Yesterday, spent our last Independence Day in the States for the next few years (we are moving to Paris in a few weeks). Nice day; sunny. Warm. A little golf. A little swimming. A lot of barbecue. Fun and sun with the family.
A traditional Fourth of July, sans fireworks. For some strange reason, our town never actually celebrates Independence Day on Independence Day - the fireworks were scheduled for 27th June, and were washed out by a thunderstorm.
One thing that never changes, year after year, is the dismal performance of the Blue Jays, who not only lost again yesterday, but thoroughly embarrassed themselves with a terrible, terrible effort. The starting pitcher (Esmil Rogers) got tagged for seven earned runs in five innings (11 hits allowed and a couple of walks for good measure). This followed two previous games where the starters allowed eight and six runs in two and five innings, respectively. For good measure, Colby Rasmus dropped a fly ball, Jose Reyes booted another, and the team collected a total of six weak singles.
Adds up to a shameful 11-1 loss (they avoided the 11-0 whitewash with a ninth inning scratch run on an infield single, stolen base, and seeing-eye hit).
Shameful, if this bunch of clowns had any professional pride or integrity, which is very much in doubt. They show up; muddle around on the field. Make errors. Lose. And collect their pay.
Lather; rinse; repeat.
One week ago, the Jays had managed to complete an 11-game win streak, to bring the team to a mediocre, .500 record. That's gone, as they have sunk further into last place, now at 41-44. ESPN simulations estimate their chances at making the playoffs at 8 per cent. They are 11 games out of first.
Looks like the 20th straight season of not only not making the playoffs, but even better, not even really being in contention. Since Toronto's World Series win in 1993, they have not finished within 10 games of the playoffs for 19 seasons in a row. Looks like 2013 is a solid bet to extend that to 20.
This is almost Pittsburgh Pirates territory, except that the Bucs this year are playing as well as any team in the league, and seem a lock to reach the postseason for the first time since 1992.
As if that weren't bad enough, this is after an off-season trading for a couple of former All Stars (Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes) and last year's NL Cy Young winner (R.A. Dickey).
2012 was a disappointing season, marked by the loss of the entire starting rotation, and MVP candidate Jose Bautista.
This year, Bautista has been healthy, the erstwhile Adam Lind has found his stroke again, and the roster bolstered.
Last year, on the 5th of July, the injury-depleted Toronto Blue Jays were 42-41, 8 games behind first-place New York.
This year, with the enhanced roster, they are 41-44, 11 games back.
And that includes an 11-game win streak, the longest in club history.
I don't know if it's the manager's stupidity (he actually used a guy with an OPS of below .600 to DH two nights ago), the lack of heart by the team, whose idea of "fundamentals" seems to start and end with putting the right account numbers on their paystubs.
I wonder why anyone in Toronto bothers to go to the SkyDome to watch this trash. I really am not even sure why I still watch the games.