It’s been almost two days since the Toronto Blue Jays lost Game 6 of the ALCS in heartbreaking fashion. They were so close to tying that game … so close. Game 6 was theirs for the taking, but instead it was the Royals who popped champagne.
As with any devastating event like that, there is a grieving period. And that loss is invariably going to sting for a while; not only for the men on the Blue Jays roster, but the entire fan base. There are likely plenty who keep replaying that ninth inning over and over again.
At least fans can seek solace in the fact that they aren’t alone in the grieving process. Here are the several stages in which fans are coping with the end of the Toronto Blue Jays’ season.
Stage One – Denial
This didn’t happen. Game 7 is just around the corner. It’s going to be played any day now, right? Oh wait, we’re still waiting for that rain delay to end. It can’t be normal for there to be a 48-hour delay, is there?
Hopefully they can get the game in before Tuesday, otherwise they may have to push back the World Series by a few days.
Stage Two – Anger
The Blue Jays had runners on first and third base with nobody out. They had a runner ninety feet from tying the game. How the hell did they not score at least one run?
Even the top of the order was due up, and not even Navarro, Revere or Donaldson could put a bat on the ball and send it out of the infield? And Wade Davis was sitting on the bench for an hour! How could the Jays not hit something off a reliever that had been iced for that long?
And don’t get me started on that neck-bearded Mose Schrute-looking kid that screwed over the Jays with his stupid catch over the railing.
Stage Three – Bargaining
But what if the Jays actually played Game Six under protest? Maybe they can send still call back that home run by Mike Moustakas? Do you think the umpires will come out tomorrow and admit they missed a balk call against David and the strike zone was messed up?
What if FOX flashing that Mets/Royals World Series graphic prematurely was actually their way of setting up a karmic shift towards the Blue Jays? I’m sure they’ll apologize any day now and give the Jays another chance to replay the ninth inning as an apology.
Stage Four – Depression
This may be the darkest of all the stages and perhaps the longest to get through. Considering that it’s going to be more than five months until Opening Day, it will provide ample time to stew over the results from Game 6.
Price is a free agent. Estrada is a free agent. Hawkins is gone. Lowe is gone. The rotation will be Marcus Stroman … and then who? There’s no way this pitching staff is ever going to be this good again.
And how can we expect this starting lineup to score close to 900 runs again next year? It’s almost impossible. This was a once in a lifetime offense and they’ll have to scrape and fight to even luck into a playoff spot next year.
It might be another 22 years before they make the playoffs again.
Stage Five – Acceptance
Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be this year. The Blue Jays were a great team, but the Royals were just a little bit better. The Jays had to play practically perfect to beat the Royals, and they didn’t. But the Jays came incredibly close.
The Blue Jays have so much to be proud of this season; ending a 22-year playoff drought, capturing the AL East title, disposing of the Texas Rangers in the ALDS and nearly sending the ALCS to seven games.
And for the most part, this team will remain intact for 2016 as well. With a few tweaks in the bullpen and additions to the starting rotation, the Blue Jays could be right back in the ALCS next year and right the wrongs that happened this year.
Now that the Blue Jays have finally gotten over the hump and realized they can become a contending team, surely this playoff experience will only make them hungrier and more determined to get back to the American League Championship Series.
Image courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star/Getty Images