It’s times like these that I wish humans could travel through time.
I’d like to go back to the evening of November 13, 2012, just a few weeks after the Giants won the World Series. That was when the news broke of the massive, blockbuster trade with Miami that netted the Jays Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio. I’d like to remember how good that moment felt. Twitter exploded, my phone exploded, EVERYTHING exploded! The Jays were suddenly contenders. It was one of the most exciting feelings I can remember as a sports fan.
My how things have changed.
Gone are those feelings of giddiness and happiness and enthusiasm, replaced instead by a gnawing, lingering disappointment.
In fact, if Oxford was ever to change the definition of the word “disappointing”, all they would have to do is write “2013 Toronto Blue Jays”. That is how bad things have become.
And I’m not talking about the fact that the team is under .500 and in last place. Stuff happens – players get hurt, guys underperform, luck turns bad. I get it. All you have to do is look at the standings and you’ll see the same thing happening elsewhere. The four biggest darlings of the offseason – Toronto, Washington, the Dodgers, and the Angels – are currently a combined eight games below .500. The defending champion Giants, thought by many to have a great chance to repeat, are 39-45 and in dead last in the terrible NL West. Three teams that most experts expected to struggle – Boston, NY Yankees, Pittsburgh – are flying right now, with a combined record of 149 – 104.
No, what disappoints me the most is the way that the team has gotten to where they are.
For starters, there is shockingly little depth. Part of that is because a lot of guys were traded in the offseason, part of it is due to injury, and part is due to the maddening decision to carry so many pitchers. But one glance at the starting lineup on Tuesday night shows that 60% of it was made of players that shouldn’t be starting. Lind, Encarnacion, Lawrie, Arencibia, and Melky Cabrera were all gone, replaced by Kawasaki, DeRosa, Izturis, Thole, and Davis respectively. Chien-Ming Wang was the starting pitcher, a guy who wasn’t even in the organization a few months ago. When guys go down, the Jays have been literally left with nobody to replace them.
To be honest, that was the whole source of my frustration until this morning. Then “Arencibia-gate” hit, and added a whole new layer. For those who haven’t heard yet, Arencibia appeared on the Fan 590 this morning and ripped into Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst, saying that he feels sorry for fans that they have to listen to those two, and also saying they have no right to criticize players because they were bad players themselves.
Personally, I don’t think too highly of Zaun and Hayhurst myself, but that’s not the point. Neither is the point that J.P. shouldn’t be running his mouth because he is having a bad season. No, the point is that this whole thing is happening in public. It is an embarrassment to the organization and to the fans, especially in light of the fact that the Jays are a last place team. To an outsider, as we all are (like it or not), the team looks to be falling apart at the seams. On top of this JPA incident, we’ve seen Lawrie screaming at Lind earlier in the year for failing to tag on a fly ball, constant arguing with umpires over balls and strikes, and several other things that make you wonder where all the fun has gone, the fun that we all thought Reyes, the rest of the Dominicans, and even Kawasaki would bring.
Look, I’m in no way saying that I’ve had enough of this team. I will watch every game the rest of the way, and fully support them win or lose. But I can still say that I’m disappointed by how this season has gone.
There are still 78 games left. The Blue Jays are still more than capable of going on a run and getting back in contention.
But after what we’ve seen the past couple of days, does anybody still think they will?