TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips answers several questions each week. Discount Bears Jerseys . This week topics include the surging Blue Jays, falling MLB giants, domestic violence in pro sports and remembering September 11. 1. With the Toronto Blue Jays having won 9 of their last 11 games, is it safe to say the team is back in the race for the final American League Wild Card spot or, with 17 games left in the season, is a 3.5-game deficit simply too big to overcome? The Jays have shown real character this season. They have dealt with adversity, injuries and disappointment. There was a point when I and others thought they were dead and that they would fade away. Give the players and John Gibbons and his staff a ton of credit. A 3.5 game deficit doesnt sound that overwhelming, especially when the Jays trail the second wild card team, the Tigers, by just three games in the loss column. The Seattle Mariners stand between the Jays and Tigers for that last wild card spot. They are three games ahead of Toronto in the loss column as well. The challenge for the Jays is that there are only 17 games left to make up ground. The Tigers have a winning percentage of .548. That means in their final 16 games if they play like they have all season long they would go 9-7 and finish with 89 wins. If they Jays get to 89 wins it will be because they go 13-4 in their final 17 games. Obviously to get to 90 wins they would have to go 14-3. That means the Jays will finish the season on a 23-5 run. Is it possible? Absolutely Is it probable? Absolutely not. Now the good news is that the Tigers are not playing at a .548 clip in the recent games. In fact, they are just 27-28 after the All Star game. So maybe this will allow the Jays more margin for error. The other good news is that the Oakland As are in freefall right now. They are 15-23 since Aug. 1 so it may actually open up another wild card spot. The Jays cant worry about anyone but themselves. They cant focus on winning 13 games or even one game. Their focus should be on winning on this pitch in this inning in this game. Then refocus for the next pitch and the next pitch. The Jays are in it. Just barely, but they are in it. Wouldnt it make for an amazing October if they shock the world? 2. The Oakland Athletics are 15-23 since acquiring Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox. David Price is 2-3 in seven starts with the Detroit Tigers and has an ERA almost a full run higher than what he had as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this season. Is this a case of a pair of contending teams unable to cope with changed expectations? Baseball is an amazing game. Just when we think we have it figured out we are made fools. We all had the American League figured out. After the trade deadline the As and Tigers were going to square off against each other for the AL pennant. We were comparing the depth and quality of their starting rotations. We wondered aloud if they could be among the best ever. What were we thinking? The game is not played on paper. The game is not played by stats; it is played by people. And as much as I think I know how people are going to act or perform I have been proven wrong over and over. People have feelings and emotions and thoughts all affect how they react and perform. The As certainly improved their pitching staff with the John Lester deal. They did it at the expense of their offence. Billy Beane, As GM, made a calculation that he could give up Yeonis Cespedes production and still score enough runs to improve support the improved pitching staff. I get why he made that evaluation since at the time of the deal he had the highest scoring offence in baseball. Unfortunately what he didnt count on was how the other hitters in the lineup would be affected mentally and emotionally. Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss couldnt handle the pressure of having to deliver more in Cespedes absence. Beane couldnt have predicted that Josh Donaldson and CoCo Crisp would suffer injuries and miss time. As the As started losing games because they were scoring less it put more pressure on the hitters to produce because everyone was talking about the lack of offence. With the obvious lack of offence the pitchers started trying to be perfect and this led them to their own struggles. One fed the other. Somehow they need to start to believe in themselves offensively again and it will improve the pitching. The Tigers struggles were a bit different. Offensively they have been Jekyl and Hyde for a couple of years. They seem to go hot and cold from inning to inning and game to game. When they added David Price everyone starting talking about the unhittable staff that they had. The players started looking at each other and saying, Ok, go out there and be Davis Price. Be Max Scherzer. Be Justin Verlander. The players subconsciously expected perfection from their pitchers so they just effectively stood and watched. They played poor defence and their offence became even more inconsistent. Throw in health struggles by Miguel Cabrera and it really compounded the problem. The Tigers seem to be rebounding a bit while the As are still struggling. The irony is now that we could have John Lester vs David Price in the Wild Card game instead of in Game 7 of the ALCS. Not what we expected but it could still be a great matchup. 3. In light of the perceived mishandling of the Ray Rice affair by the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, are you confident that a similar scenario would be dealt with in a more expedient matter in Major League Baseball or do you see an inability to deal with domestic violence as a systemic issue with professional sports on the whole? What a week it has been. The Ray Rice story has dominated the football landscape in what should have been a celebration of the start of the 2014 season. It has taken over in a baseball-like fashion. It seemed like baseball controversies always seemed to pop up at the most inopportune time. It must be contagious. The NFL clearly has behavior problems. Thirty-one players/executives have been arrested since the Super Bowl in February. Thats right thirty-one. There have been 56 domestic violence arrests in Roger Goodells tenure as commissioner and those players have served a total of only 13 games in suspensions. Football is a game in which the players are driven to perform by their anger. History shows that at times the players cant turn that anger off. This is not a problem exclusive to football. It exists in every other sport, business and class of society. A number of years back Bret Meyers of the Phillies was arrested in Boston for a physical altercation with his wife on a street corner. Charges were dropped and the case was not pursued. Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox was arrested back in 1995 for simple battery in a domestic dispute with his wife. There have been a number of other baseball related domestic violence cases over the years. Baseballs track record of punishing offenders is not strong either. When I was minor league director for the Mets, I chose to educate our players about domestic violence. We talked about anger and relationships and the need to get help if they couldnt control themselves. I hope it helped but I really dont know. It is so hard to predict what people would do if they faced similar circumstances today. I would like to believe that baseball would handle it better than football. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell botched this right from the start. He is in hot water now about either not having pursued the in-elevator video of Rice and his then fianc?? aggressively enough or of lying about having attained it. His credibility has been severely damaged. One thing I do know is that baseball would have pursued the video and gotten it before TMZ did. If the Biogenesis story proved anything it showed that major league baseball will vigorously pursue evidence from any and all sources to get to the truth. Roger Goodell said he would only pursue evidence from credible reputable sources, namely, law enforcement. Heck even the police make deals with scumbags to get information. Why does the NFL have to be so particular? The criminal justice system certainly seemed to fail in New Jersey. How is it possible that the punch in the face that Ray Rice gave his fianc?? is only worthy of participation in an intervention program? My initial inclination was that Rice was given preferential treatment. But it appears he was treated like most first time offenders. That being said I dont think that the NFL or any other professional league needs to be bound to how the judicial system rules. Roger Goodell and any commissioner in sports should hand down penalties that they believe are appropriate. They dont need to compare it to what the prosecutors do in a case. They dont have to worry about preceding penalties for other infractions. If a player does something wrong then give him the punishment he deserves. Who cares if the Unions appeal the ruling? I would have loved to hear the NFLPA argue that Ray Rice knocking his fianc?? out in the elevator really wasnt so bad. Roger Goodell struck out. I would hope that every other league will not only learn from this but will institute clear and concise policies regarding domestic violence. I also hope that education is increased jointly between the leagues and players associations. Where there is a crisis there is an opportunity. I hope we all are more aware now than we were previously and demand more from professional sports leagues to better protect women from abuse. By the way October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 4. It is September 11. I was the general manger of the Mets on that fateful day in 2001. I was on my way into the stadium when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. I saw the smoke from the burning towers as I drove over the Whitestone Bridge heading from the Bronx to Queens. I was in my office at Shea Stadium when the towers collapsed. I was so scared as it became clear that it was a terrorist attack. I wondered what could happen next. I sent everyone home from the offices and raced back to Connecticut to get my kids out of school. I just wanted to hold them. On the ride home I learned of the plane crashing into the Pentagon and another crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA. I was so afraid. In the days and months after the attack people around the country rallied around New Yorkers. When sports teams from the Big Apple traveled they were met with cheers and not the normal boos. Fans believed the best way to share their appreciation for those souls lost and the police and firemen who so bravely rushed into the towers and not away, was to celebrate those of us who represented New York. It was an amazing feeling that despite the fear, a sense of community and connection prevailed. On every September 11, I am reminded of the emotions of that day and the aftermath. I can picture the way the sun was shining that morning. I can remember the cool air on the field at Shea Stadium when firemen from Tennessee were out taking batting practice after a shift at Ground Zero. I remember the looks on peoples faces walking the streets of New York as they glanced to the sky every so often. I remember the funeral that I attended for a husband and father of a friend in my town. I remember the first game back in New York. Mostly, I remember how much I was grateful for and the connection I felt with neighbors that I didnt even know. As time has gone by and we have moved further away from the horrific pain of that time so much has changed. I guess you could say things have returned to normal. I just wish that normal was different. I want to hold on to that feeling of gratitude everyday. I want to think good feelings about the people around me. I want the frustrations of day-to-day life to always be in perspective as they were then. So every September 11th it brings me back. I for one am making a commitment to be more grateful. I commit to being a better citizen and neighbor. I want to understand that today is a great day and that I have so much to be thankful for in my life. I guess you can call it my September 11 Resolutions. Youth Bears Jerseys . LOUIS -- Known for his game-managing and defensive skills, Yadier Molina made another statement with his bat. James Daniels Jersey . The club announced Friday that Mauro Biello will be kept on as an assistant to coach Jesse Marsch when the Impact join the MLS in 2012. http://www.cheapbearsjerseyschina.com/bilal-nichols-jersey/ . -- Canadas Nicole Vandermade won the Four Winds Invitational on Sunday for her first Symetra Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory.Harlequins director of rugby Conor OShea reckons England prop Joe Marler would have endured a hostile reception in Australia had he not withdrawn from the summer tour. Marler has been mired in controversy this season after being banned for a racial slur on Samson Lee of Wales during the Six Nations and for committing an act of foul play against Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy while playing front-row for Harlequins.After speaking to England head coach Eddie Jones, Marler decided to pull out of the Test against Wales on Sunday week and three-match series against the Wallabies on the grounds he is not in the right frame of mind to play international rugby. OShea believes it is the right decision and recalls the hostility displayed towards Marler by Montpellier fans before kick-off in Fridays Challenge Cup final in Lyon.When I heard the reaction from the French crowd that he got when his name was read out in Lyon last weekend all I could think was thank God hes not on the pitch to hear that, OShea said.I was down in Australia in 1994 and I remember trying to put in a contact lens, my picture being put up on the big screen, and someone saying, go back and put on your makeup. Conor OShea, Harlequins director of rugby You know Australia will not be backwards in coming forward and all things considered they have made the decision that is right for Joe in the long term. Bears Jerseys From China. I know what hes gone through over the last few months and I respect whatever decision he and Eddie have made.And Marler indicated the pressure of a troubled season has taken its toll on him.It has been a very enjoyable but sometimes difficult season, said Marler in a statement released by the Rugby Football Union.After speaking to Eddie I have decided that the best thing for me is to take a rest and not go to Australia.Whenever you play for England you have to be 100 per cent and unfortunately Im not in that place at the moment. Its not a decision Ive come to lightly, but I feel I would be letting my team-mates and my country down if I were to tour. 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