Remember that scene rather early on in Fight Club when Edward Norton comes back to his condo to find it blown to oblivion? Some guy who works at the building tells Norton that there’s nothing left to his condo.
Walking away, dejected and with nothing to salvage from his life, Norton shuffles away from the building lost and alone.
Edward Norton = Blue Jays fans in 2013.
Indeed, it was with trepidation that I purchased super expensive seats to the final weekend of games a few months ago (Sept. 27-29 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays). After all it hadn’t been that long ago that I was at that same weekend of games in 2012 watching players like Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose, David Cooper, Yan Gomes, Adeiny Hechavarria and Mike McCoy, among others, play make-believe on the big boy field.
It was cute to watch in a “Daddy, watch me dive” kind of way, but not in the way where you paid a lot of cabbage to see them.
But then GM Alex Anthopoulos wore out his phone ear over the winter and completely reshaped the team which is his charge and we were all convinced that this year was going to be different.
Last year the Jays finished 73-89, a record they will be hard-pressed to duplicate this year (including today’s game against the Diamondbacks, they will have to go 9-14 to hit last year’s ‘mark of excellence’ a sub-.500 record that even then seems unattainable). With a September full of match-ups against the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox and Rays and the team they’re currently fielding, I think achieving .500 might call for some Mercury Morris-style champagne popping.
Anyway, what I was aiming for with this post is a bit of a post-mortem, as we say in the biz, and a player-by-player realization that literally no one on this team, with the possible exceptions of Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar and post-All-Star break Brett Lawrie, has even met, let alone exceeded, even modest expectations.
R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young Award last year, so that is, of course, tough to repeat. But at 11-12 with an ERA at nearly four and a half… I love the guy, but he has fallen way short of the mark.
Mark Buehrle may come close. After a slow start and a record of 10-7, he is close to the 13 wins he has logged in each of the previous four seasons. His ERA is near his 14-year average of 3.84 with a Blue Jays-best 4.08.
The rest of the team’s ‘anticipated’ starting rotation has a combined eight wins (Brandon Morrow at 2-3 and a 5.63 ERA, Josh Johnson at 2-8 and a 6.20 ERA and J.A. Happ at 3-5 with a 5.46 ERA). I say anticipated because it was originally assumed that Ricky Romero would the team’s fifth starter. He would bring the total down to five wins with his 0-2 record and 12.46.
There have been pleasant surprises like the aforementioned Cecil and Delabar. Casey Janssen has been good, but not grea,t and Darren Oliver seems to be losing it before our very eyes. It seems like deja-vu when Francisco Cordero (fat ugly baby man from 2012) turned into a batting practice machine before our very eyes last year.
As of today, the Blue Jays do not have anyone hitting over .300. Shortstop Jose Reyes is close at .297, but no one (unless you count R.A. Dickey, who was 2-6 in interleague games for a .333 average, and Goins, who’s on a newby tear).
Edwin Encarnacion has been the most productive hitter for the team. His 36 home runs are still a far cry from last year’s 42 and his average of .279 is not bad, but he has fallen short of what he expected from him for sure.
Jose Bautista spent some time on the DL, but even when healthy he has not been the Bautista we knew and loved from 2010 and 2011. His 28 home runs have been nice and he has been very exciting to watch at times, but he’s out for the season.
Reyes has been good and has offered glimpses of being that spark at the top of the line-up the Jays need. Perhaps if he hadn’t missed two months due to his ankle injury, Reyes could have put together a really great season.
Despite the fact that he has struck out over 130 times (tied for 10th in MLB), Colby Rasmus has hit .273 and hit 18 home runs. Not great, not bad, but not where he needs to be, not even factoring in his defensive miscues.
Melky Cabrera became exactly what I was afraid of. When players come off the juice, they don’t return to where they were pre-juice, they are diminished and they break down after what they put their body through. Cabrera has three home runs and can barely move. A spectacular bust of a signing.
Much has been made of J.P. Arencibia’s year and it’s hard to back him up. He’s hitting .208, he’s got 20 home runs and he is too is high on the MLB strike out list. Not a season he can be proud of and Toronto baseball fans have let him know it.
Brett Lawrie has been the hottest hitter in baseball in August, but before his injury he was in the same basement as Arencibia with Toronto fans calling him a cancer. It’s surprising how a few hits will cure the cancer everyone thought he was.
Adam Lind had a nice run, but he is right back in Lind-dom where he belongs a middle-of-the-road hitter who strikes out a lot.
Emilio Bonifacio has the worst fundamentals of any baseball player I’ve ever seen and I am so glad he’s gone. He hit .218 with Toronto and was an error machine that couldn’t field, throw, hit, bunt or make baserunning decisions. A complete and utter bell-end.
Maicer Izturis was comparable to Bonifacio, but with a better bat and he didn’t bunt the ball foul twice every single at-bat.
The season did give us Munenori Kawasaki, but let’s not forget that he isn’t exactly Babe Ruth. I think because he was funny to watch, it was easy to distract drunk fans from what was really happening on the field. We were bulls and Kawasaki was a rodeo clown we were more than happy to follow into a barrel because of how shitty the ring was.
So now we have Kevin Pillar, Ryan Goins, Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose with the Blue Jays doing us the tremendous favour of bringing the Buffalo Bisons down the QEW so we don’t have to go to that shithole to see them ourselves. Thanks for that.
So other than that new porch in centrefield at the Rogers Centre, what is there to celebrate about this season?
The fact that it’s almost over.
There have literally been no bright spots, no saving graces and there is no reason to be optimistic for next year and manager John Gibbons will be back.