Editors note: This isn’t analysis. It’s not sage, level headed reasoning with statistical backing. It’s just a fan being a fan. Stoeten did all the reasonable reacting here and here This post is reserved for flippant, irrational fanboyism at its highest.
Travis Snider has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
My first post with actual words in it on DJF was an ode to how much I missed seeing my favourite player suit up for my hometown team. A number of the comments echoed the sentiment “Who the fuck is Archi Zuber?” which is a question even I’ve battled with in my own head. I decided to not bother explaining myself or why I was here or what I’d be doing, instead opting to let the words speak for themselves and let all the comment mongerers figure out my personality by following my writing. Now, as I stand faced with a white page to be filled up with my second ‘real words’ post, it seems only fitting that the departure of that same player is the topic at hand.
The first time I ever commented here at DJF was March 2nd, 2008. A younger version of Dustin Parkes ran a live blog of the Jays first televised Spring Training game and I was through the roof excited to watch 20 year old prospect Travis Snider take an AB in a Blue Jays uniform. Parkes was obviously impressed:
And I quote:
Archimedes when you were watching those videos of Snider in HS I hope it was on a friend’s computer. I don’t have time to post comments, but I’m sorry, that’s pathetic.
He’s right, you know. Four and a half years later I’m less excited, and probably still exactly as pathetic.
A lot of more sane, rational Jays fans have been asking rhetorically “Why is everyone so worked up over Snider?” and saying “He’s really not that good. What’s the big deal?” and to them I answer: Do you remember 2008 at all?
The 2008 Blue Jays team featured one player (Veron Wells) who hit 20 home runs and posted an OPS over .800. 27-year old Alex Rios had officially begun increasing in apathy and regressing in ability, and we were still a year away from Adam Lind being a breakout player. Moreover, the team was devoid of personality. Travis Snider, we were told, was a fun loving kid with a hard nosed football background, capable of crushing one-handed shots over the wall. He was everything we needed.
2008 also saw the explosion of social media to change the way we interacted. Twitter experienced a 752% growth in users, and as our ability to access information grew we began to understand how we could use our new found connectedness to uncover information about prospects and players that had previously just been names and numbers on a sheet. We all saw everything together. We devoured the 2008 Eastern League Home Run Derby video together, and watched him hit a walk-off home run in his last game in AA. He was our first can’t miss prospect in the brand new age of can’t miss prospects being the only thing that mattered in baseball.
I can’t help but to look at the atmosphere around the team now and see Snider’s imprint on it. It seems like the whole team is made up for free-swingin’, ‘look at how much fun they’re having!’ guys that were absolutely nowhere to be found when he was called up. In 2008, we had a hardass in Scott Rolen, the laissez faire Alex Rios, the soon-to-be-depressed Vernon Wells, and an inhuman robot designed to kill on the mound every 5 days. Snider was the one I could cling to and say “That’s how I think I’d act in this situation”. He was having fun, dancing, interacting with fans on the internet and living the dream of playing major league baseball. It’s easy to take for granted now that we’ve got Brett Lawrie and JP Arencibia and Jose Bautista and all the other smilin’ good guys making youtube videos with our names in them, but for better or for worse, Snider was the one who introduced the information era in Toronto. He would show us his meals or invent hashtags and give interviews about nachos. Travis Snider arrived and matured right along with our awareness and ability to learn about players like him. Like all things in today’s day and age, we matured along from being excited to getting over it and immediately becoming sarcastic and detached.
Pardon me for romanticising baseball, but if you’re one of the realists that don’t understand why someone would care about stuff like that, by all means, enjoy the games the way you want. I’m not telling you that you’re wrong or to change the way you do anything. If you’re like me and sometimes certain players mean a little more to you because of things that have nothing to do with the results of the game, today is not all about sadness. I prefer to celebrate everything Travis Snider represented to the organization. He represented a movement of youth, of exciting young players that were fun to watch and just as much fun to interact with and learn about, which is something that just wasn’t nearly as possible in 2007. He may not be a physical member of the Jays roster any more, but the spirit and ideals he represented are now present on the team in full force. And for that, I say Travis Snider’s time with the Blue Jays was a complete success.
Thanks for everything, Travis. Good luck in Pittsburgh. I hear the meat there is amazing.