On the Go Train ride home from the Blue Jays game last night, it was quiet. Way too quiet. As hundreds of Blue Jays fans packed the cars, I could hear somebody playing video of the Canada/Europe World Cup final game on their phone.
“Well, at least somebody won tonight” is what I told my friend Aaron.
The looks of the Blue Jays fans on the Go Train were that of people who had watched their team squander another golden opportunity. These people (myself included) looked defeated.
It didn’t help the Blue Jays’ case that numerous reports are surfacing of players clashing with the media. At a time when the Blue Jays are fighting for their playoff lives, the last thing they need to do is fight with members of the media.
It was about a 40 minute ride back on the train, which gave me a lot of time to think about the state of the Blue Jays.
I thought about writing how the clubhouse issues may be affecting the Blue Jays on the field. I considered navel gazing about how the 2016 Blue Jays are feeling eerily similar to the club’s infamous collapse in 1987 or the nightmarish end to the 2013 season that wasn’t.
And this morning, I kind of did. But given the benefit of time, it’s incredible how one’s perspective on things can change.
Which brings us to today; the beginning of a three game series in Boston against the Red Sox. The final stretch of the regular season and the final opportunity for the Blue Jays to prove their worth.
This isn’t exactly how I would’ve drawn it up, but it’s going to be a thrilling finish to the season. To face one of the best teams in the American League on the road as the Blue Jays’ backs are against the wall? Here’s a little reminder that the Blue Jays have already done this before … as recently as last October in Texas during the ALDS.
I’m getting a lot of similar vibes now as I did after the Blue Jays lost the first two games at home against the Texas Rangers.
My tone has suddenly gone from “how awful would it be if the Jays got swept?” to “how awesome would it be if they came back?”
So that’s the same approach I’m taking as the Blue Jays head into Boston; if things are truly as dire as they seem, how awesome would it be if the Blue Jays somehow clawed their way into that Wild Card game? And if that happens, we’ll go from there.
Heaven forbid, if the Blue Jays miss out on the postseason, there will be ample time to dissect what went wrong and how the team can improve next year. We can play “what ifs” on repeat and wonder what may have been for the Toronto Blue Jays. But that story line hasn’t been written yet.
Much like life itself, it’s easy to get caught up on the web of scandal and focus on the negative. I myself am guilty of both reading and writing pieces which haven’t painted the Blue Jays in the most favourable light. It may be difficult to find much positive in relation to how poorly the Jays have played in October.
Given everything that’s happened, they still have a chance. They still occupy a playoff spot at this very moment.
It’s easy to think the Blue Jays are going to lose every game the rest of the way, because that’s what they’ve done the past two nights. Right now, it feels like this slide is going to continue on forever. But a true playoff-worthy team will find a way to overcome these odds. And if the Blue Jays don’t, then they weren’t a playoff-worthy team.
You can think “the Jays are going to blow the season and miss the playoffs” – and if they do, what satisfaction is there in that? Where is the fun in being right about your favourite team’s collapse? That’s because there isn’t any.
On the other hand, you can have faith and hope the Blue Jays do what they have 87 times prior this season; and that’s win.