Roller Coaster Ride For Lawrie

It all started with such good news.

Hours after learning of the praise that Alex Anthopoulos had sent his way, amid the strong likelihood that he would be making his Major League Baseball debut at the end of the week, Brett Lawrie had the unthinkable happen to him in the bottom of the first inning of the Tucson vs. Las Vegas, Pacific Coast League game tonight.

Right handed starter Anthony Bass hit Lawrie with the second pitch of the at bat. The hand swelled up immediately and the Blue Jays top prospect was removed from the game and taken to hospital for x-rays. While there, Lawrie shared the following with his suddenly nervous Twitter followers:

I mean this as no disrespect to Lawrie and his eagerness to fulfill a childhood dream, but it all strikes me as kind of funny.

Never before has a prospect been so representative of the hope of a fan base. After toiling in mediocrity for almost twenty years, the Blue Jays have set in place a young general manager in Alex Anthopoulos who has shone brightly during his brief tenure. Reinvesting in scouting, ridding the payroll of an albatross, swapping lesser assets for greater ones and negotiating contracts that appear to be among the best deals in franchise history – he’s done all of this in little more than a year with a mission statement promising an organization of elite players that would find sustained success.

Suddenly, there’s a belief that maybe, just maybe, there’s an actual plan in place for competing in a division with the two largest payrolls in baseball and one of the smartest front offices as well.

And who else would be the representative of this belief, this hope for fans of the only Major League Baseball team in Canada, but a newly acquired Canadian kid whose brashness is reportedly just as strong as his work ethic. The idea of Brett Lawrie is everything that a Blue Jays fan, eighteen years removed from their last playoff appearance, would ever want. He’s an elite talent, recognized as such by the people who are supposed to recognize such things. And he epitomizes the new typical Blue Jays baseball player who has no need for the past stoicism of Roy Halladay or the nice guy routine of Vernon Wells.

In Spring Training, as a 21 year old, Lawrie told reporters that he expected to make the Opening Day roster of the Major League team. It was laughed off as a bit of a publicity stunt, a ploy for attention, but Lawrie was serious. He saw no reason why he didn’t deserve the opportunity to contribute at that level and a few short months later, neither does Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays front office.

So, it only makes comical sense, in that similar way to the humour of getting a speeding ticket while you’re in hurry, that after this wait to see the Chosen One, Blue Jays fans are given one final scare over a broken hand, which . . . moments ago, Lawrie cleared up as being just a bruise.

While this roller coaster ride will still have several more twists and turns during Lawrie’s time in Toronto, which still may be delayed a little bit yet, it’s already proving to be a main attraction at the theme park. Let’s just hope that the fans haven’t built this ride to be taller than the rules governing such things will allow.