Last year, the Blue Jays were supposed to win the World Series. They didn’t. This year, they came back with pretty much the same team, yet for some reason no one was picking them to do anything. The World Series was not attainable. The playoffs were a dream. Failure was the popular prediction.
Then something weird happened — they actually played the games. After two months, the Blue Jays were soaring. They were running (flying?) away with first place. They were making the playoffs. “We”, the fans, were going to make the playoffs. Forget about what we thought two months ago. Forget everything. We are making the playoffs. Hashtag Love This Team.
It was the first week of June and I felt like I was the only one not gushing over the Blue Jays. Woo..hoo, they were 6 games ahead of second place in the division. So what? There were still four months left of the season. FOUR BLOODY MONTHS. Why were fans celebrating?
The standings in baseball can swing much faster than any other sport. All you have to do is play a 4-game series against a team that is behind you, allow them to sweep you, and all of a sudden they gained 4 games on you. Not even a week has gone by and your “lead” is gone.
So I repeat, why were fans celebrating?
Especially since just two months prior, no one was giving this team a chance to do anything special. What happened to all the magical predictions? Did people just forget about them? I thought predictions were sacred. I thought they were accurate. I thought they could be trusted.
No. Predictions are absolutely ridiculous. Because if they weren’t, there would be a 2013 World Series banner blowing in the wind at the Rogers Centre right now.
So then the Blue Jays started to cool off. Their “hot start” didn’t continue into the rest of their schedule. August rolled around and the wheels were off the wagon. Or if we’re sticking with the bird theme, their darn feathers were ruffled.
A lot of people were angry that the Blue Jays didn’t do anything at the trade deadline on July 31. By all accounts, the players were also upset. They wanted help. Jose Bautista spoke out and said the following:
“Of course it’s a little disappointing that we somehow weren’t able to get anything done, but everybody around us that’s in contention . . . somehow figured it out.”
This comment was made on July 31st. The Blue Jays were 2.5 games out of first in their division, but held the second wild card spot. They were in a playoff position. I repeat, THEY WERE IN A PLAYOFF POSITION.
And yet here is the best player on the team, boo-hooing that reinforcements weren’t on the way. Why make something like that public? What do you gain from it? Nothing. You don’t gain a thing. You throw your General Manager under the bus and send the message to every other team in the league that you don’t think your team is good enough. Way to go.
What the heck, Jose? Leaders don’t whine. His comments about the Blue Jays needing help was essentially a pillow that the team could fall on if the last two months of the season didn’t go their way and they missed the playoffs. The excuse was already built in. “Oh, we needed help and didn’t get it.” C’mon man.
Great, two months left in the season and the team doesn’t believe in themselves anymore. So the first two months of the season were a fluke? You’re incapable of playing that level of baseball again, huh?
August sucked. That’s it.
September rolled around and the term “meaningful baseball” emerged out of it’s hole, much like a groundhog does on Groundhog Day, and cast a shadow over the Blue Jays.
“It’s been a long time since the Blue Jays played meaningful baseball in September.”
“Is it still meaningful baseball if they’re 5 games out of a playoff spot?”
Serious question, why does no one ever talk about “meaningful baseball” in any other month of the season? Is everyone in the world a procrastinator? I thought that only applied to students with a Netflix subscription. Guess not.
Perhaps if the Blue Jays had “meaningful baseball” in their mind in August, rather than “woe is us”, the task of leapfrogging over multiple teams and claiming a playoff spot wouldn’t be so daunting.
As of September 1st, I still believed. I watch sports with the belief that anything can happen at any time. You never know when your going to see a moment in history that is replayed over and over again and featured in documentaries. I blame every sports movie ever made and ESPN 30 For 30, for instilling this “sports miracles can happen” belief in me.
Well, a miracle didn’t happen. The Blue Jays are going to miss the playoffs this year, again.
And now all of the naysayers and crystal ball owners can go on social media and say that they told all of us that this would happen back in March.
Wonderful. There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing fans, who barely know what they’re talking about, judge a team before the season starts, hop on the bandwagon for two months of glory, and then hop off when they realize that the season is actually six months long and you can’t clinch a playoff spot in June.
From the Front Office, to the players on the field, to the fans in the stands, everyone needs to do better next year.
I don’t want to hear anymore excuses. I don’t want to see the players having a grand ‘ol time in the dugout during the month of August while they fall further out of the playoff picture. Oh, and have some players on the roster next year who have playoff experience.
Colby Rasmus won’t be back next year. I don’t care who his replacement in centre field is as long as they can accurately throw a baseball. I don’t care if they can’t hit or if they’re 300 pounds. Find someone who can throw a baseball to a base before a runner gets to it. Is that so hard?
I don’t think Gose or Pillar are the long-term answer at any outfield position (what do I know?), but I’d allow (as if it’s up to me) Gose to start next season in centre, bat 9th, steal some bases, and attempt to drop down some bunts. Pillar can make diving catches. I haven’t seen him do much else. Sorry.
As for the fans, the season is 162 games long. The season ends in September. And actually go to games when the roof is closed. Those count just as much as when it’s open and you’re tanning in the 500 level. Shocking, I know.
For two months, the Blue Jays were one of the best teams in the league. Then they flew into a closed window and never recovered. #BirdProblems
So now the City of Toronto turns its attention to hockey and the Maple Leafs…
God help us all.