A Carl Crawford two-run HR off Roy Halliday has Toronto trailing the Rays, 2-0, tonight at the Rogers Centre, days after the Jays’ Kevin Millar opined to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he and his mates are “definitely fortunate that you’re in another country and you’re playing for the Blue Jays and you’ve got three beat writers instead of 40. The Globe & Mail’s Jeff Blair might lack for company, but not for effort when it comes to pointing out the depths to which Alex Rios and Vernon Wells have sunk.

Everybody’s pointed out how poorly Rios and Wells have played and how often they slump. It’s not like it’s just happened this season, you know? But this isn’t a baseball city: it’s a hockey city. It’s also a city without much success in any sport in recent years so, you know, there’s an element of ‘Yeah, whatever,’ at work here. We don’t have a gold standard for sports in Toronto; we have a bronze standard.

So, here you go Millar: Rios and Wells frequently suck “ although it was everybody’s favourite Gritty Guy, John McDonald, who was caught off second base before Wells bounced out for the final out of yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies and there was nary a boo for Johnny Mac.

Anyhow, my sense is general manager J.P. Ricciardi’s all but at the bag of balls stage; that he’s decided any money saved in off-loading Rios or Wells is more important than what’s brought back in return, and that it would have been done by now had Travis Snider not been hurt. The Blue Jays are in danger of a serious revenue crunch that will impact their ability to do on-field business next year. Money’s not coming in, and Roy Halladay needs to be paid.

While it may be true Toronto’s not a baseball town, how often do we hear an MLB vet  praise the competitive atmosphere in a bush league setting? Pirates starter Ian Snell K’d 17 Toledo Mud Hens yesterday and told Indianapolis play-by-play announcer Scott McCauley, “the fans are electric here.  You can tell, even though they don’t say much or cheer much they pay attention to the game.  It was just fun pitching in front of them again.”

A breathless McCauley wonders, “I wonder if the Pirates phones will be ringing tonight? Is anyone interested in a 27 year who sat at 94 miles per hour and hit 96 at least a dozen times this afternoon?” Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke’s Pat Lackey takes all this in and seems equally eager for another GM to take Snell off the Bucs’ hands (link courtesy Baseball Musings).

Snell tosses his teammates in Pittsburgh under the bus, completely slays Pirate fans, and then pushes his catchers under the same bus he already threw them under once, gets in the proverbial bus, backs over them several times, parks the bus on top of them, douses it with gasoline, and lights it on fire. Oh, but nothing against the guys up there. Talk about passive aggressive.