Next year, there will be another banner flying high atop the Rogers Centre. At the very least, it will be a “2015 American League Champs” banner.
The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays have done the unthinkable. Not only will they we returning to the postseason for the first time in 22 years, they will be doing so as American League East Champions.
In many ways, this mirrors how the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first AL East division title. It had been a long time coming for both clubs.
For the 1985 Blue Jays, they experienced many years of growing pains as an expansion club. But eventually, they were able to put it all together thanks in large part to contributions from George Bell, Tony Fernandez, Dave Stieb, Jesse Barfield, Ernie Whitt and Lloyd Moseby just to name a few.
Now some 30 years later, it’s all come full circle. The Toronto Blue Jays are kings of the AL East once again. The 2015 Blue Jays held off the New York Yankees just as the 1985 Blue Jays did.
This has been a long time coming. 22 years in between division titles, let alone playoff appearances. But this is huge. And the Blue Jays finally slayed the dragon that haunted them for so many years.
This is the culmination of so many great players who have played for the Blue Jays since 1993 that didn’t get a chance to make a trip to the postseason with the Blue Jays. This is for Shannon Stewart, Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells and Casey Janssen.
But most importantly, this is for the Blue Jays of now. The man who helped elevate this team into a position it hasn’t been in over two decades. This is for Josh Donaldson; the man who helped turn the entire fortunes of this franchise around; the man who was an apology from the Baseball Gods for the past 22 years of mediocrity.
This is for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion; two men who blossomed into superstars with the Toronto Blue Jays and have finally gotten their first taste of the postseason. This is for Brett Cecil, who has been to hell and back; as a starter and reliever, and now one of the best relievers in all of baseball this season.
It’s also for the young guys; Marcus Stroman who defied logic by returning in 2015 and helping clinch the division. It’s also for Kevin Pillar, who developed into a great all-around centre fielder. And Ryan Goins who took over for Devon Travis and did more than anybody could have imagined.
This AL East title is for the wily veterans like Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey. They came in during the 2013 season and were lauded as the heroes that would lead the Blue Jays back to the playoffs, and a few years later … they did.
This is also for Russell Martin; who took a leap of faith somewhat by inking a five-year deal with the Blue Jays, but it’s already paid off. And of course, it’s for David Price; who was the catalyst for the Blue Jays’ trade deadline turnaround.
Congratulations guys, you’ve earned it. There’s still a little more work to do, but for the time being … enjoy this.
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