo Ball are supposed to inspire hope in children that while they may be homeless today, eventually their future can be brighter and someone out there cares about them. Instead, the Ball’s seem more interested in shaming anyone who can’t afford their ridiculous shoe cost.

Honestly the fault for all this lies primarily with LaVar Ball, who is acting as a helicopter parent trying to make up for his lost dreams by living vicariously through his superstar son. Because he failed to crack the pros in his “heyday,” LaVar Ball id treating his son’s forthcoming career like its his own. An entitlement to a dream lost decades ago. However, this is Lonzo’s dream, not LaVar’s.

So tonight, do me a favor Lakers, and don’t draft Lonzo Ball. I know it will be hard, but trust me, you will be better for it in the years to come.

One man does not a championship team make

Good morning, and congratulations to the Golden State Warriors on their second NBA title in three seasons, after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. 129-120.

As was the case when I discussed the Baseball Hall of Fame class in January, this article, sadly, is not about the Warriors.

Let’s be honest, Cleveland got its backside whooped in this series.

The Warriors learned first from their own failures in last year’s NBA Finals, when they were up 3-1 on the Cavs before an epic collapse, then from the Indians imitation against the Cubs in last Fall’s World Series and finally the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 lead in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, to get the job done before momentum shifts.

Both teams had an incredible season. The Warriors finished the playoffs 16-1 after a 67-15 record in the regular season.

The Cavs, left for dead midway through the season during a rough patch where pundits and writers jumped ship to the Raptors, Celtics and Wizards, turned it around when they had to, and dispatched the Pacers and Raptors 4-0 each, before eliminating the Celtics 4-1 on the way to their third straight NBA Finals.

Again this article is not about them.

Would Cleveland have made the playoffs had LeBron stayed in Miami, gone to New York or wherever, instead of returning home?

Maybe they would have, or maybe they would have continued their fall as as the case in the wake of his initial (he’s going to leave again…) exit from Cleveland.

Regardless, LeBron James is the greatest player in the NBA right now. You know it, I know it. Everyone except for Lamar Ball probably knows it, including his son.

But one man does not a championship team make.

This offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays said goodbye to a fixture in their lineup over the last decade, Edwin Encarnacion.

Encarnacion, who departed for a three year deal (with a fourth year club option) with the Cleveland Indians in January, left many Jays fans feeling abandoned and that their team would implode. 

Granted, the Jays have been cellar dwellers for the entirety of the 2017 season (the team can move into fourth place in the AL East with a win over Tampa Bay and a Baltimore loss tonight), but that isn’t Encarnacion’s fault. 

Jays fans made similar excuses in 2015 following their loss to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS.

One man does not a championship team make.

Think about how important Jays fans considered someone who didn’t give them a championship.

Along with Jose Bautista, who re-signed with the club following a fruitless search for the 100 million dollar deal he sought only two seasons ago, Encarnacion was the face of the franchise, which led fan to compare him to Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold after he defected to an Indians team that dashed their World Series aspirations in October.

But how important was he?

After all, the Royals and Indians managed to dispatch the Blue Jays handly in the last two ALCS’ without him being on their roster.

Like LeBron, Toronto fans placed way too much value on Encarnacion, something Jays management was unwilling to do. 

They offered him a 4 yr./80 million dollar deal, he said no, they moved on and signed Kendrys Morales.

So while Cleveland fans may have believed the greatest player in the NBA would deliver them another championship, one man does not a championship team make.

LeBron averaged a triple-double in this year’s NBA Finals, something no other player in league history has done.

And yet, it was the Warriors who hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy last night.

One man, does not a championship team make.

Enough with the rankings already

2017 marks 40 years since the Toronto Blue Jays made their Major League debut on a cold and snowy April afternoon at Exhibition Stadium.

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Zamboni clearing snow off the field at Exhibition Stadium – April 7, 1977

A lot has changed since then.

The Jays now play 2.3 miles (I don’t speak kilometers sorry — pronounced: sorree) up Lake Shore Boulevard at the retractable roof covered Rogers Centre in the heart of downtown Toronto (pronounced Torono). Exhibition Stadium was torn down in 1999 and the site is now the location of BMO Field — home to the Toronto Argonauts.

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Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) home to the Toronto Blue Jays since June 1989

So where am I getting at with all of this, and why did I just give you a brief history of Toronto sports?

The latter can be answered simply by saying Toronto is one of the greatest sports towns in North America.

The former question comes from an article posted this week on Sportsnet; Canada’s largest sports network conglomerate. They asked Canadians, and to a lesser extent, Americans like me, to rank the 40 greatest Blue Jays of all time.

Roy Halladay number one, easy.

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Roy Halladay pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre

He was my favorite player growing up and why I’m a diehard Jays fan.

To me the remainder of the list was arbitrary.

But it got me thinking; what is with rankings in sports?

After all, aren’t they arbitrary as well?

I mean, how do you say Halladay was better than Roberto Alomar, Dave Steib or George Bell?

Half of those four are pitchers and the other half position players.

So trying to compare them is like apples and oranges.

Every February, CBS and FOX rank the greatest Super Bowls of all time.

Again, arbitrary.

To me, the greatest Super Bowl of all time (Super Bowl XXII — Redskins 42, Broncos 10). But that answer is going to be different than the one you would hear from a 49ers or Cowboys or Dolphins fan.

President Ronald Reagan throwing a pass to Redskins receiver Ricky Sanders during the team’s visit to the White House

Side note: Unless you’re a Falcons fan, it’s pretty hard to argue last year’s Super Bowl was not the greatest of all time from a strictly non-partisan viewpoint.

SportsCenter has made arbitrary rankings a thing with their nightly Top 10 highlight reel.

The point of all this is as sports fans we’re always going to disagree on everything from which beer tastes best before kickoff (Coors Light) to what jersey we should wear to the game (none because if I do the Redskins will lose…).

It’s up to sportswriters to recognize their arbitrary lists aren’t showing us anything other than the fact they have WAY too much time on their hands!

 

Take it from me: NFL prospect edition

Two months ago, we profiled Florida high school defensive end Donovan Winter, who was arrested two days prior to National Signing Day for stealing his girlfriend’s father’s gun from the family’s garage. Winter is a prime example of what not to do for high school athletes.

But what about collegiate stars?

Tonight’s NFL Draft in Philadelphia (8 p.m. on NFL Network and ESPN) marks the equivalent transition for these young men who are about to leave college, instead of enter it.

And yet, even with three to four years of coaching and education at some of the finest institutions this country has to offer, young men still make the same mistakes that are inexcusable of high school athletes. 

Three cases come to mind in this year’s draft alone, that will likely cost each man millions of dollars, and they are not alone. 

Last year, DURING THE DRAFT, a video surfaced on Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil’s Twitter page of him smoking pot with a gas mask on. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was beside himself and called the video, “stupid and inexcusable.” 

Tunsil, once in consideration for the number one overall pick, fell to the Miami Dolphins at pick 13; a difference of $15 million dollars.

This year the spotlight is squarely on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

Take it from me, from the moment you play your final game in college, to the weekend of the NFL Draft, don’t talk, don’t go anywhere, don’t do anything outside of school, the NFL Combine and your college pro day.

I am talking total blackout. No friends, no parties, no booze, no women, and most important NO SOCIAL MEDIA. Shut your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, whatever you have, off.

I’m not kidding. Your life should become “yes sir” “no sir” “yes ma’am” “no ma’am” for those five months.

Reuben Foster was a consistent top ten pick amongst scouts at the end of the season. 

He was one of the SEC’s most feared linebackers on Nick Saban’s pro-style defense.

Then Reuben went to the NFL Combine.

While getting physical work done in Indianapolis, he became combattive towards a female nurse trying to do her job and was immediately sent home; his draft stock has been in limbo ever since, with people wondering if his character concerns outweigh his immense potential on the field.

Joe Mixon. 

The name alone is enough.

In July 2014, Mixon got into an argument with a woman at a bar on campus in Norman and was caught on tape assaulting her, in an ode to the infamous Ray Rice elevator tape. Mixon was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. 

But the damage had been done. Mixon missed the 2014 season, and now NFL teams must decide if they want to deal with the PR nightmare that would come with drafting him.

Talent wise, Joe Mixon is an incredible back and NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks has him going in the first round to Green Bay in his latest mock draft.

But talent isn’t enough, in an era where the NFL is trying it’s best to combat a culture problem of domestic violence amongst players in it’s ranks.

The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins have already said Mixon is not apart of their draft plans, and they will not consider him at any point this weekend. After facing the same scenario in 2013 with Ray Rice, and the backlash the organization faced in Baltimore, it’s safe to assume the Ravens are likely to join them, even if they don’t say so publicy.

Gareon Conley presents the most interesting case of the three.

Over the weekend, a woman accused Conley of raping her at a hotel in Cleveland earlier this month after she claims he attempted to force her into group sex with him and two of his friends. The unidentified woman went to the hospital, and was given a rape kit, but refused to talk to police. 

Conley insists upon his innocence, and claims the woman was kicked out from his party. But he was still in a situation he never should have been in in the first place (see above rules).

Meanwhile, NFL scouts and investigators are in panic mode trying to verify the claims made against him and determine if he is worth having on their draft boards.

Conley was once seen as a potential top 15 pick, and now his future is in doubt.

Whether the claim is true or not, Gareon Conley won’t be attending the Draft after being disinvited.

Each of these young men provide a lesson as to what not to do when you’re auditioning for a job in the NFL. 

So those of you preparing for your final season of college football this summer, take note of Tunsil, Mixon, Conley and Foster and realize how not to make the same mistakes they did. 

Because in the end, it will cost you…millions.

There’s nothing wrong with baseball

Sitting in the press box at Angel Stadium on Sunday I realized something. There’s nothing wrong with baseball.

In fact, it’s the purest of the four major sports in North America.

Increasingly baseball has come under scrutiny for taking too long, and losing appeal amongst younger generations of fans.

A mound visit clock was introduced at the beginning of last season, limiting pitcher and catcher interactions to 30 seconds, before the umpire breaks up the party.

Commissioner Rob Manfred, only on the job in his third season, hoped to have a pitch clock installed by the start of this season, but alas, it will have to wait until 2018 at the earliest.

Much has been made surrounding the appeal of baseball to younger generations, including myself.

However, trying to fast forward the game of baseball to appeal to a portion of the population whose attention span is scientifically documented as less than a goldfish, would do the game a disservice.

One of my favorite Alanism’s is with age comes understanding and patience. Baseball has always appealed to older generations more than younger, but as these young men and women mature, they grow into the next generation of fans. 

Case in point, my Aunt Suzanne. Growing up she never cared for baseball, now she’ll attend games with my uncle or with friends from work when she gets the chance.

That’s not to say younger fans don’t exist. Just this weekend, was the first of many Little League parade days at Angel Stadium. Some 8,000 baseball fans under 13 marched around a field they someday hope to play on.

Back to the purity of baseball for a moment.

There is no experience in sports fandom on par with entering a major league ballpark. 

Back in Baltimore, you walk past recently erected bronze statues of Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., and Jim Palmer, before filing through the turnstyles, and looking up at the giant scoreboard in centerfield, as well as the B&O Warehouse. The smells of pit beef and Roma sausage grilling at Boog’s BBQ fill the summer air in Baltimore. And then, after picking up a Natty Boh and maybe a program, you’re standing on the flag court looking down on the stadium that changed how all others have been built.

I know some of you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the dark cloud ready to rain on baseball’s parade at any moment: steroids. 

Name me one sport they don’t present a problem for and I’ll take it into consideration. Baseball has turned a corner on the steroid era in it’s history, as new generations of players look to cement a legacy of playing the game clean.

I’ll be the first to admit 1-0 games are kind of a drag, as was the case until the 8th inning Sunday in Anaheim. But when you realize the mastery of two pitchers matching each other pitch for pitch, the game’s appeal expands. 

Especially when you consider Jays starter, Marcus Stroman, threw a complete game against a potent Angels lineup in just 97 pitches. 

In a previous column, I wrote how baseball season should be shortened by almost fifty games. While I stand by the argument, there is a reason we can tolerate 162 baseball games and nothing close in other leagues.

Like tonight’s NFL Draft that takes up a portion of the football offseason, baseball carries us through summer. By the middle of June we’re left with baseball, tennis and golf. Imagine a summer without baseball. Go on…let that sink in.

No Father’s Day at the ballpark, no Fourth of July uniforms and fireworks, no late August end of summer hurrah before returning to school.

It’s unfathomable.

Somehow we can handle no football from the first Sunday in February to the second Sunday in September, but there is no way we could live through a summer without baseball. 

If you think baseball need’s fixing, I recommend going to a game. Don’t go to go, go to experience.

Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the park. 

The crack of the bat, the music on the sound system specifically chosen for that team (Thank God I’m a Country Boy still gives me chills in Baltimore), the sound of the beer man cracking open another cold one. 

Open your eyes, and see the fresh cut grass and pristine dirt field with pure white bases. 

Smell the grills cranking out enough hot dogs, to literally circle the globe. 

Regardless of who wins or loses just enjoy the experience, because it’s the purest one you will find in sports.

And trust me, once you relax and let baseball take hold of you, it will open your mind.

The Cubs had a choice, the Patriots didn’t

Shortly before leaving office, President Obama hosted the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs at the White House.

Precedent dictated the team would visit Washington later in the summer, as the Kansas City Royals did last July. The trip most likely would have occurred when the Cubs played the Nationals in late June, or even more likely, following the All-Star break before their series in Baltimore against the Orioles.

But they chose to come early, visiting the nation’s capital in the waning days of the Obama presidency.

Now whether this was politically motivated, a matter of convenience — so as not to distract the team during the season or the fact a team from Chicago which hadn’t won the World Series since 1908, coincidentally won with a president from Chicago in the White House, we’ll never know.

During the Cubs visit, the White House East Room was full of Cubs fans in the administration decked out in everything from an Ernie Banks pinstripe jersey, to a blue and red Cubs yarmulke.

The Cubs in attendance laughed while President Obama made jokes about GM Theo Epstein turning around his beloved Democratic Party following last November’s election shellacking at the hands of the Republicans.

It was personal, as the president told a heartwarming story of a little girl with an Afro, growing up on Chicago’s North Side, watching her beloved Cubs, wearing the iconic blue cap with a little red C on it.

That girl went on to become his wife, one of the most glamorous and impactful first ladies in this country’s history.

Today’s ceremony honoring the New England Patriots fifth Super Bowl title was a complete 180 from that event.

Held on the South Lawn instead of the East Room, President Trump spoke for only six minutes before handing the podium over to Patriots owner Bob Kraft and head coach Bill Bellichick.

Surrounded by players to his aft, a Patriots helmet on a table to his right and five glistening Lombardi Trophies to his left, the president began to speak.

As with any speech he has given, dating back to the campaign, the president regurgitated facts written for him on a sheet of paper, often just naming players and, “…how great they [were].”

However, the president failed to recognize wide receiver Danny Amendola wasn’t present and after talking about his performance in the game said, “where’s Danny, way to go Danny.”

Even though this day was about honoring the Patriots, and their accomplishment, and let’s face it, whether you love New England or not, coming back from 28-3 in the third quarter is an accomplishment, President Trump managed to make the event all about him.

He spoke about how great his election victory was, again. And the most personal note the president offered wasn’t on par with Barack Obama’s story about Michelle, it was about Bill Belichick sending him a note, “…that helped him win big in a primary.”

This visit was fraught with controversy as six players said in the days following the Super Bowl, they would not attend the ceremony over personal disagreements with Trump.

The Boston Globe’s Rachel Bowers reports only 34 members of the team officially showed up to the event, marking one of the smallest visits by a championship NFL team in recent memory.

Granted, these are the New England Patriots and many players had visited the White House following the team’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks two years prior.

But the White House trip that comes with winning the Super Bowl, has become so polarizing with Democrats skipping under Republican administrations, and vice versa.

Quarterback Tom Brady did not attend the event, citing family issues, according to The Boston Globe. But when you’re golfing buddies with the POTUS, does it matter if there were, or he didn’t want the press or he simply had better things to do?

Because the Patriots won the Super Bowl following the inauguration of Donald Trump, they had no option as to who would greet them upon their arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And while a visit to the White House is normally a cherished honor by players, the new administration will likely deal with more players in other leagues deciding whether or not they feel up to being honored by a man they personally despise.

What’s going to happen following the Stanley Cup or NBA playoffs?

President Trump spent most of the campaign criticizing immigrants.

Only 20% of players in the NHL were born in the United States, according to USA Today.

Trump committed numerous faux pas’ against the African American community, notably forgetting Frederick Douglass has been dead for 122 years.

The NBA is over 80% African American, according to a 2014 Harvard study.

Chances are these athletes will likely take the high road and still attend, but it will certainly be interesting to see what happens.

Dear Blue Jays, I’m done fishing…

I love The Big Bang Theory, and my favorite character on the show is Sheldon’s mother, Mary Cooper.

On the fourth episode of the series, “The Luminous Fish Effect,” Mary Cooper grows tired of Sheldon cowering in his room, simply because he doesn’t get along with his boss and tells her son, “I’m done fishing.”

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Eight games into the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays season, I’m done fishing…

This is a team that’s been to back to back American League Championship Series.

Minus Edwin Encarnacion (Cleveland) and Michael Saunders (Philadelphia), the Jays return their starting lineup from 2016, along with one of the best rotations in baseball.

And for some reason, the offense is what you’d expect from a Little Leaguer facing Clayton Kershaw.

Never mind the fact Toronto was just swept, AT HOME, by the MILWAUKEE BREWERS…

…A team so young and inexperienced, if I challenged you to name a single player, other than Ryan Braun, in their Opening Day lineup — odds are you’d fail.

Tonight was a perfect example of the offensive impotence plaguing the Blue Jays.

Marcus Stroman dazzled yet again, exceeding the pitching performance that earned him MVP honors during the World Baseball Classic, less than a month ago.

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Marcus Stroman wins the World Baseball Classic MVP award. // March 22, 2017

And yet, a Jays team equipped with plenty of All-Star bats, could not score him a single run.

If the sound techs at Rogers Centre played the famous “Charge!” bugle call tonight, it’s obvious; the cavalry ain’t coming, and the Jays are still losing.

It doesn’t get any easier from here, with the rival Baltimore Orioles making the trek north of the border to begin a four game series in Toronto on Thursday night.

Division leading Baltimore just split a short two game set with the Red Sox in Boston, hammering five home runs in a 12-5 rout at Fenway Park on Wednesday evening.

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Outfielder Trey Mancini (16), hit two of the Orioles five home runs. // April 12, 2017

The Red Sox follow the Orioles on the Blue Jays schedule beginning Tuesday.

So if Toronto can’t handle the Brewers, how much trouble will they be in this time next week when they begin a grueling seven game road trip that takes them to Anaheim and St. Louis?

This is not shaping up to be a pretty month for these Blue Jays.

And in the past, April hasn’t been kind to the Jays.

But previous squads managed to tread water and finish near .500 for the month. At this rate, Toronto will be lucky to leave April with five wins.

“But Matt, they’re not losing by much!”

I’d respond with, “much can make all the difference.”

Two weeks ago, USC and Olympic swimming legend, John Naber, dropped by campus to discuss his swimming career.

During the presentation, I noticed he competed at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal with a mustache.

When the same John Naber competed for USC, he was clean shaven.

I asked why.

“Because I felt confident enough I’d win a gold medal with the mustache. When I competed for USC, every second mattered to our team’s success, so I shaved.”

If a world class swimmer understands the concept of margins, why can’t a billion dollar baseball franchise?

If Ryan Goins is not picking up hits, stop sending him out there every night to strike out.

Start Darwin Barney instead.

What’s really hard to believe is, a team that hit 221 home runs in 2016 (1.36 per game), has hit exactly four through eight games. The San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner hit two on Opening Day, and he’s a pitcher.

The Blue Jays are honestly in this predicament because of self inflicted wounds.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

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The Blue Jays knew in the offseason their bullpen was a major liability. It was last year as well, and partly why they finished as a Wild Card, and Boston took their division crown.

Did they do anything to improve it?

Not unless you count letting one of your best relievers walk, and trying to patch things together.

Also, how much longer is this team going to continue with the Aaron Loup experiment?

We’ve seen the results, they’re not good.

I don’t fault them for Encarnacion. They offered him more money and years, and he still walked.

I do fault GM Ross Atkins and President Mark Shapiro for abandoning the plan they outlined at the beginning of last season: get younger, get faster, diversify.

Instead, they signed Kendrys Morales, who represents more of the same “home run or bust” mentality the Jays are stuck in, and that has let them down in back to back ALCS’.

Toronto hasn’t gotten younger or faster, and continues to trot out the oldest lineup in baseball on a nightly basis.

EVEN THEN…the Blue Jays should still be able to win ballgames, or at least score more runs.

Troy Tulowitzki is still the best shortstop in the American League, Josh Donaldson is the second best (Manny Machado) third baseman — when healthy, and Jose Bautista proved during Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic he still has the power that made him the famous “Joey Bats.”

We’re eight games into a 162 game season, so is there time to turn things around?

Absolutely, but that will require this team pull themselves up and hit.

Stroman and the rest of the pitching staff cannot go out there and win without the offense clicking.

Injuries plague every team, so I don’t want to hear “Donaldson and Travis are hurt” or “Sanchez has a blister.”

AGAIN, we’re eight games in…

If the Jays start wasting away in April, this is going to be an incredibly long season for fans in the 6IX.