To be a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays is to be a fan of mediocrity. For the last fourteen years, the Blue Jays have played Travis to the Yankees, Red Sox and now the Rays’ Radiohead. They’ve been Chicago Hope to the ERs of the AL East. Deep Impact to Armageddon. Don DeLillo to Paul Auster. And yes, tits to ass.
With few exceptions, the Blue Jays have found annual comfort in that middle ground, third place slot of their division, usually less than ten games out of a wild card playoff birth. They do a very nice job of avoiding both serious contention and absolute defeat. And yet almost every year, as the season winds down, there are those among us who believe that the miraculous will occur and Toronto will find itself in the playoffs once again.
In order to embrace this delusional way of staying interested in yet another season of baseball, I offer you the following advice.
Isn’t the answer obvious? The United States hates Canada, and somehow this is manifested in ESPN’s baseball coverage.
Imagining a slight or prejudice at the hands of the media is a preferred method for explaining away why your favourite team isn’t considered to be in contention despite being eight games back. They just don’t understand. It’s like the man keeping your team down, and it also adds to the whole underdog aspect of cheering on a team that hasn’t already guaranteed their spot in the post season.
It’s this us against them mentality that makes a delusional resolve even stronger.
For instance, while the Dutch were still participating in Euro 2008, I fervently believed that if I just drank as much Grolsch as humanly possible during the 90 minutes they were on the pitch, victory would be had.
More often than not though, people like to use a reverse strategy. They tell fate that if their team wins or makes it to the playoffs, they’ll give something up. They’ll stop doing drugs, cheating on their taxes, whoring themselves for fame, shagging their child’s nanny, acting in movies where they portray a character with an inflated sense of self or looking like a rat with a receding hair line. It’s basically about promising not to be Jude Law.
This also allows you to put blame on the anonymous creature when your team inevitably fails. “Fucking Jude Law ruined another season by being himself.” There are few things as soothing to disappointment as blame.
Hey Mr. Sass, don’t you roll your eyes at me, saying you’ve never participated in a war cry. I guarantee you posted an emphatic PLAYOFFS! at some point during the Blue Jays current impossible win streak.
Don’t fret. It’s okay. Getting others on board, and kidding yourself into thinking that if more people believe it will come to pass is what makes us human . . . or at least the evangelical kind that came to this side of the world so many years ago.
There’s truth to the old adage that there’s power in numbers. With every “the Jays are going to do it” that you read or hear from your friends, your own faith in unseen evidence is extended and reaffirmed.
War Blue Jays!
Dismiss The Realists
It’s fun to hope that your team will overcome insurmountable odds, and your willingness to delay disappointment is a key factor in maintaining that sense of pleasure. If an anonymous Brad Fullmer fan wants to tell you that you’re an idiot for believing in the improbable, tell him to go fuck himself while reading his fucking Baseball Prospectus projections.
The truth is that unless Fullmer fan’s older self came back from the future with a sports almanac book, he doesn’t know fuck all about what could happen. Yes, the odds are against it, and he’s siding on that, but this is a specific moment in time that has not been played out yet.
Worth The Risk
It’s also important to keep in mind that believing in the improbable is a bit like gambling. Betting on a long shot is obviously far more rewarding than putting your money on the favourite. And the same holds true with hoping for an unlikely playoff birth.
Yes, it’s more than likely that your opposition will flood you with I told you sos once your team is officially eliminated, but this is a far weaker currency than the “I knew it from the beginning you fuck face doubting cunt.” That’s a real reward for hope.
The little ribbing your bound to receive when your team is finally out of it is worth the potential of being one of the believers who were right when they said it would happen.
Baseball is an amazing sport. For all of the statistical analysis that goes on and the resulting predictability that surfaces from the super brains, there is so much randomized randomness that playoff possibilities still exist for a team that was six games under .500 on June 21st and was 14.5 games back of the division lead at the beginning of the month.
Yes, it’s unlikely and perhaps delusional to believe and hope that this team can still catch the wild card, but fuck it.
These are our Toronto Blue Jays. The team that’s haunted us all summer: alienated us from friends, caused us late nights while on the West Coast, and given ammunition to the office jackass who found out you were a fan.
After years of mediocrity and late August/early September prick teases, if anyone deserves to disappoint the smug pricks who produce their statistical predictions, it’s our beloved team.
Frustrating Statistic of the Year:
W L RS RA WP
22 28 181 187 .440