Tag:Steve Poltz
Posted on: March 1, 2010 2:57 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2010 5:15 pm

When will young Jays' pitchers take flight?

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Roy Halladay is gone and Toronto is auditioning starting pitchers.

And while you have to travel long distances to find anybody willing to pick the Blue Jays anywhere other than dead last in the AL East (I know, I've been traveling long distances here in Florida and have yet to find that person) ... well, maybe it's not quite as bad as it looks.

At least, with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow aboard, a healthy Shaun Marcum and kids Brett Cecil and Brian Tallet, maybe it won't be Kansas City bad around here.

"Even though they're young, I feel some of them are ready," says catcher John Buck, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Jays over the winter after six seasons with the Royals.

"In Kansas City, I feel they were forcing guys up a year or two before they were ready. They were rushing them, and it was tough to catch them.

"These guys are telling me why they like to do this and why they like to do that. They have a plan, and that's huge."

Nobody in camp has thrown 200 innings in a major-league season -- Romero's 178 last season is the high. Marcum has never made more than 25 big-league starts in a season. Morrow is still trying to catch up to the hype. Cecil needs to throw more strikes.

Dustin McGowan, Mark Rzepszynski, David Purcey, Scott Richmond ... the list of candidates is a long one. Jesse Litsch is injured and due back sometime just after the All-Star Game.

"Romero is somebody who stands out," Buck says. "You hear a lot about him. The way he works, the way he gets after his day. Some of the small stuff he does to get ready ... that probably relates to Halladay when he was here. The drive."

The Jays will miss Halladay tremendously. But if he left a few things behind -- such as his model work ethic for these guys to follow -- then maybe, for now, that's as good as Toronto can hope for.

Sunblock Day? And on the seventh -- eighth? -- day, the sun came out. Beautiful on Monday, sunny and 70 and yes, a sunblock day.

Likes: I still get a big kick -- too big, perhaps -- out of the fact that the Blue Jays' vice-president of communications is named Jay, Jay Stenhouse. Jay of the Jays. Perfect. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in Roy's for dinner Sunday evening in Tampa. Don't know what Reg was eating, but the seared and blackened Ahi was superb. ... The 2010 Baseball Prospectus will be in bookstores soon and, as usual, it's a must-read -- for executives, scouts, baseball writers and fans. You will not find more thorough scouting reports, and smarter analysis. ... Good to see Troy Glaus healthy in Atlanta's camp. He says he's feeling terrific and says the move to first base should be no big deal. ... When it's a bright, sunny day -- as Monday was (finally) -- there is no more spectacular sight in Florida than cruising over the Tampa Bay on the Sunshine Skyway, pretty blue and green water surrounding you for miles. ... Paul Schaffer's book We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives is a fun read. Some very entertaining behind-the-scenes stories from the Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers and David Letterman days. Who knew the legendary Bob Dylan was a huge fan of Larry "Bud" Melman from the old Letterman show? You'll read this and other nuggets in this page-turner. ... Sandy Koufax actually taking the stage with Dodgers manager Joe Torre for a benefit for Torre's foundation Saturday night in Los Angeles, the two allowing themselves to be grilled by LA Times columnist T.J. Simers.

Dislikes: Anybody who knows me knows I love Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band. And within that, I think Clarence Clemons can do no wrong. However ... oh my Lord, Clemens' "book" Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales is unreadable. Just brutal. Here's the problem: He picked the wrong guy to write it. The New York Times reviewer nailed it when he wrote that ghost writer Don Reo "hijacked" the book. Reo keeps butting in with show biz stories of his own that he thinks are terrific and, apparently, Clemons does, too. But what they are is lame. Lame and unfunny. Nobody bought the book to read name-dropping and stories from Reo, a television writer who worked on such shows as M*A*S*H and Blossom. It is maddening. I picked up the book not expecting much over the winter, and it fell miraculously far below even my very low expectations.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"My allergies were bad so we moved to the desert to a city called Palm Springs
"We trick-or-treated at Liberace’s house
"Each finger had a diamond ring
"We met Elvis Presley in the middle of the summer
"He hugged my sister for far too long
"Well, it felt kinda weird, but I woulda pimped her out
"Just to hear him sing a song
"We talked Hollywood, and baseball in the car
"The voice of Jack Buck; It would travel really far"

-- Steve Poltz, Brief History of My Life


Posted on: April 16, 2008 2:23 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2008 2:53 pm

Tulowitzki, Big Papi and the Lonesome Pine

Troy Tulowitzki was back in Colorado's lineup Tuesday night, which shouldn't exactly be a big deal, except for the fact that, with Tulo scuffling early this season, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was moved to pull the plug on him Sunday.

Yep, while Boston manager Terry Francona gave slumping slugger David Ortiz a mental day off, on the other side of the country (but away from the media glare), Hurdle did the same with Tulowitzki. And nope, Hurdle and Francona didn't exactly come up with the idea while jointly attending a meeting of Slumping Team Leaders Anonymous.

"Good minds think alike," Hurdle quips. "We did not text. We did not call.

"I found it humorous that we go somewhere and someone asked me about Ortiz."

Good thing Hurdle can laugh at the situation, given Tulowitzki's .149 start and two errors. And good thing Tulowitzki has friends in the clubhouse who can help pick him up during the tough times.

Why, before Tuesday's game in San Diego, several Rockies were watching San Francisco play Arizona on the clubhouse televisions as the Giants' John Bowker rapped out two more hits, leaving him at a cool .600 (6-for-10) with seven RBI in his first three major-league games.

"You're down to the fourth-best player from Long Beach," Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins teased Tulowitzki, who played his college ball -- like Bowker, Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria and Oakland's Bobby Crosby -- at Cal State Long Beach.

They tease because they care, of course -- and also because they know Tulowitzki is too good to remain down-and-out. He emerged as the Rockies team leader as a rookie last summer, dazzled with the glove, hit 24 homers, finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, drew comparisons to Cal Ripken Jr. and pretty much set himself up to win several Gold Glove awards.

"He's done a lot of good things," Hurdle says. "He's been a good story from that standpoint. I think sometimes things are overplayed and sometimes things are underplayed.

"When all is said and done, he'll get other days off. He'll be hitting, and it won't be a story."

Tulowitzki is only 23, yet he signed a six-year, $31 million deal that will keep him in Colorado through at least 2013. A year ago, Tulowitzki became the second-youngest opening day starter in Rockies franchise history. Amazing (and utterly impressive) that a year later, it's a monumental event when he's ragged enough that he's out of the lineup.

"A lot of people have affection for the way he plays the game and swings the bat," Hurdle says. "I don't think of it as anything more than a day off."

In a perfect world, Hurdle says, Tulowitzki would play roughly 150 games a season -- which, gasp, would mean taking 12 games off.

"You'd set it up for 150, and he'd probably play in 155 without injuries," Hurdle says. "He's pretty good at playing through things, too. He's got a hockey mentality. He doesn't have to be 100 percent to take the field.

"Guys who are willing to play hurt, it's hard to take them out of the lineup when they're healthy."

Tulowitzki went 0-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday night's 6-0 loss in San Diego. Chances are he'll regain his stroke soon, and his next day off will be later rather than sooner.

And no disrespect to Bowker, whose start in San Francisco has been nothing short of amazing, and nothing against Atkins' sense of humor, which is sharp ... but in the Cal State Long Beach rankings, even a slumping Tulowitzki isn't No. 4.

Likes: The frequent use of the No. 42 by so many players on Tuesday night as baseball celebrated the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Suggestion for Commissioner Bud Selig: How about simply having every player, manager and coach wear the No. 42 every April 15 beginning next year? Robinson remains one of the game's proudest moments, a time when baseball was out in front of society as a whole in righting a longtime wrong and awarding rights to African-Americans that they should have had years earlier. Baseball should continue to trumpet the day and make everyone aware of Jackie Robinson and his everlasting meaning. ... San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler writing that "Alex Rodriguez makes $28 million this season, while the entire Marlins' payroll is $21.8 million. What's worse, I hear A-Rod hit on all their wives." ... Steve Poltz's Traveling disc. He's the guy who wrote the smash Jewel hit You Were Meant For Me, and he's a terrific lyricist with a knack for writing catchy tunes. Check him out at www.Poltz.com.

Dislikes: Tax day. Ugh. ... The end of spring break for the schoolkids. ... Erik Bedard on the 15-day disabled list so soon. ... Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, too. ... The persistent chill in the Midwest and East. I was cold just watching games from Detroit, Cleveland and Kansas City on television the past several days.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When they borrow your money they won't pay back
"They been borrowin' from me all way, in fact
"Now they been borrowin', boy, all of my life
"I believe one day they gonna borrow my wife"

-- Champion Jack Dupree, My Next Door Neighbor

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com