I can always tell when a Canadian team is legit when American Sports Broadcasters (which are so much better than anything Canada has to offer) take note.
Last week the MLB expanded the playoff format to allow two wildcard teams to play a one-game playoff to decide who gets that berth. It's actually good because Wildcard teams didn't rally face much of a disadvantage in the former system.
Obviously the Jays have been forgotten in the sports world since the great Joe Carter home run. But they haven't been the losers people would like to portray them as and if they were in any other division they'd be in the playoff race each year.
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Over the last five years, they've won more games than the Giants. Over the last nine years, they've won more games than the Tigers. If you ride the time machine all the way back to 1998, they're one of 16 teams with a winning record.
But what's the difference between the Toronto Blue Jays and the other 15 teams on that list? All those other 15 teams have played at least one postseason game since 1998.
And the Blue Jays? They've played zero.
It's incredible, in fact, how often people around the game begin conversations about the Blue Jays with the words: "If they played in any other division … " And that's more than just talk. That's the truth.
Over the last five seasons, if you wiped all games within the division off their permanent record, the Blue Jays would have a .531 winning percentage (239-211). That would rank seventh among all teams in the sport. And the only teams outside the AL East that would rank ahead of them are the Phillies (.584), Angels (.564) and Cardinals (.532).
But those are the breaks.
Anyway with the expanded playoff format and the great work by the new GM Alex Anthopoulos I'm hopeful that the Blue Jays can play relevant games in September and/or October in 2012.
Meanwhile, behind this group, you'll find a wave of so many big-ceiling prospects barely over the horizon that Keith Law ranked this farm system as the third-best in baseball -- and "the organization most likely to be No. 1 … next winter."
So if you were one of the people who belted out a big "what the HECK" a few weeks ago when this team's president and CEO, Paul Beeston, told a group of season-ticket holders that he expects the Jays to make the playoffs "two to three times" in the next five years, well, guess what? That pronouncement isn't as off the wall as you think.
"It's certainly realistic," says Bautista, a guy who has evolved, in just a couple of years, from baseball nomad to two-time major league home run champ to unquestioned leader of this mega-talented team on the rise. "Now it's on our shoulders to go out there and perform."
Edited by Boges, 05 March 2012 - 09:14 AM.