|Image via Bluebird Banter|
For the first time in a long time, hope is alive again in Blue Jays Land.
Whether they want to admit it or not, the Toronto Blue Jays had a nightmare of a season. 2012 was billed to be another rebuilding year, but a perfect storm of offseason events like the new uniform unveiling and an incredible Spring Training record helped escalate the hype going into Opening Day.
And then it all went downhill from there. One thing happened after another; the onslaught of injuries, the rumoured calamity in the clubhouse, and perhaps the most disheartening thing of all was watching the Red Sox poach John Farrell right from under the nose of the Blue Jays.
After all those events transpired, hope was at an all-time low for many Blue Jays fans. Even the biggest optimist would have a tough time putting a positive spin on everything that happened.
But it's funny how quickly all those bad memories can just fade away. Because after the trade with the Miami Marlins, the Melky Cabrera signing, and hopefully an announcement of a new manager, all those bad things suddenly seem like a distant memory.
Often times, I try to put on blogger's hat and try to take a reasonable and rational look at things. But in instances like this, it's difficult not to be overcome with pure and unabashed joy.
That's why I find it incredibly condescending when Damien Cox urged fans to cancel the parade route down Yonge Street and temper their expectations. I'm sorry, if followers of the Blue Jays can't get excited about what transpired last week, then what the heck are they allowed to get excited about?
Fans shouldn't have to apologize for having a completely normal reaction to their team making a huge blockbuster trade. If anything, it would be incredibly disconcerting if fans weren't excited about the trade with the Marlins.
There is a devout section of the fan base that will remain loyal to the Blue Jays regardless of what happens on the field. However, I'm willing to bet that there were folks who were on the fence about the team before the big trade and are now suddenly interested in the Blue Jays again.
Part of the reason why I became a Blue Jays fan again in 2005 was because of the huge spending spree when they signed A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan and traded for Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay. Those moves signaled to me that the Blue Jays were serious about contending ... not unlike what they did last week.
This is a team that hasn't been in the playoffs in 18 years. They've come close a couple of times, but 1993 was the last time the Blue Jays have played October baseball. I don't know about you, but that's a really, really long time.
I always find it odd when people say "this year isn't their year". But you would never hear an MLB executive flat out admit that, because they instant they insinuate writing off a season is when they effectively extinguish all hope.
As far as I'm concerned, any year could be "the year" for the Toronto Blue Jays. Do you think the Oakland Athletics could have imagined they would win the AL West this year? Of course they did.
Maybe nobody outside of the Athletics organization thought they had a chance to make the playoffs, but the A's had hope. Otherwise why else would they play the game? Just like 2012 was the Oakland Athletics year, 2013 could be the time for the Toronto Blue Jays.
There are no guarantees that any of these moves will pan out. The 2013 Blue Jays could very well end up as a reincarnation for the 2012 Miami Marlins. Things might even get worse before they get better. But they have hope.
And as corny and cliched as it sounds, with hope ... anything is possible.