2008 Toronto Blue Jays

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2008 Toronto Blue Jays / Franchise: Toronto Blue Jays / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 86-76, Finished 4th in AL Eastern Division (2008 AL)

Managed by John Gibbons and Cito Gaston

Coaches: Brad Arnsberg, Brian Butterfield, Gary Denbo, Dwayne Murphy, Nick Leyva, Marty Pevey, Gene Tenace, Bruce Walton and Ernie Whitt

Ballpark: Rogers Centre

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

On April 4, the Blue Jays played in their home opener. During the pre-game ceremonies, both Roberto Alomar and Paul Beeston were inducted into the Level of Excellence for their contributions to the Blue Jays organization. Also during the pre-game ceremonies, the JumboTron featured a video package of former Blue Jays players and staff who had passed away (including broadcaster Tom Cheek, pitchers Joe Kennedy and Cory Lidle, and former pitching coach Al Widmar), the team then beat the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, 6–3. At that game, the team also debuted their new "Flashback Friday" powder blue throwback uniforms, similar to those worn in the 1979 season. The uniforms will be worn at each home game on Fridays, throughout the regular season.[1]

On April 20, the Blue Jays gave Frank Thomas his outright release after he voiced his displeasure about being benched indefinitely. The benching was said to be a result of his low performance level early in the season. His contract stated that if he reached 1000 plate appearances in his two year contract he would receive a bonus year at $10 million. Thomas required 304 more plate appearances to be guaranteed the bonus. At the conclusion of the game on April 20, the Blue Jays announced the call up of catcher Robinzon Díaz to take over the roster spot of the departed Thomas. Four days later, Thomas was signed by the Oakland Athletics.

On April 25, the Blue Jays activated third baseman Scott Rolen from the 15-day disabled list. He is expected to provide a boost for a struggling Blue Jays team, which has lost 7 of its last 10 games. Rolen, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a January trade for Troy Glaus, suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger at spring training. Robinzon Díaz was sent back to Triple-A to clear the roster spot.

On May 24, Jesse Litsch pitched his first major league complete game shutout, blanking the Kansas City Royals 6–0 at the Rogers Centre. He also set a new team record of 38 consecutive innings without giving up a walk. That same game featured Brad Wilkerson hitting the team's fourth grand slam of the season.

On June 10, the Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 3-1 in a home game lasting 2 hours and 2 minutes, one of the quickest games played in the 2008 Major League Baseball season to that date. Right-hander Dustin McGowan pitches a complete game, 125 pitches for the win. [2][3]

Gibbons was fired along with three of his coaches on June 20, after the team had gotten off to a disappointing 35-39 record, last in the AL East. He was replaced by former Blue Jay manager Cito Gaston, who had led the team to World Championships in 1992 and 1993. He brought in three veteran coaches - Dwayne Murphy, Nick Leyva and Gene Tenace - to assist him.

On September 4, the Jays completed a three game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, with a 9-0 win. Rookie Travis Snider hit his first major league home run, a 400 foot shot straight to center field at the top of the fifth inning. Jesse Litsch pitched a complete game for the win.[4]

The winning streak continued on September 5, with the Jays winning a sixth-straight game (a season record) in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay. Roy Halladay enjoyed his 129th career win (and his fifth straight win that season)[5], moving him into second spot on Toronto's all-time wins list, trailing only Dave Stieb with 175 wins. Joe Carter was the guest of honor during Flashback Friday celebrations, signing autographs for fans and receiving a lengthy ovation from the crowd at Rogers Centre.[6]

Awards and Honors[edit]


some text copied via the GFDL from the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Toronto_Blue_Jays&action=edit&oldid=236582968 as it appeared on September 8, 2008