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Maybe Next Year Toronto Blue Jays

By Nawest Vazquez     Sep 19, 2007 in Sports
For the Toronto Blue Jays, mission make the playoffs has been replaced by, unfortunately, mission play out the stretch. The dream is dead for 2007, but the Jays are embracing the role of spoiler, and giving hope for 2008.
The Blue Jays started September with a sweep of the Seattle Mariners, and visions of the wildcard were dancing around in my head. Premature, I know. It's been all downhill ever since. The Jays haven't been mathematically eliminated just yet, but even a dreamer like me knows it's all over. They've only got their pride to play for now.
Meanwhile, the stumbling Boston Red Sox have come to town and been beaten twice by the Jays. Shout outs to Frank Thomas for his three homerun game on Monday night. Say what you want about The Big Hurt, but he's done his job. He leads the teams in home runs with 25, and runs batted in with 91. Yes, he may just be the slowest man in baseball, but he solidified the DH spot for this team. He's also managed to stay healthy all year. So don't hate. Thomas still has some juice left in the tank, and the Jays will need him to put the Big in "Big Hurt" next year.
Speaking of the Red Sox, is it possible that they could relinquish the AL East crown after owning it since April? Don't look now, but the surging New York Yankees are only 2.5 games behind. Red Sox Nation will not be sleeping easy tonight, or for the next week or so. After the Jays finish their set with the Red Sox, they're off to the Bronx for four with the Yankees. I'm torn as to who to cheer for. I want the Jays to finish the season strong, but I would love to see the Red Sox choke on a division lead that was in double-digits only a month and a half ago.
And how bad has Eric Gagne been since he's donned the Red Sox uniform? He's certainly doing his best Josh Towers impersonation. In 13 innings Gagne has a 7.62 earned run average and batters are hitting the lights out off him, at a clip of .356. Frightening numbers. Josh Towers, eat your heart out.
The upcoming off-season is another important one for the Jays, although most of the team is going to come back. It was good to see B.J. Ryan on the field yesterday tossing a baseball. As great as Jeremy Accardo has been, I miss good old B.J. He's a presence out there.
As for Troy Glaus, I am utterly disgusted by the lack of respect the Blue Jays, and Glaus himself, have shown their fans and the game of baseball. It's just typical that after Glaus is implicated in a steroid scandal, his problematic foot is shut down and he's off for surgery, all before he gets an at-bat at home in Toronto. I was looking forward to him stepping up to the plate at the Rogers Centre and listening to the crowd boo him mercilessly. He deserves nothing less.
The Jays, nor Glaus, didn't even make a statement about the steroid allegations. Glaus gave the usual "no comment" and has left the team. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. It's disgusting on the Jays' behalf. The least they can do is issue some sort of statement. In this situation, silence speaks louder than words, and Glaus is already guilty in my books. He's a disgrace.
The J.P. Ricciardi regime doesn't really seem to give a hoot about the fans. They constantly lie about injuries (B.J. Ryan's back problem turned out to be Tommy John elbow surgery) and their silence on the Glaus situation is ludicrous. The whole act is getting tired.
But, being the true homer that I am, I'm going to give J.P. Ricciardi and co. one more shot. Their last shot. 2008, and that's it. It's a trip to the playoffs or, as Donald Trump would put it, "You're fired!"
I'll be honest, watching a performance like the one by A.J. Burnett last night gives me hope. He was incredible - his fastball was clocked at 97 miles per hour in the 9th inning. In 59 and a third innings pitched since coming off the disabled list in mid-August, Burnett has only given up 13 earned runs. His 9-7 win/loss record, after last night, is deceiving. He's really taken Doc Halladay's lead and pitched his butt off for the Blue Jays. He sports a 3.40 earned run average and batters are hitting just a shade over .200 against him. He's been dominant, as advertised. His one and only goal in 2008 should be to pitch a full season - no more trips to the injured list. If he's healthy, and the offence give him enough support, he can win 20 games. Book it.
It was also good to see Russ Adams stroke a clutch hit for the Jays. He brought home the go-ahead runs with a pinch hit double in the bottom of the 8th off Gagne. It was only the fourth time in 64 games that the Jays have come back when trailing after seven innings (ouch). Adams has become the forgotten man for the Jays - I feel for the guy. This corner wouldn't mind him playing third base for the Jays next year - that right there should tell you just how much I am disgusted with Troy Glaus.
Eleven more games to go before the book is closed on another third-place finish. J.P. Ricciardi has one more year, one more chance, to deliver a playoff berth. This year I'll let it slide, but third place won't be tolerated anymore. It just isn't good enough.
Here's to the Toronto Blue Jays. They are, after all, my team - for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part...
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