Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

Well, I am pretty sure I have hit near rockbottom in terms of my sports fandom. The Toronto Blue Jays are simply awful. Manager Cito Gaston clearly does not care, the best pitcher in baseball Roy Halladay clearly wants out and ownership is getting ready to sell the team. The Jays started out like a house on fire, peaking at a sparkling 27-14 record, the best in the American League. Halladay was Halladay, the pitchers were pitching great, and hitters were smoking the ball. And then injuries. Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan started the year on the disabled list, and both have suffered further and further setbacks, to the point where it would not be a surprise if Dustin McGowan never pitches again. They were joined by Jesse Litsch, Casey Janssen, Scott Richmond, Ricky Romero, Robert Ray, Scott Downs and the complete and utter destruction of BJ Ryan.

On the offensive side, the Jays employ one of the worst everyday players in baseball in Vernon Wells, except he is due in excess of $60MM in the coming years. Scott Rolen, one of the most likeable Toronto sports figures I can remember, decided he had had enough and asked to be traded. The Jays then let Alex Rios and his limitless potential walk away. The end result? Since being 27-14, the Jays have gone 30-53 to sit at 57-67. And they neglected to shell out the money for their top draft picks.

This is the closest I have ever come to giving up and turning my back on this team. My brother and his wife just gave birth to a baby boy. He and I are in complete agreement that he is not to be raised as a Toronto Blue Jays fan.

I was at the Rogers Centre on Monday night. It is the only game I have been to this year and I went specifically to see Roy Halladay pitch. He really is a no-hitter waiting to happen. People often say that Toronto is a great sports town, the Leafs have sold out since World War II, the Raps have a great fanbase etc. The attendance at the Rogers Centre was 1/3rd its capacity. I have been to maybe 70 or 80 games at the Rogers Centre and the only time I had ever seen a lower attendance was for a mid-April game in 2003 against Boston in the middle of the SARS epidemic in Toronto. Sitting at the game on Monday, I don't think I have ever been so dispassionate and depressed while watching sports.

Even worse, I get to look at the standings and see a team like the Colorado Rockies locked into an absolutely amazing stretch drive playing exciting game after exciting game, while I have to cheer on a team that puts Kevin Millar, Randy Ruiz and Raul Chavez into the same lineup.

I need a drink