Saturday, October 24, 2015
Even though baseball season ended last night for me, I'm not sad. I may have this empty feeling that the NHL and the NFL can't fill, but right now I have a huge smile on my face. From my perspective, the Toronto Blue Jays did something incredible this season. Sure, they went from 52-50 to being within a few games of the World Series. That was quite an accomplishment. Joey Bautista, aka Joey Bats, became the true King Of The North with the home run and bat flip that will forever be etched in memory. While I'm very pleased with what this team achieved this season, I have to give them props for something even bigger.
The Jays got me to care about baseball again.
To be honest, I never thought I'd say those words. My hometown team, the San Diego Padres, were once a good team on the verge of something great. Their owner at the time told us they needed a new stadium to compete with the large market teams. Coming off a World Series run, we put it to a vote and gladly gave them Petco Park.
What did we get in return? The dismantling of the championship caliber team we rooted for, followed by nearly two decades of "dumpster diving" for starting pitching and other castoffs and low-risk projects. They also became the unofficial farm team of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, a place where these teams could acquire young, established talent from the Padres by trading away their better minor league prospects. Which the Padres would develop for a few years before trading them back to the AL East for more prospects.
As you can imagine, I don't have a great love for my local team anymore. I respect the fact they went out and acquired established players during the off season, but with rumors circulating during the second half of the season that they were going to trade away most of these players or let them walk at the end of season I thought to myself, "Same fucking Padres". I figured they were going to have another fire sale at the end of the year, so I conveniently forgot their games were on local TV all season.
I had pretty much ignored baseball during the summer months and then all of a sudden the Jays started stringing together wins. For years, it's always been the Yankees (boo!) and Red Sox (hiss!) at the top of the AL East and no one else dared compete with them. With each Jay win, I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe this year will be different?" It's too hot for me to wear my authentic batting practice jersey from the mid-80s around town during the summer months, so I went to the mall and bought a Blue Jays hat so I could proudly display my rekindled interest in the game.
Now that the ride is over, I can't wait for next season to begin. I might even buy MLB Extra Innings from my cable operator next Spring!