I wholeheartedly endorse Charlie Caskey’s article, “a Game of ifs” and I’d like the opportunity to piggy-back on his comments and drunken ranting. He hit on points that I had been putting together for a column, so check out his column because there is no need to write the same thing twice, unless, it is about John Farrell leaving to Boston. Then you can spend two full months writing the same story, because, well, apparently that is the rule.
To get in the spirit of continuing Charlie’s drunken rambling I decided to sit down and have some Guinness myself. Now I feel prepared to take the opportunity to expand upon a recent media meme mentioned by Charlie that has lowered my already below theMendozaline opinion of Jays media coverage.
Charlie picked Stephen Brunt’s article “Jays Need to contend ASAP” but it could have been any one of the recent articles arguing the same foul-smelling malarkey that I want to trudge through. This is a perfect case of a media created narrative putting pressure on a club to make moves in order to satisfy the narrative regardless of whether it is a good move for the club. This media-pressure sometimes changes public perceptions and forces clubs into making moves that they do not need to make.
The one thing that narratives like these definitely succeed at is further brandishing the credentials of media experts. But let me ask- why do the Jays need to contend this year more than any other year? Is this not the stated goal of every professional sports team every single year? We do not hold teams, except for maybe the Yankees, to that standard because we recognize that it isn’t realistic. Yet, according to many of the experts in the media there is something special about this upcoming season.
You see, this is how the media narrative goes. A new GM (AA) comes in. He gets a grace-period to rebuild. He usually gets his first manager’s tenure. Then, the media turns, the pressure builds, and the team needs to either get into the playoffs or start-over again. The problem with these media driven narratives is that they ask the wrong questions and create pressures that are sometimes detrimental to the team. Not every GM faces the same situation and not every GM receives the same amount of luck (Yes. I am sorry, but a certain part of putting together a team is luck). This is why not every GM should be held to the same timeline, but that is beside the point.
The point is that the headlines should never be that the Jays need to contend. It is meaningless, self-aggrandizing and self-profiteering for the media to write these articles. The question should be what do the Jays need to do in order to contend and how can they get there? Can it happen this year? Should it happen next year? Are the moves that they are making on the road to contention?
If you want to put pressure on the GM, you should be looking at the moves that he has made. You should be asking whether he has done a good job and if you want to suggest replacing him, you should be asking if there is anyone better. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but it seems pretty clear from the media narrative that this it the next step in where the argument will be going.
Suggesting that the Jays need to contend ASAP is just a fancy way of saying: whether the moves are good or are bad, whether they are wasting money or not, the Jays need to make it look like they are trying to contend instead of making the rights moves that will make them contend. It is mostly a meaningless statement from members of the media who probably have a bone to pick about other issues that they can’t continually bring up.
The truth is that the Jays need to continue building a contending team and make moves that move the team forwards instead of backwards. That is how you create a contending team. You don’t do it by deciding that they must contend one year over any other.