I learned it from watching you!
The Jays return home today after picking up their first series win following a near-sweep of the Royals in Kansas City, meaning that there’s a new chance for unruly, lunatic Jays fans to make themselves a story!
A lot of words were written during the team’s first, less-than-stellar homestand about hysterical fan overreaction to the poor start — several of them by yours truly– but not necessarily a whole much about their media-paid hysterical spirit animals, who generally stuck to tsk tsking in the wake of Opening Week’s plane-throwing, pitching-coach-booing, drinking, fighting, running-onto-the-field antics.
This weekend, however, the headline writers and reporters showed mouth-frothing fans that they still have a thing or two to learn, and made the rest of us wonder if perhaps what seems like the bipolar nature of many Jays fans has more to with how their worst impulses are infuriatingly empowered by what they read.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, for example, had a piece titled Jose Reyes injury devastating to best laid plans.
“ The Jays won that battle but ultimately may have lost the war,” he says of the Friday night game in which Reyes was lost for three months.
“Beginning from Day 1 of spring training back in mid-February, it had already become clear that the one player the Blue Jays could least afford to lose from their revamped, ready to compete 2013 roster was their all-star leadoff man Reyes,” he writes.”
Griff, to his credit, shows some restraint and some sense, however. “It has come to pass that the most difficult man to replace in the batting order now needs to be replaced,” he says. “Successfully bridging the timeline until Reyes returns will be Anthopoulos’ most difficult challenge. Despite the stunning loss of Reyes, there is no Blue Jays excuse for not contending.”
He’s bang on about that last bit, at least.
Doing Griff one better, over at Sportsnet, is Michael Grange, who writes, in The worst start imaginable, that “in one stray, strange instant, a slow start became the worst start imaginable. I think it’s okay for Blue Jays fans to worry now: a possible season-ending injury to your best player might be a small sample size, but it’s all you need.” [Note: huh?]
He adds that it’s now dawned on us that, despite all the hype, “there is the possibility that the whole thing just might not work at all.”
“That was the bogeyman lurking in the dark psyche of every fan, whether they wanted to admit it or not; that things would keep going wrong and the Blue Jays would make like the Florida Marlins or the Philadelphia Phillies or whoever else that simply did not get it done despite talent on paper,” writes. “But one of the main reasons to stay optimistic through the first two weeks has been the revelation that is Jose Reyes.”
And now… well, obviously it’s time for panic.
But even Grange’s piece is an exercise in restraint and respect for his audience when compared to the cake-taking nonsense that dribbled out of the brain of Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun in Jays season feels lost before it has even started.
It’s low-hanging fruit, I know, picking on the Coxes and the Simmonses of the world, but holy fucking idiot-empowering jibberish:
The season is less than two weeks old and Reyes is gone, Brett Lawrie hasn’t been here yet, Jose Bautista has been limping on a troubled ankle, Ricky Romero never arrived and the promise of a summer to remember seems already lost before the summer even begins.
Through two weeks of bad fielding, lousy hitting and and worse starting pitching, it was easy to cling to the baseball notion that it’s a long season. It’s early, but it wasn’t that the Jays weren’t winning, it was how they weren’t winning that was troublesome. And after Friday’s nights win — a defeat with Reyes at second base, a victory on the ball field — it’s hard to cling to anything optimistic.
RIGHT??? I mean, what’s to be fucking optimistic about when you’re talking about a club with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie coming back, last year’s NL batting champ* and Cy Young winner, a bullpen full of live arms, Brandon Morrow coming into his own, another pitcher who was worth nearly four wins last year– in his first season dealing with not having the same fastball as he once did– and a season that still has FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS remaining.
I mean, reading this kind of stuff, is it any fucking wonder that the drooling masses thought last year’s maybe-if-everything-goes-our-way squad was going to really be something because of their record in fucking SPRING TRAINING games decided by five innings worth of Triple-A dreck, and that this year’s disgustingly stacked club is now practically finished?