For Toronto Blue Jays fans
Redefining the Success Strategy
The Toronto Blue Jays finished out of the playoffs again. That’s the 18th year in a row without post season action. That includes the year no one went to the post season because of a labour dispute.
Is this what the organization has become, entertainment without the real fun at the end? So many baseball fans will try to feel they are part of the big picture by aligning their allegiance with another team even before September but the feeling just isn’t the same. There are a few teams in the National League with former members of the Toronto side on the roster but for us it all pales in comparison to cheering for one team from spring training through the season and on into the playoffs.
Many of us “old-time” Blue Jays fans remember a time (1985-1993) when we actually felt sorry for so many of the teams coming to Toronto to compete. After the team’s move from Exhibition Stadium, the 50,000-seat facility would fill up, people would be happy to sit in the 500 Level and they did not mind paying inflated prices for the refreshments. O.K., maybe not for the beer but the rest of the food and souvenirs still stands.
To continue: the management would throw out their lineup and by the 7th inning the players would have the game’s outcome predictable and wrapped up. The bullpen would accommodate a look at some new pitchers, the bench had some AAA players who came in to play their best positions but everyone knew the game was decided before the closers came on in relief. The team would win the majority (above .667) of their games at home and often play better than .500 on the road. They would rarely lose a series and if they did, they would sweep a club within the next two weeks to make up for it. It was the Blue Jays Way.
This is not unusual. It’s the way many of winning professional sports teams perform. Unfortunately, people began to expect it. Some Toronto Blue Jays ticket holders (a whole different term than the word “fans”) would often show up to these games in the fourth inning or later and take in a few pitches just to be able to say the next day at work that they were there – even if it was for just half an inning. Real Blue Jays fans show up early. They get close to the field and lean on the railing to watch batting practice, fielding practice and some are lucky enough to get an autograph or souvenir.
Are these moments lost? Should we dare dream that this scenario will be brought back to Toronto? Why not? The club is improving at every position and there are some players who would be welcome on any club for their athletic abilities.
This is what makes these players stand out from the rest. They are used to winning. The mind set is that this “losing” aspect of the game is supposed to make better players on the other team. The opposing players are supposed to learn the lessons – not us. Once again, this is what separates the best players from the rest.
It is hard for those who do not work around these elite individuals to understand. Many people will comment that the players should be happy to earn the salaries they have negotiated. Yes, if it were only that easy. These A Type people with their Alpha dog mentality do not sit well with losses. There are glares, outbursts and ruined relationships because of mistakes and poor performances. These players cannot understand why teammates do not work as hard and often as they do during and after the season.
Seeking those individuals are the scouts, coaches and team management who know that there are other teams who maybe do not value this kind of player as much as they should.
So, while we follow the baseball post season to its conclusion without witnessing the efforts of the Toronto Blue Jays, rest assured that there are workouts, drills and sacrifices leading to next season.