Everybody knows this is nowhere

The Buffalo Bills will play eight preseason and regular season games here at the Rogers Centre over the next five years, including an exhibition game Thursday night against the Steelers.

Now, let’s make one thing clear. I like Toronto. It’s a wonderful city, even if they do substitute plum sauce for BBQ sauce. And I understand the Bills wanting to take a regional approach toward the marketing of their team, especially when you consider the team will reportedly receive about $10 million in rights fees for each game.

But as if this whole situation wasn’t already a slap in the face to Bills fans in Buffalo, the city of Toronto is controlling all tailgating activities surrounding Thursday’s games. In accordance with the city’s staunch stance against public intox, the tailgate will be strictly regulated. Fans won’t be able to bring and consume their own food and drink. They won’t even be able to hang out near their own cars and trucks. Rather, they’ll be forced to attend a city-hosted tailgate in which food and drink must be purchased on-site and only those of legal drinking age may attend.

“I think there’s a certain skepticism among the intelligentsia of the American sporting world that we Torontonians can tailgate with the best of them,” Adrian Montgomery, the general manager of the Toronto Bills’ series, told the Globe and Mail, “so here’s our opportunity to show them that we’re up to the challenge.”

Well, here’s an outsider’s view from one member of the “skeptical intelligentsia” who won’t be attending this lame tailgate: Get your own team, Canada. And if your tailgate doesn’t include BBQ, a war might break out.

Suffice to say there is no tailgating taking place outside today’s Indians-Jays game. Nonetheless, here are today’s lineups…

INDIANS (51-64): CF Grady Sizemore, DH David Dellucci, C Kelly Shoppach, SS Jhonny Peralta, LF Shin-Soo Choo, 1B Ryan Garko, RF Franklin Gutierrez, 3B Andy Marte, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera. LHP Cliff Lee (15-2, 2.58).

BLUE JAYS (59-58): RF Marco Scutaro, 2B David Eckstein, CF Alex Rios, DH Vernon Wells, LF Adam Lind, C Rod Barajas, 1B Lyle Overbay, 3B Scott Rolen, SS John McDonald. RHP Scott Richmond (0-1, 4.91).

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…

  • It’s looking like Victor Martinez (right elbow surgery) will go out on a rehab assignment next weekend. The location is still yet to be determined. Josh Barfield (left middle finger surgery) should also be ready for a rehab around that time, and it’s possible Travis Hafner (right shoulder weakness) won’t be far behind, according to manager Eric Wedge.
  • Dellucci is having a great trip. He’s 10-for-16 with a double, a walk, five RBIs, four runs scored and two homers. “He’s hitting the ball hard,” Wedge said. “I think he’s staying through the ball a little better. The balls he used to roll on he’s shooting through the middle.”
  • LHP Aaron Laffey had a nice outing for Triple-A Buffalo last night, tossing eight scoreless innings in which he allowed just four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in his second start since his July 26 demotion. “He put the ball on the ground, was strong and efficient,” Wedge said. “He’s going to be in our rotation [eventually]. We’re confident he’ll get back to where he needs to be.” 
  • Down at Double-A Akron, LHP Scott Lewis gave up just one unearned run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings, and LHP Chuck Lofgren worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to get the win at Trenton. Lofgren has been pitching in relief since July 9 and has a 2.95 ERA out of the ‘pen, while Lewis is 3-1 with a 0.73 ERA in eight starts since July 1. 
  • Lee is taking part in this year’s Direct Energy Backyard Challenge contest. One lucky fan will win the opportunity to host a Wiffle ball game at home that Lee will attend. Interested fans can register at www.directenergy.com/gotribe until Sept. 5. No purchase is necessary. Sizemore took part in the contest last year.
  • Indians starting pitchers are 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA over hte last 13 games.
  • Former Indians pitcher Jason Davis makes his debut in the Pirates’ rotation today.

Lastly, I want to send a shout-out to David Briggs, who is in attendance today and, well, asked for a blog shout-out. Briggs was a standout associate reporter for MLB.com and Indians.com last season, and he’s now doing a fine, fine job helping Mike Harrington with the Buffalo News’ coverage of the Bisons. I’d say he’s doing a fine job covering today’s game, if it weren’t for the fact that he overslept after staying up late watching the Olympics with his Chinese roommate and just arrived, 45 minutes before game time.

~AC 

1 Comment

I watched Laffey last night in Allentown. He was dominating the AAA lineup, but missed badly on a few. Make no mistake, that was not against major league hitting, but still a nice outing.

I’ll get my first look at Huff today.

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