The hype surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays at this time last year was immense and overwhelming. Fans of the Jays had already seemed to be planning late October nights, which would surely be filled with the joys of watching playoff baseball in the hostile confines of the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto. However, these plans didn’t come to fruition, as the team drastically underachieved and fans were left wondering why their team was so bad all winter long.
Not much has changed for the Jays, as they officially opened Spring Training today in Dunedin, FL. The team hasn’t added much to a lineup that although didn’t play well last season, still looks as though they have some firepower. The pitching rotation is still very much incomplete, thus creating a sense of skepticism rather than optimism amongst their fans and the media. Perhaps this is the vibe that the team needs to be surrounded by in order to achieve their goals of playing playoff baseball in 2014.
Not every team can handle the pressure that the Jays were under last season. They were pretty much expected to win the AL East title before they even played a game in Spring Training. Now that a new season is upon us and the expectations surrounding the team have come back down to earth, the Jays can just settle in and play baseball, and perhaps follow the same pattern that one of their division rivals carved out last season.
The Jays will be looking to take a page out of the fairytale that the Boston Red Sox wrote in 2013. Absolutely nothing was expected of them. In fact, many people thought as though the Red Sox would occupy the basement of the AL East all season long, and we all know how that theory ended up. Sometimes, it’s the lack of expectations and the doubt surrounding a team that motivates them to prove everyone wrong and show that they actually can be something special by defying the odds that are against them.
The Jays are no longer the center of attention in Toronto and this is probably for the best. The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the NHL‘s hottest teams, the Toronto Raptors are leading the NBA‘s Atlantic Division and Team Canada is playing hockey at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The Jays are the last team on the minds of the Toronto faithful.
The Jays need to welcome their new found spot on the back burner in Toronto and try their best to recreate the hype by playing great baseball.