Hello Blue Jays fans!
It is baseball Christmas Eve and I’m so excited that I’m ignoring my extended family as we gather for Easter, electing instead to watch Joe Carter’s famous home run on repeat. A single, solitary tear drips from my eye. It’s just so beautiful (I was too young at the time to remember Carter's feat, so this Easter let’s all give thanks for YouTube).
There is snow on the ground here in Stouffville, Ontario, and although Spring seems merely prophetic right now, the rejuvenating promise of baseball gives me hope. Speaking of hope, there seems to be a lot of it surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays this year. Bolstered by one of the most powerful lineups in baseball we are poised for an exciting season.
It’s hard to believe that over two decades have passed since Joe Carter ‘touched em’ all’. At this rate I’d consider sacrificing my first born for a little playoff baseball north of the border. With the Jays lineup, however, I doubt I’ll have to: Russell Martin, José Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak (?!) - it’s enough to make a man weep...
There are obviously a few question marks that need to be answered before we raise any more banners. The unproven, yet promising young arms in both the rotation and the bullpen seems to be the unanimous key to our success. Or demise. And let’s be serious, Devon Travis can’t hit .359 all season like he did in Spring Training (although prove me wrong, please!).
Despite a few glaring holes, the issue on every fan’s mind continues to be health. Or, more appropriately, HEALTH!!!! I won't lie, I started practicing Black Magic after the Michael Saunders injury (a sprinkler head... really). But clearly it did nothing to reverse whatever voodoo curse the baseball gods had placed upon us. The collective gasp of the fan base when Marcus Stroman went down was practically audible. I still go to bed every night asking the universe: “What did we do to deserve this?”
When Stroman tore his ACL, fielding a bunt in practice no less, the rotation door was opened for Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. Both had bright preseason campaigns and all we can do now is let them take the ball (literally) and run. But it will be interesting to see how they react when the live rounds start firing.
Like a good doctor, I should be tempering your expectations. However, that is tough to do when your team is filled with as much potential as the 2015 Blue Jays.
My completely biased and unfounded prediction has the Jays finishing atop the AL East. Admittedly, I came to that conclusion using my own advanced statistics also known as “Hopes and Prayers”. For a more expert, calculated take on the Jays' fortunes please read Bob Elliott’s article in the Toronto Sun (it can be found here: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/04/04/blue-jays-final-roster-not-really-contender-worthy).
I can’t help it if my glass is half full. On the eve of opening day we’re all tied for first... and I’ll be damned if I’m not anything but optimistic.