Another Loss…

barffanpainting

I call it ‘The First Three Weeks of April, 2013′.

I was speaking to a friend of mine who does’t follow baseball on Sunday night, and knowing what I do for a living, she wondered about all the angst she’d been hearing and seeing on social media over the Jays’ start. “So, what’s their record now?” she asked me. When I told her that, at the time, it was 8-11 she was incredulous. “That’s it!?! And how many games do they have left?”

“A hundred and forty-something,” I replied.

Incredulity thicker than black strap molasses.

When a non-fan can see what’s in front of the face of so many people living and dying by every pitch, I think it’s safe to say that something has gone mighty haywire. The term isn’t short for “fanatics” for nothing, I guess, and yet the fan base also isn’t short on people who don’t need– and are getting as bored reading as I am frustrated by feeling the need to write– what seems to have become a daily talking down from off the ledge.

But I genuinely do feel that need. I think it’s my job to understand and be a part the conversation about the team, and that it’s always been this blog’s mission to try and cut through the bullshit in that conversation. In the process I don’t want to alienate those who are, I think understandably, sick of anything to do with either sides of the conversation that currently consumes us, but as far as sidestepping it goes, there just aren’t a lot of great alternate topics options that I’m seeing.

Or maybe I just want to have this fight. Worse, maybe it’s a compulsion that I couldn’t stop, even if I wanted. But whatever the case, it wouldn’t feel right to just pretend that the creeping sense of dread hasn’t got right on fucking top of much of the fan base, like bad acid, and to do nothing to try and beat it back from, if nowhere else, getting into my own brain.

Partly, too, it’s because I love baseball and don’t want to see it ruined for people who were so enthusiastic about it less than a month ago, and because what I see ruining this thing that would be– will be– so much better when we’re all in it together isn’t the fact that the players, coaches, and management of the Toronto Blue Jays, all of the sudden, collectively decided that now would be a good time to start being terrible at their jobs. What’s ruining it, in my view, is the bipolar, hyper-aware approach to a game that’s been structured to fit a slower, bygone era.

A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.

Bringing it back– before I get too far up my own asshole here– to baseball and this year’s version of the Jays, already the insufferably negative line on this club has run through several permutations that speak to the meandering nature of the schedule and events in the game itself. After Monday’s loss in Baltimore it had become something along the lines of, “Good teams don’t lose games like that”– which, of course, they totally do.

Munenori Kawasaki’s costly throwing error was inexcusable, of course, but to extrapolate something from it more than the fact that the timing of his first misplay was goddamned abysmal doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. He’s still a very capable defensive shortstop who should keep his place on the team, while Jose Reyes is out, as long as he keeps having good at-bats. What I think makes it hard for some folks to see as much after a gut punch of a play like that, though, is how absolutely warped it seems in importance in a situation where the margins for error so thin as to demand nothing short perfect execution.

It’s not an excuse, but simply something that ought to be pretty clearly understood: Kawasaki isn’t in the position he’s in on Monday night if not for Baltimore’s first run, which came about in the sixth inning after Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie missed a pair of balls hit towards them by inches, and a crossed up J.P. Arencibia cost J.A. Happ a wild pitch that advanced the runners. Or if the club manages any offence whatsoever against a thoroughly bad pitcher in Chris Tillman.

Manage to hit on the right couple of inches in any one of those events and the error in the ninth becomes an unfortunate footnote, rather than grievous. Of course, that doesn’t matter to a lot of people who seem to just want to vent, and who’ll insist that the team is cursed, doomed, terrible, and whatever else they’re not.

Simply put, they’re not playing well. The good pitching performances haven’t lined up with the good hitting performances and the defence has been sloppy. But there isn’t some magic potion John Gibbons can feed to his charges to make it all better. In fact, with the starters starting to roll, Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie at full health, and Kawasaki solid at short– sorry, but it’s true– run prevention has become much less of an issue than it was in the very early going, when Dickey threw that batting practice session against the Red Sox, Bonifacio was kicking things around at second, balls were routinely whizzing past a statue-like Mark DeRosa at third, and Rajai Davis was zig-zagging his way around the outfield.

The hitting has been a bigger issue of late, but it’s very obvious that patience will be rewarded there, as well. We saw Edwin Encarnacion hit a couple of balls hard against the Yankees on Sunday, only to have them find Vernon Wells’ glove– one in rather spectacular fashion. He has a wRC+ of 68 right now, and there is literally zero chance that doesn’t improve. Melky Cabrera hasn’t hit his stride yet, Jose Bautista, with a sub-.300 OBP, isn’t quite himself, Brett Lawrie has barely had a chance to get going, Adam Lind– being setup as best as possible to succeed by having him avoid left-handers– is only walking and hitting for no power. Even Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis, who are hardly world beaters at the plate to begin with, are thirty and seventy points below their career wRC+marks, respectively.

Yes, a baseball player’s talent sometimes just evaporates into thin air for no perceptible reason, but collectively like this? With their long and impressive track records?

And some are ready to decide as much after twenty fucking games?

The mind is a funny, myopic thing sometimes, and especially when it comes to these sorts of impulses there are horrific blind spots. Good teams shouldn’t lose games like that? If the team was any damn good they’d have hit better? Ergo, this team fucking sucks?

Would you care to be reminded that on seventeen occasions in 1993 the Jays– the vaunted, World Champion, hitting-the-fuck-out-of-everything WAMCO Jays– scored one run or fewer. They had a stretch where they went 4-9. They had another stretch where they went 3-8. And another where they went 2-12! Move any one of those stretches to the start of the calendar and people would have been losing their fucking minds, too, and for just as little reason.

That isn’t to say– as so many thick-skulled fans would like to insist people like me are saying– that wins in April don’t matter, or that they don’t make the club’s long-run task more difficult. Of course they matter. But what also matters is to keep in the forefront of one’s mind how absolutely warped perceptions can be when there is such a limited amount of data in a team’s record.

Remember, this isn’t a sport like hockey, or soccer, where game-in and game-out the more skilled, better organized side usually wins. Lucky breaks and underperformance happen in those sports, too, of course, but there would seem to me to be a much greater correlation. Baseball teams, though, can’t come in and force themselves down an opponent’s throat at will, because every event in baseball has to be just so or the outcome can be drastically different. I guess that’s the same in those other sports as well, but hopefully you understand how I mean that it’s different. It takes time and piles of data for something resembling a real picture of talent to show through in the statistical record– on a micro level over the course of a game, and on a macro level, over the course of a season.

Even then, the result is hardly a perfect distillation of talent. A pitcher like Chris Tillman can get away with murder for a night, and team like the Orioles of 2012 can sneak past everyone on little more than ghosts. But that doesn’t mean that we give up on the notion that talent will ultimately show through.

For last year’s New York Yankees, who won more regular season games than any other American League club, the number of games scoring one run or fewer was eighteen– including eleven of those before the end of May. They scored only two runs or fewer on thirty-three occasions– that number was thirty-seven for those ’93 Blue Jays.

So… it happens to good teams. It can’t happen too much if a team expects to survive the long grind of a season, and I would never claim to be willing to look the other way forever– nor have I in the past, as I think those who’ve been around here a long time, and are probably the sickest of these sorts of posts, would attest– but it is early, and it hasn’t happened too much. Trends simply have not developed yet in any kind of meaningful way. The Jays are no more a .400 team than the Rays are, currently, a .474 one, or than J.P. Arencibia is really on pace to smash the single season home run mark for a catcher by fourteen or team WAR leader Colby Rasmus is set for a six-and-a-half win season while striking out 40% of the time.

If they’re going to be bad they’re going to be bad, and no one with a head on his or her shoulders can possibly tell anyone to not feel as though mounting losses hurt. It’s just, they’re really not mounting as badly as it seems. And even if they were, again, there’s no magic wand John Gibbons or Chad Mottola could wave to make anything better. We’re stuck with this team pretty much as is, and for those of us able to remember the giddiness of November and the twists and turns of lengthy seasons past, that should still stir a pretty damn good feeling.

It takes some mental gymnastics, I know, but not a whole lot– 8-12 is worlds better than the 2-12 suffered by the 1993 Jays at their lowest point, it’s just intensely magnified by the fact that this club started the season that way, rather than having had a 48-30 record going in. The fact that we haven’t seen that kind of a run yet makes it all the easier to wonder if this poor start really is indicative of the true talent level of the club, even when we know– we know– it’s not the case.

The Red Sox will not continue to play at a pace to win more games than all but four teams in the history of baseball, and the Jays will not continue to play just a shade better than a 100 loss pace. Patience is all that that will resolve this, though, and in the interim, the “Yeah, but what if… ?” games serve no one but those looking to further warp and already warped reality into something hopelessly negative that it is not. The Jays have not made it easier for themselves with this start, but they’ve hardly, at three-and-a-half games out of a Wild Card berth with 142 left to play, made it a lot worse.

And if anyone suggests otherwise, incredulity is indeed the appropriate response. If you won’t take it from me, at least take it from someone who is genuinely well above the fray. It’s staggeringly early.

Comments (176)

  1. perfectly said

  2. I agree 100% with this – it’s early, and there’s too much depth and talent for this team not to have some very good stretches. That said, staring out 2-5 against the AL East feels way too familiar. Would be really nice to take 5 or 6 of these next 9 against BAL/NYY/BOS

  3. If I wrote a tl:dr right now, I’m pretty sure Stoeten would come through my computer screen to choke me out.

  4. way too long to read at work. somebody give me the coles notes pls. kthx

  5. What if Kawasaki has just been fucking with us this whole time?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85e4THVEb_o

  6. that wall of text sums it all up!

  7. Very nice.

  8. Really well written post.

    My favorite quote which sums it up:

    It takes time and piles of data for something resembling a real picture of talent to show through in the statistical record– on a micro level over the course of a game, and on a macro level, over the course of a season.

    • That whole paragraph just hit the nail on the head so fucking hard.

      “Remember, this isn’t a sport like hockey, or soccer, where game-in and game-out the more skilled, better organized side usually wins.”

      The Angels lost 0-5 and 2-8 to the Astros and Twins, then went on to sweep the defending AL champs. Individual results are so incredibly unpredictable, but the best teams rise to the top after 162 games, more often than not.

  9. Boom goes the dynamite.

  10. Not really anything to do with the Jays not living up to expectations so far, but I just wanted to say I had an awesome time at the ballpark on Sunday, and the usher in section 520/521 was pretty awesome.

    She was legit happy to be there, led all the fans in cheers, and was incredibly polite and courteous through the entire game. I think her name was Maureen or something like it. She also did a great job interacting with kids and was just generally awesome at her job.

    I feel like everyone complains about shithead ushers when you’re trying to move up into seats you don’t have tickets for, or if they’re just raining on parades, but this lady was terrific. So way to go Maureen, you stuck out to me.

    Guy that stuck out for the wrong reasons: asshole in an Arencibia jersey that constantly swore even after being reminded by parents with young kids around that it probably isn’t the best thing to do. Why anyone feels the need to yell out ‘I FUCKING HATE RESPECT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU VERNON’ makes no sense to me, but whatever.

  11. Thanks for posting this.

    I’m getting the sense from a lot of people’s reactions that this is the first baseball season they’ve ever followed seriously.

    Sure the baseball has been lousy, and plate discipline/pitch recognition has been painful to watch, but that happens for the vast majority of teams in the majority of their games, particularly for teams that aren’t full of veteran hitters like BOS/NYY.

    This is how the game goes.

  12. Arriba!!!

  13. another weak and the mass ledge jumpers will be riding the leafs train so im not too worried about it.

    I’d be far more concerned with the start if we were losing all close games.

    So far our pitching has been awful, and years of data suggest that dickey, buerhle, johnson and morrow are capable starters. They will get on a roll and all will be fine.

  14. umm why did we just claim Aaron Laffey? Hustle or Heart?

  15. its not the record as of today, its not about how many games are left. its the way they’ve been losing ball games. this isn’t 1993, or 1987. We’re not the Detroit Tigers of last year,and we sure as fuck don’t play in the AL fuckin Central. Its 2013, we’re the blue jays (same old blue jays for that matter), and we play in the toughest division in baseball. If the first 20 30 or 40 games don’t matter, why do we even play them? Lets just forfeit them, chillin Dunedin and get an extra long spring training, because fuck it, “its early”. Then we can come back when the games matter. the issue with the jays right now is the culture around this team and organization. the atmosphere at roger’s centre stinks, the players feed off that. bautista isn’t doing shit, and everyone from the hitters to the coaches is fuckin pressing and being extremely impatient. Can it turn around? Ofcourse it can. Theres plenty of games left. But until the culture changes around this organization, or we move out of the Roger’s mausoleum, we’re in for another 70/80 something wins – 70/80 something losses season, albeit with a much much higher payroll.

    • so basically you didnt read the article

    • What are you even talking about? They haven’t been losing because of culture. They’ve been losing because it is a 2-way competition and the other team is trying just as hard and so far getting better results.

      You can’t just “win” because you want to.

      Are you 5 years old?

    • “Change the culture” is code for “I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about” .

    • 100% the worst post I have read here in a long time. The atmosphere at Roger’s Centre is a contributing factor to the early struggles of the team. Good one BAAAHHHHD.

    • The Jays do not in any way shape or form play in the best division in baseball. They play in a rather crappy division this year, actually. They did play in the best division in baseball for nearly ten years, but the O’s suck, the Sox suck, the Yanks suck and the Rays and Jays will be at the top of the division at the end of the year. Just saying.

      • The AL East has no weak teams. You don’t get to run up your record against the Astros, for example.

        • Thats true, but I think the Yankees and Red Sox will eventualy be weakish teams. Still not the best.

  16. I have a Jose bautista figurine on my desk at work, and I’m considering removing it. Not because I don’t like jose, not because I don’t think this is just a poorly timed stretch of games, but because I can’t fucking help myself from explaining to someone just how little they know when they say “hey, you like the jays, wtf i thought they were supposed to be good this year”
    I can’t help but explain the context of how little of the season has been played, how many other teams are off to similar starts, and how the teams ahead likely aren’t going to continue playing at a.700 clip…. I end up coming off as a bit of a dick and I really don’t think it’s helping sales

    • one extra “not” in there, but you get the point

    • Dude I couldnt agree more.
      I cant tell how many times people at work, who know im a baseball fan, come to me damn near everyday to complain about how “this team was supposed to be good, but they just suck”. Im usually a pleasant guy, but I sound standoffish when I dont want to engage them about how much this team sucks.

      Ive literally had people start this conversation with me, and then are surprised when I tell them they play 162 games and theres a lot of ball left.

      • If you want the snarky response, I’d say something like, “Yeah I feel the same way about some of my coworkers. I guess we both just have to deal with the disappointment.”

  17. Stoeten, you have an awesome job.

    But at this point in the season I wouldn’t trade jobs with you for a night with Kate Upton.

    • Really?

    • for the record, kate, i would totally take Stoeten’s job for a night with you.

      • I’m pretty sure I’d spend a night with Stoeten in exchange for spending a night with Kate Upton.

        …. (note: not really.)
        …..(note 2: Maybe Kate BECKINSALE though.)

        • I have always been in love with Kate Beckinsale. However she is essentially how I first rationalized that I was truly getting old. Earlier this year someone looked her up on imdb because of a conversation about whatever – and disclosed that she was 39. I was like.. “you know what fuck it she’s still the bomb.”

          That’s right. I said someone was the bomb.

          Fuck me.

  18. Slow clap for Stoeten.

  19. Good post, hopefully this can teach some baseball intelligence to 3/4 of Jays “fans” who don’t understand baseball.

  20. A quick picture that depicts Stoeten in his future career after getting so much practice trying to talk some sense into Jay’s fans

    http://imgur.com/SMcLEZr

  21. “A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.”

    This is kind of brilliant.

  22. Laffey straight to buffalo?

  23. Maybe not the most appropriate timing since a lot of the blame is falling on him for last night, but any chance we keep Kawasaki around as a second baseman when Reyes gets back?

  24. Thanks Stoeten. I’ve been coming here since the beginning but have only recently (read: this year) felt the need to comment. You’ve summed it up quite well. The insanity that has become the comment section on DJF is kinda shit. I understand that with the wider platform, a larger subset of fans can access the blog….which is great. I am stoked cause this is truly one of the best platforms to read and discuss the Blue Jays.

    But…..but, it is breaks my brain when I see the sheer volume of pitch by pitch comments that torch an individual player (or blogger) for the most useless of reasons. I can’t fathom how you can be a baseball fan if you live and die pitch by pitch. That is not how you watch baseball….and if you are watching it like that….you’ve probably missed the point of fandom in this sport.

    I mean honestly, some days its like stumbling into a yahoo comment section (or its Canadian sports equivalent – TSN – as some of the more enlightened point out…much to my delight)

    Anyways, although I usually advocate leaving idiots to their own devices, I hope the veteran commentariat (monkey army) continues to come out in full force and lay waste to the fucking idiots out there that come here, take a shit in the comments, and then get mad when its pointed out their insane.

    Honestly, if you don’t get small sample size…just fuck off

    • +1,000,000

      • Agreed. And this is not a sarcastic question or anything, I’m really just curious… when would be an okay time to worry? Not that we will need to or I want to, but I can’t recall a number you’ve thrown out as “if they still suck by blank, then okay, it’s bad.”

        40 games?
        60?
        80?

        I guess as long as they’re around 500 through the all-star break? Seriously, what is the appropriate sample size in baseball? Please please please understand I just want to hear what you think it is because I’m curious and I swear to fucking god I am not freaking out and I’m a normal fan/person!

        • It’s like getting a fucking haircut.

        • It’s more of a slow gradual build towards despair.

        • It’s never time to worry because worrying solves nothing. Watch them play, get entertained, support them, and hopefully they win. When it’s over, judge the season as a whole, and get ready for the next one.

          I know, I know…not fast enough right?

          Fuck I hate this generation.

          • And I hate when people blame an entire generation. Christ. Theres retards in all generations. Just saying.

            • That’s true but this generation has more assholes than other generations. I wouldn’t say that I hate this generation, hate is a word that I don’t like to use but I would say that this generation is by far the suckiest generation to have come along in awhile.

        • As Mark said, just watch and enjoy.

          There is no line in the sand dude…. across this line YOU DO NOT…also dude…its asian american…ahem…pardon me

          Sometimes your team is in it in September, sometimes they are out of it by August. Who’s to say what the line is. The best way I look at it, do you ever look back on a previous season and not look at the totality of stats??? It takes 162, its the beauty of the game

          • 40 games. The quarter post is an accepted time to start making some conclusions about a team. At that point, opinions might be valid, but it does not mean that a team that is under .500 after 40 games is going to be under .500 at season’s end.

    • You just felt the need to start commenting, and I strongly felt the need to avoid the comments section at all costs! I can only imagine what the game threads have been like, based mostly on posts like these appealing for calm. God bless the unwashed masses.

      • Not sure why that John Bobbitt name is following me around. I keep changing it back to TonyRage. It was a joke, one time, and I can’t shake it. It’s like herpes.

    • @ right meow, I agree with the sentiment of your comment but disagree with this statement:
      “I can’t fathom how you can be a baseball fan if you live and die pitch by pitch. That is not how you watch baseball….and if you are watching it like that….you’ve probably missed the point of fandom in this sport.”
      I’m a huge BJ’s fan, and I truly sit on the edge of my seating watching a high and low leverage pitches 30 times a game, where after the outcome I will either jump up and cheer or curse and throw stuff. It’s these emotional moments and that makes baseball, and sports overall, worthwhile for me. I love the ups and downs, and I understand it’s a long season, and I know the Jays will likely be contending for playoff spot this year, that statement rubbed me a bit wrong.
      Please don’t tell me I don’t know how to be a fan, I spend way too much time watching baseball it’d be a real waste if I was doing it wrong.

      • @ Wiener…. (which is….ah…odd)

        I hope I don’t come across as trying to tell YOU how to enjoy the game. I also follow the highs and lows…pitch by pitch. I wasn’t exactly trying to shit on that.

        The issue I was raising is with people who absolutely fly off the handle and post needlessly here about how shit Rasmus is because he K’d in the 3rd inning on a breaking ball away. If in that same game, Rasmus crushes the shit out of a fastball inside which turns out to be the winning run… is he equally the best player ever….whats the point of judging something (1 game) when you haven’t seen its entirety yet?? If Colby strikes out twice, and jacks 2….did he have a bad game?? I would argue that is a great game.

        If you don’t (or can’t) look at the performance of the game in its entirety then you don’t get baseball. Of course we like the game pitch by pitch (Playoffs…particularly are where this part of baseball shines above all sports) but to totally shit on Rasmus (as an example…again) for one particular at bat, when their are 4-6 per game, in a game and hundreds per season is just as crazy as shitting on a team after 20 games, when there is 140-odd games left to play.

        This is poorly worded and terribly said but hopefully you understand my point…(im rushing cause im still at work)…I’m not trying to tell you how to be a fan.

      • +10.

        I don’t know why anyone would spend time every day reading & commenting on a baseball blog if we didn’t love the game.

        I agree that 1 game is a small sample size of 162, but I think it’s more than OK to get passionate when the team is winning or losing.

        If no one got passionate & just ignored each game, but showed up at the end of the season with a review of the season, it would be a boring blog & no full time job for Stoeten.or anyone else.

        I have repeatdley stated that “being a fan is short for fanatic” which in itself is irrational. Fandom is irrational.

        I like the fact that you can watch a game casually with a beer or two & wait for a key at bat.

        Stoeten makes an excellent point that had this 8-12 slump come in the middle of the season, no one would really complain.

        We haven’t seen the good times yet for this team. When it does happen it will be awesome. !

  25. Not to be a downer, but if you remember back to the early 90s…idiots would call in to Jays Talk after almost every loss to suggest that they fire Cito. In other words, this isn’t going away. The good news for the hardcore fans is that people seem to care again, so despite how frustrating they are to listen to, this is good for the Jays franchise.

  26. TLDR, dude. Wow. Try a sedative or something. You’re all bent out of shape.

  27. The problem is how disappointing and disastrous the end of last season was. I had all but given up on being a Jays fan. I even was at the point where I UNLIKED them on facebook. *gasp* And then they made a push in the offseason, and I was able to say… “One more year. I can give them one more year…”

    So I think a lot of fans are remembering last year, and the many many years of non playoff ball before. So the distraught feeling is really just a continuation.

    • It’s ok to feel distraught. The team has played shitty for quite a few of their games so far.
      It’s just important to keep things in perspective.
      That’s all.

    • +1. The last 2 months ended badly last year. Games were unwatchable.

      Then the trades, the hype, Jays world series favourites….

      The first 20 days have been like opening up Christmas Gifts & finding broken toys or an instruction manual in a language you don’t understand.

  28. There are hockey players who are so annoying that teams stop worrying about playing the game and focus on trying to find ways to get retribution. My sense is that you have let the crazies get to you and, in the process, have found yourself making the same rather tedious points over and over again.

    Are the Jays a bad team? Of course not. Have they been playing badly? More often than not. Are there good hitters on the roster? Yes. Have they been hitting well? Obviously not. Is the rotation better than last year? One would hope so. And so on.

    My reality is that this team has been playing poorly but what bothers me are the ‘if only’ arguments that get hauled out far too often. If only… Bautista stays healthy. If only… Rasmus stops striking out. If only… Lawrie returns to the line up. If only… Bonafacio learns how to get a f’ing bunt down. If only… Rajai Davis could actually line up his glove with the ball after sprinting madly after it. If only… they get rid of Farrell as manager, Johnson at second base, Murphy as hitting coach. If only… the team would stop finding new and painful ways to blow games. If only… if only.

    The point, by the way, is that you have let the idiots force you into defending the wrong position. Any rational person knows that it is early so why keep making that argument? Is it really necessary for a site called Drunk Jays Fans to hold the moral high ground while championing logic and patience? Is it really that important to react to the idiocy that you are undoubtedly barraged with on a daily basis? If you scan the comments section in any Jays-related forum you will find that there is an inverse relationship between IQ and posting frequency.

    The bottom line is that no matter how you cut it… the Jays have been disappointing so far this year and that is the story line that you should be focusing on (in my view). Peace.

    • There are just as many “But what if…” nonsense questions that go the other way, though. Obviously. And constantly hammering on how disappointing they’ve been would be exactly as tedious as you seem to think this is– except it would also be completely phony, because of all the reasons to not worry about the disappointment outlined in this piece. So… ?

  29. But I want to panic now!

  30. “Partly, too, it’s because I love baseball and don’t want to see it ruined for people who were so enthusiastic about it less than a month ago” If other people’s opinions affect your enjoyment of the game you have some serious growing up to do. Stop being a thumbsucker and don’t waste time worrying about things you can’t control. Especially considering it’s being conveyed through the comment section of a blog.

    “Remember, this isn’t a sport like hockey, or soccer, where game-in and game-out the more skilled, better organized side usually wins” What are you talking about? The more skilled, better organized team USUALLY wins in any sport. That’s why they’re considered more skilled and better organized in the long run. This whole post means well I’m sure but enough is enough. Let the horse rest in peace.

    • Door’s on the left.

      Before you go, though, maybe look at the record of elite teams in other sports compared to elite teams in baseball. Feel free to also figure out that people wanting people to like the sports they like is pretty normal. Or that I’m pretty sure there’s only one thumbsucker here.

      • I couldn’t help myself.

        “In the process I don’t want to alienate those who are, I think understandably, sick of anything to do with either sides of the conversation that currently consumes us”

        Pulling a Keith Law and telling them door’s on the left is probably not the right way to go about that.

      • Expanding on the point of disparity between average and elite teams in other sports: With 3 games to go in the (albeit shortened) NHL regular season, Pittsburgh has won 35 out of 45 games — that’s a .778 winning percentage. (That team looks damn near unbeatable with their top players healthy, which I suspect is what many casual fans expected of the Jays.) In comparison, the 2001 Mariners, who had the most dominant regular season in the modern era, clocked in at .716. Then you have the last-place Panthers, who have won 13 of 45 games (.289), while the 107-loss Astros managed to eke out a .340. This is all in spite of the hard salary cap implemented in the NHL specifically to avoid excessive disparity.

        I don’t even need to go into detail about ridiculous juggernauts in soccer like Barcelona that hardly ever lose and simply pummel opponents into oblivion on most days.

        • I haven’t looked usually up in the dictionary but I’m sure it means anything over 50%. So you can throw all the stats you want at me but the better team usually wins in baseball too. I’d also expect winning percentages to fall in other sports if they played a 162 game schedule.

          • I wasn’t specifically disagreeing with you, I just think the numbers are interesting.

          • Nah, “usually” is probably on the probability spectrum at around 66%…50.1% isn’t enough to be characterized as “usually” especially in a binary outcome

  31. I want to hang that painting on me wall

  32. Awesome Stoeten!

    You can extrapolate even further on the way some teams are playing right now – The Dodgers are under .500, as are the Phillies. The Colorado Fucking Rockies have the second best record in baseball, and the Angels are sucking a fat one. Eventually, it all settles down, as we see EVERY GODDAMN SEASON IN HISTORY.

  33. I blame Gibby. He should tell his batters to hit more home runs and his pitchers to get more outs.

    This will go down as AA’s biggest mistake.

    Should have gone with Mr. Burns

  34. It’s amazing how delusional some people are. Yes the 93 team went 2-12 but that was after going 48-30 BIG DIFFERENCE. That’s not the same as starting 2-12. A team that has a huge lead would probably let up a little and get complacent thus a losing streak. All teams should start the season playing as hard as possible so a poor record in april is more indicative of a bad team than just random noise.

    Combine with the fact that this team has been playing sloppy from day 1 in all aspects of the game and is full of unproven players, not the WAMCO lineup. That doesn’t portend success. But hey stick your head in the sand if it makes you feel better

    • You’re right. It IS amazing how delusional some people are….

      • Isn’t it?

        • yeah maybe you should look up what delusional means?? Predicting something remote will happen based on all evidence otherwise? that’s you buddy

          • I’ll look up delusional right after you look up the word “evidence”

          • The 1989 Toronto Blue Jays started the season 20-31. They followed that record by finishing the season by going 69-42 and winning the division. How many more examples do you need before your little brain accepts the fact that it’s too early to panic?? Here’s the link if you’re too young to remember:

            http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/schedule.php?y=1989&t=TOR

            Speaking of that season, the video “Sky High!” should be mandatory viewing for all jays fans. right now.

            • who gives a fuck. stop living in 1989 this is 2013 buddy! is it too early to “panic”? yeah, but its not too early to get frustrated at this teams boneheaded play. and its obvious that if it keeps up, the jays are going to be mediocre ONCE AGAIN

              • key phrase in your response is “if it keeps up”. What we’re telling you is that they aren’t likely to continue to play this poorly. Great teams go through struggles…its that simple. But clearly your refusal to acknowledge history or fact is why you lack any fucking perspective.

              • Yeah it is 2013 and there are vastly expanded playoffs!!!

            • 89 wins won’t cut it.

    • Ah, so the jays haven’t been playing hard. of course, it’s all so clear now. so you really believe that the ’93 team, when it went on that 2-12 run, just went on vacation? that they just stopped playing hard, because… because why? they felt bad for the rest of the league? they had earned a break? they were unprofessional?

      is this really how you think elite teams behave?

      the jays are trying, no matter what narrative rosie dimanno is trying to spin you today. baseball is really hard, and the competition is skilled and determined. many times, though you played hard, you lose. many times, though your opponents played hard, you win.

      calm down, watch the games, and stop being so surprised all the time.

      • Yes it’s because most teams that have big leads eventually go on some sort of losing streak. Just look at cleveland and texas last year. To somehow equate that and say the astros and marlins are going to go on this rampage winning streak is delusional.

        • Seriously. When did ANYONE ever say that would happen?
          You want evidence… How about years and years and years of good performances from many members of this Blue Jays team. That’s your EVIDENCE for why the team will most likely get better.

        • “To somehow equate that and say the astros and marlins are going to go on this rampage winning streak is delusional.”

          That is the most ridiculous strawman argument I’ve ever read.

      • Rosie dimanno’s narrative?
        “Men are hot, I want some cock”.
        Rosie sucks balls.

    • I’m still trying to get the hang of this panic thing, so just to clarify:

      2-12 in the middle of the season = great team in a slump
      8-11 at the start of the season = horrible team with no chance of turning things around

      Makes sense.

  35. Or maybe the populace isn’t complaining about the year as a whole ( it’s too early to predict the season results) but as to the current condition.
    For a team that includes the home run king of the last three years,a first baseman who hit over 40 dingers last year,the 2011 AND 2012 NL batting champs, the current NL CY winner,one of the best 3rd baseman in baseball,a solid bullpen, a starting rotation that is know for putting up innings and whose last years opening day starter can’t even crack the lineup,They are underperforming .
    The potential is there but when will they show the brilliance they are known for?
    The casual fan has been told by the experts that the team is a power house, a favorite to win the WS, c;mon jump on the bandwagon.
    Hard for them to not to go, WTF?
    The Jays will contend for the playoffs in Sept.,AA will fill the holes that underperform.
    The casual fan can’t see that nor be expected to see that,hence the panic.
    Keep the faith.

    • +5. That’s what makes it frustrating. On paper they should be doing much better, but they aren;t winning on the field.

      It would be nice if we could stop the “bash the fans” posts & focus on some baseball analysis. Why is bonafacio still allowed to bunt?

  36. Great post/Article Andrew.

  37. When you are 48-30 and in first place you can afford a 2-12 losing skid. I agree it is early, but this team needs to start winning more games soon, not in fucking June, to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs.

    • They have won eight of twenty.

      • No one cares that they’ve won eight games. The important thing is that they’ve already lost TWELVE! TWELVE!

      • Imagine what it’s be like if they’d won six or seven of twenty.Ugh.
        Or conversely if they’d won 12 or 13 of twenty.
        The winning streak will elict reactions almost as bad as a losing streak.

        • If the current winning rate continues through May they’d have to go 73-30 the rest of the way to win 95 games. So maybe the need to start winning a bit more often soon is not such a ludicrous thing to suggest, assuming we expect this team to make the playoffs. If we don’t, they’re doing fine.

          • I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter which 92-95 of the 162 games they win.

            • My point is that if they keep shitting the bed the way they have been it does not leave a lot of room for error the rest of the way.

          • Everyone knows they need to start winning more. It’s just that a lot of people actually have faith that they actually will.

          • True, but on the other hand the AL East may be more balanced that expected, so you could win with 90 games.

  38. Funny. I always thought “fan” was short for “fantastically smart people”.

  39. I actually prefer to live and die with each pitch. It’s the only way to watch the game. Of course, I don’t get to watch too many of them. If a Jays pitcher starts the game off with a ball – I”M OUT! I refuse to let them force me to watch that garbage. I demand proper, winning baseball and if I don’t get it, I will not watch anymore and will, furthermore, stay away for the rest of the year. I just don’t understand why I keep coming back…why do I subject myself to this?

  40. Its definitely still early but the losses have been real ugly. Not going to lie, the defense thats been on display makes me want to shit my pants more than my morning coffee while walking the dog and watching him shit everywhere.

  41. If fans didn’t complain when things were going wrong then they wouldn’t be invested in the team and then the organization would have bigger problems.

    By the same token if they were 12-8 everyone would be going nuts and nobody would be telling them to calm down.

    It’s a long season, everyone gets that it doesn’t mean that you can’t look at the team game to game.

    It’s also not ridiculous to point out flaws in the team that have nothing to do with the record at this point. This team (like many other teams) has the potential to head south in a big way. Pointing these things out does not indicate panic or that you think all hope is lost.

    Fans watch baseball not to say over and over again it doesn’t matter…………because let’s face it in real terms it doesn’t matter if they finish in last or win the World Series. I’ve seen them win 2 WS titles and neither changed my life in any way. If they win again this year once again nothing will change but that is hardly the point from a fan’s perspective.

  42. Scuttlebutt!

  43. I think that most people worry that maybe the talent isnt as good as we thought? Can they afford to have jpa, davis, boni, izturis in the lineup on a regular basis? Those guys dont inspire much confidence. Atleast for me.

  44. Also: the Colorado Rockies are tied for the best record in baseball.

  45. “A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.”

    Money.

  46. This might be my favourite part:

    “What’s ruining it, in my view, is the bipolar, hyper-aware approach to a game that’s been structured to fit a slower, bygone era.
    A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.”

    Because I think you’re actually hitting on not only the reactions of “fans” but also this suddenly popular topic of the Blue Jays having all these nasty, drunken, boorish fans.

    Many of these new fans were sold a bill of goods in the off-season that this team was going to be like Star Wars meets the fucking Rolling Stones live in ’77. All glitz and blam! and home runs and winning every night 24-2 and just being fucking unstoppable.

    It obviously hasn’t happened, and add to the fact that the twitter addicted, now now now casual fans moves at too fast a pace for a game that is so bucolic at heart, they get bored. And get drunk. And lash out.

    Thank god the Leafs made the playoffs. I hope they go a couple of rounds so the Blue Jays van kinda slink back into their comfy little shadow of riding under the radar for awhile, and hopefully get their shit together. Preferably when the weather gets hot. And the roof is open. And all those bored-ass dumb fucks get sunstroke and pass out on the Go Train instead.

  47. there’s way more of THEM then there are of US. casual vs fanatic. Even early 90′s most of the fan base was casual. They’re not looking for reason, stats or evidence, they’re looking for affirmation that the Jays are cool again. We all watch on our own level, and thats fine

  48. Is Adam Lind really batting 2nd tonight?

  49. *slow clap*

  50. Late to the party…well done Stoeten. Thanks for being the voice of reason as always.

  51. Holy fuck! The Nationals have picked up someone off of waivers from the Astros! Everyone in Washington fucking panic! No one on waivers from the Astros can possibly be worth anything. This portends not only the end of the Nationals season, but I can only extrapolate that the entire franchise will crumble to the fucking ground.

  52. Great post, but I think you’re beating a dead horse. There are always going to be more idiots around then not. Just check out the latest Griffin live chat if you don’t believe me. (One guy, appearently serious, suggested the Jays should have either hired Cito Gastorn or Phil Jackson in the summer) The internet has allowed places like this blog to exist where intelligent fans can gather together and have meaninful, interesting discussions, which is awesome, but those same people need to realize that there are always going to be idiots and theres nothing you can do but ignore them, or make fun of them.
    It ridiculous to think that an 8-12 team whose 2 best players are batting so terribly won’t improve. But its equally ridiculous to imagine that of the 2 million or so casual baseball fans around, that most of them won’t be ridiculous idiots. Just be happy happy baseball has at least moved into the 21st century. Hockey broadcasters still routinly trot out things like hear and plus minus.

    • Are you suggesting that hiring Cito would’ve been a mistake?
      Because if you were then; you would be the one who was mistaken. Cito is the best ever. Seriously, get a clue dude.

  53. After 50 observations, the Central Limit theorem says that you can assume a normal distribution in the data.

    So, 50 games. Let’s use this as our benchmark before we all mainline cyanide.

    http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/central_limit_theorem.asp

  54. “But there isn’t some magic potion John Gibbons can feed to his charges to make it all better.”

    I’m not certain Melky would agree with this statement.

  55. Well done. I guess. But still I think any shit that is stired up is being done by people who are just flaming.. because no one can possibly think that the Jays are done for the year all ready.

  56. Stoeten argee with you 100%. We all want this team to win. Is it frustrating to watch them lose yes, but there is lots of ball to play. In fact, I was looking at the 1993 Jays team record early in the season and at one point they slipped under .500 (16 – 17) midway through May so shit happens. I think this team is more than capable of putting it all together.

    PS: Am I alone in hating on Chris Davis?

  57. The 2009 Jays went 15-9 in April and won a grand total of 75 games that year. It is a long season.

    • 27 and 14 through late may

      • That was a great magical start. I started following the team that year very closely. They had Halladay, Purcey & a Canadian Pitcher who was a lumberjack in Edmonton that went 4-0 in April 2009.

        Hill & Lind were 2 star players that season.

  58. I just popped this page into gizoogle.net…. best idea ever…
    “But I genuinely do feel dat need. Y’all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! I be thinkin it’s mah thang ta understand n’ be a part tha conversation bout tha crew, n’ dat it’s always been dis blog’s mission ta try n’ cut all up in tha bullshizzle up in dat conversation. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch. In tha process I don’t wanna alienate dem whoz ass are, I be thinkin understandably, sick of anythang ta do wit either sidez of tha conversation dat currently consumes our asses yo, but as far as sidesteppin it goes, there just aren’t a shitload of pimped out alternate topics options dat I’m seeing.”

  59. Baseball will never be properly enjoyed or understood watching at hockey speed.

  60. Did he really say “all of the sudden”?

  61. Great piece Stoeten, you get too much shit for really nothing at all. And man, could I relate to this comparison.

    “A baseball schedule is grand, like an opera, or a naive first foray into psychotropic drugs. Not everything will reveal itself in the first forty minutes, and for best enjoyment you need to be equipped with the knowledge that things are going to happen that you simply do not understand.”

    • Agreed. That paragraph was very poetic. Of course, I just want to Fast Forward to September 29, 2013 & see if that game will mean anything.

  62. This isn’t fun anymore… Maybe I will check out until after the NHL playoffs, like I used to when I was a kid. Check back in June. Go Habs!

  63. people concerned about the grip it and ri[ approach many of the jays players seem to have would be well served to take a look at roy hallady’s start against the barves in which he struck out 9 batters but only lasted 3 1/3 innings. there are a lot of k machines in the barves lineup. the world doesn’t seem to be ending for them.

  64. It’s not the losing, it’s the play. Good teams lose close games, but bad teams find a lot of different ways to lose a lot of close games. It’s the constant boneheaded fielding plays and the amateurish at bats. Sure it’s early, but this is a team that shows an absolute inability to play any type of good fundamental baseball. They aren’t losing on just one bad at bat with men in scoring position or one bad fielding play. Maybe your right and they can turn this around, but it sure doesn’t look like a team that can go on an extended run right now.

  65. To be honest, I thought the Kawasaki error wasn’t that bad of a throw. it takes a bad throw AND a bad scoop from E5 to produce that error. Edwin had a chance.

    My concern at this point goes back to the 2012 (and I guess 2013) Angels that had a poor start in April they couldn’t recover from. Teams can afford a bad month but they have to be darn near .500 or have a stellar next 3 months to get back into it.

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