I was at the final game before the Vlad era began. And as far as I’m concerned that’s being a part of Blue Jays history folks. It’s just as important to witness the end, as it is to be a part of the new beginning.
When I bought my tickets earlier in the month, I hoped to see ‘the prince that was promised’ donning blue that early evening, but instead I saw a bunch of children wearing Superman capes running around the concourse high on sugar and Kevin Pillar madness. I wasn’t high on anything, especially Kevin Pillar madness.
I was sober because I don’t drink much these days. I spent 5 dollars on a bottle of water, soaked in nine innings of pretty bad baseball, and left with a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. bobblehead. It was made in China.
The Jays lost 4-0 to the Giants that night. There wasn’t any offence. There wasn’t much in the air, besides the heckles and jeers. It was baseball in Toronto how I remembered it: empty seats and mediocre players. The bad ol’ days. I still enjoyed myself though, taking in the atmosphere, the lights, and the sounds of the game. It’s baseball – even when it’s bad, it’s good.
However, soon all of that bleak energy at the Rogers Centre was about to change. The general air of malaise that had lingered since 2017 exited with me and everyone else that Wednesday night. And I don’t think that it’s going to return any time soon, nor should it.
The era of Vlad is here.
It’s time to dig through your records, pull out Leonard Cohen’s ‘Various Positions’, and toss on side 2 because Hallelujah – the king of the large adult sons has arrived.
Now, I could go on about Vlad, but who hasn’t? What can I possibly say about Vladito that hasn’t been said? I’m not about to type up some ode to the wunderkind. But, I am going to say that the Wednesday night game that I was at might be the last of its kind for a long time. And let’s hope so.
As you already know, it’s going to take more than Vlad to win flags that fly forever. The fact is that if Toronto’s front office wants to surround Vlad around a wining culture, the time to start is now. Or maybe that Wednesday night air might sneak back into the Rogers Centre. And the hope that Vlad brought could burn out by July.
There is no reason that the ‘Vlad era Jays’ should ever be bad though. There is no reason that the Rogers Centre gate should ever be slow. There is no reason that this team should ever lose more games than they win. There is no reason that this rebuild should take another three years. There’s no reason that FanGraphs shouldn’t like the Jays’ chances.
The organization has more than enough money to extend a pitcher like Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez and pick up some talent via trade or free agency. And keep a player like Justin Smoak around, as well.
At this point in time, I know that many Jays fans want to see certain players traded, but I don’t think that moving the aforementioned talent is going to help Toronto in the future. A good starting pitcher is hard to find. A good veteran bat can be hard to find, too.
The Jays front office needs to carefully walk the line.
Without Stroman in the rotation or Smoak in the lineup, the malaise that exited out of the gates on Wednesday night might return with every loss. It should be about building around Vlad now, while waiting for prospects like Bichette, Biggio, and Pearson to come up at the right time.
There’s nothing to blow up. The explosion has happened. And some of what’s left should maybe remain.
It’s time to lay down the bricks now baby. It’s time for the organization to build off of Friday night. It’s time to add to the Vlad era and not subtract.
There’s no more reason to keep Socrates Brito around.
The future is here and time is raining – damn it. And this ‘rebuild’ doesn’t have to be some shitty wet soaker. It should be a bat-flippin’ rain dance. So I say splash around in the puddles and have some fuckin’ fun.
(And extend Marcus Stroman you cowards.)