A few little news items have come up that we’ll pass along to you, the biggest is that Jack Murphy, a catcher with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2013, has been given the Australian Baseball League Fan Choice Award as the league’s most popular player.
As one of the few North American players who has returned to the ABL more than once, Murphy has endeared himself to the Australian fans in a multitude of ways. Known for his long hair and moustache, Murphy has also helped the Canberra Cavalry win the Claxton Shield (the ABL title trophy) for the 2012/13 season and followed that up by leading the club to a victory in the Asia Series in 2013, facing off against teams from Korea, Japan, Europe and Taiwan. Murphy hit two home runs in late games including a grand slam in the final to beat the Samsung Lions (from Taiwan) to win the whole tournament and earn the tournament MVP award.
This is the second award garnered by Blue Jays minor leaguers playing in the ABL this season. Second baseman Jon Berti was given the team MVP award at a banquet earlier this week.
Murphy and Berti lead the Cavalry into the ABL Championship Series against the Perth Heat this weekend starting Friday (games occur late night/early morning the day before in North America).
In other news, the Blue Jays have unveiled a new batting practice/spring training cap and, while Minor Leaguer at Bluebird Banter thinks it’s ugly, I’m not quite so convinced.
I generally don’t really care about uniforms so much (although I hated the “Jays” logo that the Blue Jays have since replaced with the more classic one) but I wasn’t crazy about last year’s BP/ST cap that featured the red maple leaf on a blue cap. I actually think that cap went better with the blue uniforms than this one will but we’ll be able to see for sure in another couple of weeks.
What do you think? Worth getting fussed over?
Andrew Stoeten at DJF has also reported that the turf at Rogers Centre is going to be worked on over the next couple of years with the eye of installing real grass by 2018. To me, this isn’t all that interesting. I’d love to see the Rogers Centre with real grass but I don’t really expect much to happen over the next little while. The Jays are making all the noise in the world that they want to put grass in the stadium and I’d love it if they do but I can’t really get worked up over a “refurbishment” of the turf.
Finally, the young Dominican pitcher, Hansel Rodriguez, who I first reported had signed with the Blue Jays back on January 22, has had some more information released about his signing. Ben Badler at Baseball America, reports that the signing bonus was $330,000 and he provides a short scouting report and some video. Head on over there to check it out for yourself!