Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The best statement I could possibly make about the last few days of Blue Jays baseball, I think, would be to say nothing.
Nothing about relaxing. Nothing about baseball being a game of long trends that will never make sense if your focus moves only from one small segment to the next. Nothing about there being no shame in Mike Trout doing Mike Trout things to you.
Nothing about a good offence people seem to have in their heads is bad. Nothing about a first place team some folks seem much too frustrated with.
I’d rather act unfazed but it all like I’ve been here before. That is, however, a difficult position to take as someone who makes a living writing and speaking about this team. And so here we are, I guess, doing the ol’ broken record “simmer down” thing that’s only directed at a vocal minority who probably aren’t even as confused by the odd twists of a baseball season as much as they just like to hear the sound of their own voices.
I mean, as most of us understand, if this team is holding onto its division lead while not playing its best baseball, that’s honestly great. Bad baseball isn’t great, and losses to inferior teams are no fun, but bad games happen and better baseball is coming.
People have a tendency to think that a team *is* what they’ve been in their most recent handful of games. Maybe — and holy shit, I’m sorry to do this — that makes sense in sports like hockey or football (though, honestly, probably not), but baseball is different. Which isn’t to say those sports are terribly similar to each other, but they’re certainly about imposing your will on an opponent in a way that simply isn’t in the nature of baseball — to the eternal frustration of so many fans.
That’s a thought I come back to a lot when watching folks vent about games like the two losses to the Angels this week. That is, once I give myself time for reflection — because in the moment, I must admit, I can get as frustrated with them as they seem to get with the game. There are elements of chance in baseball that can’t be overcome by better execution in the way that I think is at least closer to true of other sports.
None of that means losses, especially to inferior teams, don’t hurt, but they happen a lot and to everyone.
The Jays might lose two of three to the Twins this weekend; that won’t mean they’re suddenly a team that can’t even beat the Angels and Twins.
Last weekend the Cubs lost two of three to the Rockies, y’know? Does that make them any less a fearsome opponent? If Baltimore suffers a dip in form this weekend, does that change one iota what we think about the Orioles on Monday as the Jays begin a three game series there?
It feels like it’s only when it comes to our own team that fans start believing — or at least acting like — the wheels are coming off. That’s understandable because of the emotional connection we have with the team we cheer for, but it’s also something we can recognize and compensate for in ourselves. Ideally before we go popping off with dread about a very, very good team that I assure you *nobody* but Blue Jays fans thinks is about to go off the rails!