For some reason or another, I have a fascination with movies involving time travel. Whether it’s Back to the Future or The Terminator series, there’s something very intriguing about the prospect of going back in time and changing the course of history.
So in honour of the soon to be cult classic Hot Tub Time Machine
(in theatres this Friday !), I’d like to present my Top Hot Tub Time Machine Moments in Blue Jays History. And by that, I mean the moments in time I would go back to and change if given the opportunity.
Dave Stieb’s near perfect game (August 4th, 1987)
On his fourth attempt, Dave Stieb achieved one of the most coveted accomplishments in major league baseball … the no-hitter. However, Stieb was undoubtedly nervous in the 9th inning as he had come one out away from recording a no-hitter in his two previous attempts.
If I could go back in time, I would travel back to the top of the ninth inning on August 4th 1987, and call strike one to Roberto Kelly rather than ball one – thus leaving Dave Stieb only two strikes away from picking up the perfect game.
The ALCS against the Kansas City Royals (October 8th to 16th, 1985)
What’s worse – losing the division lead the last weekend of the season, or being one win away from the World Series?
25 years later, the Blue Jays are still wondering what could have been if they closed out the Kansas City Royals in Game Five, Six, or heck, even Game Seven of the 1985 ALCS.
If I could go back in time, I would delay the decision to open up the League Series to seven games, and leave it at a best of five. That way, the Blue Jays would’ve made it to their first World Series in 1985 instead of 1992.
Roy Halladay’s line drive to the shin (July 8th, 2005)
Everything was going great for Roy Halladay in 2005. With a gleaming 12-4 record, he was cruising to his second Cy Young award. Then a line drive to the shin courtesy of Kevin Mench brought Halladay’s Cinderella season to a crashing halt.
If I could go back in time through a magical hot tub, I would not only prevent Kevin Mench from playing in that particular game, I would prevent him from ever playing baseball altogether.
That way, it would eliminate Mench from becoming one half of the future Blue Jays hybrid abomination, “Mencherson”.
The last series of the 1987 season (October 2nd to 4th, 1987)
Somewhere deep down, I felt bad for the Detroit Tigers for losing a tie-breaker game to the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title last season.
That’s because the 1987 Toronto Blue Jays suffered a similar fate by handing over the division lead to the Tigers during the final series of the regular season.
If I could go back, I would find a way to spike the Tigers’ Gatorade cooler with Newfoundland Screech and thus render their entire team legally drunk, which would make them unable to play. Repeat for the final two games of the 1987 season, and the pennant belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Scott Downs slips at Fenway Park (September 13th, 2008)
Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that long ago when the Toronto Blue Jays were playing meaningful games in September. Trailing the Boston Red sox by a mere 7.5 games for the Wild Card lead, the Jays were clinging to a 5-4 lead late in the game on September 13th, 2008 at Fenway Park.
It turns out that in addition to not being able to run out of the batter’s box safely, Scott Downs also has trouble fielding routine ground balls on occasion. He couldn’t record the out on a slow roller from Jacoby Ellsbury, slipping and falling while trying to field the ball.
The Blue Jays would eventually lose the game 7-5, but if I could go back I would ensure that Scott Downs fielded the ball cleanly and thus help keep the Blue Jays playoff hopes alive.
Dustin McGowan’s near no-no (June 24th, 2007)
It’s not every day you get to witness possible franchise history in the making. Yet that’s precisely was was unfolding in front of my eyes at the Rogers Centre on June 24th, 2007.
Cruising along after eight no-hit innings, Dustin McGowan was looking to record only the second no-hitter in Blue Jays history. Unfortunately, a leadoff single in the top of the ninth by the Rockies Jeff Baker broke up McGowan’s no-hit bid.
If I could travel back to that day, I would make Jeff Baker a healthy scratch from the lineup and substitute in John Mabry, who had a .118 batting average that year.
Who would’ve ever guessed that it would be the National League’s designated hitter who would end up getting the only hit for the Rockies that game.
What are your Top Hot Tub Time Machine Moments in Blue Jays History? If you could go back in time and change something about the Toronto Blue Jays, what would you do?