It had to be this way.
It just had to.
There was no other possible ending to the 2013 MLB season.
It was destined that we would see John Farrell holding the World Series trophy with a smug, stupid, arrogant grin on his face.
With the way that 2013 played out, this was the most fitting conclusion.
The season started with so much promise. The Jays “won the offseason” and were made the Vegas favourites to win the World Series. For the first time in decades, things were finally going Toronto’s way.
Except they weren’t.
And it wasn’t just the fact that Boston, a hated division rival, with our ex-manager at the helm, won it all. That was just the icing on the cake. Pretty much everything Alex Anthopoulos touched this year turned to dust.
Things started going awry as early as Opening Day. With a potential contending team playing in front of a full house in a city that was re-energized with baseball fever, the Jays at one point had nearly as many passed balls (3) as outs recorded (4), and the vaunted offense managed only four hits of Justin Masterson.
Then on April 12th, the Jays limped into Kansas City after losing each of the first three series, and promptly lost superstar SS Jose Reyes to a badly sprained ankle.
He wasn’t the only one to go down either. Injuries happen to every team, and many teams were actually worse off than Toronto, but the Blue Jays injury list was long and star-studded. At some point during the season, the Jays lost Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista, Rajai Davis, J.A. Happ, Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver, Dustin McGowan, and Sergio Santos. That is a long list.
But there was more, much more, that went wrong with 2013. It seemed that everyday, an ex-Jay was doing something remarkable. Of course there was Farrell guiding Boston to the playoffs. The player the Jays received for Farrell? That was Mike Aviles, who was shipped with Yan Gomes to Cleveland for Esmil Rogers. While Aviles proved to be a decent bench player, Gomes emerged as one of the AL’s best hitting catchers in the second half, ending the season with an .826 OPS.
In Tampa Bay, Toronto’s 2012 double play combination of Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson, combined for 25 HR, 108 RBI, and a plus .700 OPS, helping the Rays reach the playoffs.
In Miami, Jake Marisnick debuted for the Marlins, and though he struggled with the bat, he was sensational in CF, posting a +5 defensive zone rating in only 32 games. On the mound, Henderson Alvarez showed a lot of promise, finishing with a 3.59 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 102.2 IP, and also throwing a no-hitter, while Justin Nicolino won the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year Award.
In New York, Travis d’Arnaud debuted with the Mets, and Noah Syndergaard tore up the minor leagues and started for the US team in the MLB Futures game during the All-Star break.
And it wasn’t even guys that Toronto traded last offseason that came back to haunt us. In Texas, Alex Rios joined the Rangers at the deadline, posted a .772 OPS and 6 HR in 47 games, and hit for the cycle in helping the Rangers reach a one-game playoff.
In Arizona, Aaron Hill hit 11 HR with an .818 OPS in just over half a season – more production than a full season worth of Blue Jay second basemen.
In New York with the Yankees, Vernon Wells obliterated Blue Jay pitching, hitting 3 HR, driving in 10 runs, and posting a .796 OPS against his old club, while Lyle Overbay pitched in with 2 very timely home runs.
Finally, back in Boston, we had to watch as old fan favourite John McDonald finally celebrated his first World Series winner as part of the hated Red Sox.
From bad baseball on the field, to backfiring trades off of it, 2013 was a year that Jays fans will want to erase from their memories, but likely won’t soon forget.
Especially not with a smiling Farrell sending daggers into our hearts each time he picks up that trophy.
The perfect ending to a terrible season.