Monday, March 1, 2010

On optimism, new faces, and old familiar faces returning

There are moments in this offseason where we find ourselves slipping further into despair over the outlook for our team. Could we really handle the fifth place finish that most of the pre-season prognosticators have foreseen for the Jays? Could we continue to show up in our blogging pants day after day if this teams slides back? Are we prepared for a long, miserable season?

Then, we snap out of it. What would Mom say if she knew that we were sending such terrible, negative thoughts out into the universe? Are we asking for the failure that we so fear? Why can't we just be happy, and enjoy this moment for what it is?

(Sorry. We're kinda losing our rational stoicism through this winter. Maybe it's a vitamin D thing.)

If there is one thing that has stoked the fires and really got us geeked for the coming season, it's the sheer number of new faces in the Jays camp, as well as the familiar faces that didn't make an appearance in 2009. We're amazed at how excited we get when we see a newish face in the crowd as we take a gander at the photos being posted by Jordan Bastian through his Twitter account, and glancing through the shots on Daylife. We're even getting a bit excited when we see marginal players, who we assume might make their way to Vegas or get their walking papers before the end of March.

Hey look! There's José Molina, blocking what must have been an awesome February slider in the dirt! There's Brett Wallace, with a first baseman's trapper, wearing number 46! (Snider's 45 and Wallace is 46...there's something to that, isn't there?) There's Alex Gonzalez, who is suddenly growing on us as an everyday option at short...unless the better option is Mike McCoy. (Look at that fielding form!)

Even more encouraging for us are the faces of Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum. While we don't necessarily anticipate them stepping in and blowing the roof off the Dome immediately, we've started to look at their return to the pitching staff much in the way that we would think of two prospects about to emerge into their big league roles.

Sure, people can dump on the lack of prospect depth in the Jays' system, and the losses in terms of big league talent. But we think that misses the point. People who have this team pegged as the worst in the league they'll have so many players in uniform in 2010 who were not a part of the late season meltdown last year. Maybe more than any team (or at least as much as any team that we follow obsessively), the Jays will have more turnover in their lineup this season.

We don't want to sink into pat, management seminar clichés of how "change = good". But, given the alternative route of picking apart the weaknesses and building the case for the team's downfall, we prefer to embrace the newness of this team. The number of new names and numbers on the jerseys at the very least gives us something new and compelling to wrap our head around in the coming months.

18 comments:

Fuckface said...

I'm optimistic about sliding my meatpole in your Mom's greasy guts while your limp-dicked Dad cries like a girly-man in the corner.

Ty said...

Agreed! It's a good attitude to enter thus season with, and it doesn't seem to be exclusive to us fans - lots of players seem legitimately excited to turn over a new leaf this year too. It seems like a chance for the younger guys to really make this team their own, which is probably pretty motivating for a lot of them.

Also, a rotation of Marcum/Morrow/McGowan/Romero/fifh guy (Rzepczynski or Cecil?) would actually be pretty decent, verging on impressive. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see thus team finish better than last year.

Anonymous said...

Did Fuckface get lost on his way to the DJf message board? Nice piece...glad someone is more optimistic than me.

Tao of Stieb said...

Hey, I'm just happy for the comments. Every little comment helps feed into our greater understanding of the team, the world, and one another.

Right?

Mattt said...

Even if they are a fifth place team this year it's still our team. Right? Anyone?

Hilleraj said...

In years past, spring training was always about seeing which of the lightning-in-a-bottle JP acquisitions would bring our Jays back to the top of the heap. There were always stories of players having ridiculous spring showings, only to be shafted for whoever the brain trust decided would repeat their outlier seasons, and justify the enormous contracts that they were handed. It's nice to know that this year, the players who put forth a great spring showing will actually be given a chance to prove it in the big leagues... well, if you consider being the under-study to Jose Bautista as "proving it"...

Ty said...

I was thinking today -- if EE breaks his wrist again or something, who the heck is going to play third? Do they move Bautista there, and then suck it up and put Lind in LF? I can't imagine they'd be content to run Johnny Mac out there every day, but who else is there?

mike in boston said...

Hilleraj - you're right about the JP trash-heap era. the only legitimate gripe this time around is letting Bautista play at the expense of Ruiz/Dopirak, and realistically none of those guys will be here when the Jays are in a position to compete.

SP said...

Hey Tao, Roger Ebert hates your blog!

http://deadspin.com/5482198/my-roger-ebert-story

Tao of Stieb said...

@SP

I know. I saw that.

What's worse: Will Leitch probably hates it too.

I keep thinking that the "we" is going to be retired, but I just can't do it. I feel like a dude with a rattail telling everyone "no, really, that's just my style!"

Ty said...

I spent waaaaaaay too long avoiding this blog because I was put off by the whole "we" thing, but now that I'm a regular reader it doesn't bother me at all. Back when I was unfamiliar with your writing I actually thought it was serious, but now that I know you're not actually a giant douche it's definitely grown on me. I wouldn't be sad to see it go, but I don't think it really makes all that much of a difference. This is still my favourite Jays blog regardless of what personal pronouns its authors choose to employ.

The Ack said...

Hold on fellas - I handle the "giant douche" role around here.

Mylegacy said...

This time of year reminds me that Baseball - like life itself - is a marathon. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, and then you die of exhaustion - or in the case of life - you just die.

Our Blue Hued Warriors are going to surprise the great unwashed when they win well over their expected 70 wins; not to mention surprising me, most readers and commentators of this generally civil - but sometimes gratuitously profane little blog.

Aaron Hill said...

no kidding, there, hack.

Ty said...

First ST game, Snider is hitting behind Buck, AGonz, and Jeremy Fucking Reed. Blaaaarrrghhhhhh!!!!

SP said...

I wonder how many Canadians instinctively pronounce it Roger E'bert, if you know what I mean. One time some JaysTalk caller pronounced Mark Belanger's name the hockey way and I could sense Wilner blacking out for a few seconds after correcting him. This season is going to be fun with Brandon Morrow.

Anonymous said...

Tao,

No one cares about the royal we - just the insightful blogging that consistantly fills these pages. FOCUS!

Anonymous said...

wallace used to be 23, so he doubled the number.