Jul 1, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view as a Canadian flag is unfurled across the outfield for Canada Day before the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jays will probably not make the post season…again. And, if Kansas City holds on to a Wild Card spot, the Jays will have the longest playoff drought in MLB. Fans have seen injuries, poor performance, blown saves, offensive dry spells, heck, we’ve seen it all. It has been an up and down, roller coaster type run. May was a really exciting time. The Blue Jays sniffed the division lead for an extended period of time.
But 2014 has also given us plenty to lament. And, through all of this, regardless of how the season ends, 2014 has also given us something we’ve all been begging, pleading, screaming for: meaningful games.
For many years, the Blue Jays have been ghost walking through September. They’ve been eliminated early enough for there to be no reason to watch or listen. Fans interest usually dies off in August. Here’s a look at the last few years to prove this point. Look at the club’s record as of August 31 and how many games back they have been:
2013: 62-74 18.5 GB, 14 WCGB
2012: 60-71 15 GB, 13 WCGB
2011: 68-68 15.5 GB, 14 WCGB
2010: 69-63 13 GB, 12WCGB
2009: 59-70 11.5 GB, 16.5 WCGB
2008: 70-66 14.5 GB, 9 WCGB
2007: 68-66 11.5 GB, 6.5 WCGB
I think we get the point here. The Blue Jays have been well out of contention by August 31 for a very long time. But, this season is different. On August 31, the Jays sat at 69-67 and 10.5 GB of the division lead, but just 5 GB of that one game play off spot.
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The division was already settled, but a play off spot was well within reach. This made the games the team played in September important and meaningful. And, after a brutal August, they played on a mission. They’ve gone 7-3 over their last 10 games. During that time, they have moved as close as 3.5 games back and now sit at 4 games out of the Wild Card. They’ve jumped over one team, the New York Yankees already. And with 16 games left, they won’t be mathematically eliminated for 13 games. That brings it right down to the wire.
Isn’t that what we want? Exciting, meaningful games this late in the season? Granted, a lot has to go right for the Toronto Blue Jays. A lot has to go wrong for some other teams. But, fans should be enjoying the ride. A ride that has brought them closer to October baseball than it has in many years. There has definitely been some disappointment this season. And, if you consider that, the fact that the Blue Jays are still within striking distance is reason enough for fans to be happy. So, keep watching, keep listening, keep cheering!