Saturday, August 27, 2011

The late-season doldrums

Being a long-time Jays fan, I’ve gotten used to seasons seeming awfully long. This year’s edition of the team leaves me with much the same feeling. There is reason for hope this year. The Jays’ GM, Alex Anthopoulos, has a plan to improve the team, seems to be working and he’s sticking to it. It now seems realistic to think the Jays might truly be competitive next year – and that’s something that Toronto fans haven’t had in many a year. Some other major league teams are also rounding into this position. “Maybe next year” is realistic for some of them.

Also, just having a good team on paper can mean little if there are injuries to key members of the team, players have bad seasons, or even there’s poor chemistry in the clubhouse.

So, my team is clearly going nowhere this season, something that’s been true since 1993. What if I were a Cubs fan? That must be truly depressing.

At this point, for the bottom-level teams, the only thing we have to look forward to between now and the end of the season other than a chance to look at the kids from the farm team are the teams in your division. The schedule is such that if you’re in a strong division (as the Jays are), you can look forward to watching the Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa further beating up on your team. The AL East is a truly tough place to rise to the top, but the NL East and West are tough, too. So being a fan in September can become like having sand repeatedly kicked in your face by a bunch of bullies.

To every fan that’s in the same position as I am, I can say this: at least you can go to the ballpark and see some good baseball – even if it isn’t your team playing it.


Larry Toman said...

Hi Rick, for all you're optimism I detect a fair amount of pessimism. This has certainly (again) been a very long and frustrating year. However, there are many bright lights beginning to shine. Unfortunately, there are many glaring holes.Time will tell how they will move forward, and that (of course) depends on how much they are willing to spend. It's still great that we have an MLB team in our city. Cheers!!

Rick Blechta said...

My current pessimism is due to the fact that parts are not in place for the Jays, mostly on the pitching side. Moves were also made during the season that seriously weakened it. I attribute the overall malaise of the team to the bad bullpen. It's tough for the position players going out there knowing that despite how well they play, the bullpen or (recently) the starting pitching is going to put them behind the eight ball.

Not only that, trading Hill and McDonald seems to have created ripples that have caused the team to swoon since their departure. AA may well have his master plan for next year, but if he ticks off the fans with a total crap-out of his team during the last month of the season, he risks turning them off for next season.