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Hopping aboard the Jays bandwagon: a guide to the 2016 Blue Jays

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There's 29 games left in the season and plenty of room on the Blue Jays bandwagon. But there's some things you should know before boarding.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As the famous Yogi Berra once said, it's getting late awfully early around here.

That is, the season, or the end of it, is rapidly approaching before our eyes. For many people, the word "rapidly" does not describe this season at all. But to me anyways, opening day feels like it was last night as I sat anxiously watching to see if this year's incarnation of Blue Jays could continue the push for a World Series title.

Along the way, the Jays have picked up some wins and yet again, we stand with a month remaining and the Jays with a strong chance at making the postseason. According to Fangraphs, they have a 93.8 per cent chance at making the playoffs with a straight up 60.3 per cent chance at winning the division. I suppose it's why Rogers has taken it upon themselves to start broadcasting commercials advertising tickets for next season that will in turn make them eligible for this year's postseason tickets.

With that said, like last year, the Blue Jays are gathering fans by the thousands with each win. According to the Great Canadian Broadcast Rankings, the Blue Jays have averaged in the neighbourhood of 1.5 million viewers for their games in the final week of August, which is remarkable to say the least. In comparison, last year's team with nearly an identical record at this time garnered around one million viewers nightly.

While all this excitement is warranted and in no way surprising to much of the fan base, there is a swelling minority who are just latching onto the Northern movement now in hopes of joining something larger than themselves. These bandwagoners are often ridiculed as "not real fans" who aren't around in the bad times and don't deserve to be around in the good times. While that sentiment exists, let me be the first to welcome you with open arms to Blue Jays nation. Stay as long as you like, enjoy yourself but if you're going to sit on this bandwagon, there's a few things you should know about the 2016 Blue Jays.

1. Josh Donaldson is the best there ever was and ever will be.

No I'm not kidding. I half expect the front office to cement JD on the level of excellence at season's end if and when he wins his second AL MVP title in a row. Starting with his on the field performance, Donaldson defines excellence. His .294/.406/.580 triple-slash line over 128 games this season has brought his fWAR value to 7.0 on the season with another 1.2 due backdated this season per ZiPS projections.

But it's not about the stats with Josh. He's just the type of player that gets it done in a blue uniform. The type that will foul a ball off his knee in his first at-bat of the game, only to hit three home runs throughout the rest of the game. Yeah, he did that.

More than that, he could possibly have the best hair in the entire league. I mean, the locks on this guy are simply majestic. They make Bryce Harper's hair look like he just got out of bed. If you don't know a lot about baseball, cheer loud and proud when Josh Donaldson steps up to the plate. Chances are you'll be rewarded.

2. Aaron Sanchez can hurl a baseball.

If you haven't watched the Blue Jays this season, you're missing a narrative as persistent and ever-lasting as a Canadian winter. After two part seasons working out of the Blue Jays bullpen, Aaron Sanchez started the 2016 season in the starting rotation and quickly became, 'our' ace. In 25 starts, Aaron has combined for a 2.88 ERA and 13-2 record which will no doubt garner some CY Young votes at the end of the season.

As a newcomer, you may think that is good news and it no doubt is. However, while Sanchez has been shutting the lights out on major league baseball, Blue Jays nation has had to deal with the nerve-rattling possibility that Sanchez may have to be either shut down or returned to the bullpen before season's end. To date, the Sanchize has pitched 162.1 innings--29 more than his career high--and is on pace to add another 20 odd innings not including if he pitches in the playoffs.

Jays management has flip-flopped back on this decision since literally the moment he was named as part of the rotation. One day he's in, the next day he's going to be sent to the bullpen, unquestionably. Well, after skipping a start while being sent down to Dunedin, it seems the Jays are finally content on leaving Sanchez in the rotation for better or for worse.

Is that going to stop the narrative around this 6-man rotation of death that the media is spinning? No, at least not any time soon, so if you're tuning into a Jays game with Sanchez on the hill, be prepared for the conversation. Heck, maybe even partake in it. Revel in it as you watch this young workhorse dominate his opponents.

3. Jason Grilli will get excited

Finding examples of this really aren't that hard to stumble upon.

It gives me chills just watching this video. Or this one.

Seriously, how can you not be romantic about baseball?

Since Jason Grilli arrived in Toronto for next to nothing, he has been absolutely dominant, posting a 1.93 ERA while ridding himself of the control issues he had in his dying days in Atlanta. He's become the 8th inning man that eliminates any shadow of a doubt before Roberto Osuna closes out the victory in the 9th.

But that's just the logistical stuff. Jason Grilli is so much more than just the 8th inning guy. He's the guy that you dream of, you emulate when you're playing backyard baseball with your friends growing up. You get your best friend out and you feel like you've just conquered the world, jumping up and down and fist-pumping the world to its knees.

If you turn on the Jays for one reason, do it to watch Jason Grilli. His enthusiasm alone will drive you back to the TV over and over again until you're suddenly a lifer and you can't remember how you embarked on this journey. It will be awesome.


Among these story lines are other exciting narratives like Canadian Michael Saunders first all-star season, the growth of Devon Travis and the return of Dioner Navarro. Oh, and did I mention that we don't like the Texas Rangers? Yeah, don't forget that anytime soon. Read into these a little more and you can certainly have some fun with this team as we tip-toe our way into the fall season.

But do hop aboard the Jays bandwagon.Join the wave.

Resistance is futile.