Everyone in the baseball world is following the Toronto Blue Jays with great anticipation.
Some may be rooting for the Blue Jays to make it to the World Series and win it all. Others might be hoping the Jays fall apart, providing further evidence that few teams can successfully buy a championship.
The rest are just hoping the team north of the border can muster some competition for the more dominant teams in the American League East.
Whichever platform fans may stand on, all will agree that the Blue Jays are one of the best stories in baseball to follow this season. The following are four great subplots to keep track of as the results for Toronto's season unfold.
When John Gibbons managed the Toronto Blue Jays from 2004-2008, the team featured big-name players like Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, and Troy Glaus. Expectations were high, but the results were mediocre. The best they did was second place in 2006, 10 games behind the New York Yankees.
Consequently, Gibbons’ no bullcrap attitude generated the majority of the stories in town for those three years.
Most memorably, there were the fisticuffs that nearly broke out when Shea Hillenbrand wrote "The Ship is sinking" and "Play for yourself" on the team's clubhouse board.
There was also the time that Gibbons actually laid a hand on one of his players when he and Ted Lilly went at it in the tunnel when Lilly expressed discontent with being taken out of the game.
Though one of the less gossip worthy stories of Gibbons' career, the foot he put down against veteran slugger Frank Thomas might have been the biggest. Thomas wanted more at-bats, and Gibbons wasn't willing to budge, resulting in the release of the Big Hurt.
Gibbons isn't a player's manager, let alone a pushover. If you're a fan that wants headlines, Gibbons might prove to be one of the more interesting managers in baseball if he lives up to his reputation in town.
Fans breathed a sigh of relief when Jose Bautista lifted the Blue Jays to a much-needed win against the Kansas City Royals with a two-run home run on Saturday. Clearly, the slugger's recent ankle injury did not seem to be affecting his game.
Now, however, news of Bautista's back spasm are causing fans to wring their hands with frustration. The Blue Jays are considering this a "short-term injury," but it just adds to the concern that one of Toronto's gems can't stay on the field.
Part of this team's success will be made or broken based on whether Bautista can perform.
Bautista is a two-time home run champion. If he can put up numbers in 2013 like he did two years ago, he'll write a great story for himself and bring the Jays that much closer to earning one of their own.
If he can't stay on the field, fans will still be sifting through the Toronto Sun's sports section for news on his health. He'll dominate a chunk of the team's story in 2013, even if it's for the wrong reason.
One of the most exuberant young players in baseball will be returning to the game shortly, and it's yet to be known what kind of player Brett Lawrie will show up as this season.
Similar to acclaimed players like Mike Trout in Anaheim and Bryce Harper in Washington, Lawrie hits effectively, and his defense and baserunning are off the charts in regards to his effort. Lawrie’s made a name for himself as well one of the hardest driving young players in the game.
However, injuries like Lawrie experienced this year to his ribcage can leave a mark on a player's career, for better or for worse. Many players return to the game a smarter player who knows better how to handle their body in the field. Others come back gun shy.
No one knows what Lawrie will become this season. Obviously, it would be best that he returns a smarter player who knows when to put his foot on the gas for that extra step and when to put on the brakes for the better of his health.
Who knows? Maybe he'll return as wily as ever. What fans don't want to see is a Lawrie struggling to get back into the groove he had before he went down last year.
Lawrie’s story is already taking new form, as General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said the young infielder will be giving second base a shot down in the Jays’ minor league system as he prepares for his return.
Lawrie said last season that fear of injury leads to poor performance. After his second injury in less than a year, we'll see if he can stick to his word.
What could make for better drama than a team of superstars, especially when they get off to a slow start like they are have in 2013? The team is already dealing with its first hardship and taste of reality with the loss of Jose Reyes.
Of the teammates, Melky Cabrera is the one with the most bizarre history on the team. Taking performance enhancing drugs is a bad enough stain on a player's record, but to be known for allegedly creating a fake website in order to cover the scent of steroids on him draws adjectives ranging from "eccentric" to "stupid." Antics like these are often central to media storms in Major League clubhouses.
RA Dickey has become known for his positivity, particularly through his autobiography that he released last year. He has given to many charities, and he possesses character traits that many consider to be those of a true role model in sports.
However, even the most positive of superstars can come with baggage. Although Dickey's comments made at the New York Mets' Christmas party this past winter were arguably justified (the Mets did invite him, well aware that the media would ask him tough questions about his contract situation), he caused a stir within the organization prior to his exit from Long Island
It's an example of what a player with celebrity status can draw to a clubhouse. If the Blue Jays end up struggling in 2013, Dickey's honesty could very well contribute to a storm. Hopefully for the Blue Jays, his positive attitude will bring the best out of the team regardless of their record.
And of course, there's Mark Buehrle and his pitbulls. Any time a player has a statement to make, including an attack on Ontario's law banning ownership of pitbulls, drama will be stirred and stories will be written.