Me? I said Tampa, yes and Boston, no. I figured the Rays had the talent and the management to win the division. And I thought the horseshoe, the clover and a thousand lucky pennies would fall out of Boston’s ass after last season’s title and they’d land with a thud at the bottom.
Baltimore and the Yankees would duke it out for Wild Card Number 2, I thought. And Toronto? I barely thought of them at all.
That’s what always happens with Toronto. They feel like a generic team. They should just be called Baseball Team. For the last 20 years or so, the Blue Jays have been so unremarkable that I’ve completely forgotten about them, sometimes even while watching them. They’re colorless and odorless.
Last year’s Jays were supposed to be good. Remember their raid on poor Miami? Toronto was full of everything a team needs to win in the 21st century: pitching, power hitters, tattoos, weird facial hair and questionable grooming. But injuries and the sheer Torontoness of the Blue Jays sunk them once again to last place. Ontario sports fans looked forward to the end of baseball season, so they could finally turn their full attention to the Buffalo Bills.
This year, though, is shaping up differently. The Jays are blazing, perched high atop the AL East, looking down on the Yanks and Baltimore. And I don’t think Toronto’s going away.
God knows, they’re not a young team. But they’re stacked. Thirty-five year-old Mark Buehrle has 10 wins and a 2.10 ERA. He’s averaging almost seven innings per start and has thrown only two home run balls all year. The rest of the starting rotation is far more pedestrian, but they haven’t needed to be anything more than that; the offense is lethal.
Encarnacion and Bautista … jeez. Even with Colby Rasmus on the DL, the Jays haven’t missed a beat. In their last 10, 20 and 30 games, Toronto is 8-2, 16-4 and 22-8. And that’s plenty good enough for first place.
Should we look for a market correction? Is the exchange rate headed for a fall? Anything can happen. The injuries could return and the Jays could lay another egg. But that’s hard to imagine right now. They look like winners.