“Relax, kid. We got 162 of these games to go.” – Jake Taylor
It’s not often that I get to open a post with a quote from Jake Taylor. For those who aren’t aware, those words were spoken by Taylor, a grizzled veteran on the Cleveland Indians, to rookie pitcher Rick Vaughn minutes before Opening Day in 1989. Vaughn, sitting near his locker, was visibly nervous before being reminded: it’s a long season.
Of course, neither of those players are real, that quote being from Major League the greatest baseball movie of all time. But that doesn’t change the fact that the words are 100% accurate., and that today seems like a very opportune time to state them.
Social media is a great and very useful thing, but it also has the ability to rile people and start mass panic. Case-in-point the hours immediately following Mark Trumbo’s walkoff HR that gave Baltimore an Opening Day victory over the Blue Jays. Suddenly, any excitement that was generated from the return of the Jays and having baseball back after a long winter was gone.
Instead? How about:
- The Jays can’t hit with runners-in-scoring position just like last year. This will be an issue all season long.
- After seeing Edwin’s performance with Cleveland and Bautista’s performance it’s clear that Toronto re-signed the wrong free agent. Bautista’s days of being an elite slugger are gone.
- Russell Martin still strikes out way too much and looks past his prime.
- Tulo is on the decline.
- Grilli is too old and is not a viable late-inning relief option. With Osuna on the DL the bullpen is screwed.
- It’s clear that Donaldson is hurt.
- Releasing Upton was the worst move Atkins could have made, leaving the team without an OF replacement and no speed on the bench.
Does that about cover everything?
At this point in my life, after years of running this blog and of following fans on Twitter, I shouldn’t be surprised. Yet somehow I continue to be. Within hours the Toronto Blue Jays went from a solid contender to winning the AL East to a team that looks finished in the eyes of many. Not in the eyes of everybody, but in a staggeringly high number of people.
Relax. Seriously – there are 161 more games to go. The season is 0.62% complete. By my best guesses, even the very best team in baseball will lose at least 55-60 games this year. Even the very best teams in the game will lose a game they probably should have won, or lose a few games in a row. No team is immune. Baseball is a marathon.
Do you know who else lost on Opening Day? The Cubs. The Giants. The Yankees. The Rangers. The Mariners. Each of those teams is expected to challenge for a postseason spot as well.
I feel like a broken record pointing this out year after year, but it bears repeating: it’s one game. The Jays will be fine.
And if you won’t take my word for it, at least listen to Jake.