Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turn the Page

It's the day after Labour Day, and for the past twenty years of my life that's meant that school is either here or a couple of days away. Now that I'm officially a member of the real world(TM), it means something else: strange and familiar names, crooked numbers and glimpses of a future that might never be. I just finished William Gibson's Neuromancer, and beyond the hellaciously confusing nature of the world-building itself, what struck me most about that novel was the steampunk aspect...it's a novel from the past, about a future that will never be. That's kind of what the September callup season is about: alternate realities that transform into historical fictions. We sniff the future and contemplate Roy Halladay's future no-hitters, JP Arencibia's eventual rookie season, whether Carlos Almanzar or Shannon Stewart will be any good five years down the road. Sometimes the flashes in the pan are just that, but occasionally you'll look over and scratch your beard at the fact that Casey Blake has over 5000 big league plate appearances since his inauspicious Blue Jays career came to its end.
In other news, Adam Loewen is here. Adam Loewen is here! Some scoff and say he's a feel-good Canadiana story, but there's no place for him on the roster so let's all hold hands, do the circle-jerk and let him move onto bigger and better things. Fuck that, I say. Give the man his reps. His numbers in Vegas were right in line with Travis Snider's - or about league-average for the environment, eyeballing it - but there will be ways to work in the extra plate appearances over the next month or so.

Because, eventually the Blue Jays will realize - if they haven't already - that should they hold onto both Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion going into 2012 and beyond, the pair of them will cover a single lineup slot with aplomb - passable first base defense and a history of DHing (plus the marginal ability to run out to left field in the odd pinch where the other options are worse). EE has OPSed .867 against lefties this year while The Indiana Boy has OPSed .774 against righties. The career numbers are .844/.851, with Edwin being the guy who can occasionally take the baton full-time when Lind has the kind of disaster month he had in August.

That leaves (PCL batting champion) David Cooper and Loewen playing time at a single position - say, DH. Add in possible ramifications of Rasmus and Lind injuries, however - as well as a rotation with the somewhat earthbound Eric Thames - and I think there's great potential to see our share of both lefty sluggers over the last 21 games of 2011. (Shit, they do pass quick, those baseball seasons.)
In five years, I don't know who - if any - of Eric Thames, Adam Lind, David Cooper, Adam Loewen or Travis Snider will be a full-time 1B/LF/DH for the Blue Jays. Maybe it's the wrong question, and I suppose I'd be too much part-time philosopher to run a major league baseball team with the ruthless efficiency it requires. But let us not go writing out our Sniderman-filled futures until the best man has won the battle.

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