Here I am, writing an article about the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays after a tough Toronto Raptors loss in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. I am left with nothing other than random ramblings that I type with my black Lenovo keyboard. I chew on my pen as if it were a cigarette holder, even though I don’t smoke whatsoever. Meanwhile, an empty coffee mug sits next to my laptop as I type this sentence, tempting me to get another shot of espresso. How shall I go about this story? A story written in the manner of a stream of consciousness, with careful considerations given the high likelihood of Hugo’s mother reading this? That sounds pretty good. I like writing something a bit different than my usual stuff, fiction or non-fiction.
Anyway, the Toronto Blue Jays of the 2019 MLB season – Maybe I can talk about the abysmal production from their offense? On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t. I think most people know those facts by now. They probably have delved deep into the reasons behind the Jays’ offensive slump. This team can’t get on base (28th in wRC+ and last in OBP), can’t catch a break (last in BABIP), and whiff more than all but 5 teams in baseball (Padres, Tigers, Mariners, White Sox, and Rangers are worse). Their fielding and base-running hasn’t been much better, leading to a total 0.1 fWAR among position players in the middle of June. That is last among all teams in baseball! Their pitchers, outside of Clayton Richard and Edwin Jackson (yikes!), have been… relatively better? At the very least, they aren’t last in most pitching categories, which I guess is a plus for this team?
As for the front office, in my opinion, Shapiro and Atkins both have the right idea when it comes to building a good farm system for the team. In addition, I think that some of their trades have panned out (Trent Thornton for Aledmys Díaz, for example). However, they definitely need to improve on their PR. It’s frustrating sitting here and listening to their cowstink.
That being said, it is what it is, and I have to cope with it as a fan as those two run the team for the next few years.
Back on topic – As much as I wish I could describe the many negatives or positives of this season (mostly negatives), saying so in many ways would be dishonest. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is being disingenuous about my stance on various issues. However, since this is a Blue Jays blog, I feel compelled to write something about this team – Anything to let me know that I have not forgotten about this team, even during forgettable times.
I could probably count on one hand the number of games I have watched this season, and can you blame me? The Toronto Raptors are on the run of a lifetime, charging this city up in a way I have never experienced in my life, while the Blue Jays have offered little to catch my interest. Even as a longtime fan, it pains me to watch Randal Grichuk lose track of a ball that drops almost 30 feet behind him. This was followed by a slow jog to recover the ball, throwing it back into the infield, and watch the Avisail Garcia slide home for an inside-the-park home run.
That being said, after the Raptors season is done, I will embrace with open arms the absurdity of watching this team fall flat on its face. Why? I want to torture myself. More importantly, I hope that these young players will learn from their mistakes. If they do, it will be vital to both their professional and personal growth, which I hope benefits both them and the team in the long-run.
Wait, did I say too much in just a few paragraphs? What do I say next? Why did I skip back to this part of the story instead of moving forward with the paragraphs I’ve already written below? Am I getting lazy or tired? My beard is getting bushy. I want to trim it, but I don’t want to jinx the Raptors run. Am I really buying the superstition of others?
What have I become?
I need something to help me write this.
Back at my table, after dodging the blue line, I can now type more stuff on my tiny laptop. I will type this sentence, attempting to formulate any further concise thoughts about my relationship with the Blue Jays, only to be met with
Barnacles! Got distracted by Raptors news again. Game 6 this Thursday in Oracle Arena! This team could win it all!
I need to breathe.
I need to focus!
Okay, here I go.
I retry writing this sentence, now with a thought that has popped up in my weird head: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a bloody good prospect. He may be off to a slow start now, but he’s also only 20 years old. Same applies to Bo Bichette, a 21 year-old prospect who is currently on the IL with a hand injury. Like a good wine, both prospects will get better with age. At least, I hope so.
Speaking of prospects, I did like many of the picks in the 2019 draft, especially Alek Manoah. Manoah and Nate Pearson could both make one heck of a duo in the Jays farm system for the next year or so. Hopefully, they will make great impacts on the Jays rotation for years to come. Yeah, that would be nice, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
What message am I trying to convey with this story? I feel like I’m rambling on about random Jays facts with little substance.
What’s the point of this story?
In fact, why do I watch these games (in the few times I do pay attention) with the knowledge that the ultimate point of this season is to start a rebuild? They were built to lose. Heck, I don’t even know when the team will become competitive again, but I will soon sit on my couch and watch every pitch as if they have any bearing to this team’s chances at a World Series championship.
Maybe the sport reminds me of my absurd existence in the cosmos? Hold on, why did that thought pop up in my head?
Um, I mean...
The 2019 Raptors remind me that anything is possible in sports, especially the Kawhi shot against Philadelphia, but that doesn’t make life as a Jays fan any more fun during the team’s down times. I’m still reminded about the days of the Bautista bat-flip in the 2015 ALDS as well as the Edwin Encarnacion walk-off in the wild-card game, as if they both happened yesterday.
However, I also remember the Blue Jays seasons that preceded those moments. Seasons that were chock-full of mediocrity, missed opportunities, and disappointment, all of which I dealt with as time went on. It feels like those times have returned, but I hope they don’t last as long as the previous dry spell.
Soon, their bats will squeak balls past infielder/outfielders again.
Soon, their sluggers will smash dingers again.
Soon, their pitchers will throw nasty fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and any other screwy pitches that exist past unsuspecting batters again.
Soon, their gloves will come back and make amazing plays again.
For now, all I can do is wait, and waiting during these times as a fan is not an easy task. However, neither is rebuilding a baseball team.
Anyway, what was the point of the things I just wrote? To hope for a brighter future, I guess? That’s pretty obvious for any fan of any team. I guess I don’t really know, but I wrote it nonetheless. Despite all the joys and sorrows of this sport, life moves on. The good moments come and go, like the tides of the Bay of Fundy. However, I attempt to enjoy the good moments as they last, like what I am doing right now with the Toronto Raptors.
One thing I definitely know – I have no idea how to finish this story. So, I guess I will end it with