Edwin Encarnacion

            Like most, if not all, Blue Jay fans, I’m very disappointed by Edwin Encarnacion’s departure for Cleveland. He’s a very good, low maintenance baseball player; and a classy, likeable individual to boot.

             It’s interesting to note that most of the Toronto baseball pundits who are laying the entire blame for Encarnacion’s departure on his agent, Paul Kinzer, receive pay cheques from the Rogers organization, which, of course, owns the Blue Jays. Kinzer, like everyone else in baseball, was blind-sided by the free-agent-sluggers market crash, so to that extent I suppose he has to assume some blame for not immediately accepting the Jays’ offer.  But, I don’t think that’s where the real blame lies for Edwin’s plight. (I say “plight” because all the evidence points to Edwin’s desire to have stayed with the Jays. It’s been reported that even after he signed with Cleveland he was seen working out while wearing a Blue Jays shirt.)

             My view is that the overriding factor was that Blue Jays president, Mark Shapiro, wanted a draft pick more than he wanted Edwin back. I base this on two observations. First, Shapiro signed Kendrys Morales without giving the Edwin camp enough time to really test the free agency market, a courtesy that Edwin had clearly earned. (I’m leaving the so-called general manager, Ross Atkins, out of this equation because I suspect Atkins has less say in what happens than any other GM in baseball. It seems he’s there simply to carry out Shapiro’s bidding and provide a little insulation.) Secondly, Shapiro has made it clear from his first day in Toronto that his number one priority is to rebuild the farm system; and the best way to do that is through draft picks, which is why Shapiro covets them.     

            Anyway, whatever the accurate allocation of blame may be, Encarnacion will be greatly missed; Bautista not so much so if he moves on, and Saunders probably not at all.

 Best Christmas Gift Suggestion

            The best Christmas gift suggestion I heard came from Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose. When asked if she were to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau an appropriate gift what it would be, she immediately responded, “A selfie stick.”

             And speaking of Rona Ambrose, given the cast of characters running for the Conservative leadership, the party should, if they’re not already doing so, seriously consider waiving the rule that prohibits the interim leader standing for the leadership. Of course, that’s assuming that Ms. Ambrose is interested, which she clearly wasn’t back when she accepted the interim position knowing full well what the rules were.

             My choice of the ones who are running is Andrew Scheer. My choice of people who are not running is Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.

 Honest Ed’s

            Honest Ed’s closes today; the end of an era in Toronto. I’ll have more to say about this next week.

  Just Wondering

            Is the women’s washroom on the third floor of the Hudson’s Bay store at Yorkdale in Toronto being located in the men’s shoe section some kind of weird coincidence, or is it a very clever marketing ploy?

 A Sign Of My Times

            I guess it comes with my age, but thirty-eight people I knew died in 2016. Here’s the list.

            Thankfully, I lost only one relative: my last living first cousin, Loretta Clements.

            But I lost two very good friends: Gil Collins and Dave Bonham.

            Two cottage neighbours: Marg MacLennan and Stu Glover.

            One former hockey teammate: Buddy McIntyre.

            Three former schoolmates: Howard Blaxland, Joe Villard, and David (Jonsey) Baker.

            Three former partners: Tom Dawson, Charlie English, and David Sinclair.

            Two former clients: Rob Parker and Joan McCurdy.

            Two former broadcast associates: Wally Crouter and Bev Edwards (who, coincidentally, worked hand-in-glove throughout their careers at radio station CFRB in Toronto).

            Two fellow board members: Adam Zimmerman and Ian MacDonald.

            Two fellow CPAs: Lorne Lodge and Bob Turnbull.

            Three former Toronto neighbours: Bob Davidson, Dr. Crawford Anglin, and Irene Smeaton.

            The other fifteen: Gen Runighan, Joe Revel, Ian Shaw, Ken Hardie, Leland Baker, Keith Anderson, Jean MacPhee, Guy McIntosh, Aldon Baker, Bill Spencer, Father J.J. Dunphy, Bobby Dillon, Fred Handrahan, Bernadette Brazil, and Alan Thicke.

             Requiescat in pace. (Yes, I was an altar boy.)