Jays' fans dodge a bullet

Toronto Blue Jays fans cheer for Jose Bautista during the first inning of the MLB American League...

Toronto Blue Jays fans cheer for Jose Bautista during the first inning of the MLB American League baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Ohio July 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:09 PM ET

TORONTO - The best news for Blue Jays fans and their dreams of returning to post-season play in the not-so-distant future came from commissioner Bud Selig when at his annual media session at the all-star game he said realignment is just down the road but that it wouldn’t be a major re-do like others had suggested.

“I’ve always liked realignment,” Selig said, “but if you’re talking about significant realignment, it’s going to have to wait. Is there massive realignment on the horizon? No there is not.”

When realignment scenarios first surfaced amid movement towards the creation of two 15-team leagues, with Houston moving to the American League from the National, it was accompanied by a more balanced rotating schedule as opposed to the mishmash interleague schedule that now exists.

A rotating schedule, of course, would no longer automatically have the big interleague matchups that now exist — the Mets against the Yankees, the White Sox against the Cubs, the Giants and against the A’s.

To keep those rivalries and others going on an annual basis the thinking was that massive realignment would take place with a large number of teams shifting around into new division.

One that was floated suggested a division that contained the Yankees, the Mets, the Red Sox, the Phillies and the Blue Jays.

The Jays and their fans are constantly crying about how unfair it is to be in the same division as the free spending Yankees and Red Sox. Can you imagine how hopeless the situation would be if the division now included the Mets — who would spend like crazy to keep up to the Yankees — and the Phillies?

If that were to happen just turn out the lights at Rogers Centre and fold the franchise.

Selig, though, put the kibosh on those thoughts with the only anticipated move being made by the Astros.

Thanks Selig, this Bud’s for you.

ALL-STAR RATINGS IN THE TOILET

There were a lot of no-shows and not much in the way of sizzle heading into last Tuesday’s all-star game in Phoenix.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when TV ratings showed the fans’ reaction was: ‘If you don’t want to show up, we’re not going to watch.’

In the U.S., the ratings were the lowest in history.

MLB’s decision to give the game significance by awarding the league that wins the game home field advantage in the World Series has not resulted in one extra set of eyeballs tuning in.

But that doesn’t mean that deep thinkers in the game aren’t trying to come up with scenarios that would ‘jazz up’ the game.

In Boston, all-star third baseman Kevin Youkilis believes that ripping a page from the NHL would do the trick.

As all-star games go the NHL is as lame as, say, the NBA but ahead of the abysmal NFL game.

“For me personally, I don’t think of it as a big deal, the home-field advantage,” Youkilis told the Boston Herald.

On that, everyone would agree.

So here’s his solution, one that almost duplicates the approach the NHL took last winter of adopting a ‘Fantasy Draft’.

“It shouldn’t be the American League and the National League, it should be the All-Stars,” he opined. “I had this idea where you (vote in) two guys from every position, plus the pitchers, and then have the two managers draft players so guys can all play against each other.

“I think that would be a cool thing, you could have a huge Sunday showing of picking the all-star teams.”

As for the bruised ego of being the last pick, Youkilis brushed it aside.

“The last pick on the all-star team is just as good as the first,” he said. “I’ll take being the last pick on the all-star team every year.”

Stealing a page from the NHL — go figure?

DODGERS ARE JAYS PATSY

Alex Anthopoulos has received praise for a couple of big deals he has pulled off in his brief tenure as the Blue Jays general manager — the unloading of Vernon Wells and his mega-million-dollar salary to the Los Angeles Angels this past off-season and the Roy Halladay deal the winter before.

But the deal he pulled off earlier this week may have been his best to date as somehow, some way, he found a patsy, er partner, in a trade that sent Juan Rivera to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers said they acquired Rivera as an upgrade in left field and that he also may be used on occasion at first base.

To make room for Rivera the Dodgers designated Marcus Thames for assignment.

Question: How bad a player does Thames have to be to lose his job to the Rivera that played for the Jays?

And to say that he will be an upgrade defensively in left is beyond embarrassment.

Rivera showed in spring training that he absolutely had zero range in the outfield while on the base paths he runs as if a refrigerator is lashed to his back.

He was so bad during spring training that the Jays decided to scrap plans to open the season with Jose Bautista at third and instead shifted him back to right, dropped the defensively unreliable Edwin Encarnacion into the vacant spot at third and planted Rivera as their DH.

To be fair, Rivera played well defensively at first during the time that Adam Lind was on the disabled list.

At the plate, though, his best-before date has also lapsed.

“I don’t know if it’s a final push, but he’s someone we thought could improve our club,” Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said at the time.

Final push? Rivera? Now, that’s funny.

MOVING DAY CANCELLED

The final weeks and days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline have in past years meant just one thing to veterans on the Kansas City Royals — start packing your bags.

Even though the Royals are sinking out of sight in the basement of the AL Central, signs of another fire sale are not on the horizon.

“We’ll be aggressive in exploring options,” general manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star. “But I like this group of players. I like our youth.”

Teams in need of an upgrade or two will be kicking the Royals’ tires as they have some veterans who are desirable in the likes of outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera but the days of having the team ripped apart are over.

“The one constant since we got here (in June 2006) has been change,” Moore said. “Now, we’ve got a young club — the youngest in the major leagues. It’s a group that gets along and wants to win together.

“Maybe we just let them play and see what happens.”

Why not indeed?


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