Can the Blue Jays Live Up to the Hype?
This year’s version of the Toronto Blue Jays has a buzz around it like I haven’t felt in quite some time.
Alex Anthopoulos has reignited a spark that became the norm in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And with John Farrell leading the way as field general, you can bet that his playoff experience with the Boston Red Sox will be put to good use when leading his young stars on the field.
This team is littered with a perennial MVP candidate, Gold Glove potential fielders, All-Stars, a Cy Young winner in the making and a home-grown Canadian product in Brett Lawrie that is about to take the sport by storm. The bullpen, ranked with some of the very best, is a mix of youth and experience working as one towards a common goal.
From a media perspective, Sportsnet, one of Canada’s definitive sports leaders, will provide media coverage of all 162 Jays games this year. Jamie Campbell, Gregg Zaun, Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez lead the way, and anyone with any interest in this team will never long for any breaking news.
In the ultra-competitive AL East the time could not be better when talking about a power shift in the division.
The “experts” are still stuck in the mindset that Toronto will come in fourth, something they have done four times in the last four years. Even more interesting is the idea that the New York Yankees and Red Sox could find themselves in the unfamiliar position of chasing the Tampa Bay Rays when the season begins to wind down. Toronto, on the other hand, can take advantage of a new playoff system that allows a second Wild Card team to enter the postseason.
The playoffs, something that used to be a given for Canadian fans, do seem like a reality this year. The Yankees and Red Sox, and their impenetrable grasp on the East, is loosening, and the Rays are a young team that has proven time and time again that regardless of payroll, you can still be successful.
The pieces are in place and the talent on the club is untapped. No one ever thought the East was up for grabs until the Rays did the unthinkable in 2008 and won the division. Why can’t 2012 be that year for the Jays?
Remember the Atlanta Braves and their improbable 1991 run? They bucked the odds and shocked the baseball world with unproven players and some crafty veterans leading the way. That situation seems eerily familiar when looking at this year’s team.
Rick Romero and Brandon Morrow might not be Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, but they are on the cusp and that’s what makes this year so enticing.
Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.
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