“A friend once suggested that the disdain and frustration a great many Blue Jays fans feel toward Vernon Wells is based on race,” wrote The Sun’s Steve Buffery earlier today. “And he’s absolutely right. It’s the race for a playoff spot.” No prizes for guessing why Buffery won’t identify his invisible friend.
Wells is hitting an unspectacular .276, and a frustrating .255 with runners in scoring position. He leads the weak-hitting Jays in RBIs, but he should, he usually bats cleanup. He also has stranded too many base runners. And, quite frankly, he’s not even that spectacular defensively anymore.
But almost as bad as his numbers, is his lack of passion, and that’s what burns the Jays faithful more than anything. And that’s what this club needs right now — someone to call a players’ only meeting and demand more from his teammates. Someone to call out Burnett for his morale-damaging comments.
Someone to show that he cares if the Blue Jays lose in the bottom of the ninth, or continue to strand base runners.
When Wells popped up on a first pitch with the bases loaded against the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly on Sunday, the frustration in the stands at the Rogers Centre was palpable. Wells, on the other hand, looked like a bored baker who just dropped a tim-bit on the ground.
Hell, you know what would have been good? For Wells, or any leader in the Jays clubhouse, to have scolded the Rogers Centre fans when they gave the Cubs’ Reed Johnson that ridiculous standing ovation Friday night when fragile closer B,J. Ryan was trying to shut the door on the Cubs.
The fans have to pick and choose when they get loud and supportive, and to applaud Johnson like he was the second coming of Ted Williams when Ryan was trying to end the game, was dumb.
Or perhaps, this was an acknowledgement of sorts that Blue Jays management had screwed up in cutting Johnson loose? Buffery’s been writing covering sports in Toronto for more than two decades, and the only person I can think of more qualfied to quesiton Wells’ leadership credentials is Tim Johnson.