I Blame The #LetsRise For the 2017 Blue Jays Season
So we’re all experiencing the 2015 and ’16 hangover this year as many of us are asking – where’s the Tylenol and pass me the Gatorade – from the morning *cough* (’15 & ’16 Blue Jays seasons) after.
And I am not sure know about you, but I’ve found myself on YOUTUBE a few times this season watching some of the great moments of 2015 & ’16. Well, mostly 2015 highlights because they are just so damn good.
And also 2016 was such a damn dogfight and heading into that final series against Boston and losing the first game on Friday night (3 in a row) had me stumbling to my local watering hole at the time, in my maudlin ways, as I sipped my way to accepting that the Birds would not play in the Wild Card game – or that they would have to face the Tigers in some kind of something to get there – honestly, I can’t remember the details and I’m not about to Google it. I just remember it being really close. But man the Edwin walk-off against the Trash Birds and the JD Texas see-ya-later slide – so good too.
… Anyway, so you may be wondering where the hell I’m going with this, but I promise that it’s somewhere – I think. Okay, so in 2015 the Toronto Blue Jays FO vanilla latte sipping cronies penciled up the hashtag #ComeTogether. Yes, very original, never heard that one before *meh*, but whatever. And as the season pressed on, the ‘Big Smoke Bombers’ crushed dinger after dinger and ninja Alex went all in at the trade deadline, and after that Canada went all in on their Toronto Blue Jays.
The #ComeTogether had some kind of prophetic ‘thing’ to it because the 2015 season literally did do that. Baseball culture in Canada was back, the Blue Jays fan base grew across provinces, and it felt like the country awoke from a giant coma and came together all at once.
And the few faithful who, at the time, had ridden the long dreary desolate Blue Jays Way road over the years were now witnessing a massive storm of people who jumped onto the ol’ Blue Jays bandwagon post August 1st ‘David Price’ trade days. And it’s all good. It was a bit surprising at the time for me because I’ve always just hung around with the team and enjoyed the cheap seats and baseball beers during the shitty days that only the committed lived through. But suddenly the Dome was packed and there were more Blue Jays hats bopping up and down the streets of Toronto that I could ever remember.
I will never forget when David Price pitched his first game at the Dome and the response that he received. It literally – no lies- almost brought me to tears because it finally felt like it was our time. It was a great run that was broken up by a damn rain delay and the Royals, but it was bat flipping awesome, wasn’t it?
So this is where I lead into the 2017 hashtag #LetsRise, why? Well, maybe I’m looking into this too much. Actually, yes, I am looking into this too much and sure it’s a load of hooey, but you continue to read it anyway, so I will continue with my prophetic and superstitious nonsense. But you have to admit that it’s slightly interesting that the year the organization coined #ComeTogether that’s exactly what happened, as the team now has a strong fan base that puts the organization 5th in attendance for 2017 (to date) with an average of 40, 030 per game. The only teams ahead of Toronto are the Dodgers who are first followed by the Cardinals, Giants, and Yankees. So come together we did.
Now, let’s take a look at the bad omen that the #LetsRise brought forth because it was anything but what those two words imply, as players fell to injuries all season long and their sabermetrics with it – minus Justin Smoak, of course. But the Blue Jays Run Differential is at -96.0, and they are only ahead of 6 teams. As a team they are batting a slash line of .241/.314/.411 with a wRC+ 91 – ahh, yeah, remember 2015? The team slashed .269/.340/.457 with a wRC+ 117 and 34.8 WAR compared to 2017 7.7 WAR.
So it has been anything but a #LetsRise kind of season for the good Birds of summer. Now, you can just head on over to Fan Graphs and compare the numbers yourself – not that you would even have to – because it’s obvious that they are not going to be anywhere close to the 2015 & 16 Jays, and that’s fine.
So it’s probably safe to say that if the Jays actually had Devon Travis healthy all season, Aaron Sanchez taking the ball every 5 days, and the real Josh Donaldson from April until the end of September that this team would be heading into the post season for the 3rd consecutive year, but it didn’t happen.
We can all look at the many things that went wrong and dissect it under the baseball microscope, but maybe it all started by the bad omen that #LetsRise brought to the season, since the exact opposite happened.
But thinking about it now, as I type these final thoughts – maybe, it’s the start of something because there is no other direction for this team to go now. Maybe the Rise starts in 2018 – or with Vlad & Bo through the system – I dunno, this omen stuff is all hooey anyways, isn’t it? I’m probably just looking into this too much.