Wednesday, December 5, 2012

About Time

Since the signing of Melky Cabrera and the naming of John Gibbons manager, there hasn't been much to talk about in Blue Jay Land.

The Jays made some small moves, outrighting a couple of players to Vegas, and putting Mike McDade on waivers (where he was claimed by the Indians).  The Jays also added a couple of minor leaguers to the 40-man roster to protect them in the Rule V draft.  The most noteworthy was AA catcher A.J. Jiminez who missed most of last season after Tommy John surgery.  They Jays also chose to non-tender Bobby Wilson, and claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees.

Oh, and word came down today that the Miami Marlins have traded Yunel Escobar to Tampa Bay.  Looks like we'll be seeing him a fair bit as he returns to the AL East.

The Winter Meetings have also been quiet, with Alex Anthopoulos himself saying that there haven't been any significant trade talks, and there isn't likely to be a play for a significant free agent.

There has been a buzz around Hall of Fame talk as the ballot for 2013 induction was released and it includes a lot of big names that have been associated with Performance Enhancing Drugs like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, etc.

But the best recent news is that after many years of campaigning, Tom Cheek has been awarded the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award and will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For anyone that grew up in Toronto, Cheek's voice was the voice of summer.  Before the days when all the games were televised (on whatever channel Rogers is trying to force people to subscribe to), they were all available on the radio and baseball has always been synonymous with radio.  The game's pace lends itself to that particular medium as the announcer isn't trying to describe 16 simultaneous events like they would in a basketball or hockey game.  When I wasn't playing ball myself, I would be listening to the Blue Jays in the great years of Moseby, Bell, and Barfield, with Dave Stieb on the mound and Tony Fernandez at short.

Tom Cheek (along with Jerry Howarth) was the voice of those Blue Jays teams and I when I think of the Jays on the radio, I think of Tom's voice and the way that it just seemed to BE baseball.  Listening to the Toronto radio stations replay some of his calls today brings back a lot of memories of what baseball on the radio can be to a kid who loves the sport.

So, after a career in which he called 4306 consecutive baseball games (starting with the Blue Jays first ever game in 1977), a career and life cut short by cancer, hearty congratulations are in order for Tom Cheek and his family.  I'm sure that wherever he is, he'll touch 'em all.

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