It's been 17 long years since we've had something to cheer about, a parade to attend. Our hockey and basketball teams don't give us much hope, and we have the NFL every once in a while, but it's not authentic. If only we could party like it was 1993...
In signing Carl Crawford, the Boston Red Sox have powered their way back to the top of the AL East rankings, and don't look to give that up too easily. The Yanks are doing fine, and if they land Cliff Lee, well, nothing will have changed much in the Bronx.
It's good to know that in Crawford going to Boston, the Rays will fall a little, but I doubt we're heading back to the days where Jays fans would find comfort in, "Well at least we're ahead of the Rays and Orioles." Back then, at least we had some hope to cling to.
Nowadays in Toronto, home of the only remaining Canadian baseball team, there isn't much hope. Not with New York and Boston's All-Star teams and incredible pitching staffs. It seems as though the Jays' lasting legacy will forever be Joe Carter hopping along the base path after his World Series walk off home run, and to quote Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that."
What bugs me the most isn't the consistent third or fourth-place finishes, but rather the recurring theme of sheer indifference towards high-end free agents. One might make the argument that players like Lee and Crawford who have tasted the sweetness of the postseason would not want to play for a perennially average-ranked club. However, that is because of the lack of a precedent made towards acquiring such talent and making a dash for the finish line.
Just look at the history of free agency and trade deadlines, where New York and Boston have dealt, signed and picked up All-Star talent year in and year out. Because of this, it's no surprise that seven of the last 10 World Series have included AL East teams (with the division's record standing at 4-3). Take the Nationals as an example. They finished 28 games back of the Phillies in the NL East, and were still able to pick up a top free agent in Jayson Werth, who played in two of the last three World Series.
Because the Nats are proving to the league that they're rebuilding and dishing out the cash to back that up, they can ink the players that they're looking for. The Jays, on the other hand have used free agency to pick up were-stars and average players.
So, whether the blame falls on the management in Toronto or on players who'd rather sign elsewhere, the Jays are falling further and further behind. It doesn't seem likely we'll ever see the day when the Red Sox are 15 games behind Toronto as was the case at the end of the 1993 season.
With the amount of talent that is still up for grabs during this offseason, I hope that the Jays will wake up and start trying to catch up. For me, fourth isn't an acceptable position, and it shouldn't be for the club either. So come on guys, let's pick up the slack and knock New York and Boston off of their high horses and regain our place at the top!
And if not, well...at least we're not the Orioles.
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