Relief Line: Why the Blue Jays Need to Win the Pennant this Year
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Relief Line: Why the Blue Jays Need to Win the Pennant this Year

This Blue Jays team is exactly the distraction I need from my disappointing personal life.

Relief Line is your not-so-serious glance at the city we love.

Like many Torontonians, I have big expectations for the Blue Jays in 2016. After two decades of waiting the time has finally come. I know it’s only March, and I am probably getting ahead of myself, but I think this team has all the pieces in place to clinch the Pennant, win the World Series and provide a much-needed distraction from my disappointing personal life. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

World Series here we come!

One thing I love about this group of guys is how quickly they came together. Coming into last season, right before my marriage finally collapsed, the Blue Jays were an outside shot for a wildcard spot at best. Now look at them. In less time than it took me to lose out on that big promotion at work, they have coalesced into the best team in the American League. All credit must go to former GM Alex Anthopolous. Without his genius I would have been completely overwhelmed by my mounting failures by now and not be cheering on this once-in-a-generation team!

I am particularly excited about the middle of our batting order: Joey Batts, Edwin, Tulo, Martin and Mr. MVP himself, Josh Donaldson. With that much power the Jays are set to overcome all competition in the A.L. East. In addition to this they look poised help me overcome my struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which made this past winter very difficult for me and my family. Needless to say, with the return of all those heavy hitters and the strained relationship with my children only getting worse in recent months, spring training could not have come sooner for this fan!

Some might argue that while their hitting is great the Jays pitching won’t be strong enough to provide a distraction from the god-awful mess I’ve made of my personal financial situation. Here I must respectfully disagree. Granted, we lost Price, but we’ve got some great young talent coming up. Stroman is looking like an ace-in-waiting and Sanchez is a certified flamethrower. If Dickey and Estrada perform as they should, I really think our starting five could help me overlook the fact that I have not felt the loving touch of a woman in over three years. Oh man, and I nearly forgot about Roberto Osuna! That kid is clutch!

It’s hard to believe, but even with that roster not everyone in Toronto is as confident as me. For example, my therapist says I will only be happy if I stop investing so much energy into local sports franchises and focus more on my personal relationships. Of course, Dr. Billups will eat her words come September when she jumps on the Blue Jays bandwagon with the rest of us! Heck, I bet my baseball-hating ex-wife will even be on board. Not that I would know. She doesn’t respond to my e-mails.

Hey, I get it, not everyone is a baseball fan. I guess some people are just more into the Raptors this year. I admit they are a fun team, but there’s no way I am putting my emotional well-being in a team that will inevitably lose to Lebron and the Cavs. Let’s face it, the Raps are having a great regular season and offer an occasional diversion from my recent Irritable Bowel Syndrome flare-up, but they are not the kind of historic team that will make a deep playoff run and help me to forget about the time that my father called me a “huge disappointment” after I failed out of dental school. For that I’ll have to look to the Blue Jays.

I know it’s a lot of pressure to put on a team, but it’s not like they haven’t done it before. Who remembers the early 90s? Carter! Alomar! Guzman! Those teams were incredible. I will never forget Joltin’ Joe’s walk-off homer against Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams in ’93 or how the ’92 pennant race distracted me from my parents’ acrimonious divorce. I don’t want to jinx it, but I really feel the same magic in the air this year.

In the end if the Jays don’t make a serious post-season run there are going to be a lot of questions: Do we need to shore up our starting pitching? Is Shapiro the right man to lead this franchise? Am I going to have to work more closely with Dr. Billups to address my “deep-seated psychological and emotional issues”? Ultimately I don’t think we will have to worry about of that. Because the Jays are going all the way in 2016! So let’s play ball!

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