Pitching for Otani
Re: Jays to make pitch for Otani, Nov. 14
After a disastrous baseball season in 2017, a year in which the Blue Jays’ braintrust continued to boost fan hopes right up to and beyond the trade deadline, they’re at it again by tempting fans with the pursuit of Japanese phenom Shohei Otani.
GM Russ Atkins “believes that there is a place in baseball for a standout two- way player.” Evidently Otani’s addition “would address two of the team’s biggest off-season needs, an outfielder and a starting pitcher.”
But before getting too far ahead of ourselves, it’s important to remember that in the 141- year history of professional baseball only one player has had what could be called an even marginally successful career on both sides of the ball. And though one of the greatest players in baseball history, and one of the finest pitchers of his day, Babe Ruth did not do these two thing at the same time.
For the Red Sox he won 89 games before 1920; for the rest of his career as a Yankee he won five.
For the Red Sox he hit 49 home runs; after 1920 for the Yankees he hit 665.
And this was before coastto-coast travel and racial desegregation, which made the game a much easier proposition.
So Otani’s an unlikely saviour. That would be too easy, for building a baseball team is a complicated process. Yet, it makes you wonder if a rise to the top will ever happen in Toronto with a management team that’s so unaware of baseball history and so delusional about the talent in the marketplace.
John P. Foden, Toronto