Will This Be the Year That We Won’t Forget?
Photo by phocrastinating from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Disclaimer: it’s April 21. The Major League Baseball season is barely two weeks old; the Toronto Blue Jays have played less than 10% of their 2009 schedule. It’s still way too early to be getting too far ahead of ourselves.
And yet there’s already something about this year’s Blue Jays that’s inviting that sort of thinking. They’ve exploded out of the gate, winning ten of their first fourteen games. They’re currently leading—leading!—the American League. They’ve scored more runs than anybody except the Los Angeles Dodgers. And they’ve done all this with what amounts to a AAA starting rotation that’s discovered, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, that it knows what to do at the major league level. Play like this is going to get people excited no matter what the calendar says.
Disclaimer: it’s April 21. But according to AccuScore, there’s now a 19.6% chance that the Jays will win the American League East this year. That’s approximately 19.6% more of a chance than anyone, ourselves included, would’ve given them two weeks ago. So what if the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox or even the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays have better odds? How could a Jays fan not be excited by this number? It’s probably too easy to give Cito Gaston all the credit, but since he took over from John Gibbons last June the Blue Jays have had the second-best record in the American League. The days of the manager challenging players to fistfights are gone, replaced by what appears to be a loose, tightly knit clubhouse. True, baseball is a glorified individual sport—and while there’s no empirical evidence suggesting a link between a loose clubhouse and a winning ballclub, it certainly can’t hurt. Surely Cito’s largely responsible for the culture change that’s taken place since Gibbons left.
Disclaimer: it’s April 21. And that isn’t stopping us from getting excited about the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays, who look like they’ll be an awfully fun team to watch. Who knows how long this early season magic carpet ride’s going to last? We intend to enjoy it as long as it does. Bring on the Rangers!