There is a feeling of joy and positivity when the first meaningful, “Play Ball!” is shouted. The first game of Major League Baseball is more than just the start of another season of baseball, it is far more complicated and far more reaching.
It is the beginning of happiness.
It is the beginning of Spring with the promise of sunnier, warmer weather. It is the beginning of the cycle of life as grass, plants and trees bloom into existence. It is the time when we first step outside and take a deep breath without seeing it when we exhale. The beginning of baseball reminds us that the pain and hardships of winter are behind us while the joys of celebrating life lie ahead. Now nothing of this has anything literally to do with baseball, but the connotation certainly paints us a very peaceful picture.
Every year we wait for our Blue Jays to migrate their way back home to Toronto from their spring training hiatus in Dunedin, Florida. I too am excited that the boys of summer are back for what hopefully turns into another successful year. Regardless of the changes (or lack thereof) that happened during this off season, the first game of the season is always filled with optimism even if you are an Atlanta Braves fan. This year however, now that the Toronto Blue Jays have played their first game, is anyone else getting the blahs? Am I the only one wishing we could just skip straight to the second half of the season?
Don’t get me wrong, despite their loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, it felt really good to be watching the Blue Jays and baseball again. Unfortunately though, after that first game, I can’t really get excited about the Blue Jays now. This is nothing against them or the sport of baseball, it’s just that there are quite a number of other items that are taking up my focus. There are only so many sports and teams that a person can fill their day with and quite frankly, the Blue Jays don’t make my top 5 today. Do they make yours?
I will be the first person to admit that back in October, I had no idea I would be this interested in the Toronto Maple Leafs at this late point in the season. Who really saw the Leafs as a legitimate playoff contender? Unless a spectacular collapse happens (and yes, Toronto teams are prone to that) it seems they will be making the playoffs and that takes top priority right now. Next I have the Toronto Raptors who are also finishing off their season and trying to optimize their playoff seeding. If a healthy Kyle Lowry returns and gels with newcomers Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker, then this could be another deep, playoff run. The Raptors certainly have my attention. Toronto FC, Toronto Wolfpack and even Toronto FC II hold my interest a lot more than the Blue Jays at this time. I do understand that my bias for soccer has a little something to do with that, not to mention all the “newness” with the Wolfpack and their early success.
The main reason however, as to why I feel that the Blue Jay have fallen a few rungs on my interest ladder is because, honestly, I don’t have a clue what management is doing. Now, obviously those people are much smarter than I am and their moves could be the correct ones, so I am willing to give them time to prove it. No offence to Kendrys Morales, Steve Pierce or any other of the Blue Jay signings but none of them make me want to watch a game just to see them play like I did with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Victor Vazquez and even Jakob Poeltl. On top of that, I haven’t been enthused with how the Blue Jays handled the Edwin Encarnacion situation; how they addressed (or didn’t) their need for youth or an outfielder or a 1st baseman or the bullpen; how poorly Alex Sanchez’ contract was handled or even more recently, the release of Melvin Upton Jr.
Like I said, I am not saying these were the wrong moves but none of them make much sense to me, let alone have me excited to watch this team play in the early going. That could easily change mind you. I may pay closer attention if we have early exits from the Raptors and Leafs or if something unusual happens with the team. A hot start or a player streak or even if they bring up someone from their farm system like a Rowdy Tellez, who just happened to homer in his final spring training game in Montreal. If none of those things happen, then maybe I’ll re-check my Blue Jays pulse sometime in July. Hopefully they are still in the race.
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