Archive for the ‘ Writing Pieces / Columns ’ Category

One Year of Alyssa Cohen MLB

It has been one entire year since I posted my first ever blog post on Alyssa Cohen MLB.

I remember exactly where I was when I posted it. I was on my bed when I first hit submit, and believe me when I say I didn’t think my blog would turn out like it is today.

It’s crazy to think how many things have changed since that first blog post. I was in a different school, had different friends, and had been only 6 months into the Jays twitter community. A year ago, we didn’t know the impact of Encarnacion, the turf-toe days of Bautista, or the fist pumps of Jason Grilli. We didn’t know how the Jays would play in 2016, but we knew that we would be headed into the Playoffs one way or another. We didn’t know about the hard days in September, or that once in a generation wild-card game.

From all of the Blue Jays memories I’ve posted on it, along with all of the milestones it has had, it’s truly been one of the best things in my life. But that’s all thanks to you. If you read my posts in your email, click on a link on Facebook or Twitter, or follow my blog through WordPress, it’s thanks to you that I do this. I have so much fun interacting with you all every single day about the Blue Jays on Twitter and Facebook, and it shows that we are one big community cheering for the best team in the best city playing the best game in the world. 

So, here’s to next season. Where we will ring in the 2018 season with a new banner, and you all know what we want it to say on that banner. 2017 World Series Champions.

Alyssa Cohen

16 Highlights from the Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Season!

Hello everybody and Happy New Year!

2016 went by faster than the speed of a nasty slider, but I am happy that the new year is here. Since 2017 has finally arrived (and spring training is right around the corner), I thought it would be fun to share my top 16 highlights of the 2016 Jays season. So many amazing things happened this season – much more than 16 – so if I am forgetting any of your favourite highlights, tweet them to me or share them in the comments! (Thanks to Daryl for all of the Gifs, follow her on twitter too!)

Let’s countdown all of the great moments!


#16 – My First Game of the 2016 Season!

The 16th highlight for me was going to my first game of the season! I went to my first 2016 game on my birthday, May 27. We won 7-5 against the Boston Red Sox thanks to the star of the game… Josh Donaldson! Donaldson had five RBIs, two home runs and fell a triple of the cycle!

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#15 – Grilli’s Fist Pumps & Osuna Matata

Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna were two very important members of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. We acquired Grilli near the end of the trade deadline, and he made a big difference once he became part of the organization (I highly recommend you all read this post he made for the players tribune, it made me cry!!). Osuna has been part of the organization since he was 19, and has played incredibly well for us for the past two seasons. They were definitely a highlight of the 2016 season!

#14 – That (Bia)Gini named Joe

Whoever didn’t fall in love with Joe Biagini for his quirkiness is a robot. The Blue Jays acquired him during the Rule 5 draft, and no one could have imagined the season he was going to have. Joe Biagini was the Blue Jays rookie of the year without a doubt, plus his awkward personality was an added bonus!

#13 – That Playoff-esc Series against the San Diego Padres

Another great playoff like series that made us all very excited! You can read my recap here!

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#12 – The Seattle Series that Felt Like Home

There are Jays fans all around Canada, and this series against Seattle proved it! Mariners fans were drowned out by the sounds of west coast Jays fans. It truly felt like a home stand! You can read a recap of the series here, here and here!

#11 – Superman Continues

As we all expected, Kevin Pillar continued filling up the highlight reels with his spectacular superman-like catches. Hopefully we will get to see more Pillar catches for the third year in a row, even with his healing injury.

#10 – Tulo’s Return to the Rockies

Although this was not a direct Blue Jays highlight, I wanted to add this in as a highlight. Tulowitzki was unexpectedly traded last season during a fairytale-like trade deadline for the Blue Jays. When coming into Colorado, Tulo was greeted by his former team with respect and sadness (sadness because during his first at bat he hit a home run to tie up the game… oops!).

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#9 – Upton’s (practically) Inside the Park Home Run

Melvin Upton Jr. was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays during the trade deadline. While he wasn’t at his best when he played for the Jays, he still had some very big home runs for us, especially the “little-league” inside the park home run that gave the Jays the go-ahead run in the eighth inning!

#8 – Michael Saunders Hat Trick & All-Star First Half 

I find that many Blue Jays fans have forgotten how great Saunders was during the first half of the 2016 season (let’s forget about his second half for now)! He had a hat trick in Baltimore and was voted into the All-Star game by a social-media vote!

#7 – Ryan Goins Pitching in a Disastrous Canada Day Game

I am sure we all remember that crazy Canada Day game that took place on July 1, 2016. We all remember Umpire “Crapanza”, Martin, Gibbons and others being ejected, as well as it going into 19 innings (they played the seventh inning stretch twice!!). But what most forget is the fact that Ryan Goins pitched in the 18th inning, and gave up ZERO RUNS (thanks to the help of a double play ball, but still!)!! NOTE: For the fans that look back to this post in ten years and were not major fans in 2016 (or just forget), the umpire for this game was seemingly biased towards the apposing team, but we did manage to get a run. The Jays used up EVERY SINGLE PITCHER on the roster, therefore they needed utility players to finish the game. Ryan Goins is normally used as an infielder but I believe he’s had some previous pitching experience, which is why they used him .The game remained tied (1-1) until the 19th inning when some other player got a homer and we lost. Boo.

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#6 – The Jays vs. Rangers Brawl

Throughout the first series that the Jays played against the Rangers since the 2015 ALDS, there was a lot of anger towards both sides, but it all became free during the crazy shenanigans between Jose Bautista and Roughned Odor. Bautista ran into an illegal slide directly between Odor’s legs, and once he stood up, Odor punched him hard in the jaw. This proceeded both benches to come together and start fighting. Bautista got suspended for one day (of course the May 27 game I went to), and Odor got suspended for 9 games. I believe there were other fines and suspensions given, but those are the two I remember. That was a wild series, but the Jays one the series 3-1!

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#5 – Clinching the First Wild Card Spot

Once the Orioles lost there game earlier that day, the Jays automatically clinched a Wild Card spot, it was whether they won there final game that decided who claimed home field advantage. Thankfully the Blue Jays won a nail-bitter 2-1, and we could all (kind of) breath.

#4 – Josh Donaldson’s Hat Trick

It felt like just yesterday when Edwin Encarnacion hit his hat trick at home. Believe or not, a year plus one day later, Donaldson ended up having a hat trick of his very own! The “Bringer of Rain” surely brought the rain and earned his very first hat trick as a Blue Jay!

#3 – The Best Pitching Staff in the American League

The Toronto Blue Jays had the best pitching staff in the American League with a collective ERA of under 3. Aaron Sanchez took home the crown of lowest ERA in the league with an ERA of 3.00. J.A. Happ had 20 wins, the most wins he has ever had in one season in his career. Roberto Osuna had 36 saves, the highest of any pitcher 20 or under. The pitching staff picked up the Jays whenever they were down, and certainly exceeded expectations!

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#2 – American League Division Series Game 3 2016

From the sweeping the Rangers, to Donaldson’s mad dash, ALDS game 3 was anything we could have ever wanted and then some! You can read my complete ALDS game 3 recap here!

#1 – THE ULTIMATE AL WILD CARD GAME 2016!

Who wouldn’t put the wild card game as the number one highlight of the season? You can read my entire recap for it here!

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In my opinion, those were the top highlights of the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays season! I am looking forward to many more highlights to come in the 2017 season!

Alyssa Cohen

The First Loss of the 2016 Season

Do you remember the Toronto Blue Jays first loss of the season in 2016? Well I sure do, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

It was the third game of the Toronto Blue Jays season, and we were in the series up 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays. If you were’t aware, this was the first and only time the Jays were in first place until the end of July.

We headed to the bottom of the ninth, down 3-2. With the bases loaded for Edwin Encarnacion, he hit a grounder to third and on an error while trying to attempt a double play, the Blue Jays (thought) they scored 2 runs, and were leading 4-3. Kevin Cash, the Rays manager asked for a replay review to check for any evidence of an illegal slide at second base/interference. THE CALL WAS OVERTURNED. Meaning, the two runs never scored and the double play was automatic, as Jose Bautista was called interfering with the second base man to try and break up the double play. This resulted in a throwing error to first base that would have score the tying and go-ahead runs. Since the call was overturned and the double play was called, the game ended then and there, and Tampa Bay won 3-2, there first win of the regular season.

Had this been any other season in the MLB, the two runs would have scored indefinitely. The only reason the runs didn’t score was because of the newest rule that MLB had added for the 2015 season known as the Chase Utley Rule. The exact rule (6.01(j)) consists of: “If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate.”

Many people are claiming that this rule ruins the roughness of baseball. In the early days, you would see many illegal slides trying to break up a double play when you needed a run most, and that was just the game of baseball as we knew it. Now a days, the game seems to be getting safer and softer, limiting the injuries and oddities of baseball. Could this be ruining the game of baseball? Could there be more rules limiting how baseball is played today?

I think that the reason I will never forget this game is because it reminded me of how the season ended last season. Our season ended on an inning ending double play in ALCS game six against the Kansas City Royals, with Dalton Pompey on third base, needing just to score that runner to tie the game. The double play was completed and the Royals were headed to the World Series (which they eventually won in six games).

Since the season has now ended, we can look at many games that this rule has affected. While the Blue Jays were the first, there were many more and I’m sure they will be many more to come in 2017.

Alyssa Cohen

(EDIT: Yesterday, I was officially “inducted” into the Baseball Bloggers Alliance! I am very excited to be apart of it, and feel very honoured. Thanks to all of you for making this happen!)

A Little Blue Jays Rant

Hi.

This post is for fans who need a little bit of motivation to continue supporting our team.

Just wanted to get this off of my chest. As all of you know, I am a die hard blue Jays fan. Not a bandwagoner, a long time fan. Sure, when I watched games in 2012, I didn’t really know what I was watching. I didn’t understand the rules, or what playing well actually meant. To be honest I really didn’t like the sport. It seemed like the Blue Jays were always playing on the family TV, since my parents have been big fans ever since the team was created. When my twitter account started becoming majorly about baseball and the Blue Jays, it was around the time where we were just getting to play well. Not too well, but well enough to recognize it. Then, it was easy to cheer and watch. Knowing that the team was more then capable of winning, and look how far they got. One game always from going to the World Series. This year, there were a lot of expectations. Going into the 2016 season, people thought the team was going to win 100 games without even trying. Well guess what? That hasn’t happened yet. Fact is, other teams got much better then the previous year, but the Blue Jays stuck to what worked last season. Fast forward to now. Our Blue Jays are 2-9 in the month of September so far. Holding onto a wildcard spot by a nail. It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to be positive. I’m one of the most positive people I know, and if anybody knows a thing or to about trying to make the best of situations, that’s me. I’m literally getting emotionally drained from watching some of these games. It’s hard to cheer for a team that’s more then capable of win and just isn’t. It’s hard to hear the players say we haven’t given up, and we know we’re good enough. But when it comes to the game, it looks like they aren’t trying their hardest. It’s hard not to compare this team to other past teams. On the one hand, you can definitely compare this team to the 2015 AL East Champions. It’s almost like a carbon copy of that team. Most of the same players, but the not the same record. On the other hand, it’s hard not to compare this team to the 1987 Blue Jays. In ’87, the Blue Jays had first place locked down from about June until August. Kind of like this year. Until September came buy and crushed them. They didn’t make the playoffs at all that year. But in ’87, there was no such thing as an ALDS, not even a wildcard game. If there was, we would’ve been the AL Champions. In reality, we can’t compare this team to another one. Teams can get hot in August, and cold in September or vice versa. That is the beautifully destroying game of baseball. And although it sounds like I’ve given up, I have so much more support in me just waiting to burst. Fact is, the support is probably going to make them or break them. As Blue Jays fans, we now have to support them more then ever. The fans are a huge part of the organization, without us there would be no motivation to win. Do you think the Blue Jays would want to win the world series, but not have anyone to share it with? September could be a heart breaking month or a miracle month. We have to remember that we are Canada’s team and although we wish so much for them to do better, we can’t control it. You never know what could happen next.

Alyssa Cohen

April 3, 2016

Well, well, well what can I say.

From October 23, 2015, everything has been about April 3, April 3, April 3. And now April 3 is finally here, and I don’t know what to do with myself. Actually there are many things I could do.
I could write a much needed blog post for my MLB Toronto BlueJays Blog (which I’m doing right now), I could scream in excitement (although I’d rather save my screams for yelling “Boo-yah” with my mom when we hit our first homerun of the season), I could be tweeting to my 450 Twitter followers (OMG 450, still not used to saying that), or I could be thinking. Which (for now), is what I’ve decided to do.

The truth is, it’s currently late at night on March 31 (I’d prefer not to say the time because my parents follow this blog, I promise it’s not too late!). I believe that I think and write the best at night, I’m a true night owl!

Since my first BlueJays game on May 18, 2015, I’ve been in love with something much bigger then just a team. The Toronto BlueJays are something far more special then just a team or organization, we are a community. A community of fans who share a true passion for baseball and for our team, Canada’s team. From my first #BlueJays tweet (this took me SO LONG to find)…

To this post right now, I’ve been involved in an amazing community. I’ve made so many new friends and I’ve created an account that I’ve been able to share my BlueJays passion with. It’s been amazing!

I was not always a HUGE BlueJays fan, like I’m now. I used to watch the occasional game. For example the Home Opener, Canada Day and the last game of the season. It was really just a fluke that I became a fan the one season that we made the playoffs since 1993. It really was. The BlueJays were always (and I mean ALWAYS) on my main TV screen. My parents watched every game last season and all of the previous ones. As I’ve shared before, my mom was at the 1993 winning World Series game when Joe Carter touched more then all of the bases, he touched people’s hearts. And although I wasn’t alive then, I believe I can understand the feeling.

When going to my first BlueJays game with my cousin Jordan, and his fiancé, I felt something special. My mom being a huge fan, and my cousin being seasons tickets holders for since I could remember, meant that at some point or another I would become a huge fan. Well, the time finally came that day. My cousin had always talked about taking me to a game with him. For all of us it was that kind of thing that we would always say but never do. When he asked me to go with him, I couldn’t say no. I was brought up in a family of sports and BlueJays fans, and besides that I REALLY wanted to go to a game, just to have fun! So I went with him and his fiancé that day. My mom at that point had not been to a baseball game for as long as I’ve been alive, and I was so excited to tell her all about it when I got home! Walking up that big ramp to the 500 section was a dream, I remember having a big adrenaline rush just thinking about how much I’d been waiting for this moment to come. As I walked outside to see the stadium, I thought I was in a dream. Seeing so many people supporting a team with a passion was unreal, and I knew I had to be a part of it. The rest of that day was amazing, greatness at its best. We won that day, and I even saw José Bautista hit a homerun!!!
I came home that night telling my parents I had the best day of my life. And I believe it was just that. I don’t think many moments will ever come close to that.

The rest is history!

I started watching games daily with my parents, and I learned the rules of baseball and exactly where each position was. I learned all of the players names, and I learned about the coaches and front office staff.
I started tweeting along with the games just for fun, but it wasn’t until around July that I realized that there was a HUGE MLB Twitter community! I started tweeting and interacting with other people, and that’s when my account blew up. I remember hitting 200 followers and thinking that was crazy. I still can’t believe that I have more then triple that amount to this day!

My parents and I ended up going to two additional games this season, and they were a dream come true.

The funny thing about this year was that if we didn’t make the playoffs, even if we were the worst team this year, I still would’ve loved them. Making the playoffs and winning the division was just an added bonus! Don’t get me wrong, I’m so so so happy we made the playoffs, and I truly think we are going to win the World Series this year! I’m not just saying it, I promise. But if none of that would’ve happened, I still would be a huge fan!

When we lost to KC in the ALCS Game 6, I was a total wreck. I feel like our whole country was, to be exact! I cried and cried and cried. I though we would make it, I really did. Especially after reading this…


But the cards just weren’t in our favour. The one thing that really struck me about that series I actually just found out in January. Marcus Stroman would’ve pitched against Jonny Cueto for Game 7, and I think we would’ve won that game. I know we would’ve won that game. Well, I guess we’ll really never know for sure.

This offseason has been spectacular! Full of twists and turns and interesting events! Although we didn’t manage to pull off anything that great, the tweeting was awesome! I interacted with so many awesome BlueJays fans/tweeters, and it made waiting for April 3 a little less painful.

Spring Training games were so fun to live tweet, just like during the regular season. Although, I was running errands or at school for most of them! If you didn’t already know, we finished first in the American League, and 2 in Grapefruit League (a few games back to the Washington Nationals).

And now the day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here!

I’d like to personally thank all of you for following my blog, of following me on Twitter. I’ve had so much fun on them, and I don’t know what I’d be doing lately if it wasn’t for tweeting about the BlueJays.

I know that this season will be one for the books, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you all in a blue coloured parade downtown after we win the 2016 World Series.

Alyssa Cohen