Dog Days, Blue Jays and Better Days …
“Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.”
That’s what Hov told us on “Reminder”.
Some things in life, we can easily depend on. Our dependence on the expected is a natural part of our existence. We find comfort in it.
We can also comfortably assume that during the dog days of summer, we scratch and we itch and fiend like Smokey in the original Friday movie for any semblance of a sporting event that would remotely peak our keen interests.
For years, I’ve watched the Blue Jays stomp their way through the first portion of the season, only to see the hopes and dreams of all their fans dashed by August and September due to a mid-season collapse – forfeiting any chance of any meaningful games in the fall.
Fortunately, for Jays fans everywhere, this isn’t the case for this year’s edition of the boys in blue.
This year, general manager Alex Anthopoulos managed to put together some of the most intriguing moves of any administrator midway through a season.
It’s almost as if Anthopoulos could hear the collective moans and groans of fans throughout the Greater Toronto Area about the continued shortcomings of the city’s beloved Blue Jays for over two decades.
The 38-year-old GM effectively revamped the fabric of the franchise, trading almost a dozen pitching prospects and popular shortstop Jose Reyes to acquire five major leaguers, including perennial all-stars Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher David Price – two of baseball’s best players.
It’s almost as if Anthopoulos could hear the collective moans and groans of fans throughout the Greater Toronto Area about the continued shortcomings of the city’s beloved Blue Jays for over two decades since Carter belted that ball into the left field stands of the SkyDome (for the young bucks, it’s now called the Rogers Centre) during the ’93 World Series game against the Phillies.
Okay, maybe he couldn’t hear the moans and groans, but he definitely read the tweets and blogs. At which point, Double A – my new name for him – said “to hell it with it” and changed the course of Blue Jay history.
Early favourites for the local hero lead to names such as Donaldson, Price and Tulowitzki. Who’ll be the hero this year? Time will tell.
At first glance, the trades seemed like another failed, last ditch attempt at one more mid-season push for first place in the American league east division, usually dominated by the Red Sox and Yankees.
But, unlike other futile attempts, these moves proved to be productive, and subsequently landed the Jays in first place atop the division, effectively making baseball the new talk of Toronto. Not an easy task, especially with the sour tang of Raptor defeat still left on the taste buds of Canadian sports fans.
While the Toronto Blue Jays have yet to solidify an official playoff spot in MLB in over two decades, the thrill, excitement, Twitter and social media fodder since their recent upswing has provided a refreshing air of anticipation.
Jack Nicholson stated in an early ’90s blockbuster movie, Batman, that “this town needs an enema.”
Truer words couldn’t be echoed for this year’s Blue Jays squad, as early favourites for the local hero lead to names such as Donaldson, Price and Tulowitzki. Who’ll be the hero this year?
Time will tell.
Time will also tell, if in future summers, the resurgence of the Toronto Blue Jays will invoke a level of sporting interest in a city where excitement dwindles once the Leafs and Raptors are eliminated from the playoffs and head to the golf course, or the lake for some fishing.
For now, the season is changing; the leaves will soon turn colours indicative of an impending fall season, bringing the wildly popular NFL season, as well as the MLB post-season that fans north of the border rarely take part in. Fans of the blue and white will finally have relevant baseball to watch in the fall in anticipation of, dare I say it, a home playoff game in North America’s fourth largest city.
Sports lovers, like myself, embrace the notion. It means we have something worthwhile to watch before the NFL, NBA and NHL stake their claim as favourites on our remote controls and PVRs.
This change is welcomed.