The Blue Jays Run Down – Happy Opening Day

josh donaldsonThe birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and even though there is still snow on the ground here in Southern Ontario, I know it’s finally spring because the Blue Jays are back in business.

After a fairytale 2015 season, the 2016 Blue Jays sure have a lot to live up to. There were some interesting storylines going into spring training: the nixed trade for Jay Bruce, the contract struggles with Jose and Edwin, who was going to make up the starting rotation, and of course, Josh Donaldson the MVP and his hairdos.

With all of this hanging over the Blue Jays, the team put together a pretty solid spring training campaign. Yes, I know that spring training means nothing, yadda yadda yadda. But dissipates a little bit of that pre-season anxiety the collective Blue Jays fans have been holding onto.

The Blue Jays played another pair of sold-out exhibition games in Montreal, making the case once again that it might be the time again for a baseball team à Montréal. The Jays lost two to the Red Sox in the series, but the energy at the O was electric regardless.

The Jays started the season in Tampa Bay, a place they’ve always had trouble. The took the first two games from the Rays. Both Marcus Stroman and RA Dickey ran into a little trouble in their first outings of the season, but both were able to come away with a W in hand with help from the bat coming alive with Tulo, Thole, Saunders, and the reigning MVP going yard in the first two games, and Kevin Pillar more or less sacrificing his neck for a catch. Don’t worry, he’s okay!

The outlook is sunny for the Jays right now, let’s keep it going!

Advertisements

Things I dug in 2015

For the most part 2015 was pretty solid, it had it’s ups and downs but here are a few stand outs for me.

s1552470-main-hero-300The vampy lipstick trend more or less started in 2014, but I didn’t hop on the bandwagon until a little later. I moved on to purple lipstick this winter. It’s my favourite colour, so why shouldn’t I wear it on my lips? My favourite has been Kat Von D’s everlasting lipstick in LUV.

wineI’m lucky to live in one of the best wine regions in the world, and living here and working in the industry has given me a new appreciation for wine. But, a tiger can’t change their stripes, and I go for the sweetest possible wine – enter a riesling. Rieslings in Niagara are done so well, and they can be sweet or dry. There’s a riesling for everyone.

I love food. I love eating food, I love talking about food, and I love listening to people talk about food. Enter the doughboys podcast. The guys discuss chain restaurants with their friends and it makes for a really entertaining listen that always leaves you craving a burger.

kimmyTina Fey can do wrong in my eyes, and that doesn’t change with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. For such a dark premise, the show is bright, spirited, and funny as hell. Also, being on Netflix means you can finish it all in a day.

If you are a reader of my blog, you’ll know that I love my birchbox. It’s a pretty cost-effective way to try a bunch of new beauty products. Plus, who doesn’t love getting surprises in the mail on a monthly basis? If you want one of your own, maybe use my referral link?

jenn and amy2015 was known as the year that love died for many celebrity couples, but new love bloomed for a few more, and some couples just kept on killing it. After Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert called it quits, the People Magazine-reading world was shocked when it came out that Blake had moved on to his The Voice co-judge Gwen Stefani. This one was equal parts ‘WTF’ and ‘YAY’. Josh Groban and Kat Dennings are my favourite underrated celeb couple. They are super cute, super funny, and super into each other based on instagram. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are the gold standard of fun, relatable(ish) couples, and they announced this year they are expecting.

trainwreckI had been anticipating the release of Trainwreck since it was announced last summer, and it did not disappoint. It was bright, funny, with just a hint of sad. Amy was perfect, as was Bill Hader, and LeBron James has found himself a career after basketball as a comedic actor.

Amy Schumer in general had a great year. Her movie topped the box office, her show, Inside Amy Schumer, somehow managed to get even funnier, she was nominated for a Golden Globe, AND became friends with Jennifer Lawrence.

My favourite genre of  books are non-fiction books written by funny people, and there were a few great contenders this year. Amy Poehler’s Yes Please technically came out last year, but I read it fres12208601_10153120714726646_7967629455710078336_nh at the beginning of 2015 after receiving it as a Christmas gift. I read Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance just after seeing him live. It was more of a sociological study rather than a memoir, but I loved it just the same. I was so excited for Mindy Kaling’s sophmore offering, Why Not Me, which was an inspiring continuation of her first book.


My friend Lauren
 
favourites all of my tweets. What more could you want from a friend.

Taylor Swift more or less took over the free world this year, with great thanks to her 1989 tour. I missed her on her last few trips around the globe, but I wasn’t passing her up performing my favourite album of hers to date. The tour was everything I could have hoped for, with celebs popping up all over the place. It was easily the best concert I’ve ever been to.

joseMy sweet beloved baseball team has a rough couple of years. Or decads, I should say. This was the year that the Toronto Blue Jays broke their bad luck streak and batted their way to the ALCS. They were taken out by the Royals, but boy was it a season to remember. After a rocky start to the season, the bats heated up and never really cooled off, and some pre-deadline trades breathed a new life into the team and the fan base. Along with all this, Jose Bautista hit a home run that this generation will never forget.

It was announced some time last years that JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, one of Harry Potter’s textbooks was being turned into a movie. Many of us were confused, yet excited to see what this would be. Especially since it was revealed we would find out more about the American Wizarding World. Needless to say, everyone was thrilled when the trailer was released in November. Too bad it doesn’t come out until late next year!

Sometimes TV shows don’t know how to make a graceful exit. We can all name a show that we loved for so long, but tuned out near the end. I certainly didn’t feel that way about the Parks and Recreation finale. They announced long before the season started that it would be their drakelast, and it had an interesting premise. After finding out Leslie was pregnant with triplets, we skip a couple years ahead to see what Pawnee is like in the future. The finale wraps up all the characters’ stories with a neat little, satisfying bow, along with many tears.

It was a stellar year for Canadian pop tunes. Drake, The Weeknd, Alessia Cara, and Justin Bieber were taking over the airwaves north and south of the border. Sorry, we’re not sorry you’ve had the Biebs’ ‘Sorry‘ stuck in your head for months.

3847f580-51a5-0132-0b47-0eae5eefacd9.0.0I’m always super behind on downloading the latest iOs. Partially because I’m lazy, partially because I have very slow internet. So even though I don’t have it yet, the taco emoji makes like list because JESUS IT WAS TIME. It was mind-boggling that I didn’t have the option to text an emoji of my favourite food to friends and acquaintances alike.

I’ve always bee a fan of pot stickers, but 2015 was the year that I really got on board with them. They’re such a great meal/snack. They’re tasty, filled with treats, cook fast, and are a great vessel for wonderful sauces.

I’m not one for hot beverages. They burn my mouth and I’m not about that life. However, I discovered a love for chai tea lattes. Once you let it cool a bit and add a sugar to it, it’s a great beverage.

I’ve never watched Game of Thrones. Or the Walking Dead. Or Fargo, Or the Leftovers. Or Mr Robot. And I quit Orange is the New Black without even making it through season 1. I have a tendancy to avoid watching hyped up shows. I guess that’s hipstery, but I don’t mean it to be. Usually it’s just these shows are hour-long dramas and for some reason I don’t have the attention span for it. Don’t worry, I know what’s going on in these shows. I read the buzzfeed articles.

French onion soup has been the real culinary super star for me this year. Before 2015, I don’t katie nolanknow if I had even eaten it before, but then I quickly became obsessed. It’s a bowl of salty delciousness covered in CHEESE.

Katie Nolan has become the queen of sports talk shows. She is quick as a whip and funny as hell.  She’s not afraid to speak her mind, and can back up her facts. Her show and her podcasts are must-listens. She is my idol and I am mildy obsessed with her it a not creepy way. I hope she doesn’t mind.

Pizza Rat

pizza rat

 

 

Dream Makers and Heart Breakers – The 2015 Blue Jays

DSC07702This was some kind of season, my friends. My beloved Blue Jays got off to a chilly start after a couple of great off-season pick-ups and a pretty solid spring training. This made us fans think that maybe this was just another one of those seasons where the Blue Jays weren’t terrible, but they just weren’t good enough to reach the top – the 23rd of these seasons in a row.

Boy were we wrong.

Come the all-star break, the Jays were a paltry 51-51, fine by all means but not enough to win it all, falling just in the middle of the AL East pack. To all of our surprise, Alex Anthopolous said ‘F it’ and threw all of his chips on the table, in return, he got some of the best names in baseball.

Short stop superstar, Troy Tulowitzki, joined the team in a secret, middle of the night deal that left many Jays fans wondering – wait , why now? what about the bullpen? WHAT ABOUT THE ROTATION. Don’t worry, he figured that out too.He added LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe to the bullpen, filled a need in left field with Ben Revere, and the crown jewel of the mid-season acquirements was former Cy Young winner, David Price.

Since that point, the Jays went on an insane run, taking the AL East crown right out of the hands of the Yankees, and earned their first post-season berth in over 2 decades.

It was a great time to be a Jays fan.

The post season didn’t go how any of us wanted or expected. We wanted to see our Blue Jays in the fall classic, but instead we saw them play in 5 different elimination games in series with the Rangers and the Royals. They just didn’t seem to look like the Blue Jays we knew this season.

The season ended  down one run with a man on second and third, and an AL MVP candidate up to bat, and a ground out to third.

It’s not what we wanted, but it’s how it ended. Regardless, we should be deeply proud of the 2015 Blue Jays. It was incredible to see a baseball team electrify an entire nation. It was great to see an influx of new fans. Best of all, this generation finally got their own amazing home run to call their own.

The Jays will not be receiving their own World Series come next year, but this was a fantastic season. The future is exciting too – control over Donaldson and Tulo, at least another year of Bautista and Encarnacion, and some incredible young guns that have already made an impression on the league.

Congrats to the 2015 Blue Jays on defying all odds.

LA – Take Me Out to the Ballgame

This is not the most timely of posts – it’s been a few weeks since my wonderful trip to Los Angeles, but we’re here now and that’s what matters okay.

One of my main reasons for visiting SoCal was to continue my journey to see all the MLB parks. It was the perfect weekend to see both the Angels and the Dodgers play. We first went to the Angels’ Stadium in Anaheim, where we were presented with sombreros, because why not I guess.

DSC01967

DSC01968

DSC01979

DSC01982

DSC01984

DSC01989

The Angels ended up losing to the Astros in a very close game, and our walk out of the stadium was accompanied by a fireworks show set to Taylor Swift songs. They just get me.

IMG_6806

A few days later, we saw the Dodgers take on the Marlins. That stadium is just classic California. The only thing I was disappointed in was that they were sold out of the famous Chili Dodger dog, in like the 2nd inning. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? I did have a Dodger dog, but like, it wasn’t the chili dog I had my heart set on.

DSC02194

sewww LA

sewww LA

DSC02196

DSC02200

DSC02203

The Dodgers won in walk-off fashion, with a two-run bomb.

DSC02212

Now there is only one Cali park I have yet to visit, and I can’t wait to make my return!

The Blue Jays Rundown: Birdfights

IMG_0596The Blue Jays seem to be the kings of back and forth play, just when you think they’re making progress ( a 3-game sweep of the 2014 AL East Champs), they get swept by a team everyone thought would be hanging out in the basement for the entire season.

  • The Cold War – This week’s top story is the cold war that was brewing between the Blue Jays and the Orioles during their series this week. It started last week in Baltimore when Darren O’Day threw a pitch behind Jose Bautista, and then Jose proceeded to hit a home run. Or maybe it started last year when the Jays’ Marcus Stroman hit someone with a pitch, retaliating for, um, something? My memory is fuzzy. Anyway, yet another pitch was thrown behind Jose, and after one of the best death stares I’ve ever seen, Jose went on to hit another home run. He yelled a profanity or two at the second baseman, and got into an argument about his home run trot with Adam Jones. The league gave both teams a warning for the rest of the series, but both teams were well behaved.
  • The Turf War – So the Jays got new turf this year. It looks 500 times better, but it’s been playing a little weird. The ball is taking weird hops, and is slower than usual. This will rectify itself as time goes on and the field ‘settles’. The Orioles were tempted to protest the rest of the games in Toronto due to this turf. K, get over yourselves.
  • Moving Up (and Down) – The Jays made a number of moves this week. They DFA’d Todd Redmond (who passed through waivers and is outrighted to Buffalo), and brought up Ryan Goins to back up a hurting Jose Reyes. They placed Dioner Navarro on the 5-day DL with a strained hamstring, and brought Josh Thole up. Michael Saunders came back from his injury suffered in spring training, which meant Steve Tolleson was DFA’d. I personally don’t believe that was the right move, but hey, I’m no GM/Head Coach.
  • The Curse – For some reason, the Jays have just never been able to find their footing at Tropicana Field. Friday’s game was an absolute blow out. Saturday’s game was kept close, but the Rays overtook the Blue Jays late in the game. Sunday’s game was a defensive mess with errors, passed balls, and messy throws everywhere. What is it about the Trop???
  • Oh Canada – On Saturday, for the first time in MLB history, there were three Canadian position players on the field. Too bad they didn’t throw Jeff Francis into the game at some point!

The Blue Jays Rundown: Slippery Slope

DSC01649This was a bit of a rough week for Canada’s team. They had a hard time stringing wins together, and mostly focusing their potent offence on one game per series, but let’s get into it.

  • Cold Opening – For the fourth time in as many years, the Jays lost their home opener. The fell to the Rays 2-1, after coming close to taking it late in the game, disappointing a full crowd at the Rogers Centre.
  • Close Calls – Close games seemed to be the theme of the week, both losing and winning a number of games by one or two runs.
  • Walk it Off – The Jays played in their first extra-inning game of the season. Jose Bautista tied it up against the Atlanta Braves in the 8th with a solo home run. They won it in the 10th with an exciting walk-off home run from new addition, Josh Donaldson, who has been on a reeeeal tear lately.
  • Home Run City – During Friday’s game, both Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin hit their first (and second!) home run of the season. Devon Travis also went yard during the game. They still brought home the L against the Braves though.
  • JOSE BAUTISTA BOBBLEHEAD DAY – It was Baustista Bobblehead Day in Toronto, and I attended my first game of the season. We got there briiiight and early for the giveaway, as did thousands of others. But more on that later.
  • THAT CATCH – Kevin Pillar made a catch that rocked the baseball world, and made the top of every ‘best play of the week’ lists. He robbed the Rays of a home run, blowing the minds of the crowd and every single one of his team mates.

The Blue Jays Rundown – Week of the Rookies

IMG_7620The first week of baseball is over, and it feels like it never left.

  • Blue Jays Win! – The Blue Jays took their first series against the Yankees, and their second series against the Orioles, taking 2 games in each.
  • Ri-Dickey-lous – RA had a really solid first start of the season. He walked a lot of batters, but that’s pretty par for the course. He pitched a solid 6 1/3, before receiving a no decision after the bullpen coughed up the lead. This was also the first start in 55 games that Josh Thole wasn’t behind the plate, which was the longest battery streak in the league.
  • Joey Bats is Cold – My boy Jose has been struggling as of late at the plate after an excellent spring. Have no fear, Bautista will get his bat back, he proved this with Friday’s 3-hit performance, and a 2-run homerun on Sunday.
  • The Rookie(s) – Let’s talk about these rookies. Thursday night was the first time since 1969 that two players under 22 recorded their first MLB win and first MLB save in one game. Daniel Norris and Miguel Castro were on fire last night. Let’s not forget about Roberto Osuna, who has managed to strike out Alex Rodriguez, a guy who has been in the league longer than Osuna has been alive, every time he’s seen him (aka twice). Devon Travis, the new second baseman, got himself a homerun on his very first MLB hit.
  • 200 – Mark Buehrle yet again proved his dominance as a pitcher in the MLB by recording his 200th win on Friday afternoon, with a 6-inning, 2-run performance.
  • Opening Day! – Happy Opening Day everyone!!! The Blue Jays are treating us to some new things this season, such as: new concessions! free wifi! new field! tightened security!  Enjoy everyone who is going!