Toronto Blue Jays players, Executives, Announcers and Writers, Television Providers, and most important fans:
Why yes Canada's team, our team, the Toronto Blue Jays to some, distant family members to millions of Canadians, are headed for another apparent third, or even fourth? Place finish, once again finishing appearing to finish behind the Red Sox or Yankees. Can you believe it is over a decade since we had October baseball in the Skydome?
This was supposed to be our year, once again we were supposed to spoil the seasons of the perennial contenders in Boston and New York and be watching baseball after shoveling our driveways and watching baseball instead of Hockey Night in Canada, but this was not the case as injuries, the lack of offensive power for the majority of the year, and the failure of the experiment to bring Scot Rolen and David Eckstein to the Great White North see our Jays sitting at home well we watch the dreaded Red Sox try to win back to back World Series
We were supposed to be this years Rays, the team that played above its potential and shocked the baseball world while ruining the Yankees last season in The House Ruth Built. But it did not happen and I don't blame the Jays for any variation of choking, I do not blame Paul Godfrey, J.P. Riccardi (although it is time for him to go), nor do I blame Cito Gaston, or even former manager John Gibbons. I do not blame A.J Burnett, Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Shawn Marcum, B.J. Ryan, or any of the ballplayers on the 08 Jays. Well who do I blame you ask:
I blame The Score, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, and CBC, along with the legions of fans expecting, once again for this to be their year.
You people are just setting us up for more heartbreak by making the Kool-Aid for us to drink every year, and yes I blame myself for drinking it again and again, but the way to get fans excited and following a season is not by the unfufillable promise of a playoff berth coming out of the AL East, but looking for the future. So I will take the liberty of getting you started on looking forward to the 09 Jays.
Please do not expect a playoff berth or even mention the word October and Toronto Blue Jays in the same breath in the year of 2009, thank you.
Expect to miss A.J. Burnett and Shawn Marcum
Shawn Marcum is out for 2009 with rehab for Tommy John surgery and AJ Burnett is likely to opt out his already huge contract in a move for even more money so don't expect to see those to on the mound next year.
Look for David Percy and many of the other Jays who made some spot starts to get experience in the MLB and make some vital contributions to the pitching staff next season.
Expect the Bullpen to Continue to be Stellar
The pleasant surprise of the Jays season this year was the strength of its bullpen; Scott Downs, BJ Ryan, Jeremy Accardo, and many others put the team on its back during its winning streak and shouldered a lot of innings, especially when the big two were not on the mound.
Expect more of the same as all of them should be returning next season and will have to shoulder even more of the load if AJ Burnett departs from Toronto in the off-season
Expect J.P. Riccardi to Shake Things up This Winter and be out of Toronto in 2010
J.P. Riccardi, the most hated general manager in Toronto outside of John Ferguson, has an ultimatum, a playoff berth in 2009 or your job is gone. Expect him to lose his job, but also expect him to bring in some quality free agents and prospects that will set the Jays up for contention in the next decade.
Expect Cito Gaston to Revitalize the Offence and be back for the next Decade
The best move management made this year was the firing of John Gibbons and the then hiring of Cito Gaston, the manager who brought the Word Championship to Canada in '92 and '93.
Cito, who lead the Jays the an over .500 record over the course of his tenure this season, revitalized the offence and got AJ Burnett back on track and if he was here the whole season there is no doubt in my mind that we would not be talking about the Tampa Bay Rays right now.
He will lead the Jays back into semi-contention and improve their record and will be convinced to lead them in the next decade and will bring the World Series back to Toronto by 2015.
Well that is Part One of my little post-season wrap-up of the Jays; stay posted for a season in review.