Thursday, April 5, 2012

We Undefeated

How can anyone adequately articulate the whirlwind -- nay, the tornado -- of emotion that was Opening Day?

I’ll be the first to admit that any attempt would prove futile.

From Ricky Romero’s deplorable second inning to J.P Arencibia’s decisive, 16th-inning homerun, from Chris Perez’s remarkable 9th-inning implosion to Luis Perez’s four masterful innings of relief, the experience -- which spanned more than five hours -- was simply too emotionally jarring, too incomprehensibly transcendent to describe with the tools at my disposal.

And yet, in a way, I’m tempted to succumb to the notion that the indefatigable resilience that the Blue Jays demonstrated for 16 consecutive innings today is, to some extent, a brilliant --albeit extreme -- representation of the character this team possesses.

Allow me to demonstrate:

  • After a disastrous, 43-pitch, four-run second inning, Ricky Romero buckled down and didn’t surrender a hit for the rest of the day. But perhaps more importantly, Romero sublimated the impulse to implode emotionally and demonstratively. As Buck Martinez alluded to, this newfound maturity will be an integral component in his role as team ace.

  • Despite looking utterly helpless in his first three plate appearance, Kelly Johnson seriously manned-up in his fourth at-bat, ripping a single to centrefield off Chris Perez. He would come around to score in what would prove to be a three-run, game-tying, ninth-inning rally of epic proportions.

  • The Bullpen. Need I say more? Eleven innings. No runs. Just balls. By which I mean cojones, not, you know, errant pitches. Maybe Alex Anthopoulos was on to something when he went out and invested all that money to fortify the team’s relief corps.

  • Yes, Colby Rasmus went 0/7 today, but he did manage to sting two balls -- including an opposite-field shot that fell just shy of the warning track -- and made an absolutely sensational grab in centre-field.

  • Jose Bautista.
That being said, today's marathon was also fraught with exasperation.

For instance, Eric Thames misjudged at least two balls in left field -- one of which fell in for a double -- in what proved to be a rather disappointing inaugural Opening Day for him.

And speaking of lacklustre first Opening Days, Canadian wunderkind Brett Lawrie looked absolutely clueless this afternoon. His abysmal day at the plate notwithstanding, he looked patently uncomfortable at the hot corner all day, bobbling two balls and bouncing a throw to Adam Lind at first-base. His performance, once again, reinforced the irrelevance of Spring Training statistics.

But the most egregious transgression of the day has to go to Rajai Davis. Rather than run to first base after popping up a sacrifice bunt, he opted instead to admire the fruits of his disastrous execution, and managed to turn bad play into an atrocious one. His flagrant disregard for any semblance of baseball sense was so offensive that...well, I don't know what. It was simply inexcusable.

Nevertheless, we're 1-0, and we even got to enjoy some extracurricular activity when Luis Perez brushed back Shin-Soo Choo in the 15th inning. That's always fun.

I can’t even think of a clever way to wrap this post up. Too emotionally drained.

Fortunately, we have an off-day tomorrow.

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