What big series in September?

It’s always amazing to read and hear how delusional those covering the Toronto Blue Jays are.

Remember back in May when the Blue Jays went 21-9 and were in first place? They were as many as six games up in the AL East on June 6 following their sixth straight win, a streak which included a three-game sweep in Detroit.

At the time, the scribes on TSN.ca were writing all sorts of garbage about how the Blue Jays-Orioles three-game series to close out the season would be significant, comparing that season-ending set to the 1989 series when Toronto clinched at home against Baltimore to win the division on the final weekend of the campaign. Those scribes were reminiscing about how magical those ’89 Blue Jays were and were trying to suggest – at least that’s what it seemed to me – the 2014 edition were on their way.

tsnThose same scribes were then saying how the Red Sox and the Rays were dead, that there was no way for either Boston or Tampa Bay to rally from their deficits. Those same delusional writers were even suggesting that David Price might be traded to Toronto because Tampa Bay was out of it. (Yeah, right. As if the Rays would trade within the division.)

All hogwash. Do they not even follow baseball? Did they not see how the Rays overcame a seemingly insurmountable deficit at the beginning of September back in 2011? [1] So, this year when the Blue Jays were in first place in June and both the BoSox and Rays were struggling, those Toronto scribes thought the race was over. Those scribes must have thought that the Blue Jays would just keep on slugging their way to the World Series, believing that the team’s only strength – hitting home runs – would last forever. (Do they not know that pitching wins pennants? And I’m sorry – if they think the Toronto rotation is on par with the pitching staffs on true contenders, then they really know nothing about baseball.)

Fast forward to July 21, following the Red Sox’s 14-1 thumping of the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Boston is only 3.5 games worse than Toronto. As for the idle Rays, a three-game sweep over lowly Minnesota over the weekend, coupled with Toronto’s latest loss, moved Tampa Bay to within four games of the Blue Jays. And oh yeah, the Rays have won five straight – same as the Red Sox – and that streak includes two victories over the Blue Jays prior to the All-Star break. (The Blue Jays still haven’t won a road series in Tampa Bay since April of 2007. Oh wait, maybe those scribes expect Toronto to sweep the Rays in their next series in Tampa from Sept. 2-4, right? And go 9-0 in their nine remaining games against the Rays from late August onwards, right? After all, according to those guys, the Rays are done.)

And yes, as TSN.ca correctly pointed out, back in 2000 the Rays (who were known as the Devil Rays at the time) did trade right-hander Steve Trachsel to the Blue Jays down the stretch. But really? Trachsel was a journeyman pitcher and Tampa Bay was a horrible team back then. Does TSN.ca really expect the Rays, a perennial contender, to trade a marquee ace such as David Price to the Blue Jays? Even if they were to give up on the season and trade Price, he would likely be going to a National League team. Definitely not Toronto.

Again, it’s just amazing how, year after year, the delusional Toronto media seems to have a complete lack of knowledge of the game. During the first half, whenever I had a baseball conversation with Blue Jays bandwagon fans around me, I always told them, “Oh, by the way, there’s still a second half of the season to play.” Apparently, even those scribes in Toronto, particularly the ones writing for TSN.ca, are clueless about that too.

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[1] One needs not be a baseball historian to know that large deficits in baseball are surmountable, even if he/she hasn’t heard of the 1951 Giants, 1978 Yankees, or 1914 Braves. Even in the last 25 years alone, we have seen numerous examples. In 1995, for instance, the Mariners (the Blue Jays’ expansion cousins from 1977, by the way) rallied from an 11-game deficit to eventually overtake the Angels. The 1991 and 1993 Braves rallied from 9.5- and 10-game deficits against the Dodgers and Giants, respectively. (And don’t get me started on those Expos fans who seem to think their team would have won the 1994 World Series. The Braves could have overtaken them down the stretch, and as most fans know, teams that make it to the postseason for the first time in a long time – which the Expos would have been in 1994 – rarely win it all in their first try.) Heck, even in that historic 2011 season, the Braves had an 8.5-game lead at the start of September, but collapsed in that final month. So, it’s happened before – and will again. Then again, why would the scribes covering the Blue Jays know anything? From listening to their analysts and reading their columns, it’s like the Blue Jays play in a vacuum and the rest of the baseball world doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter.

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