By Jeff Domet, CBC Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays
are set to begin
the unofficial second half of the season on Friday night. But I find myself continuing to feel nostalgic, pining for the glory days of Blue Jays baseball.
This year's edition of the team continues to trudge along in the mud, and quite honestly, the poor play is getting in the way of my otherwise fun summer. I need the memories of the good old days.
Long since passed are the halcyon days of the 11-game winning streak
in June, which got the Jays back in the conversation for a playoff spot in the American League. Much longer has passed since the Jays last played in the post-season.
As every Toronto baseball fan knows, we are coming up on 20 years since Toronto's ball team played a meaningful game. Saturday, October 23, 1993 was so long ago. And time keeps on ticking.
I know, it could be worse. I could be a Cubs fan
Luckily, I have video evidence of that magical Game 6 from 1993 to play any time I want on my trusty PVR. The recent rebroadcast of the Jays' '93 World Series win was a gift to long-suffering baseball fans in this country. I find myself watching it more often than I thought I would this season. Replaying Joe Carter's seminal, touch-em-all moment
is strong medicine. Watching that game, especially the ninth inning, really helps dull the pain and disappointment of loss after uninspired loss by this year's team.
Those '93 rebroadcasts also fed the hype machine, pumping up fans, before the start of the 2013 season. This was the year baseball experts predicted a playoff berth for the club, and many Jays fans were planning the parade in early December.
But as we all know, it hasn't worked out that way.Wait 'til next year?
Even though four Blue Jays represented the club at the All-Star Game in New York this week, Toronto, in last spot in the AL East, failed to reach its goal of .500 baseball at the all-star break. (.500 ball. Whoop-dee-do! I'm sick of .500 being this ball club's goal.) The Jays are 11.5 games out of first in the division, and 8.5 out of a wild-card berth.
The lineup has too many holes and too many easy outs. The starting staff, a supposed strength, has been an utter failure with the likes of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and the forever injured Brandon Morrow failing to deliver.
And don't even get me started on Emilio Bonifacio. Bad hitter, terrible fielder. Nice smile, though.
GM Alex Anthopoulos says the Jays won't be sellers as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches on July 31. He already did his job, pulling off some great, gutsy trades (on paper) in the off-season. Manager John Gibbons seems to have the respect of his players, and is well liked. It is, as it always should be, up to the players to turn this mess around.
In the past, teams that looked to be going nowhere have caught lightning in a bottle. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. In 2007, the Colorado Rockies won 21 of their final 22 games and made it all the way to the World Series. The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals went 23-9 over their final 32 games to erase a 10.5-game deficit and went on to win the World Series. And who could forget the 2002 Oakland Athletics? That team of has-beens and never-will-bes won 20 straight games with a tiny budget. Heck, they even made a movie
So it can happen, but I just don't see it with the 2013 Blue Jays. I don't see them winning 50 of their final 68 games, which would get them to 95 wins. I don't see Brad Pitt being cast to play Alex Anthopoulos in the movie they make about the "miracle" 2013 Blue Jays.
But I'll keep watching, because that's what sports fans do. True-blue fans like me can whine and complain when the team isn't doing well, but we never give up. We never really stop believing. We always stay on the wagon with the team, we always keep dreaming, we always keep hoping.
And if the Jays miss post-season play for a 20th straight season, I can count on one thing for sure. As my sweet mom gently reminds me, there's always next year, honey. She says that to me a lot.
Until then, it's back to watching Game 6 of the '93 World Series on the PVR, and dreaming of happier times in Toronto.Jeff Domet is the producer of Hockey Night in Canada Radio on SiriusXM and a longtime Jays fan.
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