Blue Jays: It’s OK not to love the George Springer signing
I’ve been a diehard Jays fan my entire life. Some of my first memories are watching Roy Halladay effortlessly carve through a lineup or Vernon Wells mashing home runs into the second deck at Rogers Centre.
I’m not old enough to remember the triumphs of ‘92 and ‘93, but there’s nothing I would want to see more than this Blue Jays team hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy. Bringing in a guy like George Springer should help with that.
Signing a top tier player such as Springer is something that as a Jays fan, I’ve waited my entire life to see. There’s nothing more exciting than a marquee free agent wanting to come north of the border to help bring a championship to a city that really deserves one. January 19th 2021 should have been a great day to be a Jays fan, and for many it was. But for me, it was a day that I felt torn and conflicted, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
I really want to like the Springer signing. After all, he’s been one of the best center fielders in all of baseball over the past couple of years, posting a career slash line of .270, .361 and .491 while averaging 35 home runs a season.
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These numbers are fantastic, but the question that sits with me is ‘Are these numbers actually real?’ I’m sure everyone is aware of Springer’s involvement in the infamous 2017 Houston Astros cheating scandal, that hurt a lot of people, and ended in them wrongfully winning a World Series.
Every hitter on the Astros benefited from the scandal, but Springer benefited more than others. Tony Adams, an Astros fan and graphic designer, went back and watched every offensive pitch of the 2017 season for the Astros. He wanted to see how many times he heard a trash can bang, and then chart the data he collected to see how many times the team cheated per game, and how many times each player cheated individually.
According to Adams, Springer was second behind Marwin Gonzalez with just shy of 140 “bangs”. This is a bad rep for Springer, since when people think of the scandal, they think of guys like Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa when In reality, Springer benefited more than either of them.
The Astros methods helped them wrongfully win a World Series, which is a bad look for baseball by itself. Along with this, they also ruined other careers as well. An example of this is Mike Bolsinger, who was a pitcher in the Jays system during the 2017 season. He faced the Astros in early August and got lit up, allowing 4 runs in ⅓ of an inning.
After this appearance, he was sent to the minors and would never pitch in the big leagues again. This is just an example of the careers that were altered and ruined by the Astros antics. The Astros stole a World Series from teams playing by the rules and ruined others careers and showed zero remorse for it, which is a testament to the players’ characters and this includes Springer.
I know that a common argument among Jays fans is going to be that Springer deserves a second chance, and you may be right. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect, but accountability has to happen before healing can occur. Since Astros players really haven’t been held accountable, or shown remorse for their actions yet, I don’t know if I’m entirely ready to forgive them.
I completely understand why Atkins made this move from a baseball standpoint. Springer is an excellent player and is going to help thrust this team into World Series contention. Sports are also a business though and a great quote I’ve heard about business ethics is “How you accomplish something is just as important as what you accomplish” and I completely agree with this.
The Jays brought on Springer to accomplish their goal of winning a World Series. Even if they accomplish this, how they get there is just as important and I don’t know if having Springer on board is going to be good for that.
Businesses and people have been crushed for how they’ve gone about accomplishing tasks. Look at Barry Bonds, who wanted to become the greatest baseball player ever, and statistically, he did that. But even with all his success, Bonds still gets crushed because of how he got there and because of this, his reputation and self image were destroyed. I worry that the same thing will happen to the Jays organization with the addition of Springer and that their success is going to be a little harder to enjoy because he’s a part of them.
Any success the Jays have in the next six years is going to be exciting, and I am going to try my best to enjoy it. As of now, I’m not sure I will be able to enjoy the team’s triumphs to their fullest because they had to bring in Springer to get them.
I’m sure that most Jays fans won’t agree with me on this. From what I saw on social media, most people love the signing and are willing to forgive Springer for what he did in the past. I’m honestly happy for these people, as being a sports fan is about bringing joy to your life, and if the Jays signing Springer makes you happy then I’m happy for you. But for the small segment of Jays fans who like me, are feeling conflicted about the signing, I wanted to write this for you, so you can see that your feelings are valid and there are people with the same mindset as you.
I really want to appreciate Springer being a Jay, and I hope that I can work past these initial feelings and I hope others who are of the same mindset as I am can as well because this is going to be a special time for the Blue Jays organization and I don’t want it to be ruined by something that happened on a completely different team.