When I was younger, I used to believe the future was going to be this awe-filled, wondrous world, where people explored the depths of space and discovered planets with cool E.T. life forms and all that sci-fi jazz. I envisioned this Jetson-like life that we would all be a part of today – or some sort of masterful Spielberg vision.
Growing up in the eighties and early nineties, the future was this distant thing that seemed so cool and I couldn’t wait to get there. We were living the VHS-tape-life, the ghetto blaster bombastic life, and all the girls in my class loved the NKOTB life and we all wanted a mother effing Game Boy – or Pogo Ball, too. It was the Super Mario Bros. life, an 8-bit graphics life, and it was a good life. They were Fred Savage ‘Wizard’ kind of times and we were all little monsters a part of it.
And now here we are in this smartphone future that lacks all the luster I imagined the future to have – sort of. I was just a dumb kid who believed there would be flying cars, close encounters of the third kind, teleportation, and all kinds of nonsensical shit. We are certainly not living in that science fiction world today, but technology sure has advanced as kids are not sitting in front of the Commodore 64, playing Spy vs. Spy like we did in the eighties.
And the reason I’m going on about this whole future thing is that the Toronto Blue Jays are an organization that is crossing the not-too-distant-future bridge. And Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have been crystally clear about their plan and - unless you’re Cathal Kelly - there are certain young prospects that all of Blue Jays nation is getting bat-flipping excited about.
Last night, the good people of Montreal saw the past connect with the future as big bad Vlad Jr., who wore his old man’s legendary number, took the field at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium to a standing ovation. It was a legendary moment and it is a great story that Stephen Brunt should probably type up for his next Big Read – and I mean that with no sarcasm.
Now, if you were Cathal Kelly, you would probably say something like this:
…Neither (Vlad and Bo) has played at any level higher than Class A. Realistically, they will not be major-league regulars until at least 2020. If they are to become the all-star-calibre players the organization hopes, that won't happen until a few years later, or maybe never. Baseball is funny that way. On a contending team, you wouldn't hear so much about players of Bichette's and Guerrero's ages. Like Gleyber Torres in New York or Victor Robles in Washington, their stories would be buried under all the talent at the top. The present would overshadow the future. Blah blah blah life sucks blah blah blah the sky is blah blah falling blah blah blah bleak blah blah times blah blah blah I really liked emo music when I was in high school blah blah Dashboard Confessional Cathal Kelly blah.
Now, I had planned on doing a full on rip into the latest Kelly piece that had most Blue Jays fans tweeting in anger about the nonsense that came from it, but I decided to pass on doing that because why bother, amirite?
But, I think that it is worth mentioning, especially after last night’s great ‘Vladdy moment’ that sometimes it has nothing to do with overshadowing anything, sometimes it has to do with the simple love of the game and the excitement for what the future holds.
The thing that happy-go-lucky Cathal Kelly might not realize is that dumb Yankee fans are excited about Torres in New York. And they are excited about Robles in Washington. And they are excited about Acuna in AAtlanta. And Jimenez in Chicago. And Mejia in Cleveland. And so goes the choo choo train to hypeland in every organization. And Blue Jays fans have every damn right to be excited about Vladdy, Bo, and… Nate Pearson.
And if you think it was fun watching Vladdy and Bo this spring training, just wait until next year when fans get to see the nastiness of big Nate. Let’s get even more excited about the future because the future is something to be excited about, especially if we all figure out a way not to fuck it all up, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other type of blog.
So, last week I interviewed Rob Fai, the Vancouver Cs play-by-play man, and he had this to say of all the piercingly nasty things about Pearson that impressed him:
His sheer dominance. For fans to be able to look out at a radar gun reading and see 100 and 101 is enough on its own, but when you see three-pitch strikeouts and his compete level, you realize quickly how elite he was at this level.
I have seen Noah Syndergaard (2011) for about the same period of time and I would say Pearson is more advanced. If he gets a solid secondary pitch this season (slider, change-up) the sky’s the limit.
And here's two strikeouts on six pitches courtesy of Josh Norris:
And when I interview Vancouver C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski, he told me that he thinks Pearson’s pitch selection will probably be about 60% fastballs, 15% sliders, 15% curve balls, and 10% change-ups. In that interview, Jim called Pearson an “absolute animal.” He said he was aggressive, does not back down, attacks guys, and has a little bit of a mean streak in him too.
So, let’s get excited and cast all kinds of future shadows and marvel at this clip of pure Pearson dominance:
I’m not sure when Pearson will land in Toronto, but it might be sooner than most people think. If this kid can dominate throughout the season and remain healthy, he will be the talk of the Dunedin town next spring training.
At this point in time, Nate is already casting long shadows from the dirt hill, which along with Vladdy Jr., Bo, Teoscar, Jansen, and Alford, should give every fan a reason to believe in Shapiro and Atkins’ future focused intergalactic strategy.