Toronto Blue Jays fans learned the hard way that all 162 games have value during the regular season as they fell short one game of the AL Wild Card spots.
I’m not sure if this article is due to the disappointment I’m still feeling after the result of the Blue Jays missing the playoffs, or if it’s something that I have been frustrated with ever since the introduction of the second wild card in Major League Baseball. The phrase “it’s early” is for sure something that I have disagreed with for a long time.
Toronto Star writer Mike Wilner is a man that I have a boatload of respect for. In his previous position he was the host of the very popular Blue Jays call-in show Jays Talk on the Blue Jays Radio Network, taking calls from rowdy fans after games were completed. He has had to take some tough calls over the years and I would have loved to listen to Wilner yesterday after the Jays missed the playoffs.
When Wilner would take calls from panicked fans in early months he would always tell them, “it’s early“. How many times have we heard him say that over the years? He still has used that term recently on his podcast Deep Left Field. I don’t think he means to say each of the 162 regular season games aren’t valuable but unfortunately to some, including me, that’s how it comes across.
The Toronto Blue Jays have nothing to hang their heads about for what they have accomplished this season. As I wrote in a previous article, Jays Fans should be happy no matter what because of the obstacles this team had to overcome. They lost some games they should have won like the back end of the Cleveland double-header on May 30th. They won some games they should have lost like the game on September 3rd when they were down 8-2 to the Oakland Athletics.
I can cite many more examples from this season where this team could have easily won or may have lost. The Boston Red Sox had a 17-10 record in April, the New York Yankees had a 17-11 month of May. The Blue Jays were 12-12 in April and 15-13 in May. The Blue Jays did have a losing month throughout the 2021 season which is very impressive considering where they played the majority of their games during the first half of the season.
Maybe we shouldn’t panic at the end of April or the middle of May, but the sad thing is at the end of the day all 162 games in the Major League Baseball season count. Every team is expected to lose some of the time, but the teams who can make the majority of those 162 games count get into the playoffs. For the Blue Jays that magical number was 92 and unfortunately, they fell one short. I hope going forward that Mike Wilner will relinquish the term “it’s early“ because after this season I don’t ever want to hear it again.