For whatever reason, the Toronto Blue Jays cannot climb the mountain to reach .500. They’ve come close many times, but with each attempt to get there, the Blue Jays have failed.
To fans, it’s pretty disheartening to witness a team miss on nine consecutive attempts to even up their record. You’d think by now the Blue Jays would’ve at least fluked their way to .500.
This probably won’t make much sense, but the Blue Jays’ march to .500 matters, but at the same time, it also doesn’t matter.
It matters because you can’t in good faith have a conversation about the Blue Jays being a contender unless they at least have a .500 record. Yes, at 35-37 the Blue Jays are only be 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card, but the longer the Jays remain a sub .500 team, the further away those playoff aspirations become.
Reaching .500 matters because at one point the Blue Jays were 11 games under .500. To break through and make up that 11-game deficit would be huge for the team’s psyche. That’s a significant accomplishment on its own. Getting over that hump puts that awful April in the rear-view mirror and allows the Blue Jays to finally look forward.
At the same time, getting to .500 doesn’t matter. At least, it doesn’t matter to some people. It’s not like the Blue Jays have the locker room covered in plastic drop cloths and crates of champagne on ice for when they do hit .500.
Like an idiot, I still have a small bottle of bubbly in my own fridge waiting to be uncorked, but that’s beside the point.
It’s not like getting to .500 suddenly makes the Blue Jays a much better team. They still have many of the same issues which have plagued them all season. The Jays still have several of their key players struggling; it’s also unclear whether the front office will “go for it” at the trade deadline.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Getting to .500 is the easiest mountain to climb for a team which scuffled in the first 5 weeks.” quote=”The reason why it feels so important for the Blue Jays to get to .500? Because it’s the closest and easiest mountain to climb for a team which grossly under-performed for the first five weeks of the season.”]
One game here, two games there doesn’t change much. At least, it shouldn’t for the players. The drive to .500 matters most to the fans.
The reason why it feels so important for the Blue Jays to get to .500? Because it’s an immediate, attainable measure of success. It’s the closest and easiest mountain to climb for a team which grossly under-performed for the first five weeks of the season.
In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a mountain, it’s more of a toboggan hill. It’s the hill on the Grizzly Bear trail at the Toronto Zoo. It’s tough to climb, but it’s nowhere near the most difficult thing you’ll ever encounter in your life. Even though at the time, it feels like it.
It would be an accomplishment for the Blue Jays to win the next two games and reach .500, but it’s merely a footnote among the greater goals for this club in 2017.
If we’re comparing the Blue Jays of 2017 to the 1992 World Series squad, it’s not like one of the fabled “3 for 3” goals was for the Jays to make .500. The three goals for that team were to win the division, win the ALCS and win the World Series.
Among the list of priorities for the 2017 Blue Jays, “get to .500” is at the bottom next to “don’t everyone get hurt, now” and “let’s not embarrass ourselves out there”.
Ultimately, I believe this goal matters more to the onlookers rather than the players on the field. The Blue Jays themselves are aware of the standings and the team’s record, but it’s not like Josh Donaldson walks into the clubhouse in the next few days as fires up the troops by doing his best Bill Pullman from Independence Day speech:
“SHOULD WE WIN THE DAY, TODAY WILL NO LONGER BE KNOWN AS AN AMERICAN HOLIDAY, BUT AS THE DAY WHEN WE ALL DECLARED IN ONE VOICE, WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT. WE WILL NOT FADE FROM THE STANDINGS WITHOUT A FIGHT. WE’RE GOING TO LIVE ON. WE’RE GOING TO SURVIVE. TODAY, WE CELEBRATE OUR .500 DAY!”
On second thought, that would be pretty cool. March on, Jays. March on.