And now that we're done praising the opposition, allow us a moment to unload on our heroes.
You know what we can't handle?
We can't handle seeing another goddamned postgame interview with Gregg Zaun, where he spouts earnest platitudes about this team having to step up. That whole song and dance is especially galling to us because we never see Frank Thomas or Vernon Wells or Troy Glaus - you know, the guys who are supposed to be the heart of this offense - step up and be counted. Oh, sure, we hear Glaus swear and curse at the plate after popping up to the infield for the umpteenth time with runners on, which we suppose means that he's "intense" and that he's a gamer.
But you know what? We'd really like to see those guys eat some shit once in a while, when the Jays put up an execrable effort such as they have on this road trip. Maybe it'll motivate them to do, you know, not suck.
And you know what else? You can say what you will about A.J. Burnett being a wuss (and we have), but at least the dude has the balls to show up in front of the media and answer for himself.
We can't handle another game where the offense squeezes the bats so tight when there are men on base that the grounds crew has to sweep the sawdust from around the plate after each non-rally. On this 2-4 road trip against two of the lesser lights of the AL this season, the Jays looked positively awful at the plate, and completely removed from the team that put up big numbers in a modest five-game win streak.
We know that J.P. "likes this team", and so do we...as an idea. But there is something so fundamentally amiss here. This is a team that gets the yips every time there is someone in scoring position. By all rights, they should have BURIED the Rays on multiple occasions in every game of this series (and that 2-0 win was not exactly a salve for the Jays fan's soul). But they don't seem to have that ability that good teams do to step on the other guy's throat when they have the opportunity. (This is something that teams that make the playoffs like Boston or the Yankees do with impunity.)
Sadly, we can hear the echoes of the future, when the Vernons and Troys and Reeds start talking about "oh, we woulda been great if it weren't for the injuries..." It's getting to a point where we wish we could walk in and deliver a five minute speech to these guys, like a scene out of Glengarry Glen Ross:
The wins are out there, you pick it up, it's yours. You don't--We have no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those games this week and win. Win, it's yours. If not you're going to be shining our shoes. And you know what you'll be: Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar. "Oh yeah, I played the Devil Rays and White Sox...it's a tough racket."
You know what it takes to make the playoffs? It takes brass balls to make the playoffs.
Go and do likewise, gents.