Expectations. In a sport as stretched out and ever-changing as baseball, what are they good for? They can help to gauge a level of success you’re expecting to see from your favourite team, perhaps aid in placing a wager, or get you excited to watch certain players. However, as evidenced by the 2023 Blue Jays, expectations are a great way to be disappointed.
This fanbase is well within it’s rights to be frustrated about the lack of postseason success over the last couple of seasons. There has simply been too much talent on this team since 2020 to not have a postseason win to show for it. MVP candidates, Cy Youngs, and multiple All-Stars every season have yet to produce a playoff win.
The Blue Jays' reign of mediocrity, a trend that lasted about 20 years and then continued for another four, should not be forgotten by this fanbase. Alex Anthopolous brought success in 2015 and 2016, and Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have now done that beginning in 2020. While Atkins should feel pressure to produce playoff wins, it’s worth commending this effort by him and his team to produce a well-rounded roster capable of maintaining competitiveness. However, time for appreciation has passed, and results are now expected.
Despite numerous tremendous seasons from important players on the roster, the Blue Jays failed to meet expectations placed on them by just about everybody. Analysts, fans, the front office, and their own players were left disappointed at the end of a season that saw the club just barely squeeze into the playoffs. 2023 was considered by many fans to be the most frustrating and stressful season in a long time. This is due to a lack of effectiveness most of the season in clutch situations, bone-headed mistakes from star players, and disappointing seasons from guys expected to carry this team to playoff success.
Negatives aside, it’s still a fair expectation for the Blue Jays to be a playoff team. It’s simply the same core as the previous two seasons, with hopes of some improvements from what should have been key contributors. The front office was willing to break the bank for Shohei Ohtani, clearly indicating a desire to maintain competitiveness.
With the base expectation of competing for a playoff spot, what other expectations can be tacked onto that point? In other words, what do fans think need to happen for the 2024 Blue Jays to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive season, and actually look like they belong there?