I love Canada, I really do. I grew up about 10 minutes from the border and used to take late night trips to seedy bars across the border at 19 years-old (I think they call it "Age 19" over there) to party with people who were far less excited to be drinking than me and my friends. I also spent a whirlwind 3 day weekend in Mosport Park Canada for a music festival featuring the likes of The Tragically Hip, Tracy Bonham, Howard Jones, Bush and The Cure. So I'm pretty much an expert on Canada.
In living so close to Canada, you tend to pick up on things about their culture that is far different from ours. From accents (they pronounce Mazda "Masz-duh"), to food (they put gravy on everything) to political beliefs (they hate french canadians and we, well, I guess we share that quality). But one of the things that struck me most was that Canadians have very distinct names. A lot of Russ's and Roys, some Carls and a ton of CJ's, TJ's and any other letter they could think of to precede J. So I found it pretty humorous this week watching the Sox play the Blue Jays and noticing (not for the first time as this was pointed out to me last year) that the Jays feature a ton of guys with really Canadian names.
First of all, their color guy, (Rance Mullinicks), played for the Jays for aboot (intentional misspelling) a decade and though he was born in California, he sounds like he's reading for the part of Doug MacKenzie in the remake of Strange Brew. And "Rance Mullinicks", that's the most Canadian name I've ever heard.
But getting to the field, there are so many guys with Canadian sounding names, you have to begin to wonder whether Ricciardi takes that into consideration when signing them. Here's the list of the most Canadian of them:
Russ Adams - SOOOOOOO Canadian. If you've ever been to Canada, you've likely met a Russ, whether you knew it or not. The Dodgers Russ Martin is actually Canadian.
Lyle Overbay - Lyle is so common I think it's actually illegal not to name your third child Lyle in Canada. Male or female. If you lived in Canada, your Uncle or Aunt would be named Lyle, and would more than likely have a mustache.
Troy Glaus - In Winnipeg, the name Troy is like Jose down in Mexico.
Roy Halladay - Alex Trebek's birth name was Roy Royson III. Little known fact. He was named after the long line of Roy's before and after him. Swear it. Not to mention the amount of people in coming generations named after Patrick Roy.
Royce Clayton - I mean, come on. He may as well have been a hall of fame blue liner for the Nords.
AJ Burnett & BJ Ryan - Obviously due to the "X"J Canadian name rule, their names are truly Canadian, but BJ Ryan actually looked Canadian. There was just something about him... (I know he's not deceased and should probably not be referred to in the past tense, but a hard throwing left getting Tommy John surgery late in his career is the baseball equivalent of being diagnosed with Ebola.).
Greg Zaun - Canadians tend to have a Z's in their names. Not in the same way people from Chicago or Wisconsin do, they just have more non-Polish Z's. I can't explain it, but it's true.
Vernon Wells - Vernon is a popular name in Canada likely due to reverence for their "Houdini," a guy named Dai Vernon. I also think Living Colour's Vernon Reed was Canadian, though he was born in London, it's close enough that he may as well have been Canadian. So clearly, a black guy in Canada named Vernon is pretty much par for the course.
Reed Johnson - Fairly Canadian but nothing to write home about.
Jason Frasor, Shaun Marcum and Scott Downs - Pretty Canadian (Marcum in particular) but again, just kinda ordinary.
Then lastly, the guy they brought up tonight to pitch: James J. Vermilyea. He goes by Jamie, for now. Jamie Vermilyea would be Canadian enough, but is there any doubt that by next year he'll be JJ Vermilyea? That level of Canadian-ness will be unmatched. It is possible that some type of vortex will open and swallow us all whole when that happens. I for one can't wait.