Congratulations to the Jays and to all of the BBB community. Simple odds dictate that back-to-back appearances in the ALCS will not happen regularly so let’s make sure to be thankful (fittingly) and enjoy the ride. Here are 10 things I’m thinking.
1. Again in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to everyone here on Bluebird Banter for providing a site where the most devoted of fans can go to chat baseball. We see some spirited debate at times but I really enjoy how insightful and downright respectful all of the interactions are. I made a quick trip to Lonestar Ball last night not to troll but just because I was interested in reading some of the reaction from the game yesterday. The commentary from an obviously disappointed fan base was way too much for me to get through with amount of vulgarity and blatant disrespect for each other. I was disappointed that a couple of pro-Blue Jays folks were trolling the community there but proud that on a few comments it was mentioned that those trolling weren’t affiliated with BBB as they recognize us as a very good group of fans.
2. I hope that the storyline surrounding the bat flip and Odor punch rides off to the sunset with this series win. I get that it is good television and provides a nice narrative for the rivalry but I’m ready to move on with it. The fact that the Blue Jays swept the Rangers back to Arlington is the best revenge of all. I hope that we, and Texas, can move on.
3. Josh Donaldson is such a beauty. Great heads-up play to score the winning run yesterday, not to mention his contributions for the entire playoffs so far. No matter what happens with EE and Jose (for the record, I hope both return, but it has to be at the right price), we still have a nice core in place for 2017 and beyond led by the Bringer of Rain.
4. I can’t believe we were able to scoop Joe Biagini from the Giants for basically nothing ($50,000 is the Rule 5 compensation if I remember correctly). As eccentric as he is once the game is over, he has given our bullpen an incredible boost all year. He inspires a lot of confidence once he enters the game, usually in the middle innings and has masterfully been able to bridge the gap for the Jays in order to get to the high-leverage arms. Long-term I’m really interested to see if he ends up a starting pitcher or remains in a similar role but in terms of what really matters to us at the moment, I’m very happy to have him as a key cog in our playoff run.
5. Ordinarily I might worry a bit about an extended break between games at this point in the year but at the moment I’m pleased that the team gets a few days off. It should do us well to have a little extra time what with the lingering injuries surrounding our team. Travis, Osuna, Liriano, Martin and Donaldson should appreciate a somewhat extended break.
6. I hold people that are paid to announce sports to a higher standard and I thought TBS was awful again last night. As Donaldson made the decision to make a run to home plate in the 10th whoever was doing play by play was for some reason trying to praise the Rangers defense when an error ultimately cost their team the game. I can’t remember the call word for word but on the throw to first base it was something along the lines of “throws to first and oh what a play. Oh, Donaldson is heading home”. If only Dan Shulman could announce every one of our games.
7. I think if Pillar made that catch it would have been right behind Devon White in all-time great plays when factoring in their importance.
8. I think I’m glad the Jays figured out a way to score on a double play ball since it seems we’ve hit so many of them. Fortunately they are being overshadowed by the fact we've been scoring a bunch of runs but I'm hoping we see less double plays in the ALCS.
9. I feel as though Aaron Sanchez will come out and throw a gem his next start. He seemed to get caught in the moment yesterday and was overthrowing almost every pitch. I think with the first one out of his system he’ll settle into a groove next time out.
10. I think Matt W’s article, The Blue Jays are Very Dangerous, was spot on. I can’t wait for the ALCS. This team seems to have finally hit its stride at the most opportune time and there isn’t a single team that will be happy to be matched up against the Jays the way we are playing right now. It feels to me that the team I expected to watch all season has finally begun to show up consistently.
I'm looking forward to eating some leftovers and watching Boston - Cleveland later. Go Tribe!