Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The trees die so they can grow again

One of my least favorite sports tropes is the “long-suffering fan.” Leaving aside the credulity-bending notion that the hours spent watching sports on TV constituted “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship,” nobody that watched any of the 300-odd starts Roy Halladay made in these colours or the 330 home runs Carlos Delgado clouted in this town can truly say they suffered at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.

It’s more an extension of the dreaded marketing buzzword “FOMO” - the fear of missing out. In Toronto, we’ve missed out. For more than 20 years, we missed out on Dave Roberts’ steals and Adam Wainwright freezing Carlos Beltran in place and Madison Bumgarner transcending the astral plane. Those unforgettable moments all happened, just not to us. It’s always better having a little skin in the game.

Friday, September 11, 2015

In miles or kilometres

For the better part of the last five years, one of the great concerns among some corners of Blue Jays fandom was squandering Jose Bautista’s peak. Improbable as it seemed when the team excised Alex Rios from the roster and gave Bautista his big break, surrounding him with a good supporting cast was job one for management as of about May 1st, 2011.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying in past years but, finally, the Blue Jays have a more than capable lineup surrounding Jose Bautista. He still sits in the middle of this potent offense, hitting third and playing right field every day despite a wonky shoulder (injured, of course, under inauspicious yet delightful circumstances.) And his team is now very good, in first place with mere weeks remaining on the schedule. They wouldn’t be there without him and they won’t stay there without his contributions.

He’s still a very good player but on this very good team, he doesn’t need to be The Man. Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki and David Price aren’t Bautista’s supporting cast, they are equally integral to the Blue Jays rise to contention and drive to stay there. And that’s okay.