Up in the press box at Vancouver’s Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, people talk baseball and reminisce a lot.
A few days ago, I was sitting there working the scoreboard when the name “Perkins” was mentioned – a Toronto-based baseball columnist who had since retired.
I perked up when I heard that name and started ranting about that guy.
This goes back to Blue Jays baseball in the mid-’80s, when Toronto lost its first ever ALCS to Kansas City, blowing a 3-1 series lead. In 1987, the Blue Jays coughed up a huge lead in the final week of the season to lose the division to Detroit. In 1989, they made it back to the ALCS but were destroyed by the eventual champion A’s.
So, two trips to the playoffs and two exits in the first round (in those days, only the division winners advanced and played in the LCS for the right to go to the World Series).
In 1991, they made it to the ALCS again despite losing ace Dave Stieb for the rest of the season back in May. Tom Candiotti, the knuckleballer, was brought in and he was outstanding in his 19 starts, pitching to a 2.98 ERA but just a 6-7 mark due to poor run support.
They faced the Twins in the ALCS, a team that had never before lost a playoff game at the Metrodome. In 1987, the Twins had won all their games at home en route to their World Series victory.
Candiotti didn’t pitch well in Game One and the Blue Jays lost 5-4. They won the next game with rookie Juan Guzman pitching.
So, series tied 1-1.
The Blue Jays were now going back home for three straight games at SkyDome. Game Three, Jimmy Key pitched, and they lost in extra innings. Game Four, Todd Stottlemyre started and they were blown out. Game Five, Candiotti started, and left with a 5-2 lead (and inherited runners on base). Mike Timlin, Duane Ward, and David Wells all failed in relief. Jays lost 8-5.
Naturally, the Toronto media, led by that guy “Perkins,” blamed Candiotti for the series loss.
Excuse me? You’re tied 1-1 going home for three straight games, and you blame the Game One starter? In the NLCS that year, Tom Glavine lost Game One for Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh. Guess what? The rest of the starters – Steve Avery and John Smoltz – stepped up and the Braves won in seven!
Did Stottlemyre step up? No. Did Key win his start? No.
And yet Perkins and the rest of the Toronto media – there were plenty of them who did the same thing – assigned blame to the Game One starter.
Did these guys even know baseball? You blame the Game One starter when the series was tied 1-1 and the team lost three straight? What planet were these media people from?
Of course, over the years, when Toronto missed the playoffs and more recently, when the Jays made it back, Perkins and the rest of these idiots bring up Candiotti’s name as the reason they lost in 1991.
Totally biased and ridiculously stupid, these guys were.
Anyway, that was my rant that day in the press box when someone brought that name Perkins up. How dumb were those guys covering baseball in Toronto? Really dumb.