There aren’t many boxes circled on Blue Jays’ fans calendars this season. The team is navigating through a painful rebuild so, expectedly, people aren’t going to be tripping over themselves to come out and watch the team on a regular basis.
Three major dates that would drive fans to the gates are Opening Day, Canada Day, and Victoria Day, which, for Canadians, signals the beginning of summer. Fans that showed up to this afternoon’s Victoria Day game were met with a disappointing surprise when Vlad Jr., one of the only reasons to actually watch this team, was left off the lineup card.
Today’s game was the first at home after a six-game road trip. During that trip, Vlad finally broke out. He went 7-for-24 with four home runs and a whopping 1.321 OPS. Unfortunately, today’s game was a scheduled off-day for Vlad, as the organization slowly builds him up from missing virtually all of spring training.
Manager Charlie Montoyo was left in an awkward situation, having to justify what was ultimately not his choice:
The manager did not make this decision. The front office did.
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) May 20, 2019
I mean, on paper, you can understand their decision. The Jays front office is data and process driven. They make decisions based on objective information rather than emotional factors. This whole thing is cut from the same cloth as when Vlad had to stay an extra few days in Buffalo because he hadn’t yet played three games in a row on the field. There’s a plan here that they’re following and, unfortunately, part of that happened to line up with him sitting during a key day for the fanbase.
I’m not at the point where I’m going to get mad online and say that Mark Shapiro is completely unaware of the fanbase and that he doesn’t realize that the Victoria Day holiday is special for Canadians. Still, this decision is a little tone-deaf and disappointing.
Would pushing Vlad’s off day back to Tuesday make that big of a difference in their plan? What about resting him on Sunday in Chicago? I mean, is having him take a seat on a shitty, wet surface from the rainy conditions over the weekend worse than him having a day off after playing exactly six games in a row?
The fans are already being forced to watch the team trudge through a pretty painful season. Though it would deviate from the plan put in place, I’m sure nothing dramatic would have happened if they allowed Vlad to play today and switched his rest day to Sunday or Tuesday. Giving the fans Vlad on Victoria Day is something that would probably go a long way in making fans happy. It isn’t the end of the world, but it’s disappointing the front office doesn’t seem to consider this.