Box Score Bank: When the Jays Were Good

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Box Score Bank: When the Jays Were Good

Do you realize that it's been almost 19 years since the Blue Jays made the playoffs?

Think about that for a second. Around here, we're ready to drink a vat of poison after two months of sub-par baseball, up in Toronto they've been living it for nearly two decades.

There are players on that team who weren't even five years old the last time Toronto was in the post-season. Of course there's one guy Omar Vizquel who was 26, but that's not the point.

Point: It's been a long, long time since these guys were good. And even though things are certainly looking up in Toronto, it will very likely still be a little while before they find their way back to the postseason.

As a tribute to their struggles, let's trek back to 1993, the year Toronto won the second of their back-to-back titles.

The Sox went 3-10 against the Blue Jays that season, and oddly enough, two of those three wins came in starts by Danny Darwin. The third win is today's Box Score Bank.

So, let's crank it bank to September 22, 1993

Bill Clinton was finishing up his first year as President. Jurassic Park (which came out in June) was still no. 1 at the Box Office. Dream Lover by Mariah Carey was in its third of eight weeks atop the Billboard charts. Michael Jordan was less than two weeks away from the shocking the world with his first retirement. Jose Iglesias was three

and over at the SkyDome, Butch Hobson's Red Sox were putting down a beating on the Blue Jays.

Final Score: Boston 7, Toronto 5

Man, what a line-up those Blue Jays teams had:

First of all, three Hall of Famers in Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar and Paul Molitor. Then there was John Olerud (who hit .363 that season with a .473 .OBP), Joe Carter who hit 33 homers with 121 RBI (and hit one pretty big homer in the playoffs) and All-Star center fielder Devon White (who stole 34 bases and was in the midst of winning five-straight gold gloves).

They were a beautiful thing, those Jays. But on this day they were no match for the Sox! OK, actually the game was pretty close.

Boston was up 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth, when Roberto Alomar hit a two-run double off of closer Ken Ryan to send the game to extra innings

Where the one and only Rob Deer hit a two-run blast off the one and only Mike Timlin to propel the Sox to a dramatic victory. Good stuff!

Not so good: The Sox missed the playoffs for the third straight year.

But hey, it beats 19.

(By the way, on that same afternoon, 26-year-old Omar Vizquel went 1-5 in Seattle's 7-4 win over the Rangers)

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.