Monday, December 17, 2012
"Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."
Did I just start the first post in nearly two months on this shitty little blog by ripping a line from Shawshank, one of the hackiest moves in the Book of Blogging? I guess I just did. No, I am not better than that.
I'm all about being honest, be it here, be it on twitter, whatever. So I am going to be honest with all of you who take the time to read this...
For a very long time, let's call it a few years after the glory seasons of '92-'93, I've been comfortable in my existence as a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, perennial also-rans. I would bitch and moan like the rest, sure, but it was pretty easy, this no-pressure existence. My heart was rarely broken because seldom were expectations anything beyond a comfortable 3rd place finish (4th A.D. (after Devil Rays) ).
"Well, what are you gonna do? The damn Yankees and the Red Sox, with their smug pitching coach, will just spend spend spend. Can't compete with that."
"Well of course the Rays are great, they were bound to be eventually, what with their plethora of first overall picks and so on and so forth."
The ascension of Alex Anthopoulos and his willingness to engage us all in the prospect smut game added a new dimension to this hopeless hope. Now we had a GM who wasn't willing to simply roll out a D-level copy of the AL East superpowers' gameplan (see eras of Ryan, BJ and Burnett, AJ), we had a man with a plan, and damnit, this just might work. Some day. But let's not get worked up just yet... we're talking years away, friends. Elite farm systems weren't built overnight.
And wouldn't you know it... through clever trades and arb offers, through risky drafting and international spending... the farm system did indeed become elite.
But let's face it, cheap-ass Rogers will never allow Anthopoulos to supplement the minor league talent with costly impact veterans through free agency. And Anthopoulos will never deal the crown jewels of the system for "win-now" players.
Well, I'll be damned.
It all happened. It really happened.
It's everything Blue Jay fans have long dreamed would occur - a minor league system developed to supplement the major league club, and the plan has been executed beyond any fan's reasonable expectation. Trading for and extending RA Dickey - along with acquiring Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Melky Cabrera - !!!!! - at a time when the Yanks and Sox appear vulnerable appears to be the ultimate domino trail, and with it comes a whole new set of expectations.
And that's the beauty and terror of this winter. Trading the likes of Marisnick, Nicolino, Hechavarria, d'Arnaud, and Syndergaard represents trading that comfortable "someday" hope for the future in exchange for the high pressure and expectation of winning now. 3rd place has moved from moral victory to abject failure in the span of a few winter weeks.