They kept things interesting until the very last second, but it’s all over. The Jays dropped game 6 to the Royals last night, finishing off a pretty fucking fantastic year.
When the season started, I had pretty well zero expectations for this team. Neither did you, liar yelling at me through your screen right now. Just stop. It sure was encouraging when during the offseason they signed Russ Martin and somehow magically turned Brett Lawrie into Josh Donaldson, but if there’s one thing anyone thinking realistically learns to do as a fan of Toronto sports it’s to not get too far ahead of themselves. Things that look great on paper don’t always work out that way on the field (2013 season, I’m looking menacingly in your direction). While it can’t really be argued that in some ways that deal didn’t help lead us to where we are now, it wasn’t the plan the parade moment a lot of us were hoping for. And when 2015 started chugging along, neither were Martin or Donaldson.
The Jays, right up until the all-star break, were a goddamned frustrating team to watch. They were a team with most of the right parts, but it was clear something wasn’t clicking. They should have been so much better than they were, yet hanging around the .500 mark was the best they could manage. But ownership finally putting some faith in the team and spending some money after all these years changed everything along with management dipping kinda heavily into the prospect pool, and now here we are.
I’m not going to analyze it to death because that’s already been and continues to be done…well…to death. Everyone knows how amazing the second half march to the playoffs was. Everyone knows how much the deadline pick-ups of guys like Tulo and Price meant to the fans and to the team. Everyone knows how unstoppable the Jays looked. If they played like that when they got to the playoffs, we were getting that parade. Everyone knew that.
But here we are, on a rainy Saturday morning, not getting that parade. Why? Because the better team won. I have no problem saying that and I’ll argue it with anybody who says differently. the playoff Jays, though they showed some amazing flashes of timely brilliance and bits of the don’t turn the game off because we’re never entirely out of it spirit that got them here, just didn’t have it. I said to everyone who asked that there’s only so long you can play from behind before it catches up with you, and last night, it caught up. You can’t spend entire games offering up no run support to pitchers who do their jobs about as well as can be asked and put zeros on the board with runners in scoring position over and over again and expect to win. You can’t get blown out or give up leads and expect to win. And miraculous comebacks aside, you can’t expect to always be at your best during a must win game. All it takes is one mistake and you’re going home, and if you want to pick the playoff run apart from beginning to end, it’s not taking you very long to find more than one mistake.
But with all of that said, I’m not angry. Of course I’d love to have seen the Jays taking the field against the Mets on Tuesday, but I’m satisfied. Like I said, zero expectations. This season was a success beyond my wildest imagination, and though they didn’t go all the way, for the first time in many, many years there’s a hell of a foundation on which to build. That’s exciting, and personally it’s what I choose to focus on.
So thank you, Blue Jays, for one hell of a ride. As we say in Toronto sports, there’s always next year. Only this time, it might be.