The Toronto Blue Jays play in the toughest division in all of pro sports. There is no other division that houses two of the top five teams every year. Moreover, in baseball—versus basketball or hockey—only the division champion makes the postseason, with one spot awarded to the wild-card winner.
As to be expected with two of the top teams in the league, the AL East has housed the wild card winner every year since 2003 (save the 2006 season).
Since the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, the AL East is now home to three top AL teams. In many of these seasons, the AL East actually has the top three AL teams. In order for the top three teams to come out of the AL East, that means that one or two teams are getting beat up in the division to allow for such strong records.
Enter the Toronto Blue Jays.
Not only does playing in the AL East affect their record and lack of playoff berths, but it does much more than that. This piece will analyze the effects of playing in the toughest division in pro sports.