In lieu of a Game Threat…
You know what an insufferable and lonely feeling it is to be the the single sober person in a sea of screaming drunks? That’s precisely what it felt like for me reading through the comments on last night’s Game Threat, as frustrations continue to boil over among fans who seem to have let their absurd expectations crash down around them into the already ample pile of wreckage of the 2012 Jays season.
Of course, it needs to be noted that I’m absolutely not alone among the grown-ups who can survey what’s happened to this year’s Jays with some measure of perspective, but it sure as shit doesn’t feel that way sometimes– especially when so many comments get impossibly, incoherently negative, and do so all at once about the present, about the past, and about the future.
Surely it’s entirely in-bounds to take a critical eye to the moves Alex Anthopoulos has made that have brought us to this point, and indeed there have been a number of poor decisions along the way– not to mention transactions that haven’t brought results to match the enthusiasm they were greeted with– but it absolutely kills me to see things go so hard the other way, as in Richard Griffin’s ludicrous suggestion today in the Toronto Star that the Orioles and their filling of holes via the scrap heap and sprinkling them with pixie dust is some kind of non-horrendous model to be followed. Or the insistence of a commenter last night that the only good thing Alex Anthopoulos has ever done is get rid of Vernon Wells.
AA’s reputation was clearly forged on process– on intelligent risk and creative solutions– and, it seems to me, has been too rarely couched with the fact that good process will still very often lead to bad results.
Forgetting this, and forgetting crucial details regarding certain transactions and current circumstances– the fact that Aaron Hill was never going to have his option for 2012 picked up anyway, that Brett Wallace is likely benefiting from an unsustainably high BABIP and Anthony Gose is just 21, that Edwin Jackson was a free-agent-to-be and Colby Rasmus appears to be playing hurt, that Roy Halladay’s demands made obtaining the haul from Philadelphia a far more remarkable trick than it may seem on the surface– definitely does make it a whole lot easier to take a giant shit on what the GM has done.
So does pretending the jury isn’t still entirely out on both Sergio Santos and Nestor Molina, or that Tim Collins is a superstar who wasn’t also casually flipped to Kansas City by Atlanta, or conveniently forgetting the deals for Brandon Morrow and Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista’s contract, the vaunted draft classes and international free agents the Jays have acquired under the Anthopoulos regime, and the creative way the club managed to accumulate picks under the old system, and bank high-end talent under the new.
Of course Romero, Rasmus and Escobar have had disappointing seasons. Of course it’s frustrating to see the bullpen built and rebuilt over and over. Of course it’s disappointing to see the club’s most-ready prospects come in and flail away badly. And of course the starting pitching has been a disaster– and not entirely due to injury, given how well Villanueva and Happ have filled in. But while there is genuine reason for negativity in those things– or in the state of the stadium, or the pandering of Paul Beeston, etc.– it’s when that negativity starts to consume absolutely everything around it that it really needs to be put in its asinine fucking place.
The idea, for example, that Anthopoulos not only should have built a contender by now, but that he even ever intended to have a World Series in year three absolutely kills me– especially when it’s backed by taunts about the Orioles’ success, as Griffin ludicrously did in the nation’s largest fucking newspaper, that totally and intentionally ignore the fact that, when healthy, the Jays have as much talent on their roster as Baltimore, or quite likely more.
The Jays could just as easily have been where Baltimore is now– which is to say, not very easily, unless they’d managed the same combination of health and one-run-game pixie dust– but even thought they didn’t, it’s not like 2012 was meant to be some kind of crescendo where all the pieces Anthopoulos has put together began to sing at once. Shitting on the 2012 Jays like they truly ought to have been there is like shitting on the guy building your house for not having wallpaper up while he’s still working on the damn plumbing.
Obviously everybody expected more than what we’ve got, but it’s unfair to act like this was anything but a year in which the club intended to take another step forward, with some measure of opportunity presented, though not exploited to the fullest extent in order to keep pursuing the long-term vision. This was, I believe, entirely intentional– and following that, I think it was as foolish last winter to have assumed Anthopoulos hadn’t originally pitched himself to ownership as being able to implement his vision without breaking the bank as it would be this winter to assume that the austerity with which he has operated in his first three years is an unbending character trait.
The lords of negativity have the idea in their heads that because we’ve yet to see the major spending on free agents– since extra money going to the draft, international free agents, and re-signing homegrown players evidently doesn’t count– it’s never going to happen. These last 19 years have been one long groundhog day, and Paul Beeston is going to promise money every year and then never deliver.
Well shit, if that’s the kind of narrow, lazy foundation you’re building your Jays-related worldview on, of course you’re going to be an insufferable bleating fuckface.
The fact is, we don’t know how far the club is willing to go, financially, this winter, in order to take the next step with this roster, but it’s absolutely not without recent historical precedent that they could spend, and it’s infinitely more ridiculous– from a business standpoint for Rogers, and based on the evidence of non-payroll spending we’ve already seen– to believe someone’s shitted-out conspiracy theory about perpetual mediocrity and a revolving door of excuses.
Unfortunately, in this climate of all encompassing shitting pissing negativity over anything and everything, people do believe such garbage– and that’s pretty fucking sad. Especially because it’s just so laughably unnecessary, distracting, and so corrosive to anything resembling discourse that anyone feels the need to invent shit to be upset about this franchise for. And because it tends to force people into camps on one extreme or the other– you’re either one of these shit heads who has absolutely nothing good to say, or you’re being a worthless, hopelessly optimistic apologist.
The reality is that there is plenty to be concerned about, and plenty to be hopeful about, too.
Perhaps I have a tendency to over-represent in my mind a relatively small number of trolls– “Tea Party Patriots,” or whatever these alternate reality inhabiting twats want to call themselves– who actively try to dumb down everybody’s experience, but Jesus… it truly is fucking dreadful to have to deal with this sort.
Particularly so when they’re empowered by the thoroughly misleading results of this season, Baltimore’s improbable success, and their own ability to be completely fucking blind to facts like how the spend-to-contend Tigers and Angels they were so envious of last winter are currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Who needs to acknowledge a complicated reality when everything sucks and fuck everything and WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! WHERE’S MY CHAMPIONSHIP, amiright?