The past 3 months have not been kind to the Toronto baseball fan.
Not because John Farrell has left to go manage the insufferable Boston Red Sox. Not because he apparently called that gig his “dream job”. Not even because the hoards of pessimistic Jays fans who feel the Jays are just a feeder organization for the Yankees and Red Sox now feel vindicated. It’s mostly because the team just seems as if they’re in a state of disarray.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Blue Jays
current former manager John Farrell has been traded to the Red Sox, along with soon-to-be-DFAd David Carpenter for 2B/SS Mike Aviles. Farrell was then immediately signed to an extension to serve as the team’s bench boss through 2015. This followed months (and months, and months) of speculation that he was the Sox’ first choice to take over after the Bobby Valentine experiment failed hilariously.
What was so annoying about the whole thing was the air of superiority and arrogance coming from the Boston fans and media – they acted as if they were entitled to Farrell, regardless of the fact he was under contract to another team. Throughout all of it, I chose to believe Farrell was committed to Toronto and wasn’t swayed by the Boston’s reported interest. Reading that he felt otherwise was kind of lame. If I was Alex Anthopolous, I’d be pissed.
The news broke early Sunday morning while I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday. The other guests probably thought I was rude as hell as I had my eyes glued to the TV and my phone, trying to get any sort of verification of the rumour, and to see who would be coming back. I knew the reports of Daniel Bard or Clay Bucholz were somewhat laughable, but initially I was underwhelmed when I heard it was Mike Aviles. Upon further reflection, I’m ok with it. There’s no way Kelly Johnson will be back, which means we wouldn’t have a second baseman. Now we do. Aviles has both a 4.4WAR and 2.0WAR season under his belt and is an above-average hitter against LHP. And generally speaking, I think any time you can get an actual baseball player for a manager, it’s a good deal.
With all the injuries, the implosion of the pitching staff, the regression of many of the younger players, the baserunning gaffes, the reports of clubhouse unprofessionalism, Omar Vizquel’s bitching to the media, the fact that Omar Vizquel was even on the team – the 2012 season is one that’s best to forget. And that’s what’s so frustrating, as the optimism for 2012 was through the somewhat-functional Skydome roof. Right now, it feels like we’re heading into another off season of uncertainty. It’s not because Farrell is the saviour of the organization, or even a good manager for that matter. It just encompasses the feeling that the work that’s been done over the past 3 years has been undone, and this organization has taken a step back, not forward.
I’ve always been an optimistic fan and consider myself to be an enlightened one as well, but sadly I find myself being consumed by all the negativity that comes naturally to most Jays (and Toronto sports) fans. And that bums me out. Here’s hoping that AA has another ninja-move in him to make me feel better.