(picture throwback to the best Blue Jays blog in history)
I will never forget being a little squirt in the late eighties and having the ‘talk’ with my mom. She sat me down on the couch and told me she had something that she needed to tell me. I knew by the tone in her voice that something wasn’t right. And looking back on that moment today, she knew she was about to break my naïve heart.
It was early November and Christmas was around the corner when she dropped the hard truth to me that Santa wasn’t real. It was devastating and since then I have questioned all things in life. Now, the reason I’m sharing this quick little story is because we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much for this season and be naive, but we shouldn’t be pissants about it either.
Sure it sucked to find out the truth about good ol’ Mr. Claus, but it was also a warm feeling realizing how lucky I was to have a mom who would go out and buy me a kickass Nintendo game – or Transformer with her hard earned money to surprise me on Christmas Day.
Sure, Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins didn’t go out and buy us a fun free agent that could have really helped the team’s chances this season, but they did acquire some key depth with their Rogers budget, so we won’t need to rely on Goins and Barney. Anyway…
Now, I think that it’s important to talk about this need to balance positivity and negativity because as much as you want to believe in this 2018 team (and there is reason to), it’s important to be prepared for the worst case Ontario situations that might happen.
So here we are a short distance away from Opening Day, which, for us baseball fans, is our Christmas Day. That’s right folks: the-conveyor-belt–of-time has moved us along to this baseball bliss moment. So, I guess the real question is: what the hell do you expect from the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays anyway?
There is so much that can happen, so much that will happen, so many howls, so many wails, so many hell yeahs, sighs, and cheers. So many beers, hot dogs, and millennial Blue Jays tweets and chirps. There will be no more good ol’ Howarth, but there will be so much talk. Lot’s of it. Lot’s and lot’s of talk. Lot’s of Jeff Blair talk; Mike Wilner talk; but no more dinosaur Zaun talk, so everything is just fine. Everything is fine, but, there will be no more Jose Bautista, no more bat-flip moments, no more of Bats… sigh. But, still #ItsFine.
There will be lots of Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler moments, lots of what did they just say shoulder shrugs followed by twitter reactions. There will be a lot of John Gibbons leans, a lot of John Gibbons strolls to the mound, a lot of Gibbonsisms – good ol’ Gibbonsims. Basically, a lot of John ‘Gibby’ Gibbons.
But to circle back around to the question: what are your expectations for the 2018 season? Are you optimistic? Pessimistic? Or, just realistic? I think that I might be a little mix of all three just because there are so many ifs, but the truth is that regardless of how the season unfolds, everything is going to be just okie-fuckin'-dokie fine.
And it will be fine because whatever happens this season, the organization is moving to the exciting Vlad and Bo years. So, if this 2018 roster manages to somehow strike some sort of baseball gold, that’s a big Clark Griswold Christmas bonus that will have all of us hosers saying, ‘Fuckin’, Eh!’
So, what do you really expect? Let’s have a big time reality check here: the team didn’t win it in 2015, but they really should’ve… Let’s insert a big millennial forever effing sigh here folks. They got back there in 2016 and couldn’t hit a damn thing in the ALCS against the Cleveland franchise. And 2017 was the worst possible everything of dog days to shitty baseball land, so 2018 can’t be any worse than that.
Now, do you expect the good Birds of Summer to rip through the Beasts from the East and win the division? Of course, you don’t – even the most optimistic and naive fans wouldn’t go that far.
Could they possibly slide into a wild card spot? Absolutely, because the Angels rotation kind of sucks, the Twins… meh, and the Orioles will always be trash, even though they added a certain starting Alex Cobb something that you wish the Blue Jays could have acquired this unsexy offseason… ugh.
The big 4 are the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, and Cleveland… And then it’s the good Birds of Summer, the Angels, Twins, and let’s throw in the shitty Trash Birds, who will all fight it out for the wild card.
Will the Jays win the World Series? I wouldn't bet on that shit, but it would be exciting if they could get into the postseason. Absofuckinlutely it would. But, holy mother-effing shit people, I had a goddamn eureka moment the other day when I thought about betting a couple hundred dollars on the Birds finishing the year above .500. The payout was okay (don't gamble), but there is a good chance that if all the ifs go sideways: this team won’t play .500. This team might not play .500… huh?
I actually can’t remember a year where the Blue Jays had so many ifs, so many ifs I can’t count. It’s one conditional clause after the other. It’s a couple ifs gone sideways away from an argh that makes us all a little weary of the 2018 season. But, it’s also a couple ifs away from having a good run and a real sure shot at the wild card, so what cha want? See what I did there?
If the key players can stay healthy, the team will be fine. If Aaron Sanchez can keep his finger attached to his hand, the rotation will be fine. If Josh Donaldson can give a full season of Josh Donaldson, it will be fine. If Russell Martin can catch 100 games, fine. If Devon Travis can put in a full season worth of productive time, fine. And if he can't, fine. If Justin Smoak can repeat last season, fine. If Pillar… never mind. If the bullpen isn’t dogshit, fine. If Morales can outrun ol’ Gibbers, fine. If Tulo… plays 20-games, fine. And if the season turns into a shitty season filled with dogshit days, that will also be fine. Everything will be fine.
If plus some more ifs plus some more effing ifs. It’s a whole lot of ifs and guess what? This is kind of like a bonus year for these good Birds of Summer, one last hurrah for a core group of Blue Jays veterans who were a part of the great 2015 and ’16 seasons if they can get it done.
It will be fun to enjoy Josh Donaldson’s final tour as a Blue Jays since he most likely will not return next season – there, I said it. It will be fun to watch Estrada be Pablo effing Picasso. It will be cool to see JA Happ be as hip AF as he can be on the ol’ dirt hill. It will be fun to watch Justin Smoak hit some bombs at the Dome. It will be great to watch ol’ Gibbers be one of the most entertaining managers in Blue Jays’ history.
It will be cool to watch some of the unsexy depth players acquired this offseason, fill in when players get banged up. It would be the greatest goddamn thing in the Blue Jays world if Aaron Sanchez rock n’ rolled his way to a Cy Young…What? Yeah, I went there.
I didn’t write this piece to try to shit on the upcoming season because there is so much to like about this team. There is so much to look forward to, but there are just so many ifs – that it’s better to be prepared for the worst than to take the choo choo train to shitsville. But, whatever direction this season heads, it will still be fun.
Baseball is a marathon and that is what’s so great about this game. And building a deep organization rich with talent takes years. The Blue Jays organization is in the process of doing this and after this years draft, they will have even more depth in the farm.
The Blue Jays are a fringe team today, as they slowly cross the bridge to tomorrow. And any success that they have this year is kind of like a bonus because next year’s team is going to be a whole hell of a lot of different. Enjoy some of the players that you love today because there is a good chance that they won’t be back in 2019.
Baseball is effing back. It’s so back and that’s so cool. And if the Blue Jays are good, that’s even cooler. And if the team is dogshit and every possible shitty thing that happens - happens, it’s still alright. It’s still fine. It’s… #ItsFine.