Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)
Who's to blame for the Blue Jays struggles this season?— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) July 17, 2017
Normally I wouldn't have written anything about such a click-baity thing for a few reasons.
1) It's Tim & Sid and something so provocative was obviously posted to generate a reaction from those still feeling the sting from one of the worst ways to lose a game this past Sunday, 2) This type of post inevitably leads to people putting their Game of Thrones crowns on and yelling "BURN THEM ALL!!" at the team like the Mad King. I think I adequately touched on how to approach the Blue Jays season in terms of a re-whatever and how a full-on torching of the team is not in the best interest of anyone. 3) Coming off a satisfying win yesterday in my neck of the woods against a team that I absolutely despise should have sufficed to mitigate these battle cries and calm the aforementioned emotional fans down a bit.
Here's the thing. To request specifics as to who is to blame for the way the Jays' season has gone is going to lead to nothing but a whole lot of negativity and failure to comprehend that these types of things don't operate in a black and white manner. There is no one person that led to the underwhelming first half that the Jays have had. If it was that easy, the problem would have been addressed a long time ago and a remedy - or an attempt at finding one - would have been implemented by now. To incite the kind of thinking that inevitably just leads to pointing the finger at management and the front office is pathetic at best.
A lot of people just want to be have someone or something to blame. I suppose it's human nature. The thought that things just didn't turn out the way that we wanted them to (so far) after two great years is a tough pill to swallow and it'll lead people to search for differences between now and then. Such as -
"It's all because Edwin's gone!" or "FIRE GIBBY! HE'S THE WORST!" or "ATKINS AND SHAPIRO AREN'T CANADIAN AND THEY WANT TO RUIN THIS TEAM!" or "BLOW IT UP! THE TEAM IS TOO OLD!"
You get the idea.
The thing is that there just isn't one or two specific people that are to blame for how the Jays are playing. You have to understand that searching for people to blame will lead to scapegoating and a forfeit of any sort of rational inquiry to discover that there were a multitude of things that occurred since the start of the season that led to where the Jays currently are. Finding people to blame to have an (illegitimate) answer for the poor performance we've been presented with probably won't lead to any sort of logical and sound conclusion. Scapegoating is done for the sake of having some sort of quick - albeit false - conclusion to latch on to; the sort of "AH HA! THAT'S IT! That's who's responsible!" conclusion that allows you to not have to examine the details of how the season unfolded. In other words, laziness.
It's easy to look at how the Jays are both trailing Boston in the Division by 8 games and trailing a Wild Card spot by 4.5 games with 6 other teams ahead of them and immediately look at how Shapiro and Atkins didn't make some theoretical trade(s) you'd only find in a Fantasy Baseball league (at best) to improve the team. It's easy to ignore how John Gibbons doesn't play any position on the field and doesn't come up to bat to make the plays that matter, but at the same time incorrectly rationalize how he's responsible for the lack of production from those that are paid to do those things. It's easy to look at one single play in a vacuum and conclude that's the reason why the Jays lost (insert game here). All of these things are easy because none of them require any sort of thought.
But when you really start to think about it, you'll be able to realize that the Jays had a lot of key contributors on the disabled list for a considerable amount of time. You'll be able to realize that with the loss of Aaron Sanchez due to blister issues, the Jays had to make some quick decisions and stretch out Biagini much earlier than they would have liked, leaving the Jays a bit more vulnerable every fifth day that he pitched. You'll be able to realize that this puts more of a strain on a relief pitching staff that performed quite well, all things considered. You'll be able to realize when players return from DL stints, they aren't just going to immediately fall into perfect form and play to their potential. You'll be able to realize that (and I'm bracing myself for some backlash here) this is an aging team and we ought to expect some sort of dip from players like Tulowitzki and Bautista, albeit not a steep one. Lastly, you'll be able to realize that sometimes it's just the way the game unfolds. Baseball is a game of literal inches in the sense that if the ball could have been slightly more one way, or a pitch broke slightly earlier or later, or whatever, the tune would be different. Sometimes it's just not meant to be.
The important thing is to try to keep yourself from overreacting. Sure, the knee-jerk reaction is to yell and scream and be upset with the product on the field. By no means should I expect Jays fans to be happy. But, to call for someone's head or a complete torching of the entire team and front office as a result is just silly. Reports such as the Jays being "Highly Unlikely" to move pieces like Happ in order to compete in 2018 should give you every reason in the world to think that this regime has no intention of keeping things like this for years to come. Whether you agree or not with any moves that they make to improve the team is one thing. It's a whole different story if they weren't doing anything at all. The latter is something that I just don't see happening, and we have absolutely no evidence to make us think that it will.
The point is, it doesn't help to look for scapegoats in order to fill a void. Just ride it out. Like I've said, last-place-Blue-Jays-baseball is much better than no-Blue-Jays-baseball. That being said, enjoy it while it lasts.
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