At what point does it become acceptable to truly believe in the 2009 Blue Jays? Should we wait for May to be over? The All-Star game? Do we need to get right into August and have the Blue Jays in the thick of a pennant race? Or is it ok, after 41 games (27 of them being victories), to let our guard down and fully embrace the fact that this team is for real?
Although I’m an optimistic guy, I keep waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Scott Richmond can’t possibly be for real, right? His five wins must be some sort of Copperfield-esque illusion? Surely Brett Cecil and Robert Ray will soon be outed as frauds perpetrated on a vulnerable fan base?
And the hitting…well, the hitting cannot continue at this clip – it’s impossible (right?). Marco Scutaro cannot sustain his .415 On-Base-Percentage, which is 83 points higher than his career mark. Opposing pitchers will figure out the kids: Lind and Snider will come crashing down at some point. Oh, and Aaron Hill will NOT hit 44 home runs, which is his current pace.
Those doubts were valid three weeks into April, but we’re now into the final stretch of May and the Jays show no signs of slowing down. If anything, the pitching will get better if Janssen, Romero and Litsch come back strong (they are currently being held back in the minors because of how the kids are performing in the Bigs). To top it off, all of this is going on with Rios and Wells struggling (although Rios has been showing signs of waking up recently), which theoretically allows for some relief when they get going (Wells is a perennial slow-starter).
No, you can count on me to destroy this protective wall I’ve put around my emotions and fully embrace this team as the real thing. The Jays go into their first series against the Red Sox leading them by 3 1/2 games in the East. The Jays have the second best record in baseball. They are free of players that are lightning rods for discontent (except for maybe B.J. Ryan), like A-Rod on the Yankees or closers for the New York Mets. Even the city of Toronto is waking up from their winter slumber and getting their butts to the games (37,000 on Saturday for a game against the White Sox). Heck, I’ve even taken a second look at my budget to check if a quick weekend trip to Toronto might be in the cards!
I’m an optimist but a realist. I know not every Blue Jay is going to have a career year. I know one of these pitchers is going to have a monumental collapse. It’s strange, though: I feel like even when the bump in the road does come for some of these guys, there will be someone right behind them to pick up the slack. They’ve shown a keen ability to do that so far this season. It’s made for the most compelling Jays season in a long time.
– Where are we on my request for 10 victories in 16 days? Five wins and two defeats, which means nine games remaining to get another 5 wins. Going just above .500 for the rest of this stretch does not seem like too much to ask at this point. Fenway awaits, and it’s time shove the arrogance of the Red Sox fans down their throats.
– Rogers and CTV Globemedia finally buried the hatchet, so Rogers customers will be able to join the rest of the country in watching the Jays and Red Sox from Fenway on TSN2. About freaking time.
– Fox and MLB have come to an agreement to start playoff games earlier. We are being promised a first pitch no later than 7:57pm. Again – about freaking time.