Ever since entering the American League in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have received preferential treatment from Major League Baseball compared to the treatment of Canada’s other former baseball franchise, the Montreal Expos. There was no players strike in 1992 and 1993 when the Blue Jays were winning back to back World Series Championships. The strike was reserved for late in the 1994 season, when the Expos had by far the best record in the majors and the season was terminated.
It is not difficult to see why the league has favored the Blue Jays in a big way while screwing over the Expos since the Jays’ arrival in the league. The team plays in an English speaking city, compared to the Expos, who played in a predominantly French speaking city. Toronto fans are also a pushover compared to Montreal fans. Living in such an uneventful city and having little options in the form of entertainment and culture, they will gladly fill up stadiums and arenas to watch mediocre sports teams year after year (see the Maple Leafs).
Toronto is also home to Bay Street, which houses the TSX. How could the corporatists who control MLB even resist to not shower Toronto with much love, adoration and even early Christmas gifts? Not so ironically, an arch-enemy to the city of Montreal, Jeffrey Loria, is the most recent Santa Claus for Toronto. Loria recently unloaded his most talented Miami Marlins players in exchange for a handful of mediocre major leaguers and a bunch of unproven minor leaguers.
Of course, there are those apologists who believe this was a fair deal. Obviously, these same people also believe that the New York Mets trade of pitcher Tom Seaver was also a fair deal back in 1977. Who were those “prospects” that the Mets received again? Did anyone of them go on to have a career that could be considered even mildly distinguished? Oh well, we will just have to wait and see how the prospects the Marlins received develop. Tick, tock, tick, tock…
With Loria dumping a box of early Christmas gifts at the base of the CN Tower in order to fulfill his personal financial agenda, this now puts the pressure squarely on Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos to succeed…or else. One may think the Blue Jays are now in a very enviable position with the other American League East contenders wallowing in uncertain or down years.
Nobody expects the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays to set the world on fire in 2013. With so much money invested in their new toys, if the Jays fail to bring home a division title and even a World Series Championship in 2013, you can expect the spit to start hitting the fan very quickly.
There are those who are painting the Blue Jays’ situation as an aggressive and skillful move by a team who see the rest of their division competitors on the skids. This is nothing but complete rubbish. The fact is the Blue Jays are one of the few teams with deep pockets who could afford to pay for Loria’s fire sale all in one shot.
Since the Jays are owned by Rogers Communications (one of the few telecommunication oligopolies in Canada with the luxury to overcharge Canadians), absorbing those huge salaries is really not that big a deal for them as long as the players produce on the field, of course.
After winning their second consecutive and final World Series in 1993, the Blue Jays have since been mired in mediocrity. No doubt, Anthopoulos saw this opportunity to elevate the Jays back to the promised land of baseball. The team has put a lot of pressure on its shoulders and if it fails to succeed next season, one can expect a very long offseason after 2013.
It is okay to throw big money at players and consistently succeed, like the New York Yankees have managed to do for many years now. However, if you pay big money and you come up with a bust, then it can get really ugly in a hurry.
If the Blue Jays fail at their championship run in 2013, maybe they can hire the Loria maid crew to come in for yet another housecleaning. Judging by their past work experience in Montreal and Miami, they would be the most qualified for the job.