Friday, April 15, 2011

West Coast guest host

On Wednesday the Blue Jays wrapped up their customary West Coast trip with a salvage win; after four straight close losses the tide seemed bound to turn, and in the 8th inning on Wednesday it did.
What did I think about the trip? Go away. Get out of my district, boys; you have a home and it's called the Rogers Centre. Much as I enjoyed the opportunity to go and actually see some ballgames, after 5 years I'm used to my 4 PM start times. Through the direness of university days, afternoon baseball gave me an excuse to put off things until after dark, allowing me to then pull an all-nighter with good conscience. Even though I don't do the no-sleep thing anymore - I burned out - I still like my routines. You're fucking with the game plan, man! If I wanted 7 PM baseball games I'd have dropped out and moved back to Toronto four years ago.

Way back in 2009, Aaron Hill said, "Whenever we come on this West Coast trip, we've had some interesting games, and not always good games." He might as well have been talking about the just-concluded tour; due to jet lag or whatever else, unkindnesses seem to befall the team whenever they head to my time zone. Last Saturday's game was quintessentially West Coast - laid back, messy, drawn out, and ultimately futile for the team caught in the ratrace. It's probably subjective colouring - historically, the Jays actually have a winning record against both Anaheim and Seattle - but it's a feeling I have, and it's nice to know it's shared even by the players.

The Jays have lost a lot of close games so far. People can wring their hands and shout obscenities at everyone on their twitter feeds when a 7-0 lead turns into an 8-7 loss, but I don't think you can do much other than shrug. It's happened before, it'll happen again. You can ascribe it to to random luck, you can ascribe it to a dicey pen, you can ascribe to inexperience or a lack of winning! Whatever you prefer. In the end, we've just got to endure, enjoy the game itself, and prepare to warm ourselves by the Pythagorean fire come October.
The Jays lost games where they were dominated by an opposing pitcher and they lost games where their offense dominated the other guy. After the chips fall, they're 6-6 on the season, which sounds about right. Good homestand, bad roadtrip - the breaks even out. If this team plays .500 baseball over the rest of the season, we should probably be happy, despite what 12 games' worth of run differential might suggest to the contrary. Small samples!

Now they head to Fenway to face the dead-horse Red Sox. Many will hope the Jays stomp the last gasp of life out of a downtrodden team, and those numerous will, in all likelihood, be wrong. We all know the Sox will eventually get off the mat, and a sweep for the home side would hardly shock me. The balance between the good teams and the bad tends to find its equilibrium eventually, and the correction can be devastating and brutal.

The Jays are simply not a great team. This season is a coming out party for Romero, Drabek, Yunel, and hopefully Snider and Arencibia. It's also an opportunity to see if any one of Hill, Lind, Encarnacion, Litsch or Reyes can regain some of their dissipated value. But that's all it is - the wins will eventually fade. Just smoke a California doobie, sit back and enjoy the ride. It doesn't matter, man.

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