BY ERIC NEILSON
Finally, it is that time of year again– baseball season.
This means many things. The weather is getting warmer, the patio drinks begin to flow, playoff hockey and basketball is about to arrive and just when you think it can’t get any sweeter, the beloved Toronto Blue Jays take the field.
Now, for this season things began a little different. The Blue Jays long-time manager, John Gibbons, decided to call it quits. Passing the torch to Charlie Montoyo, who has a tough time ahead of him as he takes over as team manager while the Jays are currently in a re-building process. Since the last season the Blue Jays have lost such prominent players as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Canadian-born catcher Russell Martin and who could forget the bringer of rain, Josh Donaldson. All sent packing so that the Jays could make room for new young talent to join the long road to a more successful future.
So, needless to say there is not too much expectation for the Toronto Blue Jays this year– the mix of the new, young guns and a new inexperienced manager, the odds of making the playoffs this year is more brought to reality in a fan’s dreams.
This doesn’t effect the loyalty of the fans However, as the Rogers Centre was filled to the rafters last Thursday for the Jays home opener where they hosted the Detroit Tigers. Marcus Stroman got the the start against the Tigers’ Jordan Zimmerman, and the team was ready for their first win of the season and their first home opener victory since Ricky Romero bested the Minnesota Twins in 2011. It did not go that way. Although the team fought valiantly, and ran into extra innings, a late 10th inning 2-run dinger was enough to put the Tigers’ ahead 2-0 and the Blue Jays unfortunately did not have the wherewithal to make a comeback.
They did however comeback the following Friday. Matt Shoemaker took the mound and this time the Jays had a victory in sight. And thats just what they provided. With Teoscar Hernandez driving in the first runs of the season and power-hitter Justin Smoak blasting the teams’ first homer of the season the Jays laid a beatdown in Game 2 taking it by a whopping score of 6-0.
The following Saturday ended with another “W” for the boys as Aaron Sanchez took the mound and yet again held off the Tiger’s to another scoreless game as the end result was 3-0.
Sunday was a different story. The Jays gave up 3 runs in the top of the 7th inning and it seemed like a comeback was off the table. Until the bottom of the 8th inning. The boys rallied back to tie the game late and for the second time this season and in this series the Toronto Blue Jays were headed to extra innings.
Unfortunately, a single run was given up in the top of the 11th and that was enough to hold the Jays off on a second comeback in the game. Which was disappointing as starting the season off 3-1 would be beyond expectations while a sold 2-2 does meet them. As disappointing as the falls in the extras were, The Blue Jays and their fans can find solace in knowing that in their defeats, they took it to extras and in their victories they held the glory of shutouts.
This is just the first four games of a long 162-game season, so there really isn’t a need to fret. We have the whole summer. The Jays take on the Baltimore Orioles tonight in three-game series at the Rogers Centre, a division rival. It seems the only thing left to do with wish them luck and congratulate Montoyo on his first wins as a manager, we look forward to see what you have to bring to the table. Let’s go Blue Jays, let’s play ball!