While watching Blue Jays Xpress (not a bad show actually) last night, something struck me. The Blue Jays have been absolutely horrible since the show debuted on Sportsnet 360 after the game against the Tigers on Canada Day. Since that exciting day when a new program for Blue Jays fans to get their baseball fix premiered, the Blue Jays have gone 19-32, which adds up to a .373 winning percentage! The Blue Jays were only six games out of the wild card when it first aired, but now they're 15 games out! I'm not sure what Eric Smith (who was nice enough to give us an interview) and friends are up to in that studio at 370 King Street, but the Blue Jays woes this season can be easily traced back to them.
I decided to go on a more in-depth hunt to find if the Blue Jays Xpress premiere was actually what sabotaged the season or if some more sinister event ruined the Jays 2013 campaign while we weren't looking.
The Royal Baby is Born
While it originally seemed that the monarchy no longer had any visible effect on the country of Canada, it seems their influence is at an all-time high in 2013. On July 22nd, George Alexander Louis was born to a mother formerly known as Kate Middleton with no obvious effect on the Blue Jays season. After closer inspection, the birth of the young lad looks to have destroyed any playoff aspirations that Toronto had. Since the birth, the Blue Jays are 14-21 which is a .400 winning percentage.
Blue Jays relievers Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar Strike Out Back to Back Hitters in the All-Star Game
What seemed like a high point in the season may have actually signalled the downward turning point of the year. It seems the team thought they could cruise to the playoffs after seeing their teammates dominate the best hitters in the league at Citi Field. Since that night the Blue Jays have gone 14-24 which is good enough for a .368 winning percentage.
The Chicago Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup
During Spring Training, there was a lot of speculation that the Blue Jays were going to go head to head with the Maple Leafs for media coverage in Toronto and that baseball was finally making inroads in the hockey mad city. The Blue Jays players and front office seemed extremely determined to make fans pay attention to the team with all of the offseason acquisitions generating great excitement around the Rogers Centre based squad.
It only makes sense that the Blue Jays let their guard down after the sport they were competing with finished their season. The players knew they no longer had to compete for eyeballs in the city and that fans would watch them attempt to play baseball regardless of how ugly it was. Seems to make perfect sense that they've gone 21-36 since the completion of the NHL season, good enough for a .368 winning percentage. It looks like the All-Star appearances of Cecil and Delabar and the end of the Stanley Cup had a completely equal effect on the Blue Jays as the resulting winning percentage is the same down to 11 decimal points.
The Great Toronto Flood of July 8th, 2013
This seems to be one of those news stories where everyone remembers where they were when it occurred. I remember that I didn't know about it because I don't live in Toronto. I eventually heard about it in passing. Exciting stuff. It seems this rainfall flooded more than just houses across the Greater Toronto Area, it put the Blue Jays season under six feet of water. Unable to recover from the downpour of bad fortune, the Blue Jays have gone 16-28, which makes for a .364 winning percentage.
Well there you have it folks. Turns out Eric Smith, Donnovan Bennett and all the other fine folks on the Blue Jays Xpress team got some unnecessary scorn from me at the beginning of this post as it was actually events like Kate Middleton and Prince William having a baby that caused the Blue Jays to lay an egg during the rest of the season. Maybe the team was too caught up in the flooding coverage or pregnancy drama to focus on playing fundamentally sound baseball and never got back on track. It makes you wonder where this Blue Jays season would have been if not for that fateful storm on July 8th. Maybe there'd still be sunny days ahead. Thanks a lot Mother Nature.