Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)
If there's one thing that I have noticed when it comes to today's culture, it's that if information and/or gratifications are not met instantaneously, people will become both frustrated and jaded. By doing so, it inevitably creates a sense of dissatisfaction and pessimism amongst an extremely vocal minority, creating a false narrative of how things are, based on assumptions and opinions. In other words, people that have no idea what they are talking about end up being the ones that are the loudest and think a large amount of pissing and moaning will make a lick of a difference when it comes to whatever they're pissing and moaning about. I'd love to be able to say that this isn't the case when it comes to some fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, but unfortunately it is.
I don't want to make it seem like I think the vast majority of the Jays fanbase fits the aforementioned description; I don't. I've come to discover, first hand, that most fans of the Jays are smart people that are knowledgeable of the game of baseball and realistic when it comes to their expectations for their beloved team. Yet, the vocal minority that I mentioned seem to create this narrative that the season is over, the Jays suck, the front office should blow it up, and end their empty thesis with something bad about Shapiro and Atkins. It's like clockwork, and it's simply because they do not have a sufficient grasp on the the game of baseball and how losses in the beginning of the season are - quite literally - absolutely no different than losses at any other point in the season. The reason why these losses matter more to this vocal minority is because of the significance the games hold to them. In other words, because these losses occurred on Opening Day and the Home Opener, it hurts a little extra. But, honestly, in terms of the totality of wins and losses, it doesn't matter what day they happen to fall on. Wins are wins and losses are losses- whether they fall on Day 1, Canada Day, Canada Baseball Day, or Day 162. It sucks, don't get me wrong, but that's the breaks, kids.
The problem, I think, is that the knee-jerk reaction is to equate baseball to other sports when it comes to the importance of every single game played in terms of playoff hopes for any given team. In the NFL, games matter - big time. If a team loses 6 out of their first 7 games, chances are they are throwing in the towel and have abandoned all post-season hopes. In the NBA, it's similar, but not to the same degree. However, if at any point in the season a team loses 6 out of 7 games, it's fair to wonder if it goes beyond a slump. Yet, in baseball, the optics are completely different. It's not even close to the same and anyone looking at the game of baseball with an NFL and/or NBA mentality is operating under a false equivalency. Such individuals are simply incorrect. There's no other way to put it.
The game of baseball is long and the season itself echos this. Being told how long the season is doesn't make it any easier and is automatically rejected by this vocal minority. "I KNOW IT'S EARLY, BUT WWWAAAHHHHH!!! THEY SUCK SO MUCH!!!!" Yes, the Blue Jays have never started a season 1-6 before. Yes, we hate seeing them lose to teams that they should beat. Yes, we're reminded of the old saying that "you can't win a division in April, but you can certainly lose it." Yes, this is the oldest team in the MLB today. Yes, we all want the Jays to get to the postseason again. I hear you on all of this. But at no point should we reflect on all of those "yes" statements and conclude "Yes, the season is already a failure." or "Yes, the season is already over." It's not. Not even close.
I, personally, cannot comprehend why it's so difficult to look on the bright side of things. Why people would want to watch their "favorite" team in such a pissed off mood baffles me. Baseball is a game to enjoy. It's a time to sit back, crack a few beers, and escape from the business of your everyday life and allow yourself to get lost into something so beautiful. The long season and the long run-time of baseball should be considered a blessing. Anything could change, and by no means are the Blue Jays stuck where the are for the remainder of the season. It's so absurd and so asinine to think otherwise that I feel silly for even having to type that sentence. There are a bunch of positives that this vocal minority is ignoring that ought to be paid attention to. Troy Tulowitzki is hitting well and may have even taken over as leader of this ball-club. Morales is finding his groove and ought to fit in to the role that dude with an imaginary bird had once upon a time (notice, I didn't say "replicate the role."). Although there have been warts, the pitching staff - specifically Stroman and Sanchez - has looked solid, leaving a very bright future for the front end of the Jays rotation for years to come. Josh Donaldson was able to pinch hit last night, despite not being in the starting lineup due to tightness in his calf - an injury that we should be happy isn't considered more serious. The bullpen, for the most part, looks reliable and may be something that carries the Jays during the course of the season. These are good things that you should embrace and not shadow with negativity.
I'm not going to lie - I've been there. I used to be that kind of fan in my youth (I'm 31 now). I used to get crazy upset when I saw the Jays lose games early in the season and it completely sucked all of the enjoyment out of watching baseball. It wasn't until I realized that it wasn't the Jays losing that ruined it for me, but how I went about responding to each loss. When you dedicate yourself to a team - whatever team it is - you do so with the understanding that they will inevitably let you down from time to time. It happens. It's part of the game. If you can't handle seeing your team lose, maybe baseball isn't the sport for you. But if you sincerely stick with your team - through good times and bad, like a marriage - then you should know that it's not all doom and gloom.
I'm not saying that there isn't anything to be concerned with - there certainly is. I encourage everyone to take an objective look at what we have seen over the past 7 games. I'd be doing a terrible job if I didn't. But knowing how much time the Jays have to "figure it out," it's not anything to stress out over or prematurely call the season a failure as a result. That's beyond hasty. It's unreasonable. So just enjoy it! It's only been barely over a week, guys. They'll figure it out.
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